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Attachments 4

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Attachments 4


Soul Wounds

How Attachment Injuries Occur

A child can be the object of much affection and still not feel loved.

Feeling loved and being heard are so similar,

Its difficult to distinguish between the two.

  –Fran Stott

You have hear me talk about this from the perspective of David Augsburger and his book Caring Enough To Hear And Be Heard.  He states that to listen to someone is to transmit and help that person feel love.  This is why active listening is so important for me to give and to receive.

       Tonight we continue the diagnosis of our sickness.  The first part of getting well is awareness of the problem.  The doctor must often do some painful probing, before s/he comes up with his/her diagnosis.  I have on my stethscope tonight, because we are going to look at the things which have injured our attachment.

       It may be painful, but remember:  it’s the first step towards recovery!!!

       Who among us hasn’t been hurt by another person?  Yet, when we are hurt by significant care givers, it’s different.  “An attachment relationship is more than just someone who is close to us.  A lot more is at stake in these relationships.”[1]

       Mary Ainsworth gives five criteria that help distinguish attachment bonds from other close relationships.  While Ainworth’s focus was on the infant’s attachment to his or her caregiver, it’s easy to see how her descriptions can also apply to adult attachments, such as a spouse or other loved one you (the adult ‘infant’) trust as a vital source of love and comfort:

1.     The infant seeks proximity, or closeness, to the caregiver, especially in times of trouble.

2.     The infant sees the caregiver as providing a ‘safe haven.’

3.     The infant trusts the caregiver to provide a secure base from which he or she can explore the world.

4.     The threat of separation from the caregiver induces fear and anxiety in the infant.

5.     Loss of the caregiver induces grief and sorrow.

       When a relationship means so much to you, it only makes sense that when that relationship goes bad, there is more to lose—and more hurt than normal.”[2]

Atttachment Injuries Can Leave Soul Wounds

“According to the dictionary, an injury is ‘an act that damages or hurts a person, a wound … an offense against a person’s feelings or dignity … a violation of another’s rights … a sustained loss in value to a business or reputation.’  In the context of attachments, an attachment injury is an injury to the self, an emotional or relational injury—a soul wound.

       Attachment injuries occur when, in times of stress, we expect a loved one to be there for us, and for whatever reason, he or she is not.  Finding the loved one absent, our fear doesn’t subside but increases and can eventually paralyze us as our pain is magnified.  And if the loved one remains unavailable or hurtful in other ways, the injury pollutes our soul.” [3]

       This kind of injury occurs far too often, in our society.

       Most simply, an early attachment injury results when someone we love, someone who we think should love us, like a parent, fails to provide our fundamental safety and security needs.  In the attachment bond, anything that stands in the way of our ability to access our support figure and threatens our sense of security—whether the threat is real or perceived—has the potential to cause an attachment injury.  And such injuries can ignite life’s core pains:  anger, anxiety, fear, grief, and suffering of various kinds.

       Attachment injury can result when:

·        The caregiver of the loved one is simply not available, physically or emotionally, due to his or her own emotional distress or discomfort with closeness. (Depression)

·        The caregiver is willing to be available but is not able to be there. (Illness)

·        The caregiver wants to be available and normally would be there, but is absent at a crucial developmental phase or during a time of crisis. (School or work reduces time during adolescence or the death of a loved one)

·        The parent or loved one is there, but instead of providing a safe haven, he or she uses insensitive, off-putting, embarrassing, or sarcastic language toward the needy child or adult.

·        The caregiver is there but is smothering and overdoes safety and protection, which doesn’t allow the child or loved one the freedom to explore the world and gain confidence mastering life’s skills.  For example, a parent who rushes in and tells her children what to do without really listening to their feelings sends this message:  You can’t take care of yourself or know your own feelings, so I have to do all that for you.”[4]

Okay, let’s walk through the “Attachment Injuries Grid” on page 40.


| !!! Attachment Injuries Grid


|   | Short Duration | !!! Long Duration


Minor Injury Childhood Attachment Injury ·         Parent shows up late to pick up child·         Parent is upset, tense, and stessful because of work stress.·         Parent has flu and is temporarily unavailable to the child.       Adult Attachment Injury ·         Often shows up late for work or appointments.·         Occasionally fails to keep a promise.·         Spouse goes out of town for week. Childhood Attachment Injury ·         Insensitive parenting.·         Caregiver is constantly unavailable, not there for the little things.·         Child withdraws emotionally when daycare becomes necessary as parent goes back to work.·         Parent is never there for the big things:  first baseball game, school play, karate practice, dance lessons, etc.·         Parents divorce amicably without post-divorce conflict. Adult Attachment Injury ·         Spouse works too much to avoid home life.·         Emotionally distant.·         Demonstrates ongoing insensitivity.·         Uninvolved in family life.

| !!!! Major Injury

| Childhood Attachment Injury ·         Parent goes to hospital for a week.·         Occasionally fails to keep a promise.·         Child gets lost for brief period of time.    Adult Attachment Injury ·         An extramarital affair.·         Intense arguments involving verbal abuse.·         Physical or sexual abuse that occurs more than one or two times.·         Complicated grief after loss of parent(s). | Childhood Attachment Injury ·         Abusive parenting.·         Parents involved in abusive marriage.·         Parents divorce with ongoing conflict post-divorce—e.g. custody battles.·         Sibling gets chronic illness such as diabetes, stealing parent’s time and attention. Adult Attachment Injury ·         Marriage ends in divorce.·         Gets involved in frequent extra-marital affairs.·         Chronic domestic violence.·         Chronic addictive behavior.[5] |

The Effects of Attachment Injuries

“Moreover, what constitutes an attachment injury can change according to one’s stage of life.  What never changes, however, is how strongly and intensely we react to these injuries.”[6]

       Please understand how these injuries can deeply affect us and create insecure attachment styles.

       Then it is important to grieve the injuries and earn a secure attachment style, so that we can come fully present in our relationship with ourself, others, and most importantly, Jehovah God!!!

       God has said one thing to me very deeply over the last couple of days concerning the wounding of our souls:  “It’s not your fault!”

       Secondly, “I want to heal you!”

       Thirdly, “Walk with me into the wounded place, so I can heal you!”

Homework:    Attachments (pages 41-46).

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


Call to Discipleship


[1] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 35.

[2] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 35-36.

[3] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 36.

[4] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, pp. 36-37.

[5] Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy, Attachments, Integrity Publishers, Brentwood, Tennessee, 2002, p. 40.

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

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