Today, you are going to learn about avoidant attachment and narcissism as well as various other attachment styles that impact a person from having a healthy relationship with others. As you know, I like to put the puzzle pieces together regarding how a narcissist is created because they are not born that way. We, humans, make them. We live in a world of polarity. We are taught good and evil, right and wrong, and does and don’ts. Why are we not being taught the polarity of human beings? That is my mission and purpose right now. If you have been following or listening to my podcasts, you know I do this work for everyone…even someone narcissistic. I want them to understand themselves better and know there is someone out there that is doing there best to prevent children from being abused or traumatized, just like they experienced. They can change if they are willing to do the work or they might have embraced who they are. I am not here to judge. I am just the messenger. Everyone has a purpose in this world…even the narcissist. Remember, we live in a world of polarity. I have learned from life experiences that the narcissistic people in my life have been my teacher. This concept might be hard for some people to grasp, but they can teach you a deeper meaning of what love means. Not superficial love or conditional love as they experienced, but unconditional love and acceptance. The gift they, meaning the narcissist has given me, is the ability to re-know them. To re-conceive them in a different light or perspective. For when you can see something as it truly is in neutrality, your perspective shifts from hate, anger, and fear into clarity, wisdom, and courage. Courage to view the destruction some people are doing to one another as an opportunity to learn, instead of staying stuck in blame or judgment. And from this place of neutrality, you can lift someone up. You can become that pinhole of light when they are surrounded by darkness. Personally, I do not like how some narcissistic people behave or treat other human beings, but I have learned overtime to have compassion, wisdom, sympathy, and a deeper sense of kindness for humanity. Therefore, what I see and have learned, I am being called to share with you all. Once you can shift from being reactive towards the narcissist and into a place of courageously respond speaking your truth. Then you will discover that you are no longer a victim, you are empowered. Therefore, let’s dive into the deep end of attachment styles because you will learn a lot today!
There are various attachment styles that our primary caregivers modeled to us. This is how we learned to connect with one another. If you have heard me talk about connection, you know we are born to connect. We are created out of two people connecting. The sperm connects with the egg. The unborn child is connected with its mother within the womb. Then the connection is broken at birth. This infant will long for connection its whole life. The problem is some will not, and this concerns me. That is why I am sharing this information with you today. It is all about the patterns that were modeled for the newborn child. The critical thing to remember is that these attachment styles are learned from a primary attachment figure, most likely a parent. Therefore, we will discuss today’s neglectful, absent, and authoritarian/shame parenting style.
While the commonly held belief is that attachment styles are formed by our relationships with our parents as babies, any formative relationship is likely to influence a person’s attachment style when they become an adult. If you do not have a secure attachment style, there is no need to worry. It’s possible to change your style with intention, patience, and time.
What is the most common attachment style?
- Secure – autonomous;
- Avoidant – dismissing;
- Anxious – preoccupied; and.
- Disorganized – unresolved.
So, let’s break it down. A secure attachment occurs when the mother leaves the child initially, and the child expresses distress from her leaving. The child is attached to their mom and misses her when she leaves the room. However, the child does not continue to be distressed. The child is secure in knowing that mom will return. The child can explore its world and knows that its needs will be taken care of. When the mother returns, the child is happy and smiles. And the mother embraces her child when they are reunited. Therefore, the child’s needs are consistently met with comfort, which is what the child seeks. This relationship between mother and child is built upon consistent care, attention, affection, and meeting the child’s needs. The mother has a consistent routine for feeding, playtime, naptime, and changing the child’s diaper. This will build confidence in the child, so they are open to trying new things, exploring the world around them, and knowing that when mom leaves, she is always coming back.
As that child grows up, it learns to show mutual respect, they can ask for what they needs, they knows how to apologize and mean it, they can have empathy for another person, they trust people, and they will seek relationships that match what was modeled for them, knowing this type of relationship is trustworthy and will meet their emotional needs. Let me stress this again, based on your attachment style, you will seek out other because this is the way we relate to one another. People who have secure attachment don’t often feel threatened by their friends doing things with other people. Now let me give you a warning, if this secure attachment style person meets someone that does not meet their needs and they choose to stay within the relationship with someone who has an unhealthy attachment style, the person’s secure attachment style may shift to mirror the attachment style of the person they are trying to connect with. You might notice this person will begin to display traits of an unhealthy connection.
