Attachments – Life’s Connections (part 5 of 5)

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 In grade school, I, Chris, used to love watching my peers play jump rope.  Two girls held each end of a long rope then quickly flung the rope around.  A brave volunteer would leap into the middle and pace with the rope, quickly jumping up and down.

Those with good timing succeeded, those who did not have good timing got tangled up.  The rhythmic pace would dance along smoothly, as long as they were all synchronized in unison.  When one fell out of rhythm, the rope would get caught and quickly stop.

Attachments build and develop based on good timing, shared signals, and synchronized interaction.

You become skilled at jumping rope through practice, good timing, and keeping rhythm with the rope and your teammates.  You bond to your important people in a similar fashion.  Together, you keep your rhythms synchronized, internally and externally, while keeping your timing balanced and signals attuned.  You become tangled up when someone gets out of step with your natural synchronized progression of interaction.

To review, we previously studied ambivalent/distracted attachments.  We learned how

  • Insecure attachment develops by mother’s mental state being imposed onto her child.
  • Children who develop ambivalent/distracted attachments feel responsible to take care of mom (or dad); what attachment literature calls a “parentified child”.  In inner healing language this is parental inversion.

Interaction between an ambivalent mother and her child may look healthy and secure to the untrained eye, but a close examination between mother and child interaction reveals mom is desynchronized to the child.  The parent fails to respond properly to the child’s attachment light.  In other words, mom does not synchronize with child’s needs; rather mom pushes the child to synchronize to her needs.

Toddler or a baby child playing with puzzle in a nursery.

(Photo credit © Pavla Zakova – Fotolia.com)

Take for an example where a child plays alone…  The child’s attention focuses on his/her toys (attachment light off) but the insecure mother wants someone to bond with (attachment light on).  She looks at her child, who seems distracted and busily playing.  Mom comes over and joyfully picks up her child, interrupting child’s focus and behavior.  Mom plays, tickles, and interacts with the child.

The interaction looks good, sounds good, and may even be enjoyable to watch.  For the infant, however the effect is toxic and leads to an insecure attachment known as ambivalent/distracted.  Mom failed to stay sensitive to her child’s signals.  If she would have given her child a few seconds, or minutes until the child looked up to her, (attachment light on), then mom could have picked up the child and played.

disorganized

Disorganized attachment is the last attachment disorder.  An individual with this attachment disorder has the highest percentage of risk for a mental disorder later in life. [1]

Disorganized attachments occur when a parent becomes a source of terror as well as love and affection.

Disorganized attachments are found in more mental and posttraumatic stress disorder cases than the previous two insecure attachments. Desire to attach and bond becomes a double bind because a child cannot decipher whether bonding will be safe or scary.

Threat of being hurt, scared or abused overlaps the desire to approach, causing a guessing game with high stakes.  When a child has his/her attachment light on, it creates panic due to the lack of predictability created by the caregiver or parent.

For example, when a child wants to bond with mom, the child’s attachment light comes on.  Mom’s attachment light is stuck in unpredictable patterns of (on/off/on/off, etc.)  Mom leaves the child stuck in a state of confusion and fear, not knowing where mom will be or how she will respond when the times comes to bond.

Studies show the disorganized child’s response to parental recognition.  The parent walks into a room with his/her disorganized child already in the room playing.  The child then responds by walking or crawling backwards, towards the parent, not wanting to see mom or dad’s face. A child may trance out, freeze, or even crawl on the floor banging his or her head. [2] Not all cases of disorganized attachment involve abuse.

Surprisingly, the most common cause of disorganized attachment is not an angry parent. It may involve a “victim parent”, a parent who is constantly afraid.  A child who shares an identity with a fear mapped brain means sharing an identity with someone who is scared and fear bonded.  Everything in the whole world becomes scary and frightening.

mother ans son

A healthy parent gives assurance and comfort for a frightened child but a disorganized child receives fear and worry in return. A large source of fear in children develops from parents who are fearful.

According to Jim Wilder’s groundbreaking book titled, The Complete Guide to Living With Men, he states, “three things can make a baby boy frightened of his own attachment light, when his attachment signals:

1)   Sometimes make mom angry

2)   Leads to being overwhelmed at times

3)   When the baby can pick up how scared mom is.

LwMen

Under these three conditions when baby’s attachment light comes on he fears pain and terror, desires closeness and comfort – but what will happen this time?” [3]

This pattern leaves the child in a disorganized state.  A disorganized child will have a painful life ahead with challenges in relationships and personal well-being.

Healing begins with authentic, honest, and consistent relationships that provide safety, predictability, and security for the disorganized child.

In summary, we have examined the significance of life’s invaluable connections – attachments and bonds.

  • Secure attachments are foundational for emotional and mental well-being and interpersonal interaction.
  • How we grow and mature is based on our bonds.
  • Synchronization between mother and infant build strong bonds and healthy attachments.
  • Mom synchronizes with her child by building joy and resting, as her child needs.
  • Synchronization involves reciprocate rhythms, matched mental states, energy levels, and alternating between periods of arousal and rest.
  • Healthy mothers synchronize to baby, while unhealthy mothers attempt to get baby to synchronize with her, based out of need.

If you identified with one of these painful attachment modes, it can be remedied—that’s the beautiful thing about your brain. It can learn and change.

Thrive_lg

Remediation:  Attend Thrive Training. It is the fast track to reducing attachment pain. However, if you cannot take time off work in addition to the tuition, call Deni (our webinar coordinator) insert link and ask for a Joy Starts Here or Connexus group in your area. While talking with Deni ask for information on how to bring Connexus to your church. We have learned that attending a Connexus class is a good way to prepare to facilitate the group in your own church.

Thrive Training Reminder

Feb. 23-27, in Austin, Texas

July 26-31, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Registration Information here.

 May your joy be full,

Chris & Carol

Chris Coursey, MA Theology – Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer,  www.thrivetoday.org

Twitter – @coursey_chris

Carol A. Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive         www.fromgodsheart.com

Carol’s email – godsheart@comcast.net


[1] Developing Mind, Daniel Siegel, pg. 119

[2] Developing Mind, Daniel Siegle. 74ff

[3] Wilder, Jim The Complete Guide to Living With Men, pg. 40

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