Faithlife Sermons

Attachments 5

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Attachments 5

       Tonight we continue to deal with soul wounds and we pick up where we left off, i.e. on page 41.

Why We React The Way We Do

“Our strongest emotional expressions are tied to our closest relationships.  God has programmed us this way.  Feelings like anxiety, anger, sadness, and guilt are designed to help us deal with attachment injuries.

       Remember the three phases—protest, despair, detachment—identified by Bowlby and his colleague James Robertson when children were separated from their mothers?”[1]  Watch for signs of these three phases:

1.     Protest.

2.     Despair.  And,

3.     Detachment.

“Amazingly, these reactions to attachment injuries continue from cradle to the grave.”[2]  Please keep this in mind.  Even when we are in our dying days, we will still have these same three reactions to attachment injuries.

Now, “Whenever we feel that our attachment figure’s availability is threatened, we experience anxiety or anger.  Anxiety drives us to seek closeness.”[3]  So, we need to feel anxiety and respond properly!

Therefore, emotions are not to be ignored, but neither should they be allowed to dictate our lives.  I view emotions as indicators on the dashboard of life.  On the dashboard in your car is some kind of oil indicator.  Most often it is a light.  When your engine oil is low that light comes on.  The light alerts you to the fact that something is wrong with your oil.  Now, how you respond to that indicator depends upon your mental and emotional health.

·        Some people respond properly and fix the problem or get the car into the shop for maintenance.

·        A good number of people simply ignore the indicator and wait until the engine is damaged.

·        Some go under the dashboard and disconnect the indicator so that the light won’t bother them any more.  And,

·        There are probably a few souls who quit driving immediately.

They overreact to the indicator and won’t even drive the car in for maintenance.

This is the response of many people to emotions.

·        Some people respond properly and address the problem or go in to the Manufacturer, i.e. Jehovah God, for maintenance.

God made us and He can fix us.

·        A good number of people simply ignore their negative emotions and wait until there is an emotional breakdown.

Sanctified denial will not solve the problem of negative emotions.

·        Some people go under the dashboard of their souls and completely disassociate from their emotions, so that they won’t bother them.

·        There are some people who simply give up on life.

These people overreact to negative emotions.

       I hope you are listening right now, because the next truth is of great, great importance.  Anger is not always negative or aimed at a negative result.  “The anger of protest is often called the ‘anger of hope.’ It’s designed to reprimand the caregiver for abandoning us.”[4]  Did you get that?  Before you meet anger with anger, consider whether the person is demonstrating an anger of hope, i.e. they are protesting against something that is injuring them with the hope that you are going to see it and respond lovingly.

       “But when we’re angry with someone we love, our anger is risky.  If we express our feelings, we might drive the loved one even further away.  So we turn the anger inward, telling ourselves that we are selfish and inconsiderate.  Or we hold our anger in and express it indirectly by using the cold-shoulder treatment, by becoming critical, or by ‘getting even.’  Then let’s just see if he or she dares to let us down again!

       When injuries are more prolonged, our anger of hope may turn into the ‘anger of malice.’  …As one client put it, ‘I want to make him hurt like he hurt me.’

       Or our anger and anxiety may turn into sadness and despair.


       At some point, coping with prolonged loss means detaching from it.  We disguise our attachment needs with a mask of independence and self-sufficiency…  In a detached state, we may turn inward, finding comfort in a fantasy life.  Or we may turn to addictive behavior and replace our need for relationship with drugs, alcohol, the Internet, shopping, and/or pornography”[5] (or work, or religion).  Addictive behavior is generally tied to some relationship or attachment deficiency or injury!

       “The bottom line is that our most intense feelings are tied to our attachment bonds.  When these bonds are threatened, passions run hot.  As we will see later in this book, our earliest relationships are crucibles where we learn to handle our feelings and use them to build bridges of intimacy to the ones we love.”[6]

(Of course every person is unique and all relationships are unigue, and everyone reacts differently to given situations.  Why?  Well, let’s take a look at why we react the way we do to attachment injuries.)

Healthy Communication:  The Great Immunizer

       “We all desire relationships that allow us to talk openly and honestly about our feelings, even negative ones.  This healthy communication helps immunize us from the sting of what could otherwise be an attachment injury.”[7]  I don’t believe that I can overemphasize this.  When negative things happen, if we can talk about them in a healthy way, they may never become attachment injuries.  I have tried to teach this to everyone that I have any kind of a relationship with, but it is hard to learn and execute because of what we learned in childhood.