The two that concern me the most are the avoidant and disorganized attachment styles. Let’s unpack these two. An avoidant attachment style occurs when the mom leaves her child, and the child does not look for the mom. The child will not express distress either. The child is preoccupied with their environment when mom returns, does not try to reunite with mom and ignores her. The child is most likely displaying behaviors that were modeled to them, like a neglectful or absent parent. Those two parenting styles do create someone to become narcissistic. The parents may ignore or reject the child. The parent may not give the child attention or affection in a way that meets the child’s connection needs. Over time, the child has learned to become comfortable with his needs not being met and accepts this style of relating to their primary caregivers. To me, this is so sad. When the child is distressed, the child knows the primary caregiver is not a source of comfort. Therefore, the child does not seek it. The child may self-soothe and be more physically and emotionally independent.
The problem is the child will grow up lacking empathy. They will display behaviors as being overly confident and might be a risk taker. The child, now an adult, will appear cold and disconnected. This person will not expect others to meet their needs, and they will not have the desire to meet the needs of others. As a result, they will not invest in a relationship or try to build one with another person. The connections will be superficial, empty, and unfulfilling. There will be a lack of trust and closeness with other people. The person will be dismissing, and it will impact their ability to support another human being emotionally.
How do you know if you have an avoidant/dismissive attachment style? Do you notice these signs within yourself or someone you know?
- Do you persistently avoid emotional or physical intimacy?
- Do you think or feel a strong sense of independence?
- Are you uncomfortable expressing your feelings?
- Have you noticed you are dismissive of others?
- Do you have a hard time trusting people?
- Do you feel threatened by anyone who tries to get close to you?
- Is it common for you to spend more time alone than interacting with others?
- Do you believe you do not need others in your life?
This next one has a few different labels. It can be known as Anxious attachment, Dependent Attachment or Ambivalent/Resistant Attachment. This attachment style is when the child is separated from mom and the child responds with extreme distress. The child does not want to explore the world around them. The child remains upset until the mom returns. This attachment style is created when a parent is inconsistent in their caregiving. I can relate to this style because I saw it in my son at times. The problem I faced was I was displaying the secure attachment style and his father, who is a covert narcissist, was not. Therefore, it was never consistent and I had to find ways to repair the damage. Just know, that our son does have a secure attachment style with me, but a trauma attachment style with his father. I will unpack this later.
Let’s continue. This child develops this attachment style when the parent is sometimes responsive and caring and other times preoccupied and dismissive. Therefore, sometimes the child’s needs are met, and other times they are ignored. This child will learn to not depend on the parent or to trust them. They will experience great anxiety and distress at regular intervals. The child can become difficult to soothe and may not accept comfort offered by the parent. The child might develop a personality labeled as having anxiety, insecurity, and lack of confidence. The child growing up will question themselves and others. The child will may not want to try new things, avoid being adventurous, and may be afraid of things that other children do on a regular basis. Therefore, if you have read my book, I wrote about this in chapter twenty-three and various other chapters thereafter. What I do not like is I had to become an expert in this area to better understand what happened to my child and how I can better support him in life. I am not a counselor nor do I have a degree in this area, but I wish the therapists, not therapist, at the various stages of my child’s development knew about this information. It might have spared me and my son a lot of pain, confusion, and emotional suffering.
Here are some signs of an anxious/ambivalent/dependent/resistant attachment style. Someone with an anxious attachment style might think or feel”.
- I want to get close, but I am not sure you want to be emotionally close to me.
- I want to be around you constantly or have constant contact with you to reassure me of your commitment, friendship, or love.
- I feel anxious about whether our relationship will last.
- I worry you will leave me often. I fear rejection and abandonment.
- I question whether you like/love me as much as I like/love you.
- I want you to constantly reassure me of your love for me.
- I wonder if there is something wrong with me that makes you pull away from me.
- I do not like to be alone.
- People have told me that I am too needy or high maintenance.
You might be wondering how a person can change their attachment style. Let me give you two examples.
- Someone with an avoidant attachment can find ways to shift their mindset in therapy. A therapist can help you explore your fears in a safe environment around trusting people by asking yourself questions. For example, “What am I afraid will happen if I let people in? What am I afraid will happen if I try to become venerable with someone I care about? or What am I afraid will happen if I let someone get close to me?”
- Someone with an anxious attachment will struggle with asking for help. Communication is the main hurdle for those with anxious attachment. To seek support in this area of communication, pay attention to your “conversations”.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you have an anxious attachment style.
- Was the conversation more one-sided and were you just venting?
- Do you find yourself getting stuck in black and white thinking patterns. This is called splitting.
