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From Insecure to Flat Attachment: Narcissists, Psychopaths Never Bond (Compilation)

Uploaded 3/31/2023, approx. 3 hour 4 minute read

Everyone and his dog has an attachment style nowadays. It could be secure attachment, avoidant attachment, or anyone with a set of four types of attachments.

But the truth is that some people have what I call flat attachments.

They are incapable of any kind of bonding, any kind of relatedness to other people at all.

Flat attachments, people with flat attachments, regard other people as utterly interchangeable, replaceable, dispensable.

Objects, functions, nothing more. They commodify people. They treat them as commodities. Like grains of rice, all people look the same to them.

When a relationship is over, people go through a period that I call latency. It's a period where people mourn the defunct bond.

People, members of the couple, members of the dyad, process the grief, experience withdrawal symptoms associated with a breakup.

But not so the flat attacher.

Someone with a flat attachment transitions instantaneously, smoothly, abruptly, and seamlessly from one insignificant other to the next insignificant target.

People with flat attachments fully substitute a newfound "golover, mate" or so-called intimate partner for the one they had discarded. The one whose usefulness has expired for whatever reason.

As you have already surmised, many narcissists and almost all psychopaths are flat attachments. They have flat attachment.

Long time ago, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth in 1995, I coined the phrase "idealize devalue and discard." It is rare for me to admit an error, but I did commit it.

I should have rather said "idealize devalue, discard, and replace." "Replace" is the key word.

You see, attachmentof coursehas to do with intimacy.

And here's the time to say that my name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, a host of other books about personality disorders.

Attachment has to do with intimacy, past intimacy, and future intimacy. Attachment is forged in early childhood through relationships with primary caregivers and primary objects, also known as parents.

Attachment determines one's ability to engage in intimacy, to create and participate in intimate relationships.

To some people, intimacy is like fritillite, both sought after and dreaded and feared. The result is an intricate and crazy-making dance, dubbed "approach avoidance repetition compulsion."

Another aspect of this ambivalence, this love towards intimacy and hatred of intimacy, rather aspect is what I call the menu "scratching dichotomy."

Those who truly seek intimacy want the entire menu of interpersonal togetherness. They want intensive talking, they want romanticized sex, they want it all.

But the intimacy challenge, the people with flat attachment, make do and are fully satisfied with "scrass." They feel threatened and overwhelmed by the totality of the intimacy menu.

They want to have a taste of things. They don't want the main dishes. They get by on occasional snippets of talk, on rare sex, and on swaths of personal space and time apart.

The two types of people, the intimacy challenge and those who seek intimacy, the intimacy start. They are utterly incompatible. They make each other profoundly unhappy.

And yet, oddly, they are inexorably attracted and drawn to each other.

The menu types are parental fixes by nature, and the scraps crave the unbridled and unconditional intimacy preferred by their antithesis by the menu people.

They dread the intimacy, but they still seek it.

Mixed couples, flat attaches and deep attaches. Mixed couples invariably end up in a mushroom cloud of agonizing mayhem and unmitigated catastrophe.

They may drive each other to insanity, or even to suicidal ideation, or actual suicide.

At the very least, they subject each other, one another, to excruciating pain, as the menu tries to alter and modify the scraps, and the scraps withdraws further and further and resorts to desperate measures, such as cheating or reckless behaviors, in order to undo the bond and revert to pristine loneliness.

Unrejected or abused, women, for example, overeat or abuse substances.

And that's a perfect example where flat attachment leads to outlandish and extreme outcuts.

Because as I said, most women would overeat or abuse substances.

But a minority of women self-medicate with men. They hook up with friends, former lovers, or even total strangers for some good time for some sex, casual sex. It helps them to restore their self-esteem, regulate or doubt their negative emotions, buttress their femininity, stabilize their labile sense of self-worth.

Intimacy, however, is a different issue.

Never mind how transient, limited or fake, even if merely physical, it does wonders to the assertiveness and resilience of such women, the flat attaches.

In some cases, such conduct involves defiant, in-your-face, rage-infused cheating on the intimate bubble.

So that's an example of how flat attaches react to the stresses of typical relationships.

But such misconduct has three other goals.


First of all, to hurt, to cause excruciating pain, to grievously and often publicly offend and humiliate the rejecting or abusive counterpartyor the counterparty that is perceived as rejecting and abusing.

Because flat attaches, being narcissists and psychopaths of histrionicare very often hypervigilant. They find insults and humiliation when there's none or none intended.

The second reason for such behavior is to elicit a reaction, any reaction, from the indifferent and sub-individuated spouse or mate.

And this is usually done by ostentatious triangulation.

The third reason is to win points in an ever-ending power play of one upmanship and breakmanship between the misbehaving woman and the husband per date or boyfriend.

The flat attached women, the women with flat attachment, who default to this kind of choice, are able to engage in emotionless and casual sex. They are often histrionic.

Today we think of histrionic personality disorder as the female variant of psychopathy. That's the latest thinking in the field.

These women lack impulse control. They suffer from emotional dysregulation. They're also common among borderlines, trauma victims with PTSD or extreme complex victims, CPTS.

And of coursewhen I talk about women, it's an example of flat attachments that is somewhat sexistbecause this equally applies to histrionic men.

Today the number of histrionic men is much smaller than the number of histrionic women. So this particular example applies much more to women than to men.

But men undermine sabotage intimacy in other ways, for example, by being passive- aggressive or by being outright- aggressive or by conspicuously cheating or in many other ways.

Flat attaches, regardless of gender, male or female, men and women.

Being incapable of attachment feels threatened by it.

Intimacy within a relationship is perceived as a trap, as imprisonment has been put in shackles.

So to free themselves from this perception of being a hostage or a prisoner, these people would do anything. They would use nuclear weapons. They would soul murder others. They would hurt. They would defend. They would do anything.

The extremes to which flat attaches are willing to go in order to free themselves from intimacy, these extremes are absolutely mind-boggling.

The things I've seen and the things I've experienced defy description.

Flat attachment is first becoming a global social problem. With technologies such as dating apps, social pressures, cultural pressures, disintegration of institutions such as family and community, people become atomized, alienated, isolated.

The incentive to become a flat attacher increases the rewards for being a flat attacher on the rise.

And as Skinner taught us in behaviorism, rewards dictate performance, dictate behavior patterns.

We are all becoming more and more incapable of true attachment. We are all in a way becoming flat attaches.

And in this particular sense of list, we are all becoming more and more narcissistic and even more and more psychopathic.

Shalom B'avazonim Hamodah Shalom.

Look it up.

Society keeps telling you if you're not having sex, especially casual sex, something is wrong with you. If you are not in a relationshipevery single day of every single week, something is definitely wrong with you.

And if you are incapable of intimacy, then you are lacking the basic constituents of what it means to be human.

These are society's messages.

Society wants you to conform. Society wants you to be a herd animal.

And yet studies and surveys like the Pew Center surveys consistently show that anywhere between one third and one half of adults don't feel comfortable in relationships. They're not happy. They're not content. They're egotistonic. They want out and they undermine and sabotage relationships when they find themselves in them.

So today we are going to discuss a new spin or relative in your spin on attachment theory.

Not the classical thing, you know, secure and secure attachment styles.

There's a video I've made about these issues and you can watch it separately. But today I'm going to discuss an attachment theorywhich is actually the recent iteration of attachment theory, which deals with dangerand more specifically danger in relationshipsand how do we survive such dangers.

My name is Sam Vaclin and I propose danger. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Lava, Narcissism Revisited, and I'm a danger to all future generations because I'm a professor of psychology and I mold the next generations of psychologists and psychiatrists in several countries.

How is that for danger?

Okay, Shoshanim, let's delve right in and start with the fact that not everyone is built to be in a relationship.

I'm going to repeat this sentence and I want you to listen to it well because many of you are going to feel a wave of relief wash over you.

Not everyone is built to be in a relationship. It's okay if you are not in a relationship. It's okay if you don't want relationships. It's okay if you don't want intimacy. It's okay if you want to be celibate and it's okay if you want to have casual sex as long as you don't cheat yourself, you don't deceive yourself about the nature of what it is that you're doing.

There are different attachment styles and insecure attachment styles predict recurrent relationship failure.

So why go there?

And not, attachment styles cannot be changed. They are ingrained patterns of relating to other people and they usually emerge in late childhood and early adolescence.

It is possible in theory to modify some behaviors attendant upon attachment styles, but you can't change the basic attachment styles.

Your basic attachment style.

I'm sorry.

This is the fact.

So if you are one of the several types of insecurely attached people, then relationships, intimacy, love, proximity, cohabitation, marriage, family, these are not for you. Don't go there.

You're going to make yourself miserable and you're going to make everyone around you miserable.

Why?

Just because society tells you to.

You don't have intimacy skills. You don't have relationship skills because you did not want to acquire them. And why you did not want to acquire them is the topic of today's video.

But the fact is you lack these skills, the ability to compromise, the ability to negotiate, setting boundaries, sharing, keeping separation, individuation, even as even when you are in a couple, avoiding merger and fusion and numerous other skills without which intimacy and relationships become traps.

The other person becomes your personal hell.

Of course, multiple studies, at least 15 percent, that's one, five percent, that's one of seven adults state that they are much more comfortable, much happier, much more content, much more satisfiedbeing alone. They like to be alone.

There's a whole subgroup of schizoids and schizoid-like personalities.

And in Sperry described the schizoid personality. For example, schizoid personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, obsessive- compulsive personality disorder. And these personality disorders and other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and so on preclude functional relationships.

If we put all of these together, there's about 15 percent who would rather be alone.

Thirty-one percent of adults are lifelong singles.

One third of adults spend their entire life being single.

This has always been the case, by the way.

In the Victorian era, these women were called spinsters and their male equivalents were called eternal bachelors.

And then much later in the 70s, there was the Peter Pan syndrome.

People refused to grow up and assume adult chores and responsibility and adult roles in society.

This was castigated as a form of infantilism.

The majority of the rest of the people, the other two thirds, they are immured, literally entombed in abusive, dead or ephemeral pseudo- relationships.

Only a minority, actually, survive within functional relationships which provide a modicum of happiness and allow for self-growth and self-development.

These are the minority of relationships.

The majority of relationships are what we call pseudo- relationships.

They look like relationships.

Some of these relationships last for decades. And yet they are not relationships in any clear sense of the word.

They are dysfunctional, they're dead, they're abusive, there's no recognition or respect for boundaries, they include merger and fusion or exactly the opposite, aversion and avoidance and withdrawal.

That's where the majority of people are.

And that's the reason the divorce rate is something like 40-50% of all marriages, of all first marriages and 60-70% of second and third marriages.

Intimacy and love, anyhow, are lost hearts.

They are the outliers. They're no longer the norm.


Add to that personal predilections and proclivities and it's a miracle that anyone ends up with anyone else.

The problem is that some people feel threatened or they feel constrained, suffocated by love and intimacy in longer committed relationships. They don't feel good when there's commitment.

These kind of people anticipate failure, hurt, misery and discord. And so they develop anticipatory anxiety. They know it's going to end badly.

And so they gear themselves and prepare themselves for the ineluctable Armageddon, Armageddon catastrophe. They catastrophize, they preemptively.

Is an anxiolytic strategy, an anxiety reducing strategy. They preemptively bring about the very outcomes of which they are terrified.

They repeatedly adopt dysfunctional behaviors.

These people are saying, let the other shoe drop. I can't bear it anymore. If anything bad is going to happen, it's going to happen. Let it happen now. And I'm going to make sure that it does happen. I'm going to provoke my partner. I'm going to cheat on my partner. I'm going to misbehave. I'm going to avoid my partner. I'm going to develop an addiction.

There are numerous strategies to destroy and sabotage and undermine a relationship.

These are relationship misfits. These people can't have intimacy, relationships and love.

They crave more than anything in the world. They crave an intimate partner. They want relationships.

We always want that which we cannot get. We always want most what we are incapable of.

We dream and fantasize because we can't face reality. We can't face our own limitations and constraints in reality.

Of course, people with insecure attachment styles, the thing they want most is to have a long-term committed, loving, embracing, accepting, warm relationship. And that's the only thing they can never get.

Richard Grannon once told me that intimacy is kryptonite to many people.

These relationship misfits, they subvert and they undermine their relationships. They gain fake intimacy and acceptance and fake warmth via sex with strangers. Some of them even have sex with groups of strangers just to be accepted, just to feel a warm body next to them, just to be the center of attention, just for a fleeting moment to experience intimacy.

They feel liked, air quotes. They feel loved. They feel that they are in a connection when they are actually, what they're actually doingis casual drunk encounters with anonymous partners in seedy settings.

So these people want relationships, crave intimacy, can't get it.

So they lie to themselves. They lie to themselves. They team up with strangers for sex and they conflate and confuse sex with intimacy and they conflate and confuse these strangers with intimate partners.

Typicallythey experience dissonance with their choices and they resolve this dissonance by dissociating from the situation, simply forgetting about it.

They numb their emotions, they abuse substances and they have reduced affect display.

Some people, some of these people who are incapable of intimacy, love and relationships convert their egodystony into a narrative ideology of empowerment.

I am not in a relationship because that's my choice. I have casual sex because I want it and I get what I want.

It empowers me. I'm empowered.

