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Attachments 12

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Attachments 12

(Tonight we come to the end of the disorganized attachment style and the end of our in-depth study of the insecure attachment styles.  You can follow me on page 117.  We end this part of our stude with:)

The Effects of the Disorganized Attachment Style

(The Shattered Self)

Identity Problems

“A sense of identity and the personal strength that accompanies it allow us to form strong values and to commit ourselves to goals.  It’s the internal glue that helps us decide what we like and what we don’t like.  It also helps the ‘who I am now’ to remain stable over time and across various situations.  With a strong sense of identity, we can make and stick to our commitments, or relationships, jobs, goals, and even the precepts of our faith.

       But when the self is shattered by trauma and turmoil, so is the sense of identity.  As a result, the shattered self—the person with a disorganized attachment style—may commit to some goal during the fervor of an emotional high, but when the high fades, there is no internal sense of self-value to keep the commitment alive.  Thus the commitment dies.  To speak globally, those with the disorganized attachment style act on the emotions of the moment but have great difficulty staying on task when their emotions change—and they tend to shift rapidly.  These persons can fall out of love as quickly as they engage it, so obviously any relationship is threatened, and chaos rules, reinforcing their attachment style.

       Two more identity-related problems are common.  First, the person with a disorganized attachment style has trouble learning from past experience….  Because of the identity problems and the lack of self-reflection, the disorganized person is unable to recall the pain associated with past (painful) …experiences and apply it to the present.

       A second problem is the inability to consider future consequences.  This person has difficulty seeing how current behavior will affect his or her future.”[1]


(All right, let’s move on to the next effect of the disorganized attachment style.)

Emotional Storms

The person with a disorganized attachment style also struggles with self-soothing and emotion regulation.  What might trigger mere frustration or worry in healthier folks, people who are able to calm themselves down ro gear their emotional response to the situation, might result in inappropriate fits of rage or full-blown panic attacks in these disorganized persons.  Chronic feelings of depression, also known as dysthymia, are common.  Those with dysthymia feel glum and emotionally hollow for no apparent reason.  These is little pleasure in their day-to-day life and little joy in thinking about the future.

       The disorganized attachment style also makes an individual prone to slip into deep depression.  Because this person has been borderline depressed and anxious throughout life, when certain events occur—job loss, conflict with a friend, financial struggles—he or she can be rapidly plunged into serious depressions.”[2]

(All right, let’s move on to the next effect of the disorganized attachment style.)

Physical Arousal

“Hyperarousal is a state of physical alertness in which the body is ready to either fight or flee.  The heart races, the pupils enlarge, hot or cold flashes spark, and the body is in a state of tension.  Hyperarousal represents a central feature of the trauma response, no matter what the source of the trauma, and it leads to a number of problems.  When faced with new stressors, usually completely unrelated to the original trauma, the person with a disorganized attachment style responds with panic, anxiety, and a sense of extreme helplessness rather than focusing on problem solving.”[3]


(Are you starting to see why you have some of the problems that you have been having.  All right, let’s move on to the next effect of the disorganized attachment style.)

Identification with the Aggressor

“Could there be anything more difficult for a child than dealing with the reality that the person he or she looks to for safe harbor is the very person who seems to be trying to sink the child’s boat?  Can there be a greater dilemma for a child than having no one to turn to for help?  Than having nowhere to go for protection and comfort?  For the child, these are basic needs, akin to food and air.  The child can’t exist for long without them.  So he or she manufactures a new image of the parents.  Instead of seeing them as bad and faulty, the child directs the blame for the situation inward, on the self.”

“In other words, if you can’t turn against your sources of pain, it is easy to become like them.

The Stockholm syndrome is a similar phenomenon.  Scientists have studied the unusual attachment bond that develops between hostage and captor.  Hostages have gone to great measures to protect their assailants and identify with the source of their terror.  Burno Bettelheim described this phenomenon with the ‘old prisoners’ of the Nazi concentration camps, where they had been subjected to years of torment and deprivation:  ‘Old prisoners who identified themselves with the SS did so not only in respect to aggressive behaviors.  They would try to acquire old pieces of SS uniforms….  [They] accepted Nazi goals and values, too, even when these seemed opposed to their own interests.’  Under extreme duress, capitulation is common.”[4]

(I hope you are beginning to see the source of problems in some of the people around you.  All right, let’s move on to the next effect of the disorganized attachment style.)

