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Attachments 8

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Attachments 8

5

Don’t Abandon Me

The Ambivalent Attachment Style

The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather

The feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by

Everybody.  The greatest evil is the lack of love.

–Mother Teresa

This is illustrated by a scene from the excellent movie “Antoine Fisher.”  Antoine Fisher is with his girlfriend, at the lighthouse, sharing his struggle with feeling unwanted.

(“Antoine Fisher,” “Being Honest” Scene #18, stop the DVD when it switches to Antoine getting dressed in front of the mirrors.

Today, we begin on page 75.)

“Remember when you first had feelings for that special boy or girl, as a child, and you played the daisy game?  She loves me, she loves me not.  Sadly, some children grow up continually playing this ‘game’ as they wonder how their parents feel toward them.  They are preoccupied with Mom and/or Dad’s feelings toward them:  Do they love me or not?

       …No one can always please everyone all the time.  (Captain Penny used to say, ‘You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.’)  But these children try hard, walking through their childhood gingerly, as if on eggshells.  Sadly, the slightest misstep seems to destine them for anger, disappointment, rejection.  A fragile self develops that is filled with strong but ambivalent emotions.  Sometimes they feel intense love, sometimes intense hate.  The comments of three recent clients help illustrate the brittle characteristics of ambivalent attachment style.”[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 needs but might not do so because of my flaws. ·        Others are trustworthy and reliable but might abandon me 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 fear of abandonment, is the core of the ambivalent attachment style.  The internal war that results is very sobering.  In this chapter, we’ll explain why.

The Fear of Abandonment (pg. 78)

       The person with an ambivalent attachment style evolves from an emotionally brittle climate that revolves unpredictably around two opposing poles:  At one moment the people we love, those we turn to for emotional and physical support, give us the distinct impression we’re in their lives on borrowed time and that at any minute we’ll be left on our own.  Often they tell us just that, and what’s worse, we might even see them abandoning others in their lives—friends and maybe even the spouse, our other parent.  Then, moments later, they’re in a good mood and all is well.  We’re smothered in hugs and good feelings, and we know we’ve never lived in a better, more caring environment.  Momentarily we’re assured, believing.  No one who loves me this much could ever leave me.

       Then, a little while later, the angry finger is shaking in our face again, and the fiery eyes are threatening to throw us out on our collective ears.  This kind of ying-and-yang atmosphere corrodes our sense of self and clouds our belief that we have the ability to be loved, to get the love we need and want.  This unpredictability is crazy-making behavior.  As such, two core beliefs develop.  The first is I’m poor at getting the love and comfort I need while the other says I have to please my loved ones or I will be worthless and unlovable.”[3]

Blinded by Romance, Frozen by Fear

       Having romantic feelings about someone can blind us to issues with or abandonment by that person.  “Obsessive romance is diametrically opposed to this kind of help.  Romantic images conjure up idealized images of the boyfriend and girlfriend, and place him or her on an unassailable pedestal of panic and adoration.  In contrast, when we counsel, we search for truth and balance.  Therapy is about bringing people like Amy to a safe place where they see the unvarnished fact that their hero is less than perfect.  Talk about a chore!”[4]  Since people who are blinded by romance can’t see the shortcomings of their beloved, they have no choice but to turn their disappointment and anger inward.


       There is also another side of this.  Woe to that lover, when they do fall off of the pedastal of panic and adoration.  This is where some people are with me.  They were in love with what they thought was a perfect me.  Now that I am behaving in a more mature way, i.e. drawing boundaries, setting realistic expectations, asserting my God-given leadership and authority, I have “changed.”  This means I have somewho “changed” from an angel to a demon.  So, I am either enshrined or bedeviled, instead of treated like the man of God who is both good and evil.

       But you know, they are right, i.e. I have changed.  I am becoming more mature!!!

Asking the Right Questions

“One of the biggest lessons in life is learning to face your fears.”[5]  In Good To Great, Jim Collins talks about mediocre companies not being able to face the brutal facts.  One of my favorite movies on this is “Mortal Combat.”  For the hero, Lu Chang, to defeat his enemy and become the chosen one, he had to face his greatest fear.  Remember the acronym for fear:  “False Evidences Appearing Real.”  In many cases, our fears are much more potent than the thing that we fear!!!

Dependency:

The Heart of the Ambivalent Attachment Style (pg. 83)

“Those with the ambivalent attachment style are wonderful people to be around.  They have a powerful way of making you feel good about yourself, and they can experience life with intense emotion, love, and laughter.  But really they are needy people with some very strong core beliefs:

·        I am/feel incompetent

·        I struggle to handle things on my own.

·        I need a strong protector to care and do things for me.

·        This is a cold and dangerous world where people will hurt me and disaster will strike at any time, so I need to play it safe and stay close to those who are stronger and wiser.

Those who hold to these beliefs will unavoidably develop some pretty negative feelings.  If they feel incompetent, when they’re presented with a challenge, even a normal challenge of life, they’ll be visited by stifling anxieties and nearly debilitating self-doubts.”[6]

       “When you believe you can’t survive without the protection of someone you perceive as stronger and more competent, you’re willing to go to great lengths to keep that other person around…

       Persons with an ambivalent attachment style are terrified that by asserting their own beliefs, desires, limits, and opinions, they will anger their attachment figures, and those figures will run screaming from the relationship.  Now, that’s a rough way to live.  But it’s more common that you might think.

       The fear of rejection can breed some pretty destructive behaviors and feelings in those with an ambivalent attachment style:

·        very low self-confidence

·        fear of making decision, looking to others to make major life decisions

·        rarely expressing disagreement with others

·        frequently seeking assurance, nurturance, and support

·        feeling obsessed with the fear of being left alone (for example, the fear that your spouse will suddenly die

·        feeling helpless when alone

·        desperately seeking new relationships when others end

·        frequently subordinating themselves to others

·        perpetually seeking advice

·        often working below their ability level

·        accepting unpleasant tasks to please others

·        having a tendency to express distress through medically unexplainable physical symptoms rather than emtional pain (For example, they may develop headaches while doing unpleasant activities rather than saying, ‘No, I can’t do this.  It’s too stressful.’”[7]

Homework:    Attachments (pages 85-94).

Prayer:  “Thank you Lord that I am accepted in Jesus Christ!”

(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. 75.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 50.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 79.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 79.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 82.

[6] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 83.

[7] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 84.

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