It's nonsense, of course. It's self-deception, very primitive one in that.

And it coalesces into a crusty ideologyand this ideology sometimes becomes public in victimhood movements like feminism, late feminism.

People who dread intimacy feel a lot more unencumbered with strangers.

They feel that an interaction with a stranger is easier, lighter, less threatening, more pleasantand has an end, has a horizon, doesn't have to go on forever.

There are no demands, no commitments, minimal investment.

And so it's all lighthearted fun.

But that's all what they want.

They want intimacy. They want depth. They want the profundity of a relationship. They want to be known and seen.

And you can't have that in casual sex.

In a one-night stand.


So what they do, these people, they use fantasy to compensate for the low level of intimacy in these unsatisfactory, exploitativeand often predatory encounters.

Many people with insecure attachment styles, those who had repeatedly failed in attempted relationships, those who had gone through a dizzying array of pseudo-relationships, they give up on the chase.

They give up on the chase. They settle into a career-centered life of celibacy and self-sufficiency.

Okay, that's the introduction.

Now, today I want to introduce you to a cutting-edge model of attachment known as dynamic, maturational model of attachment and adaptation.

It deals, of course, with relationships and the effect of relationships on human development and human functioning.

It starts with relationships between children and parents and goes all the way to relationships between what they call, what the theory calls, reproductive couples.

It's an extension of late work by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.

Bowlby and Ainsworth, especially Ainsworth, Mary and Ainsworth, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.

Mary Ainsworth, in her late work, had transitioned from emphasis on attachment, safe base, love.

She had transitioned from this to emphasis on danger.

Mary Ainsworth was the first to introduce the concept of danger, life's many dangers, and how the dangers of life drive adaptation.

All kinds of adaptations, one of them is attachment.

But DMM, I remind you, the dynamic, maturational model of attachment and adaptation.

Yes, DMM from now on.

DMM was initially put together, coalesced in the work of Patricia McKinsey Crittenden, C-R-I-T-T-E-N-D-E-N.

Patricia McKinsey Crittenden.

She had many colleagues, she collaborated with many other scholarslike Delala, Angelica Claussen, Andrea Landini, who had written a book much later, Steve Furstfield and Susan Speaker and many others.

The DMM's main tenet is that exposure to danger drives neural development and adaptation in order to promote survivaland that the greatest dangers are in relationships.

The problem is that people with insecure attachment styles perceive dangers in relationships even when there are none. They perceive the relationship itself as a danger and the intimacy in the relationship as a catastrophe.

Sothey are threatened not by something that happens in the relationship, not by some developments, not by some events, or not by the choices and decisions of their partners. They are threatened by the very existence, factual existence of the relationship.

Being in a relationship in their minds constitutes danger.

Just to clarify something, DMM does not recognize the distinction between secure and insecure attachment styles.

It actually dispenses with the whole idea of attachment styles.

SoI'm conflating, I'm confusing a bit, several attachment theories when I'm talking to you right now, but I'm eclectic. I believe you should take the best from each theory.

You don't need to adhere religiously to a single model.

Sowhen a person needs protection, when a person needs comfort from danger, they go to someone else. They go to another person. They develop protective relationships.

Sowe all develop protective relationships. We perceive dangers in the environment, sometimes in ourselves, but definitely in the environment. We perceive dangers in our relationships, and then we adopt someone else as a protective person.

Both the lines call it special friend.

And sothe protective relationship is very crucial because the nature of the relationship generates relationspecific self-protective strategies.

In other words, relationships dictate the strategies for self-protection, not the other way.

Until recently, until Crichton's work, we thought that relationships, strategies dictate relationships.

Crichton then upended this.

She suggests that relationships actually dictate which strategies are available to us in terms of self-protection.

The DMM describes protective strategies, aspects of parent-child relationships, romantic relationships, relationships between patients, clients, long-term professionals.

I mean, it's very complex and very confounded and a very fascinating theory. And I recommend that you have a look, a deeper look at it in your spare time.


What I would like to focus on today is a lot more pragmatic, a lot more practical.

How does the DMM translate into day-to-day attachment reactions? How can we look at everyone around us and classify them in terms of the various strategies of DMM attachment?

Soto do this, I would like to recap, to recap, perhaps more in layman's terms, I'd like to recap the DMM, the dynamic maturational model of attachment and adaptation, DMM.

It emphasizes the dynamic interaction of the maturation of the human organism across the lifespan with the context in which maturational possibilities are used.

And they are used for three goals, to satisfy three needs, requirements and goals.

Sothe dynamic, the DMM says there is an interaction between people, the interaction between organisms.

This drives neurological development, development of the brain, because the brain is neuroplastic. This development never stops, it's across the lifespan.

Nowthe context, the relationships determine the strategies and the pathways of neural development.

And there are three goals, three aims.

One is to protect the self.

The second one, second goal is to reproduce. And the third goal is to protect one's offspring or progeny.

Sovery simple, protect yourself so that you can reproduce, so that you can protect your children.

Maturation in DMM is neurological, mental, physical, everything, it's an integrated theory of attachmentand it involves the increase in potential during childhood and adulthood, but also the ultimate decrease in old age.

Soit's a lifespan attachment theoryand it deals with a multiplicity of contexts, people and places that affect development, anything from family to school to workplace, etc.

It's a very rich theory.

The context is not limited to the environment, so it's not a strictly environmental theory, because there are attachment theories that attribute attachment reactions and attachment strategies to environmental cues exclusively, not the DMM.

The context in the DMM includes intra, internal challenges, but also interpersonal challenges.

In other words, internal processes, but also processes one has with other people in different periods of the lifespan, infancy, preschool, school age, adolescence, adulthood.

And the outcome of all these complexes, webs, webs of interactions embedded in context and with other people, the outcome of all this is kind of emerging organization.

Again, the DMM does not accept the distinction between disorganised attachment and organised attachment, because the DMM says there's no such thing as disorganised attachment. There's no way to survive without attachmentand there's no way to come up with an attachment strategy if it's not organised.

So the DMM dispense with the idea of disorganised attachment.

But the outcome of the DMM is the organization of mental and behavioral strategies of protection for the self and for one's children, the progeny.

And these are the patterns of attachments.

So the main hypothesis of the DMM is that maturation creates complexity. Maturation creates novelty. Maturation drives us to develop ever newer, ever more novel and complex mental and behavioral processes.

Changes in context provide the occasion and the catalyst for using these processes and giving them rise to these processes.

So there's a need for maturing individuals to attribute meaning. It's an integral part of my work as well.

I think there's nothing more important to people than meaning. Maturing individuals, according to the DMM, need to imbue complex, ambiguous, incomplete and deceptive information with meaning.

So they are busy all the time making sense of what's happening around them and to them and with other people in ways that promote self-protective behavior.

It's the interaction of maturation with experience.

The particular organization of self-protective behavior reflects the strategies and these strategies help the individual to identify, prevent and protect the self from the dangers of particular contexts and particular relationships.

At the same time, it promotes exploration of other people, of aspects of life, of the environment and via introspection of oneself.

Exposure to danger differs by age, differs by person, family, cultural groups, but ultimately the patterns of attachment will reflect individual developmental history, family organization of self-protective strategies and cultural experience with persistent local dangers.

That's the DMM.

You know, the DMM accounts fully for people with insecure attachment styles or people who are incapable of intimacy, love and functional relationships. We'll come to it in a minute.


But to get there, we need to understand that as we grow up, as we move through the life span, as we grow older, we keep accumulating layers upon layers of attachment strategies. And all these attachment strategies are simultaneously functional.

So it would be wrong to reduce any single individual to a single attachment strategy or single attachment pattern or a single attachment theory or style.

Because everyone displays very complex multi-layered archaeological and historical behavior when it comes to relating to other people, to attachment.

Of coursein infancy, the repertory is very limited.

Now, Crittenden adopted Ainsworth ABC classification. Ainsworth came up with three types of attachment strategies or attachment situations following the famous stranger experiment, stranger positions.

So Ainsworth suggested that there's ABC and only B is confident, secure, safe base attachment. A and C are not.

So Crittenden and her collaborators had adopted this ABC classification and they divided attachment strategies to ABC.

So in childhood, we have the first type of attachment strategy we develop is inhibited, socially facile. So this is called A12 strategy.

A12 strategy uses cognitive prediction in the context of very little real threat. It can be described as anticipatory anxiety.

Attachment figures in this inhibited style, attachment figures are idealized by overlooking the negative qualities.

And this is typically what babies do, they overlook mommy's negative qualities.

Because if mommy is a negative figure, if she is bad, a bad object, it's very threatening.

And this is where I part ways with Klein, Melanie Klein.

I disagree with her. I think children tend to idealize the mother.

I think the splitting theory in early object relation schools was totally, totally wrong.

Crittenden agrees.

So in the inhibited attachment style, attachment figures like mommy are idealized by overlooking the negative qualities.

The self is put down a bit.

So to create a cooperative good bed dichotomy, it's a form of dichotomous thinking, splitting.

Most children, most babies, most infants with this inhibited attachment style, A12, they're predictable and responsible. And when they become a doubt, they become predictable and responsible people. They are cool, they're business like.

Type A strategies all rely on inhibition of feelings. They set danger at a psychological distance from the self.

It's like if I don't show you who I am, if I'm inhibited, if I don't lose control, then I can keep the danger at arm's length.

And this strategy is first use at infancy.

Amazingly mothers would describe cold babies with kind of RAD or mild RAD, reactive attachment disorder.


The second strategy is B12.

Again, we are right now in infancy, the first few formative years, let's say zero to four or zero to six.

So the second attachment style that emerges in this infancy phase is B12.

Remember these attachment styles start at infancy, but remain for life. Other attachment styles start in adolescence, in puberty and remain for life.

There is an accrual of attachment styles. And we will come when we wrap up all these, we will come back to the issue of people who cannot have intimacy and relationships.

Why is that?

Okay, so B12 is known as the reserved attachment strategy.

These individuals are a bit more inhibited with regard to negative affect, but are inherently balanced and wellfunctioning. So they are being reserved.

They will not show anger or visible envy or any negative affectivity, but they're essentially balanced.

So B12 is constructive, productive, functional attachment strategy.

B3again in infancy.

The type B strategy involves a balanced integration of temporal prediction with affect.

Let me explain.

Type B individuals show all kinds of behaviors, but they are very similar in that they're able to adapt to a wide variety of situations in ways which are self-protective, protective of their childrenand that as often as possible cause others no harm. So it's a kind of the B strategies are strategies that like live and let live. I protect myself, I protect my children, but I will not do this at your expense.

B people, B type people, they communicate directly, negotiate differences, find mutually satisfactory compromises. They distort cognitive and affective information very little, especially not to themselves. They're not self-deceptive. This is relationship material. These are the good ones, the ones that got away.

Finallypeople with B strategies display a wider range of individual variation than people using other strategies because people using other strategies, they go through a process called constriction. They constrain their functioning. They alter their behavior and their strategies and their choices and their decisions in order to employ their attachment strategy.

B people, people with B strategies don't do this.

This strategy functions in infancy. By adulthood, two sorts of B strategies can be differentiated.

Naive Bs had simply had the good fortune to grow up in safety and security with good enough parenting. Mature Bs have reached neurological maturity, usually by the mid- 30s, have reached neurological maturity. They function in life's major roles, as a spouse, as a parent, someone's child, and they carry out an ongoing process of psychological integration across relationships, roles and contexts.

Naive Bs tend to be simplistic. Mature Bs grapple with life's complexities and nuances, but both of them are very good for relationships. Both of them are very, very healthy attachment strategies.

B4/5 gets a reactive strategy.

These are individuals who exaggerate negative affect, but only a bit. They're a bit sentimental, sometimes they're irritated, but inherently they're still balanced. GenerallyB strategies are balanced.

Now we come to dysfunctional strategies.

Remember that A and C are not safe strategies, not functional, not balanced, not secure, insecure. That's Ainsworth contribution.

So let's now review the C strategies that emerge in childhood and remain for life.

C1/2, threatening, disarming strategy.

It involves relying on one's own feelings to guide behavior. These are the kind of people who say, "I trust my intuition. I'm never wrong." So they would rather trust their gut instincts than any rational analysis and any countervailing information or data.

They have confirmation bias, which is centered on their own grandiose infallibility.

So these people also use somewhat exaggerated and they change displayed negative affect. So they're a bit off the charts, they're a bit out there, and their main aim is to influence other people's behavior.

So what they do, they exaggerate their displayed negative affect or they change it suddenly. That is intermittent reinforcement.

Specifically, the strategy of C1/2 consists of splitting, exaggeratingand alternating the display of mixed negative feelings in order to attract attention and manipulate the feelings and responses of other people.

The alternation is between presentation of a strong, angry, invulnerable self who blames others for any problem, and the appearance of a weak, fearful, invulnerable self who entices others to give succors and protection.

So we have these alternations.

C1/2 is a very normal strategy. It's founding people with low risk for mental health problems and a great zest for life.

So while C1/2 is a manipulative strategy and grounded in some form of grandiosity, it is still highly functional, highly functional for the individual andto some extenthighly functional for the intimate partners of the individual.

So this is the picture in infancy.

Some could say that in infancy, the preponderance of dysfunctional attachment strategies is very low. This child cannot afford to not get attached.

