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Attachments 10

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Attachments 10

(We have dealt with the avoidant and the ambivalent attachment styles, so tonight we come to the disorganized attachment style.  We are on page 95.)

6

The Grass Is Always Dead

On Both Sides of the Fence

The Disorganized Attachment Style

Being abandoned, treated with inconsistent love and abuse,

and being subjected to contradictory communications

all contribute to a child’s sense of helplessness.

–Louis Breger

“Persons with a disorganized attachment style have the ability to find darkness everywhere they turn.  As they look out at the world of relationships, the grass is always dead on both sides of the fence.  Why?  Because they hold a negative view of others and a negative view of themselves.  We often describe these persons as having a ‘shattered self.’  (Most other don’t, but I use the words “broken” and “fractured” or “shattered” differently.  The kind of breaking that comes from God is called “brokenness,” but there is a breaking that is negative and destructive and I call this fracturing.  The authors call this the “shattered self.”)  They (i.e. those with a disorganized attachment style) can behave like those who have an avoidant attachment style, looking inside themselves for satisfaction as they emotionally wall of those close to them.  Then, they can sense some kind of shift in the emotional winds and change strategy without warning, becoming desperately clingy and dependent, like those with ambivalent attachment style, as they hope a stronger, wiser other will come to their rescue.  Surprisingly, at other times, they may appear secure and relate to others with warm, trusting ways.”[1]

| !!!  

Comparison of Attachment Styles

  |

| !!!!!! Both

| !!!!! Secure Attachment Style

  Self Dimension ·        I am worthy of love. ·        I am capable of getting the love and support I need.   Other Dimension ·        Others are willing and able to love me. | Ambivalent Attachment Style  Self Dimension ·        I am not worthy of love. ·        I am not capable of getting the love I need without being angry and clingy.  Other Dimension ·        Others are capable of meeting my nees but might not do so because of my flaws. ·        Others are trustworthy and reliable but might abandonment because of my worthlessness.  | !!!!!! Others

|

| !!!!!! Self

| Avoidant Attachment Style  !!!! Self Dimension

 ·        I am worthy of love. ·        I am capable of getting the love and support I need.   Other Dimension ·        Others are either unwilling or incapable of loving me. ·        Others are not trustworthy; they are unreliable when it comes to meeting my needs.  | Disorganized Attachment Style !!!! Self Dimension

 ·        I am not worthy of love. ·        I am not capable of getting the love I need without being angry and clingy.  Other Dimension ·        Others are unable to meet my needs. ·        Others are not trustworthy or reliable. ·        Others are abusive, and I deserve it.[2]  | !!!!!! Neither

|

The Loss of a Safe Haven

       “As was discussed in chapter 2, attachment relationships form because we, as needy children, seek someone stronger and wiser to protect us from a dangerous world.  One of parents’ fundamental roles is providing a safe haven for their children when they are distressed.  As the children mature, they internalize this safe haven as a feeling, a sense of felt security.”[3]  I taught you this back in 1991, in a series entitled:  “Bonding:  Relationships In The Image Of God.”  This security is also attached to the developmental stages of childhood and bonding.  “As a child stores up memories of being comforted by mother, a relationship of memory is being stored inside.  Literally, in a deeply spiritual sense, the child takes the mother in and has her on the inside in memory.  This leads to a greater and greater sense of security as this attachment is repetitively internalized.  The child gets a storehouse of loving memories upon which to draw in the absence of the mother.  The ‘self-soothing’ system is being formed through the growing internal relationship.  In her absence he can literally have a relationship with the one who loves him.  The memory traces must be built up in the bond through thousands of moments of connections(This is why the idea of quality time instead of quantity time is a myth for very young children.)”[4]

       “As the relationship gets stronger, the child develops what is known as emotional object constancy.  That is, he can experience himself as loved constantly, even in the absence of the loved one, and he can experience a loving self in relation to an absent loved one.  If you have had warm feelings as you think of a loved one, you know of the riches of this treasured ability.  Perhaps during a time of fear or pain, you thought of the ones who love you and are pulling for you, and you gained a sense of courage and hope.  Then you know of the importance of emotional object constancy, which is crucial to life.  It allows a two-year-old to play in the yard by himself without panic and the corporate executive to go to work without needing to see his wife by his side throughout the day.  Both have a sense that their emotional ties are secure, and they are not isolated, even if they are alone.”[5]


       In a spiritual sense, Jesus was praying for this when He prayed for the Father to be in us and for His love to abide in us.

