Attachment style, a kick in the gut and redemption
Posted by Tricia
I studied psychology in college and remember a few vague references to the subject of attachment. I birthed 3 sons and didn’t think much, if at all, about this topic. I wasn’t aware of my own attachment style or the fact that this was affecting mother/infant interactions. Blissful ignorance was the state of the day.
Most anyone who has adopted children hears about attachment and how important it is to the parent/child bond. There is always catch up work to do in this area whether one adopts a newborn or a 12 year old. One of my favorite “adoptive parent manuals” is called The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis. I read it pre-adoption and have probably read it 4 times since. This past weekend I got to attend a conference called Empowered to Connect – I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone pre, post or connected to adoption or foster care in any way. Dr. Purvis, who has devoted her life and a great deal of neuroscience research to help heal families that include adopted or foster children, was the keynote speaker. Her Trust Based Relational Intervention, TBRI, method has brought hope and healing to so many families. Now onto my blog title and a few things I experienced over the weekend:
Attachment style: we ALL have one. We did not choose it but it is critical to how we interact with others, especially in close relationship. We do not get to decide upon attachment style a, b, c or d – it was passed to us from our parents. We pass ours onto our children. The healthy place to be is in the secure attachment range. But many of us – I heard 50% this weekend – are in the avoidant, ambivalent or disorganized attachment style categories. There is no shame in this, though I will admit I have felt some. An overwhelming percentage of adoptive parents fall into the avoidant attachment range. It was also shared that 90% of NGO, non-governmental organization, aid workers have this type of attachment style. The places we live, work and travel in life are affected by our attachment orientation.
Kick in the gut: In the past several years as I’ve pursued an education in parenting our children and understanding myself, I realize that I indeed have some attachment challenges. Another outstanding book, Attachments: why you love, feel and act the way you do, by Clinton and Sibcy helped me pick out my own style. It helped me identify the styles of several of my children. We aren’t all hanging out in the secure place. I definitely contribute/d to the attachment style of my children – whether I know/ew it or not, it happens/ed. This was addressed and talked about with compassion at the TBRI conference.
Redemption: I really don’t think I would get out of bed in the morning if I didn’t know of God’s grace and redemption. My favorite books/movies/stories/blogs always involve the redemption of the broken human – that would be all of us. And here is the redemptive message on attachment. We aren’t stuck wherever we may be. There is something called “earned secure” attachment. We can change. Our brokenness in this area can be redeemed. I have experienced and witnessed this phenomenon. As Dr. Purvis said there is always hope, but parenting a child from a hard place may cost us everything. It is HARD work – work on ourselves first and foremost and then with our children. But I am one who can attest to the truth that this journey is worth giving our everything. Jesus said it like this, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”. A journey of relationship and redemption.
About TriciaI am a God lover, wife of Mark and mom to 5 incredible children. Our 3 sons came to us by birth and our 2 daughters came through adoption.
Posted on February 18, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged attachment parenting, attachment styles, avoidant attachment, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Empowered to Connect, TBRI, trust based relationship intervention. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.