A child whose attachment strategy fails is at risk for her life. It's a question of survival. You need to attach.

Even if you are C type, even if you are A type, which are very bad types, as we will see later on, you still need to attach.

So there's a lot of constraining of negative affectivity, of changeability, of moodlability. There's a lot of constricting and constraining of mental health effects, theoretically, ostensibly.

All these infantile attachment styles can still lead to mature, adult, functional relationships.

But thenwhat happens is most infants tend to grow up. As they grow up, they begin to develop attachment strategieswhich are really, really programmatic for relationships, intimacy, and love.

So let's continue.

Remember all the previous attachment strategies, the infancy ones, they prevail, they continue into preschool.

So in the preschool, in the infancy phase, the parents mediate the effect of the context upon the infant, including the risk to the infant.

The infant perceives risk and develops strategies mediated via his parents. He has no direct access to reality or to the environment.

But in preschool, the child begins to learn safe forms of self-reliance for short periods of time. He's beginning to wander off. He's beginning to, in other words, separate and become an individual, individually.

And so all the previous strategies continue well into preschool and well into the grave, I mean, throughout life.

But new strategies are added.

The first new strategy is A3.

Individuals using this strategy, known as compulsive caregiving, it's actually a strategy first described by Bauwelby in 1973.

So individuals using this strategy rely on predictable contingencies, inhibit negative affect and protect themselves by protecting their attachment figure.

In childhood, these people try to cheer up or care for a sad, withdrawn, depressed, unavailable, vulnerable attachment figure.

In other words, they parentify themselves. They become parent figures to their own attachment figures.

Attachment figures is another name for parents in most cases.

So these children learn that if they want the attachment figure to stick aroundand if they want the attachment figure to function even minimally, they have to parentify, to parent the attachment figure.

So they parentify themselves.

And so they try to cheer up the parental figure. They try to care for the parental figure.

In adulthood, these people usually find employment where they rescue or care for others. They have very strong, saviour, rescuer complexes.

And so they gravitate towards other people who appear weak and needy.

And this is also true in intimate relationships. They fix people, they're fixers, they're healers.

And so they would tend to have this messiah-fixer complex when they come across a potentially intimate partner. "I'm going to fix her. I'm going to make her better. I'm going to heal her with my love."

The precursors of A3 and A4 can be seen even in infancy. It's in the strange situation experiment. It's very clear.

But the strategy only functions fully in preschool years.

And so individuals in this period begin to show signs of this.

NowA3 is where we first encounter promiscuity, casual sex, avoidance of intimacy.

And here is what the literature says.

Individuals with A3 and A4 use a compulsively promiscuous strategy.

This is from, I'm quoting Crittenden, 1995.

They use a compulsively promiscuous strategy to avoid genuine intimacy while maintaining human contact.

So in casual sex, when you're promiscuous, you have human contact, you have a warm body, you have the smells and the taste of a partner.

But it's not real intimacy. It's not genuine intimacy. It's fake. It's like junk food. It's fake. It's passing. It's ephemeral.

And so these people avoid genuine intimacy, says Crittenden, while maintaining human contactand in some cases satisfying sexual desires.

Crittenden says these people with A3, A4 strategy show false positive effect, including sexual desire, to little known people, strangers.

And they protect themselves from rejection by engaging with many people superficially and not getting deeply involved with anyone.

This strategy develops in adolescence when past intimate relationships have been treacherous and strangers appear to offer the only hope of closeness and sexual satisfaction.

It may be displayed in socially promiscuous manner that does not involve sexualityor in more serious casesas sexual promiscuity.

Crittenden regards sexual promiscuity as an extreme sign of attachment dysfunction.

And so do I.

And I'm not talking about agentic promiscuity, which is basically an empowered choice. I'm talking about compulsive promiscuity that involves sexual self-trashing, masochistic, self-defeating, self-destructive, reckless behaviors.

Now, A4, compulsively compliant individualswere actually first described by Crittenden and Delala in 1988.

They try to prevent danger. They inhibit negative affect and they protect themselves by doing what attachment figures want them to do. They are people pleasers, co-dependence.

If the attachment figure is angry and threatening, the compliance level goes up, the attempts of people please escalate.

These A4 characters tend to be excessively vigilant, hypervigilant, quick to anticipate and meet other people's wishesand generally agitated and anxious.

The anxiety, however, is ignored and downplayed by the individual and often is somatized. It appears in bodily symptoms that are brushed aside as being unimportant.

These A3 and A4 emerge in preschool and remain for life.

And so during preschool period, we have the A3, A4, but we also have the C3 and C4.

The C3,4, aggressive, feigned, helpless.

It's a strategy that involves alternating aggression with apparent helplessness to cause other people to comply out of fear of being attackedor to cause people to assist out of fear that one cannot care for oneself.

So it's dual messaging. It's like a mixed signal.

I'm going to attack you so you better comply. You better do what I want you to do. You better cater to my needs. And if not, then I'm going to destroy myself. I'm going to victimize myself because I'm helpless and I can't do otherwise.

So you need to help me. You need to help me because I cannot care for myself.

So there's an alternation between these two, this aggression and learned or feigned helplessness.

Individuals using C3, which is the aggressive variant, emphasize their anger in order to demand caregivers compliance.

And those using the C4 feigned helplessness, which is a form of aggression, of course.

Codependency involves emotional blackmail. It's aggression.

So C4 feigned helplessness.

These people give signals of incompetence, inadequacy, submission, need, extreme neediness.

The angry presentation, C3elicits compliance and guilt in other people.

Whereas the vulnerable presentation, C4elicits rescue, saving, fixing, healing.

Nowagain, you can see all these behaviors in infancy, but the strategy only functions, only blossoms, flourishes in preschool years and later.

And thenof course, after preschool, what do we have?

School age.

In school age, people establish symmetrical attachments with best friends, for example, while concurrently maintaining affiliative peer relationships.

So it's all about peers. The reference group is peersand peers have a much bigger influence than, for example, parental figures or teachers or even role models or celebrities.

During school years, again, we have all the previous attachment strategies.

I repeat again, previous attachment strategies developed earlier in life, persist and survive into death throughout the lifespan.

So in school years, we have everything we had before, but a new strategy emerges and it's known as C5/6.

It's an extreme form of C3/4. It involves active deception to carry out the revenge or illicit rescue. It's about revenge and rescue.

Individuals using this strategy substantially distort information, particularly blaming others for their own predicament and heightening their own negative effect.

The outcome is more enduring and less resolvable struggle or conflict.

People using C5, which is the punitive strategy, they're called the deceptive, the distant, the self-control. They're much more so than people who use C3.

These people appear invulnerable. They dismiss other people's perspectives while forcing other people to attend to them and they mislead other people regarding their own inner feelings of helplessness and desire for comfort.

So it's a facade. It's a compensatory thing and it's very reminiscent, of course, of grandiose narcissism or overt narcissism.

Individuals using the C6, which is seductive, this strategy, they give the appearance of needing rescue from dangerous circumstances that are in fact self-induced.

C6 individuals mislead other people regarding how angry they areand this alternating pattern is often seen in bully victim pairs with gangs and in violent couples where the hidden half of the pattern is usually forgotten or forgiven until the presentation reverses.

And this strategy develops during the school years, but actually it doesn't function fully until adolescence, which is the next stage in the lifespan.

In adolescence, we transform best friend attachments into romantic reciprocal attachments with the sexual component.

It's here where the failure starts.

Herepeople who are incapable of love, romantic attachments, intimacy and relationships, here they treat in adolescence.

So in adolescence, again, we have all the previous attachment strategies, A1, A2, A3, A4 and so on and so forth. We have all the previous strategies, but we have a few new ones.

So we have A5.

A5 individuals use a compulsively promiscuous strategy.

And so I mentioned it before, and so A5 blossoms in adolescence.

It is where it starts to manifest really powerfully and becomes the dominant attachment strategy for life.

People say, well, people can change. You shouldn't inquire too deeply into the past history of your partner. What matters is how your partner is behaving with you now.

That's nonsense. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

And certain things never change.

For example, attachment strategies and attachment styles.

So you need to inquire really, really deeply into the background of your partner, sexual history, relationship history, intimacy skills, relationship outcomes, infidelityif there was any, etc.

You need to do all this because it's going to repeat itself.

We know, for example, that people who were cheated once are three to five times more likely to cheat again.

We even know that people who had been cheated on are far more likely to be cheated on again.

It's all pretty predictable. We're pretty predictable people.

So this is the strategies that are described here are very, very important.

They're very important because they give you the tools to classify your potential intimate partnerand of courseto classify yourself.

And so if you do that, you're able to predict with a large degree of accuracywhat's going to happen.

So A5 individuals are similar to previous attachment style that I had mentionedand it's a compulsively self-reliant strategy.

As I said, it's intended to avoid genuine intimacy and so on.

But A6 is a really new layer, a really new strategy which emerges in adolescence.

It was first described by Bawilby, who else in 1980.

Individuals who use A6, it's a compulsively self-reliant strategy.

These people don't trust other people. They regard other people as unpredictable in their demands. They find themselves inadequate in meeting these demands.

So they both, they avoid other people in their demands because they think the demands would be capricious and arbitraryand also they don't believe that they are adequate to answer these demands.

People with A6 inhibit negative affect. They protect themselves by relying on no one other than themselves.

They're totally self-sufficient and self-contained, they expect nothing from others. They never ask for help. They reject advice as an intrusion, as an imposition.

This protects themselves from other peoplebut at the cost of lost help, lost advice, lost comfort, support and assistance. It's a big loss.

It's not a very wise or clever trade-off and it's very defensive.

Actually the A6 strategy develops in other lessons after individuals have discovered that they cannot regulate the behavior of important but dangerous or non-protective caregivers.

So these people withdraw from close relationships as soon as they are old enough to care for themselves.

There is a social form of strategy in which individuals function adaptively in social and work contexts but are distant when intimacy is expected in an isolated form.

Some people function perfectly in their careers, in their workplacesbut when intimacy is involved their calmness, detachment, avoidance, withdrawal render it impossible for them to connect.

There's another form in which individuals, A6 individualscannot manage any interpersonal relationship and then withdraw as much as possible from other people totally to the point of celibacy and schizoid kind of solitude.

So this emerges in adolescence.

A6 emerges in adolescence and many of these adolescents are sometimes misdiagnosed as schizotypal or they are the weirdos of the class and they are mocked and outcast, they are excommunicated, they are ostracized, they are ridiculed and so on and so forth.

And they remain like this for life.


Finally we reach adulthood, most of us.

We reach adulthood where we establish symmetrical and reciprocal spousal romantic attachments that foster both partners' development.

And there is the nurturance of children in non-reciprocal and non-symmetrical attachment relationships in which the adult is the attachment figure.

So we play a dual role. We play a role of an equal with our intimate partner and a role of an attachment figure which is again non-symmetrical with our children if we have any.

All the previous attachment strategies are active very much and in play including many of them who preclude intimacy, love and relationship make them impossible.

But there are a few additional layers, few additional strategies that emerge only in adulthood.

A7, delusionally idealizing individuals. It's a late edition.

Crittenden first described it in 2000.

These people have had repeated experience with severe danger that they cannot predict or control.

They display brittle false positive effect and protect themselves by imagining that their powerless or hostile attachment figures will protect them.

This is a very desperate strategy of believing falsely in safety when no efforts are likely to reduce the danger.

It's a kind of hostage syndrome.

Paradoxically the appearances of these people, of A7 people, their appearance is generally pleasing and there's no hint of the fear and trauma that lie behind the nice exterior until circumstances produce a breaking functioning.

They suddenly collapse mentally.

This pattern only develops in adulthood which says a lot about the kind of adulthood that modern people have.


A8, externally assembled self, also described for the first time by Crittenden in 2000.

So people with A8 attachment strategy do as other people require.

They are people pleasers. They have few genuine feelings of their own and they try to protect themselves by absolute reliance on other people, usually professionals who replace their absent or endangering attachment figures.

So Minkhausen syndrome and Minkhausen by proxy syndrome may be an extension of this.

Both A7 and A8 are associated with pervasive and sadistic early abuse and neglect.

Finally leads us to psychopathy.

Psychopathy emerges in adulthood and it's known as the A+ C+ strategy or AC strategies.

They combine the sub-patterns of both A and C, like it's the best of both worlds.

In practice, most of these people have distorted patterns.

For example, A3, C3, C4 is higher, this kind of thing.

Individuals using these strategies display very sudden shifts in behavior. They're very impulsive, they're very defiant and reckless.

In the cases of blended strategies, they show very subtle mixing of distortion and deception.

The extreme form of this is of course psychopathy.

So if you have a look, if you review, if you listen back to this recording, you will reach the very sad conclusion that a majority of attachment strategies are focused around fending off danger, protecting oneself and therefore they are not very conducive to intimacy, love and relationships.

Finally there's C778, menacing paranoid.

It's the most extreme of type C strategies. It involves a willingness to attack anyone combined with the fear of everyone.

Type C strategies all involve distrust of consequences and an excessive reliance on one's own gut feelings.

At the extreme, this pattern becomes delusional with delusions of infinite revenge over ubiquitous enemies, the menacing strategy C7.

On the reverse side, there's paranoia regarding these enemies, C8, and these two strategies do not become organized before early adulthood.

