Understanding Adult Attachment

Tuesday May 29th, 4pm PST: Understanding Adult Attachment on Pandora’s Box with Kaleah

Studies show that how we attach to our primary caregivers as infants and young children affect how we attach to our romantic partners in our adulthood. There are three different styles of attachment that affect your level of security or anxiety in your relationships. In this episode of Pandora’s Box, I will be discussing the three attachment styles, focusing on the anxious attachment style and how that relates to the more narcissistic, avoidant attachment style.

See the article below for more information.

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Attaching to the Emotionally Detached Individual

Lately I have been researching “Attachment Theory” and excited about what I am learning. I was going to present a show this week on “Attachment Theory” but need a little more time to get it together so have decided to wait until next week.

I am exploring the possibility that those who have high anxiety responses to the narcissistic devaluing and discarding are likely experiencing a triggering of archaic attachment anxieties and once those anxieties are triggered it can take a long time to calm back down completely. Narcissists have an “avoidant” attachment style which is a very poor combination with an “anxious” attachment style. Most people who are strongly affected by a narcissist are of the “anxious” attachment style. This would explain the Post Traumatic Stress responses in those whose abandonment and rejection wounds are being triggered.

Anxious responses to having a close relationship abruptly severed is not to be taken lightly. Infants who experience a disconnect with a primary caregiver can experience that disconnect as a threat to their life. Infants depend entirely upon that parental figure for their very survival. Infants and young children whose needs were not met on a consistent basis will develop either an avoidant or anxious attachment to their primary caregiver. These attachment styles are transferred to adult romantic relationships.

Avoidants are not all narcissists but they do have an ability to detach emotionally from the relationship which triggers an “anxious” person’s attachment anxiety. Avoidants are not comfortable with too much closeness so their relational dynamic is to push their significant other away to create a “safe” emotional distance. Anxious styles, who desire a lot of closeness with their partners, experience being pushed away as rejection or abandonment which trigger a deep seated anxiety. Avoidants also tend to find fault with their partner and blame them for any issues in the relationship. Anxious styles tend to find fault with themselves and blame themselves. So in a relationship like this, all fingers are pointing towards the anxious person which explains why the anxious person feels responsible when the avoidant detaches from the relationship.

When a relationship between and avoidant and anxious style ends, the avoidant can easily detach from the relationship and move on where the anxious person is plagued by a strong need to reconnect with that person. This strong need to reconnect is not logical. It is a deeply entrenched emotional pattern. The avoidants behavior can be abusive and unacceptable but it doesn’t change the anxious person’s strong pull to reconnect. There is something deeply ingrained in the anxious person that feels their very survival depends upon their connection with that person.

The irony in understanding these styles is that if an anxious style hooks up with a secure style, which I will talk about more on next weeks show, these anxieties are calmed through consistent feedback and the anxious person becomes much more secure in the relationship. Even when the relationship ends the anxious person isn’t triggered in the way he or she would be with an avoidant, because there is open, honest communication and feedback where the secure person shares in the responsibility for the relationship issues.

Studies have shown that anxious styles who hook up with secure styles have just as high a marital success rate as two secure styles. The problem with mate selection is that avoidants represent the largest share of available, single people on the dating scene. This is because avoidants tend to be commitment phobic and can so easily severe their bonds when there is conflict in the relationship. Avoidants, avoid conflict and all relationships have conflict. So there is little resolution, issues are swept under the rug and relationships break up sooner rather than later.

If you are an anxious type, like I am, the good news is that we can have healthy successful relationships, we just have to know where to look. Secure types don’t usually present as the highly charismatic, charming and mysterious individuals that might be the most seductive to you. Anxious types may find themselves a little bored without the drama created with an avoidant. Trading in drama and intensity for security and stability in a relationship will give anxious types the foundation to develop trust in their partners ability to be there for them on a consistent basis and thrive in the light of that security.

Please join me next Tuesday on Pandora’s Box as we discuss this topic in more detail.

Escaping The Prisons Of Your Mind

Anah Maa and I will be joining together for another powerful discussion Tuesday at 4pm PST. The topic of our show is “Escaping the Prisons of Your Mind.” Wow! That could mean so many things, right? How do we come up with these topics? Well, Anah and I are longtime friends and we have always had some pretty deep and intimate conversations. Whenever we get together to decide on a topic it seems the topic chooses us.

It is important to me that I gear the majority of the shows on Pandora’s Box to the challenges most of you are going through right now. And I know from both personal experience and through my correspondence and counseling with others how frustrating it can be to feel trapped in your own mind. Obsessive thinking, ruminating thoughts, and repetitive stories are just a few of the issues people who come out of traumatic relationships suffer from.

It is easy to make the mistake of believing coming out of a traumatic relationship would involve the same kind of grieving process as a “normal” relationship. We tend to want to put time limits on our process and feel something is wrong with us if we are not “getting over it” fast enough. The other guy has moved on, why can’t we? Why are we still trapped in the relationship long after it has ended? It is no longer the relationship with the other person we are trapped in. It is the relationship we are still having in our own mind.

Many people go on for a year, or two or more, depending on the length of the relationship, processing through the tragic ending of that relationship. Your ex “significant other” might be remarried, or have already had six different relationships, meanwhile you are still here, ruminating, wondering what you could have done differently, or trying to deal with your rage, or trying to figure out how to get yourself back. The crazy making part of the relationship may not even come until the end, because being trapped in ruminating thoughts is crazy making. You don’t want to think about “him/her” but you just can’t seem to help it. You don’t seem to have control over your thoughts. You might even read books about “change your thinking, change your life” and end up judging and blaming yourself because you can’t seem to change your thoughts.

So how do you escape this insanity? Well this is what we are going to be talking about on Pandora’s Box. But until then I am going to give you a tidbit you can start using right now. Be gentle with yourself! Stop beating yourself up. Accept that the relationship you once had “out there” is still happening but now it is “in here.”

It is normal for any relatively healthy person to process out of a relationship but when that relationship ends abruptly it doesn’t change the need to process out and when all the emotional baggage from the relationship has been dumped in your back yard, you are the one left to pick it up, right? You have two choices. You can either get out into that yard and start picking up the trash, one item at a time or you can spend the rest of your days looking out your window and getting angry that you have been left with the garbage.

You can’t change the fact that the emotional garbage has been dumped on you and the other person seems to have escaped “garbage free.” It might help to know that nobody really escapes the emotional burdens of life. Just because someone has learned to repress everything and project what is repressed onto others doesn’t mean he/she gets off scott free. It may appear that way. But everybody has to pay the piper. We all have to be responsible for what we have created in the end.

Things are not always as they seem or as they appear. The good news is if you get out into your back yard and start picking up the trash, eventually your yard will be clean again and you can plant some flowers, grow some new trees and create a sanctuary. You may become a master gardener and also become very mindful about who you allow into your yard. What once felt like chaos can be transformed into peace. You might look back on your life and realize you have gone from a life of high drama to a life that is relatively drama free.

Tuesday, May 8, 4pm PST: Escaping the Prisons of Your Mind with Kaleah and Anah Maa

Kaleah and Anah Maa will be discussing how we imprison ourselves in obsessive thinking, ruminating thoughts and repetitive stories that keep you stuck in your mind. Learn how to change your thinking, shift your perspective and take that journey from the head to the heart where you can find peace and serenity.

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If you would like to participate in this show, please feel free to call into our guest line at (347) 826-9626.