Before I remove myself from my writing again for this upcoming week during which I will again go sit in the office of my friend to cover for her while she is on vacation, I want to say a few more things.
First, as I wrote my previous post I hit the ‘level of truth’ for myself for the first time in my life where I could make the connection inside of myself that allowed me to honestly and truthfully say, “I love my mother.” That is not an insignificant step for me, and is one I will be able to appreciate as a useful tool when it is time for me to go ‘back there’ to retrieve my childhood abuse story.
The next comment I want to make has to do with my childhood stories as I have already written them (available here with some digging around through the links: +DEVIL’S CHILD – My Childhood.) As I just told my daughter in our telephone conversation, my ‘stories’ are nothing more than dissociated, discontinuous vignettes that exist not unlike letters of the alphabet or individual musical notes that have yet to be composed into a cohesive whole.
My mother’s insecure attachment disorder showed up in her incoherent life. She could not tell a coherent life narrative, and she gave this disability to me. My main motivation for spending the years that I did transcribing and ordering my mother’s papers was to create a linear time line that I needed to begin to place my own childhood experiences in a linear line, also.
The other comment I wanted to write concerns my father. At least NOW I know I have hit the point within my own self where I am clear how I love my mother. I love her as I described in my previous post. But I have not reached that level with my father.
When it comes to thinking about, describing and feeling emotions, I always have a sideline running in the background concerning my father. I think about the dismissive-avoidant insecure attachment disorder patterns as researchers are now being able to actually see them operate through visually watching the brains of such people.
Researchers can watch how some brains create in effect a firewall that leaves actual emotions as they ARE triggered in the body completely out of conscious awareness. Researchers can see the emotion being experienced in the brain AND at the same time be screened from a person so that they do not know they are even there — AT ALL. The brain is consuming massive amounts of energy during this screening process, and these ‘brain-holders’ never know it.
There are specific early caregiver-to-infant interactions that create these brains from birth to age one. These changed brains are intimately connected to the changed nervous system and body of their ‘holders’. Being cared for by unresponsive, unemotional, cold, depressed and ‘blank-faced’ caregivers are some of the ways these dismissive-avoidant brains are created in infants from the beginning.
These same infants, had they been interacted with by securely attached and appropriate-adequate early caregivers would have developed entirely different brains. My father was an unwanted infant born to an unwilling and depressed mother, raised by his teenage sister primarily who was not caring or nurturing. In the end, my father’s dismissive-avoidant insecurely attached brain worked very well on his behalf as he could NOT FEEL — did not HAVE to feel — and hence could ignore what he NEEDED to pay attention to and react to appropriately.
I have an important person I care deeply about who I believe also has a dismissive-avoidant insecure attachment disorder, and I can see how easily this pattern fits with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Very nicely indeed. The fact is that people who fit into this range can most often manage to get along just fine — but have extremely limited (if any) ability to FEEL and therefore to CARE how others feel, either. It would be easy to call them ‘intimacy disabled’.
Sometimes given the intensity of my emotions and my difficulties with them, I find myself tempted to envy these people for their cool, unemotional detachment. I then remind myself that to miss out on FEELING is to miss out on the entire color range of being alive. I also remind myself of the dangers of living without feelings — they have a purpose just as our physical body needs to feel its way through life, and to NOT be able to feel puts a person dangerously close (in my mind) to being ‘sociopathic’ — and therefore dangerous! It is not a good thing to NEED anything from these people.
And it is a sure thing that any infant born to its earliest caregiver with a dismissive-avoidant insecure attachment is going to have that same brain downloaded into their own forming brain — UNLESS there is another strong influence by another early caregiver who is safely and securely attached and therefore has a brain that operates with feelings included.
*Note: People with the other insecure attachment disorders of preoccupied and disorganized-disoriented tend to be attracted to those with dismissive-avoidant because they know these people will not overwhelm them emotionally.