Reviewing these attachment strategies tells us that when we attempt true intimacy, true love and abiding functional relationships, we have to overcome many, many layers of disturbed attachment strategies.

Adjourning these attachment strategies that lead to fear, danger, avoidance, withdrawal, negative affectivity or self-denial is a deception.

It is not, therefore, surprising that so many of us fail in our quest to find warmth, acceptance and a friend, a friend for life, and even the most basic and primitive of all needs and desires, six.

This lesson is titled, "So, Can You Change Your Attachment Style?" And here is the lecture.

The answer is no.

Thank you very much for listening and see you in my next video.

Just yanking your chain, just pulling your leg.

Cool it.

Did you ever hear of a lecture of mine which is less than seven hours?

I compete very closely with Fidel Castro, the late Fidel Castro.

Okay, Shoshanim, today we are going to discuss the stability of attachment styles.

When you finally develop and adopt an attachment style, which is usually right around the end of childhood, the beginning of adolescence, is this attachment style for life?

Is it going to be with you for the entire lifespan?

Is there nothing you can do about it?

In one word, yes, there's nothing you can do about it.

Attachment style, also known as attachment orientation in some other models of attachment and adaptation like the DMM, attachment style and attachment orientation are for life. They're immutable. We call it stability. They're stable.

But there's a lot you can do about it.

You can, for example, neutralize your attachment style.

If you find your attachment style unacceptable, dysfunctional, if it damages your relationships, if it harms you personally, if you're uncomfortable with it, if you're egodystonic, you can absolutely neutralize your attachment style.

You can modify your attachment behaviors. You can become self-aware and then prevent or negate a misconduct emanating from your attachment style.

So there's a lot you can do. You can even modify your internal relationship model, which is part of your internal working model.

Now, we're going to discuss all these issues today, and we're going to do a literature review, very extensive literature review.

But in a nutshell, while you cannot change, I repeat, you cannot change your attachment style or attachment orientation. You can change many components in your attachment style and the behaviors attendant upon your attachment style.

So hope is not lost.

On the very contrary, people overcome insecure attachment, and they succeed to function well within long-term committed relationships, even though underlying all this is an attachment style, which is self-defeating, self-destructive, and other destructive attachment style, which pushes people away.

Attachment style, which is essentially founded on a dread of intimacy.

Nevermind how bad your attachment style is, and for example, avoidant dismissive is a seriously dysfunctional attachment style.

Nevermind. You can always overcome it by being self-aware, modifying your behavior, modify your internal working model, and working together with therapists and with your partners.


Okay, let's get to business, and let's start by saying that 70% of people can't change anything about their attachment style. And that's a sad statistic.

But the flip side of it is that 30% of people, up to 46%, depending on the study, but usually 30% of people can and do change substantial components and ingredients of their attachment style and orientation to the point that effectively they are transforming their attachment or the way they attach to other people. They are transforming their bonding. Attachment behaviors and internal relationship models do change in 30% of people.

An internal relationship model is an interaction model between a child and his caregivers.

When the child has experiences with the caregivers, usually parental figures and more specifically the mother, he internalizes these interactions and he creates a narrative that incorporates them and makes sense of these exchanges.

And this is known as the model.

The internal relationship model becomes a part of the self.

The internal relationship model is a subspecies, an example of an internal working model, and we will discuss internal working model at the end of this interminable lecture.

The relationship between a person's inner parent and inner child is supposed to be harmonious. They're supposed to love each other.

And so the more you have been loved and the better you have been treated, the more your model internal working model, internal relationship model approximates functionality. The better this model is for you and with you.

But if the relationship between your inner parent and inner child is pathological in some way, if you have had what Andrei Green called a dead mother, an absent, selfish, depressed, parentifying mother, then you would have a lot of rage and a lot of hatred bottled up inside you. And then the more you are loved, the more this rage and hatred are going to manifest.

You had learned as a child to associate love with pain and hurt.

And so anyone who tries to love you is a persecutory object, a potential enemy.

All important external relationships are extensions and projections of internal relationship models.

The more important the external relationship, the more intimate it is, the more powerful the inner relationship model is projected and activated.

So the more you are terrified of intimacy and love, the more hateful, resentful and aggressive you are when someone tries to love you and when you become intimate.

We're going to discuss all this when we talk about the internal working model.

The internal working model of attachment is a mental representation formed through the child's early experiences with the primary caregiver.

And this mental representation influences how the child interacts and builds relationships with other people as the child grows up.

We call this process object relations.

It also explains the differences in human behaviors among people that will not go into it.


Now, what can you do about your attachment style or attachment orientation?

This is something you had received as a legacy in childhood and then you start with it for life.

Yes, you can't control your attachment style and you can't change it. Never mind what people say.

But what you can do, you can definitely modify your behaviors.

You can become self-aware. You're an adult now.

So you can realize that your behaviors are counterproductive, destructive, self-defeating and other-defeating, hurtful, and push people away.

So you can modify these behaviors to counter the effects of the attachment style, to neutralize the attachment style.

Also, you can modulate the intensity of your attachment orientation or attachment style.

You can tell yourself, literally tell yourself, "I'm being avoidant now. I'm being dismissive. I'm being paranoid. And I'm going to control this. I'm going to take hold of myself. I'm going to regain control. I'm going to become self-aware and I'm going to tamp down these bad behaviors, behaviors that make me and people around me sad and mad and sometimes bad.

So I'm going to change the way I interact with people.

Deep inside, for example, I'm uncomfortable with intimacy because I have an avoidant attachment style.

So intimacy frightens me. Intimacy terrifies me deep inside, but I'm going to force myself to be intimate with someone I trust. And I'm not going to undermine the intimacy. And I'm not going to do crazy things like cheating or stealing or lying so that I maintain the intimacy. I'm going to go through with it. I'm going to be brave. I'm going to be a big boy or a big girl.

So the intensity, the intensity can be modulated. And it's very important because once the intensity is brought down, the attachment style becomes a lot more secure, even if internally it's exactly the opposite.

The changes in intensity, in behaviors, and in the internal working models are brought on and mediated via qualitative relationships or the quality of relationships.

If you have a series of good relationships, healthy, loving, caring relationships with empathic people, you will likely take more risks in future relationships.

So ipso facto by definition, you will have become more secure even if your internal style is immutable.

The same outwardly, behaviorally, you'll become more secure.

But if you're exposed to abuse, to bullying, to intermittent reinforcement, if you had a succession of partners who broke your heart and dismissed you and humiliated you and rejected you, then of course you may develop avoidance even if your attachment style is basically secure.

In other words, you can be, you can be conditioned to some extent and your behavior can be modified.

So quality of relationships.

Then there's an issue of trauma.

If you experience trauma, it tends to change the way your attachment style is expressed, now that's a very important distinction.

Attachment styles can be expressed in myriad ways.

And so you could have the same attachment style from cradle to grave and you'd behave very differently in different periods of your life because you're expressing the attachment style, the underlying attachment style very differently.

So trauma changes the expression of attachment style.

Therapy, a good therapist.

If it's a psychodynamic therapist using transference and countertransference, if it's a CBT therapist using reframing and other CBT techniques, but a good therapist, a therapist who provides you with a holding environment, a containing environment, a therapist who provides you within essence, unconditional acceptance in a way. Such a therapist can induce massive changes in you. It can be a proxy for or a surrogate for an intimate relationship, kind of a bridge.

So therapy is very crucial.

If you have a personality disorder, that's a very bad prognosticator. It means that your attachment style is extremely likely to be deficient, dysfunctional and insecure.

Narcissists, for example, people with narcissistic personality disorder, people with borderline personality disorder, let alone psychopaths, they all have severe attachment dysfunctions because they're incapable of perceiving other people as separate entities with their own needs and wishes and preferences and priorities.

So they are unable to relate to other people as external objects.

The psychopath treats other people as instruments. The borderline treats other people as external regulators over ego functions, the boundary, ego boundary functions.

The narcissist treats other people as sources of narcissistic supply.

This is not a bad ground. This is not the right ground for attachment. This is wrong soil.

No attachment is going to grow there.

So personality disorders.

And finally, life crisis. Life crisis can induce an apparent change in personality orientation, which is actually a change in behavior, not in orientation.

We're going to delve in the second half of the lecture, we're going to delve into the issue of internal relationship models, internal working models, and how they can be modified.


But I promised you a literature review, a boring literature review, and I'm a man of my word. Plus, it's a pleasure to torture you.

All right, Shoshanim.

We start with a very recent article, "Chopik, Edelstein, and Green, 2019."

The article is titled, "Longitudinal changes in attachment orientation over a 59- year period." It was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, volume 116, of course.

I'm going to read to you the abstract.

Research on individual differences in attachment and their links to emotion, cognition, and behavior in close relationships has proliferated over the last few decades.

However, the majority of this research has focused on children and young adults.

Little is known about mean level changes in attachment orientation beyond early life, in part due to a dearth of longitudinal data on attachment across the lifespan.

We found, say the authors, we found that attachment anxiety declined on average with age, particularly during middle age and older adulthood.

So they're talking about intensity.

Yes, intensity declines with age, which is, by the way, very true for a variety of other traits, personality traits, and a variety of other mental health disorders.

Psychopathy ameliorates with age, anxiety ameliorates with age, narcissism changes with age, borderline personality disorder disappears with age. Age has something to do with all this.

And attachment style or attachment orientation is an extensive trait.

In other words, it's a trait that is ubiquitous in all areas of life, in colorsthe entire personality.

So naturally, it should undergo some kind of change with age.

They continue, the authors continue, attachment avoidance decreased in a linear fashion across the lifespan, being in a relationship, predicted lower levels of anxiety and avoidance across adulthood.

Men were higher in attachment avoidance at each point in the lifespan.

You don't say.

Okay, now back in time, 25 years, we go to an article titled Attachment styles and close relationships: A fouryear prospective study.

It was authored by Lee Kirkpatrick and Cindy Hazan. It was first published in June 1994 in the Journal Personal Relationships, the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research.

Again, I'm going to quote from each article, we'll pick up segments from each article, and I'm going to read them aloud to you.

Mainly because I'm lazy.

Okay, here's what this article says.

A longitudinal study of 177 adults examining the stability of adult attachment styles and of romantic relationships over a fouryear period.

Findings included the following.

Attachment styles were highly stable over time. I told you so.

Attachment style was a significant predictor of relationship status.

This effect was mediated by concurrent attachment style.

In other words, attachment style modulation or modification.

D, secure respondents were less likely than insecure respondents to report one or more breakups during the fouryear interval.

But paradoxically, ambivalent respondents were just as likely as secure respondents to be in a relationship with the same partner they identified four years earlier.

And D, attachment stability was moderated to some extent by the experience of breakup or initiation of a new relationship during the interim.

Respondents' ability to recall their previous attachment style was also examined.

And so what this, at the time, groundbreaking article discovered was that attachment style is stable across a lifespan but can be modulated, can be extensively modulated actually by having a relationship.

As simple as that.

Now we go forward to 2011to a very important article, seminal article.

It was published in the Australian, believe it or not, Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, the research I think, volume 11.

It's a new academic journal but of high standard.

So the article is titled, "Attachment across the Life Span: Factors that Contribute to Stability and Change." It was authored by Megan McConnell of McGill University in Canada and Ellen Moss of the Université de Québec in Montreal.

So again, I'm going to quote from the article, but this time I'm going to quote extensively because it's, in my view, the best review of attachment literature, extends to this very day.

So here's what the authors say.

"A number of studies have examined continuity of attachment from infancy to adolescence and adulthood in both low and high-risk samples."

I'm referring here to Hamilton, 2000, Waters-Merrick, Treboux, Crowell and Albesheim, 2000, Lewis, Firing and Rossentine, 2000, Weinfeld, Swofford and Eagland, 2000. 2000 was a vintage year for attachment studies.

So continuity from infancy to adolescence to adulthood was studied in all, was investigated in all these studies.

"Resets from these studies," say the authors, "have indicated that factors such as divorce, single parenthood, life-threatening illnesses within the family, parental drug abuse, death of a family member and other negative life events were all indicative of change to attachment insecurity.

As I said before, life crises have an effect, modulating effect on the intensity of the underlying attachment style.

In addition to the longitudinal studies, continually the authors, in addition to these studies, looking at attachment stability, the research on this topic has expanded over the last two decades, as investigators have examined continuity and discontinuity across particular developmental periods, such as infancy.

And hereI refer you to Baechler-Haim, Sutton-Fox and Marvin, 2000, Eagland and Farber, 1984, Vondra and Shaw, 1999.

Continuity of attachment style had been studied even in early childhood. I refer you to Moss, Cyr, Burong, Tarabulsky and Dubios-Comtois, 2005, and to the NICHD study in 2001.

Many studies dealt with continuity of attachment style in middle childhood and adolescence. Ellen, Mechela, Heine, Koperming, and Jodie, 2004, Amaniti, Van Isendorn, Speranza and Tambelli in 2000, etc., etc.

And finally, there were even studies which went into adulthood and investigated whether attachment styles were stable in adulthood.

And so I refer you to Crowell, Treboux and Waters, 2002, Schaff, Bartholomew, 1994, Jung, La Bois-Viech, 2004.

Okay, so this is a literature review.