Unhealthy Communication:  A Raging Ride in the Wrong Direction

       “When we can’t talk through our feelings with the ones we love and care about, it only intensifies the stress we feel.  John Gottman, renowned scientist and family psychologist, found four kinds of unhealthy communication that interfere with our ability to resolve negative feelings following an attachment injury.  He calls these the ‘Four Horsemen to the Apocalypse’ (in other words a ride toward the end).

·        Criticism.  To explain what we mean by criticism, we’ll compare it to a complaint.  Complaints are generally specific:  ‘I don’t like it when you tell me you’re going to take out the trash and you don’t do it.’  Criticism, however, is much more global and is sometimes packaged as a question that implies the other person has a character flaw:  ‘Why do you always do that?  You never do what you say you’re going to do.  This is just another example of how I can’t count on you for anything.’”[8]

·        “Defensiveness.  When we receive criticism, it’s easy to retaliate with countercriticism:  ‘What do you mean I never do what I say?  What about the dishes?’  Countercriticism and an ‘I’m-a-victim-Why-does-everyone-always-pick-on-me?’ attitude are both forms of defensiveness.”[9]

It is important to try to hear what the other person is saying, before we begin to defend ourselves.  This transmits that you are not listening.

·        “Contempt.  When criticism and defensiveness are ratcheted up several notches, they can lead to derogatory remarks, put-downs, and extreme disrepect.  For example:  not mowing the lawn can lead to ‘You make me sick!’”[10]


·        “Stonewalling.  When the intensity gets too strong, a person can shut down or decide he or she will no longer participate in the conversation.  The person may walk out of the room or just stop talking and stare off into space.”[11]

I believe that many people don’t consider this stonewalling.  They think that are controlling themselves, when in fact they are refusing to communicate.

Unhealthy communication, while intended to protect oneself, may intensify the original attachment injury instead.  In fact, it can actually become an injury itself.  Constant criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling can wound the soul, piercing us emotionally like poisoned arrows to the heart.”[12]  I think this easily understandable, but I don’t think one of these responses is easily understandable:  defensiveness.  A person who is constantly defensive will eventually wound the soul of the other person, because they are rarely open to that person, in any way.

Repairing the Damage, Preventing the Soul Wound

       “Gottman’s research shows that all couples engage in some forms of unhealthy communication.  We’ve all doled out criticism or retaliated with defensiveness or shut down communication from time to time.  (Of course, healthy couples seldom, if ever, are contemptuous or disrespectful of one another.)”[13]

Accepting Influence

“What seems to distinguish healthy from unhealthy couples is their ability to repair the damage done.  We might start out by being critical or defensive in response to an attachment injury, but we catch ourselves and recover.


       Healthy couples repair damage before it becomes permanent.  They make an attempt to repair the damage and reconcile in the middle of a heated discussion.  This willingness to accept a loved one’s repair attempts is called accepting influence.  When you accept influence, it helps insulate your relationship from attachment injury.  On the other hand, when you reject repair attempts, and the cycle of destructive arguing continues, the relationship can fragment, deepening the soul wound and weakening the relationship.”[14]

       I recognize that I have studied and practiced this stuff for years, so it is easier for me.  But, when I try to give people the chance to accept my influence and not injure me, they seldom understand.  After apologizing and then stating my hurt, I will say something to the effect of, “Would you to apologize also?”  Many don’t know how to simply say, “Yes,” and apologize!

Establishing a Healthy Family Context

“How you feel about behaviors and events can be influenced by your family context, the overall climate of the household surrounding you as you react to the situation….

       When we look at family contexts, we consider two factors:  closeness and structure.

·        Closeness.  How involved family members are with each other is described as closeness.  Some families are too involved and set poor boundaries.  Other families are too distant.  Both extremes can be unhealthy for children and for couples.  Healthy families balance their closeness; they respect each other’s need for closeness while making room for each person’s individual physical and emotional space.

·        Structure.  A family’s structure has to do with the roles, rules, and rituals of famiy life.  Again, structure can be too rigid, with strict, inflexible rules and roles.  Or it can be chaotic, where no one knows what to expect from day to day.  Both extremes are unhealthy.”[15]

“When healthy, these two factors, closeness and structure, work together to create a family context that helps buffer its members against attachment injuries.  When these factors fall into imbalance, attachment wounds occur more easily.” [16]

Homework:    Attachments (pages 46-56).

       Lord, help me to see myself.  I pray the prayer of David in

Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB-U), “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; [24] And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”

       Lord, help me to develop healthy communication patterns!!!

       Lord, help me to love and you love!!!

(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. 41.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 41.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 41.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 41.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 42.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 42.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 43.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 43.

[9] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 43-44.

[10] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 44.

[11] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 44.

[12] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 44.

[13] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 44.

[14] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 44-45.

[15] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp 45-46.

[16] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 46.

Related Media
Related Sermons