- Have you taken the steps to resolve your past hurts because your past hurts do color your present relationships?
- Have you tried to watch and learn from more securely attached people?
- Have you watched and learn how secure attachment people relate and communicate with one another? Examples can be: Is there open hearted communication or is it just one-sided? Do they validate each others feelings? Can they agree to disagree? Can they be venerable with each other without fear of rejection or abandonment? Can you see these signs or does it fly past your awareness?
Have I overwhelmed you yet? I hope not. Now let’s talk about disorganized attachment style. This information now comes from the book, “Attachment – 60 trauma-informed assessment and treatment interventions across the lifespan“, by Christina Reese, PhD, LCPC. I love her book because she is the first person I have found that talks about how we are born to connect in her book. It is nice to get professional validation from the wisdom I channeled for humanity.
This style was identified in 1990 by Main and Solomon. This style of relating is characterized by abuse and neglect. It causes the child to be extremely reactive to any form of attachment. This style can lead to reactive attachment disorder. I noticed these behaviors when my son came back into my custody after living with dad for eight months. Our son responded to any attempts to connect with distrust and defensiveness in order to protect himself from harm. His experienced an unhealthy attachment with his father, which was not positive, his father ignored him, all the people that were designed to keep him safe and protect him, lied to him. He came home with complex PTSD and it was heartbreaking. Let’s just say it took a lot of love, patience, cooperation, educating myself, and courage to help him recover. Because when he came home, he displayed all the traits. He did not value himself or others, he wanted to die. He was physically hurting himself and others. He was very aggressive and angry. And beneath all that anger was sadness. He was unable to regulate his emotions or express them appropriately, which was his attempts to push me away. He did not respect others because he felt or believed others did not respect him. He did not follow directions because he did not identify adults as safe people. He feared his father and did not feel safe in that relationship. I could go about this, but it hurts my heart to recall how damaged he was back in August 2019. He has come a long, long way. Can you see why I need to share this information with you? I do not want this to happen to anyone, especially a child. That is why I wrote the book, The Undetected Narcissist. I need to stop this form of child abuse. If I did not care, he would become a danger to society and to himself. And I love what Christina wrote in her book, “Remember that humans were made for connection, so even if it looks like he does not want to connect with anyone, he often has a deep, sometimes hidden, desire for connection. However, his anger wards off anyone who would otherwise come close.” Well, my son did try to push me away and I still stood by his side, holding his hand, loving him every step of the way as he recovered. That is unconditional love! The good news he has gone from an disorganized attachment style to an anxious attachment style. This is living proof that someone’s attachment style can change overtime with patience, courage, commitment, time, and love.
I could go on and on about how attachment is impacted by trauma or maladaptive attachment. I can say trauma can be especially damaging if the trauma is related to one of the primary attachment figures like a mother, father, or caregiver. Trauma can cause the brain to think differently about people and places. This can create various degrees of anxiety for the child moving forward with that person. For example, our son chooses to see his father no longer. He does not trust him, and he cannot seem to move past his fears and past traumas. I am blessed that his father is not pushing visitation and our son’s therapist is an advocate for our son. I had to get advice from a police officer, and I am sharing it with you now. I also put this information in my book. If any of this sounds familiar to you and your child is experiencing the same unhealthy attachment style issues, know the law is on your side. There can be a court order for visitation, but if that child refuses to get out of the car or go to the abusive parent, the child has the right to deny visitation. If either parent forces that child out of the vehicle and into the other parent’s vehicle, that is considered battery. Make sure a police officer can witness the exchange and the child’s refusal. Then you want a copy of the police report for the judge. Just make sure you do not FEED this information to your child. I would suggest that you find an officer that is educated and informed about the six different types of narcissism? Are you shocked? Did you think there was just one or two types? Yup, there are six and I will talk about this in Season Two. And if the officer is willing to educate themselves about narcissism to better serve the community, pat that person on the back. Their role is to protect and serve. You cannot protect and serve if you can be manipulated and controlled by a narcissistic person. Because all the officers that arrived to protect and serve Gabby Petito missed so many warning signs. I talked about this in chapter one of my book. Therefore, I suggest talking to your local police officer and an attorney who has worked to protect people against narcissistic abuse. If neither has experience dealing with various narcissistic individuals, it will be a waste of your time, energy, and money.
What constitutes battery in law? Let’s breakdown the elements of battery.
- The battery must include contact.
- The contact must be intentional, nonconsensual.