You see that there are dozens of studies which had dealt with the issue of stability of attachment style across a lifespan.

And the authors of the article that was published in the Australian Journal say, "These studies have also identified variables such as stressful life events, family risk, and depression as predictive of change from security to insecurity or disorganization."

And they refer to studies by Ellen, Mechaela, Heine, Koperming, and Jodi, 2004, which I mentioned before, Balchaim, Stappen-Fox and Marvin study, 2000, Moss, Cyr, Burong, Tarabulski, Dubois-Contois, 2005, the studies that I mentioned.


Okay, where are we going with all this?

What are the authors trying to say?

First, they qualify.

They say there have been fewer findings regarding the factors that contribute to stable security or change from insecurity to security.

Of the studies that have succeeded in discovering results related to the trajectory towards security, variables such as relationship satisfaction, greater emotional openness, and fewer negative life events have been found to be related to change towards attachment security.

And they refer to studies by Egland and Faber, 1984, and Vondra, 1999.

Currently say the author, "There's a paucity of literature integrating all the findings on attachment stability. There are no reviews that have examined the literature and attachment stability across their lifespan.

The conclusion of the article is this.

In summary, this review documents the variables that influence stability and change in attachment across the developmental periods of infancy, preschool, adolescence, and adulthood, and between infancy and adolescence and adulthood.

This paper provides a unique contribution to the literature and attachment stability by identifying the specific developmental factors that influence continuity and discontinuity across the lifespan.

Additionally, variables that are influential in predicting stable security and change to security were examined.

In infancy, variables such as maternal depression, antisocial behavior, maternal employment, child- rearing methods, etc., seem to have more of an influence in predicting stability and change in attachment across infancysince they directly impact caregiving behavior.

And since the attachment relationship is in the process of formation during infancy, variables that directly alter caregiving behavior have a significant impact on the attachment relationship.

Additionally, say the authors, external factors such as negative life events and factors that operate within the marital relationship such as relationship satisfaction also influence stability and change in attachment style during this developmental period.

Therefore, factors that influence maternal behavior directly as well as factors that stem from the environment and within the family, the all-important predictors of stabilityand change during infancy.

During early childhood, maternal factors appear to play less of a role in predicting stability and change in attachment.

But there are still associations between some caregiving behaviors such as maternal sensitivity and change in attachment classification.

Factors such as negative life events, marital satisfaction, and more than 10 hours a week in child care are just as influential in predicting stability and change in attachment during this period of early childhood.

This makes sense given that developmentallythe preschool child is more capable of interacting with their environment and less restricted to proximity-seeking behavior.

Across the period of adolescence, factors related to identity and communication in family interactionsas well as depressionplay a role in predicting stability and change during adolescence.

There are important issues that adolescents often struggle withand it seems appropriate that they would be influential in affecting the course of the parent-child relationship during this period.

Negative life events were also shown to predict stability and change during this time of adolescence, indicating that external factors continue to operate in ways that alter or stabilize the parent-child relationship.

In adulthood, variables such as coping, well-being, and environmental stress all influence stability and change in attachment relationships with parents or partners during this period.

It seems that factors which are more prevalent for adultssuch as coping and well-beinghave a greater impact on attachment relationships with either a parent or a partner.

These variablesalong with those which are external, such as environmental stress, work together to either sustain or modify attachment relationships.

In regard to stability from infancy to adolescence to adulthood, negative life events stand out as the strongest predictor in influencing change to insecurity in attachment relationships over time.

Events such as the loss of a parent or family member, parental divorce, living in poverty, parental hospitalization, oral abuse, or significantly alter caregiving behavior and dynamics within the family. Those factors that maintain stability or predict change to security in attachment relationships over time are less clear.

What is clear, however, is that experiencing a negative life event has a dramatic effect on the quality of the parent-child relationship, and this will likely set the stage for other maladictive outcomes for the child later in life.

I've read the whole very long article, I think it was about 30-something pages, and what the authors are actually saying is that sometimes after adverse childhood experiences, ACE, and negative life events or life crises, sometimes people develop insecurity or increased insecurity, but we don't know whether people transition from insecurity to security, and if so, what causes it. It's as simple as that.

So it's easy to become less secure. We have not proper documentation of cases where people became more secure.

And even in transition from secure to insecure, this is usually in the margins and usually temporary.

And so it looks much more like a modification of behaviors, intensity, and the internal working model than anything fundamental because people afterwards default to the original attachment style.

So yes, attachment styles can be suspended, can be modified to some extent, they can be played with, they can be neutralized, but there is no proof at this stage in any study that attachment styles, one attachment style disappears and another one appears.

And it's a god-awful confusion between attachment styles, attachment behaviors, and internal relationship models.

Let's go to another article, 1997. Why does attachment style change? J. De Villa, D. Burge, and C. Hammen. It was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, October, 1997.

Again, I'm going to read to you the abstract. "Attachment research has proceeded on the assumption that attachment style is relatively stable and affects future functioning.

However, researchers have become interested in attachment instability, mind you, not change, instability.

I repeat, "However, researchers have become interested in attachment instability and predictors of attachment style change.

In this article, two conceptualizations of attachment style change were examined.

Attachment style change is a reaction to current circumstances, and attachment style change is an individual difference in susceptibility to change that is associated with stable vulnerability factors.

A total of 155 women were assessed after high school graduation and six months and two years later. Results primarily supported the conceptualization of attachment style change as an individual difference.

Specifically, some women may be prone to attachment fluctuations, not change, fluctuations because of adverse earlier experiences.

As I said, bad relationships, abuse, trauma.

And women who show attachment fluctuations, say the authors, are similar to women with stably insecure attachments.

In other words, some women who are vulnerable, susceptible, who had gone through bad life experiences, these women show fluctuations in their attachment style, but these fluctuations are indistinguishable from a stable insecure attachment.


Okay, we proceed.

From the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Review, a 2017 article Revising Working Models Across Time: Relationship Situations That Enhance Attachment Security. The authors are Aaviaga, Kumashiro, Simpsonand others. It was published in June 2017.

Now, this is a very interesting article because it is among the first to link attachment fluctuations or attachment instability with internal working models.

The authors propose the attachment security enhancement model, ASEM, Attachment Security Enhancement Model, to suggest how romantic relationships can promote chronic attachment security.

One part of the ASEM examines partner responses that protect relationships from the erosive effects of immediate insecurity, but such responses may not necessarily address underlying insecurities in a person's mental models.

This is a very important distinction.

What the authors are saying is, if you have a good partner, a loving, caring and supportive partner, the expression of your insecure attachment style can be mitigated and ameliorated.

Outwardly, you will appear to be more secure, but it has nothing to do. I repeat, it does not necessarily address underlying insecurities in the person's mental models.

So the insecurity is still there, the attachment style is stable, the working model is unchanged, but you trust your partner, your partner loves you, cares for you, and you let go.

By letting go, you appear to be more secure. But it's not real security because it's actually relegating several ego boundary functions to the partner.

This is what many borderlines do.

In this kind of situation, it's like the person with the insecure attachment style says, "Okay, I'm going to let you secure my attachment style. You will be my attachment style."

He's telling the intimate partner, "I trust you, I believe in you, I know you love me, so I'm going to let you dictate how I am to behave in this attachment relationship."

The intimate partner kind of regulates the fluctuations of the insecure attachment style.

I continue with the article, the author states, "Therefore, a second part of the ASEM, and to remind you, ASEM is attachment security enhancement model. So a second part of the ASEM examines relationship situations that foster more secure mental models. Both parts may work in tandem.

We posit that attachment anxiety should decline most in situations that foster greater personal confidence and more secure mental models of the self.

In contrast, attachment avoidance should decline most in situations that involve positive dependence and foster more secure models of close others.

Which is a fancy way of saying what I just said.

The ASEM integrates research and theory, suggests novel directions, etc.

That's the propaganda bit.

Let's go really back to the founding fathers of the whole thing, Bowlby, Bartholomew, Horowitz, and others.

I'm going to read to you the abstract of a very, very ancient article, 1991, Bartholomew and Horowitz, "Attachment styles among young adults: a test of a four- category model, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Volume 61.

Here's the abstract. "A new four-group model of attachment styles in adulthood is proposed. Four prototypic attachment patterns are defined using combinations of a person's self-image, positive or negative, any image of others, positive or negative.

In Study 1, an interview was developed to yield continuous and categorical ratings of the four attachment styles.

Intercorrelations of the attachment ratings were consistent with the proposed model. Attachment ratings were validated by the self-report measures of self-concept and interpersonal function. Each style was associated with a distinct profile of interpersonal problems, according to both self and friend reports.

In Study 2, attachment styles within the family of origin and with peers were assessed independently. The results of Study 1 were replicated.

The proposed model was shown to be applicable to representations of family relations. Attachment styles with peers were correlated with family attachment ratings. So they're stable across environments.

When you see someone who used to be needy and clinging and became avoidant, someone who used to be anxious, preoccupied and avoidant or dismissive and became secure, someone who used to be secure and is suddenly insecure. When you see these things, you say, "Wow, attachment styles are fluid. They're in flux. They change."

But that's not true. We know it's not true because people default after some time to the original attachment style. So what does change?

Because clearly there's a change. Any therapist will tell you. So what does change?

Well, first and foremost, self-awareness. Self-awareness creates a feedback loop that modifies attitude to an attachment.

In attachment, we have three elements, attitude, desire, and behavior. And self-awareness modifies attitude andto some extentdesire.

And this, of course, leads to behavior modification. And the more you behave, the more feedback you get. And the more positive the feedback, the more self-efficacious you feel.

So this gives you an incentive. It incentivizes you to behave in certain ways.

We call this positive reinforcement.

And so this is one trajectory, one way that visible attachment changes.

The other way is by changing the way you see the world. The way you see the world, the way you see yourself, and the way you see yourself in the worldinteracting with other people. And this is known as the internal working model, IWM, internal working model. Like many other things, it was invented by John Bauleby, a brilliant psychiatrist.

He came up with the theory of attachment, later modified by Mary Ainsworth and others.

I recommend to you to watch my videos on attachment, including the latest one about DMM.

But John Bauleby's theory of attachment asserted that infants are born programmed to seek connection and proximity to caretakers because they need to survive. They need to create an attachment bond because otherwise they die. They need food, they need shelter, they need to motivate their mothers and fathers to take care of them. Smiling, crying, these are all signals, bonding signals, attachment signals.

Over time, children learn to internalize the whole process of attachment. And they use these base relationships with primary objects, primary caregivers. They use these base relationships and they form a kind of narrative or script or prototype. And this becomes the template upon which they construct all future intimate relationships. Honestly, all future relationships, not all intimate.

And this prototype, the prototypical relationship, it's a kind of an archetype. It's a set of archetypes and it's called the internal working model. It's very symbolic. It's highly symbolic. It consists of how the child interprets and responds to the caregiver's behaviors.

The child forms an expectation and then he uses the expectation to plan and to decide on acting and then he acts and then gets feedback. And the feedback modulates and modifies his behavior. It's kind of a loop.

And so internal working models are very, very significant, very important in developmental psychology, in child development, because they're kind of inner navigation system, in a guidance system. All future behavior is literally dictated by the internal working model.

If you have a view of the world that is hostile and dangerous, it's one thing. And if you have a view of the world that most people are good, you will have a different life.

Internal working models influence emotions, behaviors, cognitions, interactions with others, expectations about relationships, you name it. These are models of the whole world. It's a model of the world. It's a theory of the world. Like we have a theory of mind. Theory of mind is we're trying to decipher what makes people tick, what people are thinking. So theory of the world is the internal working model.

These models operate outside of conscious awareness. That's why they're so powerful. They unconsciously direct the attention and the behaviors in relationships.

Internal working models are dynamic. Don't misunderstand me. They're not set in stone. They are dynamic. They can change under certain conditions. They tend to remain stable over time, but as opposed to attachment style, they are amenable to change. And very often they do change, of course, with experience, with information. So they change. And they're so powerful that they change, they affect behavior.

And they say, "Oh, you see, the attachment style changed." No. The behavior change within attachment relationships, the behaviors within attached relationships had to change because the model has been modified and is now dictating different expectations and different behaviors.

It's the quality of the parent child in early life has huge effect on future relationships.


Bauleby says that babies start to form internal working models in early childhood around the age of three. In early infancy, these models are available only for the recognition of the attachment figures and short term anticipation, of course. They're very kind of animalistic or binary things.

But then the child evolves.

This memory creates identity. All kinds of cognitions are linked together. And then they're linked, they're connected to emotions and feelings.

And so the model becomes much more complex and more enriched. And these models become general mental representations of other people and of yourself, of oneself.

You suddenly have a model of yourself and you have a model of other people. It's the same model.

And then you put the two parts together and suddenly there's an interaction, like sparks in a plug, you know, suddenly there's an interaction like two magnets, if you wish, attracting each other. Two parts of the model are indistinguishable. If you modify one part, for example, how you see other people, you modify the other part, how you see yourself and vice versa. That's why personal experience constantly alters, changes the internal working model and experiences you've had with other people more so.

In adulthood, this representation, this internal working model affects everything in your life, your thoughts, your feelings, behavior, human relationship, but especially love relationships, which tend to replicate the first love you ever had, love of mummy.