Faulty Assumptions

One of the faulty assumptions that comes from identifying with the agressor is:  The reason I’m being hurt is that there is something fundamentally wrong with me.  I am a really bad person; nothing I do is right.[5]

       “A sense of ‘learned helplessness’ also develops….  They think, The world just happens to me and I can do little, if anything, to change it.

       At the other end of the scale, victims can overcontrol.  They become obsessed with every little detail of their lives and may spend hours scrubbing floors, dusting furniture, making beds, doing dishes, and straightening whatnots, rendering their houses immaculate.  They may approach relationships the same way, trying to take complete control of others.  Of course in behaving this way they are reacting against a persistent sense of powerlessness.  The obvious outcome is that they invariably alienate their loved ones by trying to control them, which results in more intense feelings of betrayal, abandonment, and hopelessness.”[6]

(This may be painful, but it is necessary to understand, diagnose, and remedy—once-and-for-all—the impact of the disorganized attachment style.  All right, let’s move on to the next effect of the disorganized attachment style.)

Distresses Relationships

Relationship distress is the hallmark of those with the disorganized attachment style, the shattered self.  Their difficulties with trust, their fear of abandonment, their fear of intimacy, and their altered sexuality all doom relationships.

       Two factors dwell at the core of these relationship problems.  First is the constant tension between being a control freak on the one hand—and being a doormat on the other.

       Second is the compulsion to repeat the trauma and turmoil as described above.

       Faulty Selection.  …It’s common for traumatized persons to select partners who treat them as their original abusers did; often they select partners who are prone to aggression, manipulation, and rejection.  However the disorganized person won’t see or even acknowledge these faulty personality traits in the other person.  So he or she proceeds with the relationship, even though everyone else can see the abuse coming.”[7]

       “Distortion.  Even when their partners aren’t behaving in abusive or rejecting ways, the shattered selves may read rejection or abandonment into the partner’s behavior.

       ProvocationIn extreme cases, people with a disorganized attachment style may engage in behaviors that actually provoke others to abandon them or behave aggressively toward them.  Thus, his or life becomes a self-fufilling prophecy.

       An early, healing part of the journey to a new life is being able to see beyond and to live beyond present circumstances.  Secure persons can do that.  They’re the ones we’ll look at next.”[8]

(Okay, it is…)

Time to Recap

       “Individuals with an avoidant attachment style have negative views of others and a positive view of themselves, and emotional combination that turns them away from loved ones, especially during times of stress.

       Those with an ambivalent attachment style, on the other hand have a positive view of others but hold themselves in rather low esteem.  When under stress, this dichotomy forces a determination to extract comfort and reassurance from those close to them.  However, there’s usually nothing subtle in the way they go about it.  They pursue this refuge with an intensity that generally drives their loved ones to seek a refuge of their own—a refuge somewhere else.  This leaves the ambivalent people upset as they deal with deep feelings of betrayal and abandonment.

       And finally, we’ve seen the devasting effects of the disorganized attachment style, the shattered self.

       Now we’ll turn our focus to the goal we all hope for:  the secure attachment style that leads to rich, rewarding relationships.”[9]  Then “we’ll get down to work and show you how you can overcome the damage that’s been done to your past and achieve this wonderful way of connecting with those you love most.”[10]

Homework:    Attachments (pages 125-131).

       The word for you tonight who are sticking with this study is that God is bent on healing you and having deep, intimate fellowship with you.  Did you hear that?  God is bent on, set on, determined to, and resolute to healing you and bringing you into deep, intimate, loving fellowship with Himself!

·        We can see His desire and determination in the Garden of Eden.


·        We can see His desire and determination in His prophecy after the fall.

He prophesied that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head, and the serpent would crush His heel.  The prophecy concerns God’s determination to redeem us for own pleasure.  He has been setting this up since our first biological parents lost the original rule of the earth and relationship that they had experienced in the Garden of Eden.

·        We can see His desire and determination in the Tabernacle.

God gave the plans for the construction of the Tabernacle, so that He might be able to dwell in the midst of His people.

·        We can see God’s desire and determination in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ.

·        We can see God’s desire and determination in allowing you to come to this church.

Your healing is God’s goal and you are going to get there now, in the future, or in eternity!!!

(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, pp. 117-118.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 118.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 119.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 120.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 120.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 119-120.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 121.

[8] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 121-122.

[9] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 122-123.

[10] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 123.

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