John 17:26, “And I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them” (emphasis mine).

But, if we have been injured through multiple losses, it will be very difficult to accept God being there, because our attachment style cannot accept healthy love.  All that we know is unhealthy love.

(All right, let’s get back to Attachments.)

The felt security that a child feels, when s/he grows up in a safe haven, “becomes a template for understanding how close relationships work.  The support and and comfort they receive in their safe havens makes them confident they can get the support and comfort they need from other attachment figures—a spouse, close friends.  They know these attachment figures will be available when needed.”

       In contrast, children “who have been traumatized by their parents are placed in an awfully tough spot.  Their parents are both the ‘source of and the solution to’ their fear and anxiety.  Which simply means there is no solution, there is no safe haven, no place to go that’s calm and reassuring.  Yet, in their hearts, they know there ought to be.  Parents ought to be the safe haven.  God programmed these children to believe, They ought to love meAnd I should love them, not dread them.  But no matter what ought to be, there is still no solution for them when anxiety calls.  And beause there isn’t, these children become disorganized and emotionally fragmented during stressful times.”[6]

“Dissociation As a Solution

Dissociation is the ability to psychologically cleave off thoughts, feelings, and even physical pain, and shift experiences to some other part of the consciousness.  Young children are prone to use dissociation as a way to cope with life’s normal anxieties.  Louis Breger put it this way:  ‘The essence of dissociation…is to be found in the typical ways in which a child meets a conflict he cannot resolve in reality; that is, by splitting himself off from such reality and ‘solving’ conflicts in play or fantasy….Fantasy solutions to conflict involve an abandonment of a direct or ‘real’ solution for a ‘pretend’ or imaginary one.


       Later in this chapter, we will outline the types of abuse children suffer.  When children are repeatedly abused, they rely increasingly on dissociation as a way of coping.  Infants and toddlers exhibit dissociation in odd, sometimes contradictory, and often disorganized behaviors, especially when they’re anxious or frightened.”[7]  This is often an omen of the child’s future.  “These children generally grow up to be adults who have difficulty controlling their emotions.”[8]

The Abusive Family:

The Pathway to the Disorganized Attached Style

       Here is the important thing:  “…those exposed to the toxic effect of child abuse are often so arrested by fear and so confused by their attachments, particularly their attachment to God, that they’re hardened to the Gospel message or stunted in their ability to grow in three important elements of the Christian life—faith, hope, and love.  Usually this happens not because of a lack of desire, but because of fear—especially fear of trusting those who are expected to be stronger and wiser.  We believe this problem, like no other pyschological issue, deeply affects the church and its members”[9] (emphasis mine).  I believe this is one the major impediments to receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Many people have been so abused and/or rejected that they cannot simply trust God with this experience.

(Now we have to move to a very difficult, but necessary area of this discussion:  child abuse.)

What Is Child Abuse?

How we end up defining abuse may, to some, seem radical.  So, it’s important that give you a quick preamble before we begin.  As complex as being a good parent is, there are essentially just two goals:  Parents help children grow up to follow rules and live within limits, and they prepare them to love and be loved (emphasis mine).


…That said, we believe abuse is anything we do that intentionally prevents our children from developing these capacities.  Some might think that by concentrating on issues like these, the child might end up mollycoddled.  Not so!  In fact, mollycoddling, or overindulging, children is really another form of abuse.  A spoiled child who has not learned how to deal with limits and who cannot tolerate normal day-to-day frustration isn’t in a position to love or be loved.

Still others think that teaching a child to love and be loved runs contrary to teaching children limits.  Again, the facts prove this just isn’t so.  Research verifies that children who are treated sensitively and who are prepared for the business of love are more likely to live with the limits God has prescribed for them.  There’s a saying:  Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.  And it’s love that makes living within the rules, or limits, tolerable and desirable.  Remember the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord will all your heart—and to love others as you love yourself.  All other commandments are merely extensions of these two (see Matthew 22:36-40).  When we prepare our children for love to come to them and go out of them, we lay the foundation for them to live contentedly within limits.  Love and limits go hand in hand.”[10]

Six Types of Child Abuse

These six forms of child abuse are arranged from the most subtle to the most obvious.  “And even though each stands on its own as a separate behavior, a common thread runs through each type of abuse.  It’s that the child is treated merely as an object or piece of property, devoid of thoughts, feelings, and intentions.