An internal working model of the self arises exactly because you are interacting with other people. It's relational. That's why the very concept of individual, the concept of individual, the concept of personality are highly suspect because the internal model that represents you, the internal model that is you, is totally dependent on interactions with others, starting with very intimate and close others like mummy, daddy.

A child derives beliefs about how acceptable the self is through the gaze of the primary caregiver. He judges himself by how responsive they are to him. A child whose caregiver responds reliably, predictably, lovingly, embracingly, empathically. This kind of child develops a representation of the self. It's lovable, acceptable, worthwhile. He has what you can call a positive self-image.

These children see mother and father and whatever attachment figure there is, they see them as a secure base, a safe base that they can turn to whenever in trouble, whenever in doubt. These attachment figures represent safety.

But imagine that you grow up with an inconsistent to unresponsive attachment figure and then you develop a view of yourself as unacceptable, unworthy, unlovable. It's just a negative self-image and low self-esteem.

And the lack of attachment security means that you don't believe that your caretaker is accessible for safety and comfort. So you have to either refer to yourself, which creates narcissism, or excessively rely on others, which creates all the varieties of codependency.

Researchers have identified four attachment styles in adults, according to different combinations of these inner working models of self and others.

This secure attachment, a securely attached person possesses a positive sense of worthiness and the expectation that other people are generally accepting and responsive.

There's a preoccupied attachment, that kind of person has a sense of unworthiness, but a positive evaluation of others. The person strives to be accepted and valued by other people.

Then there is the fearful avoidant attachment. It's a person who has a sense of unworthiness and expectation to be rejected by others who are untrustworthy. This kind of person protects himself from anticipated rejection and abandonment by avoiding close involvement with others.

And yet they have a strong dependency on others to maintain a positive self-image. So they approach avoid all the time, hot and cold. It's very typical of borderline personality disorder.

And finally, there's the dismissive avoidant attachment. And it's an individual who has a sense of love worthiness. He thinks he's worthy of love, thinks he's lovable, but he has a negative disposition towards other people. And so he protects himself against disappointment. He says, I'm worthy of love, but I'm not going to get it. So he doesn't want to be disappointed.

And what he does, he avoids close relationships. He maintains a sense of independence and invulnerability. I'm self-sufficient. I don't need you go away.

These people are detached or dismissing of attachment and intimacy. And in many ways, they dread intimacy because it results in hurt and rejection.

Attachment styles are not only stable across a lifespan. They're a little like communicable diseases. They can be intergenerationally transmitted.

So if a parent has a working model pattern, if a parent has an attachment style, especially if it's an insecure attachment style, the parent tends to pass it on to his offspring.

There have been studies that show that children have a history of secure attachment at one year old. And they have more adaptive interactions subsequently, not only with parents, but also with peers and with teachers. These children behave in predictable ways, including with their own children when they become parents. So they tend to pass it on.

And similarly, maltreated abused children, they form insecure attachment and they tend to become abusive parents and they create insecure attachment in their own kids. There are many, many studies that show this. And this maltreated, maltreated, maltreating hurt people hurt. Yeah. Maltreated maltreating cycle. It's very striking because you see how the internal working model is formed in early attachment relationships and then carried forward and reenacted in subsequent relationships.

It's what Freud called a repetition compulsion.

So attachment styles are actually stable across generations. That's how stable they are.

However, we are not automatons. We're not robots. We can become self-aware. We can work on our behaviors. We can modify, modify the way we see ourselves and others.

A good therapist will help you with this. A good friend will help you with this.

And a good partner is better than both.

So work on yourself. Try to be less scared of the world and less terrified of yourself. Try to be more vulnerable, more open to the inevitable hurt of loss. It is loss that is the engine of personal growth and personal development. [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] Hello, Svan Panim, Srivavin. This is your favorite professor of psychology, minus the hair. Yes, I have sifted through all your complaints, observations, and goodwill suggestions as to what to do. But I'm afraid this is a hairy situation. And here suit as I am, the only solution is to wait. Time heals everything. And my hair is a strange propensity to grow with time. So there's still hope for you, if not for me. Today, we're going to discuss the God almighty confusion between intimacy, emotions, sex, and attachment.

You see, when we were teaching our young to decouple sex from emotions, to engage in emotionless, meaningless sex, to think of sex as the antithesis, the opposite of intimacy. When we did this, we did them a disservice.

This created an enormous confusion in the minds of the young, as well as in the minds of the old, the minds of laymen, as well as in the minds of scholars, minds of scholars, as to what exactly is the linkage between intimacy, emotions, what's the connection between sex and intimacy, and how does attachment, especially attachment styles, how do they fit into this convoluted picture?

My name is Sam Bhaknin, and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I'm a professor of psychology and your guide into the darkest corners and recesses of the netherworld of the human mind. Stay with me on this tour. So let's start with intimacy.

There is no situation more intimate than psychotherapy.

In psychotherapy, you encounter a relative stranger and you tell him everything about yourself. You tell him your deepest secrets. You share with him your sexual peccadiers and foibles. You seek his advice as to how to conduct your life. There is no equivalent level of intimacy with your spouse or even with your best friends. Your therapist is by far the most intimate person in your life.

Similarly, how many times have you gone to a bar or to a party and you poured your heart out? You're confided in a total stranger, exactly because he is a stranger and you're never going to see him again.

So it seems that intimacy is not necessarily connected to emotions as we were taught to believe early on.

And so intimacy is a state of affairs. It is not a state of mind. Intimacy has nothing to do with emotions. Of course, intimacy can be accompanied by emotions. It can be coupled with emotions.

But there is intimacy without emotions, emotionless intimacy. Someone suggested to call it "called intimacy" and there are emotions which do not lead to intimacy.

For example, negative emotions. But even positive emotions such as love don't necessarily lead to intimacy. They could lead to hurt and pain.

So the connection between intimacy and emotions is spurious. It's wrong. It's not true.

People, for example, can have sex with total strangers without any emotions except maybe some mild affection and modicum of trust.

But trust is not an emotion.

And there is a big debate whether affection is an emotion or a state of mind or a state of affairs.

So, but you can have sex with a stranger without any emotions whatsoever. Sometimes you don't even know the name of the stranger.

People have sex with strangers and sex is the ultimate in intimacy. There is nothing absolutely more intimate than sex.

You let someone into your body if you're a woman and you enter someone else's body if you're a man.

Is there any deeper, more profound form of intimacy? If there is, I'm not aware of it.

And yet, and yet sex often comes unaccompanied by emotions, unaccompanied by intimacy, not linked to anything except the physical release and the act itself.

Intimacy means doing things together, sleeping together, talking, eating. There could be a huge intimacy in a lunch or a dinner, making love. All these are forms of intimacy and they all involve actions, sharing in action, doing something together.

But none of these situations necessarily implies, imply or demand the presence of an emotion or an affect they do not require. Any affective or emotional correlate.

There is intimacy in prison where people are crowded together. There is intimacy, there is intimacy with a prostitute. There is intimacy in a hospital between a patient and her doctor. And as I mentioned, there is intimacy in psychotherapy.

All these are intimatebut emotionless stays.

Intimacy in a clinical sense is a state of affairs involving proximity, physical proximity, vulnerability, a display of vulnerability, not being afraid to show vulnerability. In other words, trust and joint activities, life.

So these are the three components of intimacy, proximity, vulnerability, joint activity.

Do you hear the word emotions? Do you find the word emotions in this list? You don't. And for good reasons, they are not necessary. They are not strong emotions attached with intimacy necessarily.

They can be, but it's not a precondition.

And so this is the first confusion.


I must say that the young people under age 25 or even 35 are the most confused about these issues because they have been taught by us, by my generation, by the baby boomers. They have been taught that sex, intimacy, attachment, emotions, these are totally disparate categories and that they should try to detach one from the other. They should engage in sex without emotions. They should have emotions without sex. They should have intimacy without both. And they should attach to people without demanding sex or emotions or intimacy.

And this is mayhem. This is total chaos.

While intimacy does not require emotions, emotions, positive emotions, such as love, do require intimacy. So it's unidirectional. Emotions should lead to intimacy.

Intimacy is not necessarily attached to emotions, nor does it often lead to emotions.

Same situation, same confusion exists with attachment.

People confuse mate selection with attachment style.

But these are two separate things. For relationships to work, the attachment styles of both members of the couple ideally should match.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Opposites do not attract. If you end up being in a dyad or a couple with your diametrical opposite, with someone who doesn't share your values, with someone with behavior, grates on your nerves, the relationship will not last for long.

If you can't reach an understanding regarding certain beliefs, certain goals in liferegarding what's appropriate and what is not, your relationship will not survive.

Opposites don't attract, or if they do, it's a seriously bad idea.

Attachment styles, like everything else, should match. Your values should match. Your beliefs should match. Your life goals should match. The stage in life that you're in should match. And your attachment styles should match.

So attachment style has nothing to do with mate selection. In pair, it should inform mate selection. In other words, when you select a mate, you'd better select someone whose attachment style matches yours.

But attachment style is not mate selection, nor is it an integral part of mate selection, actually. Impaired mate selection means that you keep choosing the wrong partners, and then you keep going on to having horrible relationships.

Freud called it repetition compulsion, Adler called it diaphysis. These are very old ideas, and this is the core problem. Choosing the wrong partner repeatedly, consistently, and very often, the same time.

And so it is typically the outcome of bad parental programming.

Attachment styles form, are fostered by and gendered in childhood and adolescence.

You witness an attachment between your parents, and then you emulate it somehow. The attachment between you and your parents is a major influence. If it is bad, if it is dysfunctional, you're likely to develop a dysfunctional attachment style, an insecure attachment style.

In our most modern approach to attachment, we divide all attachment styles to two groups, secure and insecure. Most insecure attachment styles are avoidant. Even someone with anxious, ambivalent, an anxious, ambivalent attachment style is still avoidant. An anxious, ambivalent attachment style leads to avoidance. This kind of person avoids relationship and intimacy, destroys relationships and intimacy because of anxieties and doubts, including self-doubts.

So we have secure and insecure avoidant attachment styles. These are the two families.

And the attachment style informs, may inform, mate selection in an ideal world, but very often doesn't.

So mate selection is an autonomous process. It has to do with archetypes in a way. It has to do with the internalization and interjection of parental figures and other influential role models, including peers. So mate selection is also influenced by evolutionary considerations.

For example, women are more likely to choose mates who can provide for them. That's a fact. That's not misogynism. And it's not sexism. It's supported by every single study in the field.

Similarly, men are more likely to choose good-looking younger women. That's also a fact. Chauvinism is a fact, regrettably, a scientific one.

And so mate selection is focused around modeling, around types, around archetypes, around economic exigencies, around evolutionary considerations.

Mate selection has very little to do with attachment style. Attachment style comes into play much later if you are very, very self-aware, if you are educated in psychology.

And of course, if you listen to lectures by Professor Dr. Sambakni, you would know to choose your mate based on your attachment style, but most people don't, as my viewership numbers show.

My contribution to this field was to suggest the addition of what I called, or what I call, the flat attachment style.

Everyone has an attachment style, but some people have flat attachment. They are incapable of any kind of bonding or any kind of relatedness to other people at all. Flat attaches regard other people as utterly interchangeable, disposable, replaceable, and dispensable. Other people are objects, other people are functions, and flat attaches don't attach to objects and functions.

Actually, very few of us do.

When a relationship is over, people go through a period of latency, mourning or grieving the defunct bond, what could it be, and processing the grief.

And then there are withdrawal symptoms associated with a breaker.

But the flat attacher has no latency. He or she transitions instantaneously, smoothly, abruptly, and seamlessly from one insignificant other to the next target.

They don't grieve, they don't mourn, they don't withdraw, they don't avoid, they don't reconsider, they don't analyze, they don't seek closure. They simply move on. They fully substitute, and fully substitute a newly found boy or lover or mate or intimate partner in quoteunquote, or spouse for the discarded one. They discard you and they move on to your replacement.

The discarded person is considered the equivalent of an expired product, something that whose shelf life is over, something someone who is no longer useful.

And so it's easy for them to move on, because they're focused on goals.

In many respects, flat attaches are a bit psychopathic.

Indeed, many narcissists, almost all psychopaths, are flat attaches.

Borderlines, on the other hand, tend to sexualize attachment. As far as the borderline is concerned, sex and attractiveness are proof of attachment. Sex as we as we geeze, abandonment, anxiety, sex reduces a malaise and mitigates the borderline's separation in security. She forces and prompts her partner to tell her how attractive she is, how amazing, how unique, how irresistibly sexy. That's her way of kind of testing the waters. Do you still love me? Are you going to abandon me? Am I going to be rejected by you?

And of course, attachment has nothing to do with intimacy. Intimacy has little to do with emotions. Emotions don't have much to do with sex. Sex doesn't have to do anything with mate selection, or has very little to do with mate selection, etc.

So this is a godawful confusion. Confusing this, even in scholarly literature, has led to the blaring of lines and to completely wrong consequences and conclusions.

Most of the field of gender studies is founded on these misperceptions, misapprehensions, and utter conflations and confusions. A lot of sexology is similarly founded on these wrong, simply wrong pseudo facts and wishful thinking.

We need to look, we need to take a hard, long, cold look at the realities of life and how men and women make choices.