- The contact must also be either harmful OR offensive.
- The contact must be by one person to another person.
I do not want to end this on a sour note. I believe everyone should be educated about avoidant attachment and narcissism. I want kids to be safe and feel safe. Now I have a funny story to share that I experienced this morning. The weather has been changing here, and it was cold outside. I looked inside my closet and discovered a sweater I had never worn. Since I was taking my son to physical therapy before school, I decided to wear the sweater. I have displayed the sweater in the blog post. It says, “Don’t piss off old people. The older we get, the less “life in prison” is a deterrent. Why did I pick this sweater? The answer is for the past ten years, I have had great banter with his doctor about getting old. The doctor loved the sweater. After I dropped off my son at school, I decided to go to the post office and the drugstore. Walking towards the drugstore, I saw a police car in front. I thought, “I hope I don’t run into this police officer wearing this sweater.” Well, I jinxed myself. When I was walking out of the drugstore, the officer was sitting in their car with the passenger side window down. He looked at my sweater, looked up at me, and started laughing. I walked over to the passenger side window and said, “What are the odds of this encounter? I was hoping to avoid you. I am glad my sweater made you laugh.” He replied, “I love your sweater. It’s funny to see you walking around town wearing it. Have a good day.” We both smiled and laughed.
Now, in the early morning hours, around 4:00 am, I got a message for anyone narcissistic that might be listening to my podcast. They say polar opposites attract. I am about light and love. I refuse to stay stuck in blame, hate, anger, shame, and anxiety. I want you to know that I have experienced many of the same life experiences you have. I have experienced trauma, direct and indirect. I have witnessed abuse and been abused in all the horrific ways you do not want to imagine. A neglectful and authoritarian parent raised me. I have been bullied, shamed, guilt-tripped, and even died. There is a purpose for me here, you see. To support humanity, rewriting the old script, the old dialogue, and the old mirror of who and what you thought you were. I am here to expose the truth, your true self. We all deserve happiness. We deserve to live instead of just existing in misery, sadness, shame, fear, and despair. So, if you are a narcissistic one who is happy with what you have achieved in life and are satisfied with who and what you have become, so be it. It is not my place to shame you or make you feel like less of a person. My request or what speaks to me would like you to please contribute to humanity. When you have billions of dollars, instead of building your own spaceship to travel to Mars or the Moon, donate the money you will never be able to spend in this lifetime by supporting humanity, supporting a child’s education, ending homelessness, preventing domestic violence, feeding the needy, or supporting a cause that speaks to your heart and soul. You cannot take the money with you when you die—this is just a message. Leave a legacy behind, which displays an act of selflessness when it comes to the billions of dollars you have obtained to support humanity and the world.
Now the narcissistic ones are stuck in blame; I also have a message for you. It is pointless to blame a parent or your parents for ruining your life until you die. When you turn of age around 18 and leave home, you are now responsible for your own life. You have just begun your journey, and your life is now in your hands for the next 50, 60, or 90 years. Your life is no longer in the hands of another person. You get to make a choice. How do you want to live? How do you want to feel or think? You have so many opportunities to shed your painful past and rebuild yourself. Your parents did not destroy you. They taught you how people should not be treated. They might have even taught you how they were treated as a child growing up. Just know that your parents did their best with the tools in their toolbox. I know this is hard to comprehend because some people are just evil. Some people get pleasure out of hurting other people and watching them suffer. Who do you want to be? I could have blamed my parents for ruining my life, but I quickly realized that blame got me nowhere. It did not make me happier or improve the quality of my life. It only kept me stuck in the lower vibrational thought patterns like despair, shame, despising, humiliation, fear, regret, and anger. I had to choose myself. I want this for you. That is why I say these words to you, from one human who has walked in your shoes to another. I see you. I hear you. I get it. I want more for you because you deserve it. You know, I have no regrets. I want you to feel the same way. You can live your best life in the future if you do the work to strip away the painful past that is clouding your bright future. You cannot see the light because you are stuck in the shadows. All this work I do is to serve. Know that allowing an abusive person to live rent-free in your mind is pointless. It would be best if you broke the cycle of abuse, and it can start with you. Some people intentionally or unintentionally have learned their life lessons through challenges. It is not a high or low way to learn. It is just part of the journey we must face at times. Therefore, one who denies the light must be given light. This is how the soul is healed, and this is how the world is healed. To heal the world is to know the world and all its complex beings in a higher octave. This is what I do. This message is for you. Thank you for listening.