Psychological Abuse

Hard-handed rejection, sarcastic put-downs, callous harshness, confused inconsistency, and unreliable care are but a few forms of psychological abuse.  Many parents who are psychologically abusive are in denial about how rude and insensitive they are to their kids.  They literally ignore how often they yell at or psychological intimidate their children.


       If you wonder if you’re being psychologically abuse to your child, here is a litmus test:  Do you treat your children with greater kindness, patience, and understanding and with a softer tone of voice when you’re around acquaintences and friends?  If you answer yes, ask yourself why.  Most parents who do realize there is a marked difference are immediately convicted.  They suddenly realize they treat their children harshly and rudely when they’re outside public view.”[11]

Emotional Neglect

       “Fran Stott once penned, ‘Children need more than food, shelter, and clothing.  They need at least one person who is crazy about them.’  Parenting that focuses only on the physical needs of the children is called functional parenting.  These parents make sure their children have food, clothing, a bed, probably a Nintendo, a computer, a Game Boy, and so forth.  When asked if they’re good parents, these moms and dads might tell you, ‘The kids won’t starve.’  But there is no warmth, no physical touch, no emotional connection.  The child’s emotional needs go unmet.”[12]

Physical Abuse

We realize that there’s a fine line between spanking and physical abuse.  We’re not talking about spanking.  We are talking about clear-cut forms of physical abuse…, for instance, which can be said to be ‘any nonaccidental physical injury, such as beating, punching, kicking, biting, burning, and poisoning.’  This type of parental behavior devastates kids and makes it nearly impossible for a child to form healthy attachments.”[13]

Sexual Abuse and Incest

“Sexual abuse is defined as sexual contact between any child from infant to midadolescence and another person who is at least five years old.  And if the victimized child is an adolescent, the definition includes engaging in sexual activity with someone.  This contact may range from fondling to full intercourse.  We also add lewd looks and suggestive sexual talk to the list.


       Individuals outside the nuclear family instigate the majority of sexual abuse incidents.  However, when sexual abuse occures within the family, it is called incest.  It involves a parent or an older family member taking sexual liberties with a child—whether it is exhibitionism, fondling, mutual masturbation, or intercourse.”[14]

Exposure to Severe Marital Conflict

All couples argue from time to time.  In fact, children learn how to manage conflict by observing their parents disagree, maybe even squabble, then work things out.  But when the squabbles turn into a scream fest, physical struggles, or violence, a child’s sense of security is threatened.  The child worries, What if the home breaks apart?  What if one hurts the other?  Then, even though he worries about both parents, he may be compelled to side with one and hate the other.  That alone produces anxiety.  No child likes to hate a parent.”[15]

Addictive Behavior

“…many types of abuse overlap.  For example, psychological abuse and emotional neglect are frequently mixed together.  Addictive behaviors such as alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or Internet addictions, set the stage for the other types of abuse.  One expert described the addicted family as one of ‘chaos, inconsistency, unpredictability, unclear roles, arbitrariness, changing limits, arguments, repetitiousness and illogical thinking, and perhaps violence and incest.  The family is dominated by the presence of the addiction and its denial.”[16]

Homework:    Attachments (pages 106-116).

       As in some other very difficult lessons, God has given me a word for you.  He told me to tell you that your studying this and getting healthy so that abuse will never happen to you again.  You will never be abused again, because you are becoming healthy enough to set healthy boundaries!  Somebody shout, “Never again!”


(Now is the Day of Salvation!  Come to Jesus, Now!)

Invitation

Call to Discipleship


----

[1] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 95.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 99.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 99.

[4] Henry Cloud, When Your World Makes No Sense, Oliver-Nelson Books, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990, p. 62.

[5] Henry Cloud, When Your World Makes No Sense, Oliver-Nelson Books, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990, pp. 62-63.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 99.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 100.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 100.

[9] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 102.

[10] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 102-103.

[11] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 103.

[12] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 104.

[13] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 104-105.

[14] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 105.

[15] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 105.

[16] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 106.

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