Mate selection choices, sexual choices, attachment choices. Attachment style is considered to be the hand of God, unalterable, and indeed it's very difficult to change one's attachment style. It's lifelong throughout the lifespan, but it involves choices.

While you can't control your attachment style, you can control your behavior and you can modify it.

So to conflate attachment style with sexuality, for example, leads to disastrous consequences. To conflate sexuality with intimacy similarly degrades intimacy, reduces it into a physical release of physiological state.

To confuse or mix emotions and intimacyrenders many intimate situations impossible beyond the pale and wrong, while actually intimacy is always good. There's no single situation of intimacy that involves intimacy and that is wrong for you.

And yet, we avoid many intimate situations because we perceive them to be somehow unethical, socially unacceptable, etc.

And this is because we associate intimacy with sex and we associate intimacy with emotionsand many emotions are forbidden. For example, you're not supposed to love anyone besides your spouse. You're not supposed to have sex with anyone besides your spouse if you are in monogamy or an exclusive relationship, etc.

These are all confusions. This is all salad and it borders on a word salad to borrow a phrase from the study of schizophrenia.


Okay, I want to read to you something. I want to read to you a comment by Lyn Shaw. It was posted today and it captured my attention and my eye.

I think it's brilliantly written and encapsulates many of the insights in modern psychology.

She wrote, "Vulnerable women revisit to punish themselves, to bask in the dangerous, nonspecific place that is offered to them, thinking that maybe they will be the one to tame the uncommitted. It's not a heartfelt space. It's possibly unresolved trauma. There is no way in for change, just a vast space that is decorated in maybes, almost, and could-be's.

Each time yourself batter, reducing yourself into yet another unnamed game, starting from scratch each time as if nothing has been previously shared between the union, the need for being seen goes unnoticed because there will always be another, another that will tantalize with their veil of perfection. As they search and search, they leave debris, excusing cold behavior as uncertainty.

The other is too much to demand, not quite evolve. Throughout the new search, previous ties are never broken. Freedom doesn't come because the desire to remain bonded in any capacity doesn't allow others to move on.

Grow. Letting go is not permitted, and the means to draw you back in with ambiguous stories and bold statements means the link continues.

But it's a jaded link, an unnecessary reunion that renders you stuck, repeating and rehashing the nothingness that unveils.

No change, no direction, just enough to imagine or reimagine that there's something in the union that may flourish.

The freedom of letting go is rich in reality, rich in realizing fully what is and what is not.

No longer do you hope or idealize. You simply see, feel and understand the subtleties, that invisible thread that leaves you perpetually trapped.

Breaking free, says Lin, is cathartic. Forgiving is freedom.

And then you're released from tardy bonds and imagined connections. Reaching this point is when you experience self-love and eventual freedom, a space where your once disorientated heart finally acknowledges authentic honestyand you lovingly begin to trust your worth again.

Amazing, extremely well-read. I could have said it myself, and I'm pissed at myself that I haven't.


Okay, Shoshanim, this was today's vignette. Look it up.

Today we are going to discuss attachment styles, attachment disorders and attachment dysfunctions.

In narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines and histrionics, we are also going to study attachment styles and disorders in people diagnosed with CPTSD, complex trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

And the reason is that people with CPTSD often display psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors and traits, reactively and temporarily.

So they also experience periods in which their attachment is disordered and dysfunctional. And we're going to study this as well.

But we are going to go through a very peculiar path.

We're going to start with a dead motherand then we're going to think about something we know but we can never think of, etc.

So I promised you a fun ride in the Sam Vaknin theme park. Don't sign off after 10 minutes, you'll be missing all the fun.

And at the end of this presentation, I hope you will have a handle, you'll get a grasp of how we interact with each other, how we relate to each other.

Because attachment is not only about romantic relationships, we get attached to workplaces, we get attached to assignments, we get attached to objects. Attachment is a general attitude towards the world, a general emotional investment in something.

Some people are very afraid to make this emotional investment, some people make this investment and then run away, and some people make this investment and remain invested for life.

So to understand how people interact with each other, interpersonal relationships, workplace relationships, we need to understand what makes them tick in terms of the ability to attach.


My name is Sam Vaknin and I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. I also wrote other books and e-books about personality disorders. I'm a professor of psychology in several universities.

And without further ado, let's dive in.

But before we do that, if you look at the upper part of your screen, you will see a navigation bar. I mean on YouTube, you go to my channel, my YouTube channel, you look up, there's a navigation bar to the right hand side of the navigation bar.

There is a word "about". Next to about, next to about, there's a magnifying glass. The magnifying glass is a search box. All you have to do is type a few keywords in the search box and the ever obliging YouTube will give you a series of recommended videos which include this keyword or relate to this keyword or however obliquely and tangentially refer to this keyword.

So I encourage you to use the search box in order to avoid my very blatant and rude responses to your questions.

Okay, babies and babettes.

I'm going to use now my bedroom voice.

Q must exodus of screaming and puking ladies.

And the reason I'm going to use my bedroom voice is the moment you've all been waiting for.

No, no, no. I'm going to keep my clothes onand now Q collective sigh of relief.

Few reckless women tiptoe wearily back.

I'm going to discuss today attachment styles, attachment dysfunctionsas I had promised. And there's an included bonus if you stay to listen long enough.

There's an attachment stylewhich you've never heard of beforeand the reason you've never heard of before is because I invented itin my lectures in various universities. When I teach attachment, I teach it in a very peculiar way, which I haven't seen elsewhere, not online and not offline.

And so if you bear with me, I will take you on a ride, the likes of which you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else.

And of course, it all starts with childhood. Children grow among adults.

This is a much neglected fact. Children grow among adults. When they look around them, they see people who are not like them. They see people who are chronologically advanced, hopefullymentally advanced, very different to them.

They have to emulate and imitate these people in order to carry favor, in order to get food and shelter, in order to secure love and safety. They have to adhere to the tenants, beliefs, rules of conduct and demands of these adults.

And gradually, they realize that they have to become adultsand there's a process of becoming.

And this process of becoming is dialectical. The child interacts with the adultsand the adult interacts with the child. That's another much neglected aspect of growing up. It's not only children who have an impact. It's not only adults, sorry, who have an impact on children. Children have an impact on adults. It's a loop. It's a self-modifying, self-assembling loop.

So children's thoughts about their caregivers, together with their thoughts about themselves, you know, when you put these two together, this is what we call the working model.

Every child embarks on constructing a working model of the world very early on, we believe, perhaps at age six months.

And the working model that children construct includes elements which relate to their physical environment, elements which relate to adults in the environmentand elements which relate to themselves.

For example, children often think about the question, do I deserve to get good care? Do I deserve to be loved? Am I entitled and worthy of safety and support and comfort and affection?

And the answers to these questions are very, very critical throughout lifebecause the child has to develop a sense that he is a good, worthy object in order to function properly later in adult life.

So working models of attachment are very critical. And the best types of working models, working models that work, they are founded on something called the safe base.

The safe base is a parental figure usually, but could be any caregiver, a grandmother in case the parents are absent for some reason, a grandmother, a teacher, an adult role model.

But usually it's the mother.

So a safe base is simply a mother that allows her child to separate from her, to individuate.

Ironically, a safe base is a mother who pushes her child away, but pushes the child away compassionately, lovingly, empathically, encouragingly. She doesn't push the child away out of spite, out of insecurity, out of narcissistic injury, out of rage, out of hatred. She pushes the child away because she loves the child and she wants the child to become an autonomous, independent entity.

It's very painful to the mother. It's very painful to the mother because mother and baby live in a symbiosis. They merge, they fuse, it's a codependent relationship which could last two years even.

But a mature mother pushes the child away and when she pushes the child away, she constitutes a safe base, exactly like a military base.

The child goes out, explores the world with the knowledge that he can always return to mommy, that mommy is there, that mommy is safe, that mommy is not going away anywhere, that mommy is not going to abandon him, not going to punish him, not going to punish him for becoming his own person with boundaries, with wishes, with a will, and with a grandiosity to explore the universe because it takes a lot of grandiosity to explore the universe.

It's a healthy kind of narcissism. It's what we call primary narcissism. It's a healthy type of grandiosity. It's the grandiosity that allows the child to take the immeasurable, terrifying risk of abandoning mother even if only for a second, even if only for a minute, and going out there.

There's an issue of object constancy. When I look back, will mother still be there? When I want to return to her, will she accept me? Will I try to hug her leg? Will she reject me?

It's a huge gamble to leave mommy, to go away from mommy, to in a way push mommy away, to individuate, to separate. It's a traumatic gamble.

And if the mother is the wrong kind, this first attempt, this first attempt at becoming you, fails.


And so the International Classification of Disorders, Edition 10 and probably Edition 11 is forthcoming, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, they discuss attachment in terms of situations where the child has attachment problems, attachment dysfunctions, either generally or to a specific attachment figure.

But this is very narrow. It's also misleading, as we will see when I continue. It's also misleading, but it's also very narrow.

And so there was a guy, scholar by the name of Andrei Green. In 1993, he published an essay, and he used the evocative phrase, dead mother complex. He said that some mothers are dead. They are not dead in the sense that they are clinically dead, like no pulse and no brain activity, although I know many mothers who are like that while alive. But they are dead in the sense that they are very depressed. They're depressed. They're emotionally unavailable, or they are narcissistic. They're too grandiose to take care of a child. They feel that the child had disrupted their lives, prevented them from reaching the pinnacle of their profession, ruined their lives in a way. So there is narcissistic rejection. There is depression. There is emotional unavailability because a mother herself has attachment disorder or attachment dysfunction.

All these types of mothers, they are dead mothers.

This is a contrast to Donald Winnicott's good enough mother. These are not good mothers, and they are not enough mothers.

They, and the child, the only model that the child has of attachment, of emotions, of love, of relationship, is a painful model, inordinately painful, existentially threatening, harrowing, terrorizing, horrifying model. It's a destructive process of identifying with a dead body, emotionally at least.

This kind of mother is there and not there, and this mixed signal, this dual signal, is intolerable. We do not tolerate, human beings don't tolerate well, ambiguity and uncertainty. We try to disambiguate in a variety of ways, most of which are destructive.

And this kind of child exposed to a dead mother, he is exposed to a mother who is the epitome and quintessence of ambiguity. And she's depressed, and she's unavailable. She's rejecting, she's hurtful. And as Andre wrote, it's a mother who was initially, initially emotionally engaged with her child, but then switched off from emotional resonance to emotional detachment, perhaps under the influence of loss and mourning in her own family of origin.

And when the child goes through this roller coaster, idealization, devaluation, when the child is unable to restore this warm empathic embracing, accepting the loving contact with the mother, he then, the child then internalizes a hard, unresponsive emotional core.

And this, of course, is a prerequisite to narcissism, because narcissism is a reaction to this internalization. Mother is hurtful. Mother used to love me, now she doesn't love. I will never let anyone do this to me again. I will never put myself at the mercy of anyone who could cause me such pain and really threaten my existence.

Because when you're six months old, or one year old, or two year old, and your mother is emotionally unavailable, distant, doesn't care about you, neglects you, you can die. It's life threatening.

And in this kind of people, they become narcissistic later on in life. And they are unable to form attachment.

And we see this, for example, even in settings where attachment is minimal, like in therapy, where they can't go through the phase known as transference. They can't bond in some way with a therapist. They can't even project their own emotions onto the therapist. They can't regard the therapist as a parental figure. So there's no transference in treating such people.

Dead mother syndrome is the acute form of this.

And there are many dead mothers out there, because we live in a narcissistic and psychopathic age. More and more people are technically narcissists and psychopaths.

And these people, for some reason, procreate. They irresponsibly have children. And they raise these children as dead mothers and dead fathers.

The mistaken attachment theories is to say that when a child doesn't have a safe base, when he has a dead mother, he runs away. He avoids. He runs, he develops avoidance strategies. He withdraws internally. He becomes narcissistic. And then he has like an imaginary friend, the false self, or a godlike entity, which is the false self. Or he withdraws and becomes a codependent, thereby suspending his own existence and merging with the mother figure. Or he withdraws and becomes psychopathic, antisocial, contact disorder. It's known in children. It's called contact disorder.

So the general thrust of current attachment theories, starting with Mary Ainsworth and to these very days, Zina and others, the thought is that when children are raised by the wrong kind of parents, by not good enough mothers, by dead mothers, they simply detach. And because they detach, they learn a coping strategy for life, which is a coping strategy of detachment.

And this is the part where I think attachment theories get it very wrong.

They get it very wrong. If you ever saw a baby crying inconsolably at the body of his dead mother, really dead mother. And if you ever watched the movie Psycho, Hitchcock's movie Psycho, where the son who was running the motel, Bates, keeps his mother's body mummified and continues to interact with her as though she were alive. If you've ever been exposed to these experiences, however vicariously, you would realize that the child does not run away from a dead mother, but learns to love her.

Children love their mothers, whether they're alive, whether they're dead, whether they're good enough, whether they're vicious and atrocious, whether they're psychopathic, whether they're narcissistic, whether they're there, whether they're not there, emotionally available or not, rejecting or accepting. The child has no choice. He has to love mother and he learns to love a dead mother.

