Excerpt from my book “what re you afraid of” Chapter 7
There are other forms and theories of attachments compounded with Bowlby original theories. There is often an overlap of one or two styles depending on the relationship. Trying to understand our attachment style can help us see how rejection effects our reactions and different individuals responses. There is no right or wrong interpretation of what has and what , it is just identifying our responses that help can our understanding of ourselves and others more accurately. For example a couple may have two different attachment styles because that’s what it is. For a deeper insight into relationships styles in romantic interest the book Attached by Amir Levine and Heller is great introduction to various attachment styles.
Attachments or relationships come in many different forms in life. The attachment style we used may of serviced previous relationships but now conflicts with other attachments. This could be because of our own personal growth or awareness of how we interact with others. Or it could be that a new relationship or old relationship is now out of sync. For example one individual may have been the secure attachment style and the partner could be resistant or avoidant. The secure relationship is a safe haven for the other person because the secure relationship is trusting and benevolent. The relationship could work because secure partner is willing to put effort into the attachment because of unconditional love. In time the avoidant or resistance may grow and develop trusting attachments thereby becoming more secure by effort.
The way a person responds could be because of a fragmented relationships in their past histories. For example the boss has anxious style of attachment always looking for perfection and not taking full responsibility of his own autonomy. The Business may have financial setbacks due to the oversight of the boss focusing on the negative aspects of the company. Afraid or in fear the boss makes cutbacks and fires some of the staff. As an employee who has dedicated thier life to the company has a devastating loss. Now imagine the 3 different types of attachments style and how each one could react to this loss of employment.
1 The avoidant response could be : Denial not accepting the job loss thinking the boss will change his mind. Consequences not looking for new employment . Not asking the boss for reduced hours .Not experiencing the loss by being distracted or desensitisation to ease the pain.
2 The anxious response could be : Go into depression because overwhelming emotions. Believing that will never get another job. Too afraid to search for new employment or learn new skills. Blaming everyone for the state that they are in now not taking action to change the situation.
3 The secure response could be : Take a few week off from all activities process the emotional loss and accepting it for what it is. Takes time to reflect on new possibilities and opportunities now and in the future. Thankful for the employment has provided for his family for example home , holidays and developing key skills in the employment.
Here are just few examples of how rejection can effect us by our attachment style and the experiences we face will be very different to others. Being aware of our attachment style and especially of others can be very enlightening to help us make the informed reactions. When we stand back and look at the rejection for what it is may make it easier for us to navigate it. Human behaviour is very complicated and often unpredictable. Old proverb “not to add wood to the fire” helps to stop the contagion rather than cause an inferno that cause complete devastation.
Respect Ourself and others dignity
When life throws at us rejection whatever the form is will cause pain. The relationship or attachment is now broken and it is an end or loss. For example if you brake a bone it will cause suffering and can cause incapacitated action to normal routine even stopping it. The same is with rejection even if you can’t physically see it , psychologically it will effect you. One study showed how rejection can effect even the brain with a fMRI scanner and researchers said “those who are rejected show increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate and the anterior insula — two of the regions that show increased activity in response to physical pain, Eisenberger says. As far as your brain is concerned, a broken heart is not so different from a broken arm.”
With any broken bone it takes time to heal and needs attention and support. With a broken attachment or relationship we can support it and use the balm of respect. Respect has a lovely synonyms which give us a full colour of what respect is : appreciation, awe, consideration, dignity, esteem, honour, recognition. The reaction of any broken bone is going to be painful physically and emotionally. During the convalescence stage of rejection balm your inner wounds with respect. The old saying it takes two to tangle so don’t take full responsibility unless you are totally responsible. Every attachment or bone to be effective before the break had to have cooperation for it to function. By respecting ourselves we recognise our part in the relationship for what it was. At this juncture some relationships have been abusive either verbal, physical, emotional and sexual are not acceptable because it robs humanity of respect.
Illustrate how self respect can heal rejection in a personal relationship.
1 Appreciate how hard you worked in the relationship being congruent. The blessings you recieved from the relationship , the children you had together , the happy memories of holidays etc.
2 Consideration you showed when your partner was ill or when you made acceptable allowances. The different choices allowing your partner to be themselves and how they supported you in different areas.
3 Dignity you both had for each other’s needs showing respect to each other.
4 Esteem or value you put into the relationship and the intrinsic value your partner showed.
5 Honour you had for yourself and your partner truly valuing thier positive qualities.
6 Recognition both achieved as a couple accomplishing things together. Creating a new home , raising the children.
The idea is to focus what you brought to the relationship and recognising how it positively impacted you own respect and your partners. It is so easy in the heat of the moment to have a Pompeii effect when a relationship finishes with no restraints of furry. Some people have been in abusive relationship from romantic , work and religious attachments. The respect they had at one time could of been destroyed or dismantled when the attachment became a prison. Rebuilding your self respect can be a slow and painful journey but by restructuring yourself now with new opportunities will be clearly seen.