And when you fall in love with him and he claims to have fallen in love with you, he tries to convert you into a dead mother too. He wants you to play the role of his dead mother. He wants you to die and to be a mother.

And this is as good a description, as good and concise a summation of relationships with narcissists that I've ever come across.

The narcissist tries to do two things with his romantic intimate partner. He tries to kill her and he tries to convert her into a mother. He tries to recreate, reconstruct and re-experience and re-enact the unresolved conflict with a dead mother.

And the dead mother role is only yours.

But of course, being in love with a dead object, loving something dead is unthinkable.

So people with cluster B personality disorders, although they are capable of loving only dead people, dead mothers, dead mother substitutes, dead father substitutes, still they don't dare to contemplate this. They're not aware of this.

On the contrary, they lie to themselves. They're telling themselves, I'm trying to make her come alive. I'm reviving my intimate partner. I'm infusing her with life. I'm giving her thrills and adventures and color. I am the engine of excitement in her life. When she's with me, she's much more alive than when she's not with me.

So there is this self-delusional confabulation, this self-felacious narrative that the narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline tell themselves, I'm not doing anything wrong to my partner. I'm not doing anything bad to my intimate partner.

On the contrary, I'm Lazarus-like, raising him from the dead.

And it's of course, projection. This is what happens. It's the intimate partner who raises the narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline from the dead because they are dead.

Narcissists, psychopaths and borderlines are dead at the core and they are dead at the core because they have internalized a dead mother, a dead object, but they don't dare to think about it. And instead what they do is called emotional thinking. They're not thinking with their heads. They're not thinking cognitively.

But whenever they need to think about relationships, they think emotionally. They let their emotions control their cognitions, not the other way.

And what they do, narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines and victims of trauma by the way, they affect death and they affect aggression.

Now what the hell is affect? What are you asking? Affect is emotionally invest. Affects is emotional investment. So they invest emotionally in death because their first emotional investment as children was in a dead mother, a dead object.

So they know only how to invest in death and in dead people and in dead others and in dead intimacy. So they invest in death. Of course, death is aggression. Aggression leads to death and death is aggressive by definition.

And this is called destudo, the opposite of libido. Libido is the force of life. It comes from eros and destudo is the force of death, the force of destruction, the force of aggression, and it emanates from thanatos, the force of death.

And when we in our current culture and civilization we are emotionally invested in our smartphones, in our beautiful luxury cars, in our jobs, we are invested in animate, inanimate inert material goods. Materialism is the ultimate consumerism, is the ultimate expression of destudo, of the force of death.

Because objects are dead. Breaking news, news alert, all objects are dead. I don't know if you realize that real objects, physical objects, the ones you can knock on, they're dead and they are substitutes for the dead mother.

And so our culture and civilization encourage us to emotionally invest in dead things.

And these people, narcissists, borderlines, psychopaths, histrionics, trauma victims, how do they react to this emotional investment in a dead object?

The dead object cannot reciprocate, refuses to reciprocate adamantly, insists on rejection, insists on humiliation, insists on modification, injures you all the time, wounds you, the archaic wound in the words of Freud. So it's a wounding process, it's death by a thousand cuts. So you withdraw, you love and you withdraw and you identify love with withdrawal. If love then away, if love then push, if love then withdraw, if love then not be. To love is to not be. Love is an absence in the minds of these very, very sick individuals. It's an absence, not a presence. And the minute it becomes a presence, it's very threatening, existentially threatening. Because this presence is bound to be withdrawn and they are bound to feel pain, the pain of ultimate rejection. They anticipate rejection. Borderlines, for example, anticipate abandonment, rejection, humiliation, and react to this anticipation, not to any real developments. So they reframe reality in these terms. So these cluster B personalities, they can't afford to love because their first experience with love has been an experience of annihilation, annulment. They were not seen. It's critical to be seen when you're a child. It is through the gaze of the meaningful other, through the gaze of the primary object, primary caregiver, through the gaze of mother, that you are defined. It is mother's gaze that constitutes and constructs your boundaries. It is true her that you realize that you are separate from her. She is the one. She is the agent, the agent of society. She's a socialization agent, but she's also the agent of the physical universe. And above all, she is your agent. She is the one who helps you become. She's the primary agent of becoming.

And if you have a dead mother, you become a corpse, narcissist, psychopath, borderlines, other walking dead.

And so they, in an attempt to avoid, a repeat, to avoid the repetition of the same type of painful relationship, they never allow themselves to truly love, to truly get emotionally invested.

And they are very self-sufficient. They even self-parentify. They act as their own parents. And they're very autorheotic, sexually speaking. They gratify themselves sexually.

What's the Bayesian pornography?

And so to be able to love you, these people have to kill you first.

It's like the famous joke, if I tell you the truth, I'll have to kill you. If I fall in love with you, I'll have to kill you. They have to kill. They have to kill the mother figure in order to love her.

They snapshot you. They convert you into an inert photograph. They merge with you. They fuse with you. You disappear. You're digested. You're assimilated. You become an extension.

These are various ways of killing you, negating your existence, annihilating you.

And then when you're dead, when you're no more, when you have become an absence, then they can love you, of course, because they're expressed loving dead mothers. And they identify love with absence.

Their introjects, the introjects of their mother, their father, other figures, the inner voices, the representations, the avatars of these crucial adults, they are all non-interacting, dead, inert, mute, mute objects.

The narcissist and the psychopath and the borderline of the histrionic cluster B. They're the only people on earth whose introjects are essentially mute. They can't talk. They don't talk. They don't interact. They don't communicate. They're there.

Snapshot.

So they need to take away from you speech. They need to deny you the speech act. They need to prevent you from communicating because communication is pain. They need to fend you off and to fence you in and to stratify you, to ossify you, and to mummify and to fossilize.

And this way, to own you and to control you, because if you own and control someone, he cannot hurt you. She cannot hurt you. It's all about pain aversion and hurt aversion.

And of course, this makes it impossible to distinguish internal objects from external objects.

If your loved ones are inside you because you need to control them, micromanage them, if they're inside you, then they're internal. But they're also external.

So internal is external. External is internal.

The narcissist and the borderline, to a lesser extent, the psychopath, make very little distinction between internal and external objects. And in this particular sense, Otto Kernberg was right. These are people on the cusp, on the verge of psychosis, of a psychotic disorder. There was a guy called Christopher Bolos, B-O-L-L-A-S. And in the miracle years of the 1980s, which to my mind was the renaissance of psychology, or at least the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic schools of psychology.

So in those miracle years, he came up with a concept called the unfought, the unfought known.

Unfought, known.

His work was based probably, we don't know for sure, because he doesn't mention it, but probably on some comment that Freud reported in one of his endless series of monographs and books and articles.

Freud was a machine.

So Freud reported that he had a patient. And this patient told him, "I've always known something, but I never thought of it."

And Freud was kind of thunderstruck. He said, "Wait a minute. Can you know something and not think of it ever? Is it possible to know, but not cognitively? Is it possible to be fully aware of some fact, some environment, some other person, and never to think of them?"

And so Christopher Bolas coined the phrase unfought, known in the 1980s. And he said that these are experiences which in some way are known to the individual, but about which the individual is unable to think.

I would add the individual is afraid to think. It's inhibitory. It's inhibitory.

And Ehrlich Skitowski for interpreting the object world that preconsiously determine our subsequent life expectations are such, are an example of the unfought known.

We're all born with Skitowski, with a kind of arrangement of cognitions, emotions, beliefs, and facts.

So this Skitowski allows us to interpret the world, to interpret the object world.

And they are preconscious, and they determine what we expect of life. And they're an example of the unfought known.

So the unfought known is pre-verbal, unschematized, early experience.

And of course, it can also be early trauma. Early trauma creates facts, but these facts are so painful, so frightening, so devastating, that we know them, but we never think of them.

They are fenced off, they're isolated, they are removed from consciousness.

These unfought knowns, they affect behavior. They do it unconsciously and preconsiously, but they affect behavior.

But even though they affect behavior, they never, never access consciousness. Conscious thought is no access to these knowns, and yet they're known.

And in therapy very often, when we introduce the patient to the unfought known, the patient says, "I've known this all along, but I never thought about it."

And there's of course, beyond idea of better elements, beyond that there are psychic experiences, which people cannot process in any way by the mind. They are psychic, their experiences does not deny them. There is knowledge that they had happened, but this knowledge is kept via a variety of defense mechanisms, probably like repression maybe, or denial. This knowledge is kept under the radar. The person cannot afford to think about this schemata, all these experiences, these traumas, because if he does, he will disintegrate.

And Bolas suggested that there are quite a few elements in the substance of the unfought known. He said that, for example, when you have persistent moods, probably these moods preserve elementary but pre-schemetized states of mind. He said that the moods are kind of reflections or reservoirs of these unfought knowns.

And he said that very early in childhood, when the self interacts with the primary object, with the mother, for example, this interaction, if it's very emotionally loaded, for example, if you have a very painful interaction with your mother, if she's a dead mother, you will relegate it to the unfought known.

Similarly, if you see something of great beauty, when you're a child mainly, pre-verbal, you can't verbalize it, you can't capture it with language, so you kind of store it, it's a storage area, it's a warehouse.

The unfought known is a warehouse of experiences and things, and judgments and beliefs and values and facts that you have no conscious access to, because they were all pre-verbal, and language as a barrier prevents you from going there.

These are all parts of the unfought known.

Narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines and histrionics, they have a huge amount, a huge number of unfought knowns.

If you're healthy, normal people, empathic people, if you have, I don't know, 10 unfought knowns, a psychopath or a narcissist would have 100.

Now this means, this is massive implications, it means that the narcissist's interpersonal relationships, they are recreations of his original relationship with a dead mother, but because it's so devastating, so painful, so frightening, so hurtful, this whole thing, the whole relationship will be processed through the unfought known.


Let me try to explain it a bit.

The narcissist, psychopaths, borderline, I mean they're born in a dysfunctional, into a dysfunctional family, the primary caregiver, mother in this case for example, is one way or another abusing, one way or another emotionally unavailable, one way or another exploitative. She parentifies the child, she idolizes the child, she instrumentalizes the child, she abuses the child sexually or physically or verbally or psychologically or whatever.

There's something wrong going on there, she is dead to the child. The child still loves his mother, even when she's dead, so he learns that love is painful and that you can love only dead things.

And so this thought, this this realization is so mind-boggling that he knows it but never thinks about it. It becomes an unfought known.

And then when he meets the love of his life, when he meets an intimate partner, when he tries to develop a relationship, have a family, whatever, he interacts with his intimate partner via the unfought known.

In other words, he interacts with his partner, recreating the original pattern of interaction with his dead mother, dysfunctional mother, sick mother. And he interacts with his intimate partner, not thinking about it.

When you confront him and say, do you know what, don't you see what you're doing? He says no, what am I doing? He's utterly unaware. It's not a pretension, he's not faking it. He really is not aware. And it's also not a result of self-delusions or reframing, but a result of his inability. He cannot afford, he cannot allow himself to think of the known. He knows, but he doesn't dare go there. He doesn't dare to think about it.

So in order not to create a dissonance, not to create a conflict, not to force him to think, he kills you. He simply kills you. He renders you a dead mother.

The minute you're a dead mother, you conform to the earlier pattern. And there's no conflict. There's no dissonance and no risk that he will be forced to think about what he knows. No risk of bringing the unfought, the unthinkable from the unconscious to the conscious, where it will create a massive conflict and may endanger the life of the class to be personable.

So this is the sequence.

Bad early, bad dysfunctional early relationship, suppression of this information, knowing it, but not thinking about it. Then finding an intimate path, forcing her to recreate the early pattern by becoming a dead mother so that what is known will not become thought. What is known will not become a cognition, will not generate overt life threatening conflict.

Bonacin's work also linked the concept of the unfought known to Donald Winnicott's notion of the true self.

SoBoris' work also linked the concept of the unfought known to Donald Winnicott's notion of the true self.

So there is direct connection between Boris' work, Winnicott's work, and narcissism, true self, false self, and so on.

These are not just wild speculations on my part, but actually Boris almost touched upon it, almost went there.

In terms of system centered therapy, in system centered therapy, they make a distinction between what they call apprehensive knowing and comprehensive knowing. Apprehensive knowing is knowing, but not being able to verbalize what you know, not being able to use language to communicate what you know to yourself and to others via language.

So we allow ourselves to formulate in words comprehensive knowledge or comprehensive knowing, but we don't allow ourselves access to apprehensive knowing, perhaps because it's apprehensive, it's frightening, it's threatening.

And in therapy, the unfought known can become the subtext of the therapeutic interchange. The therapist becomes kind of a parent figure and he picks up the patient, he contains the patient, and the patient allows himself or herself to think about the unknown via the therapist.

Maybe we'll talk about it some other time. It's a process called projective identification.


Back to attachment disorders.

Three prominent scholars of attachment disorders are Zina, Lieberman and Boris. And they suggested that attachment disorders start in childhood, which I agree. And they said that children who did not have the opportunity to form an attachment or were children who had a distorted relationship with a parental figure, or when an existing attachment was for some reason abruptly disrupted.

In these three cases, there's an attachment disorder. And they use the term disorder of attachment. It's when a young child doesn't seem to bond with or attach to any particular adult caregiver. And so these kind of children are indiscriminately sociable. They approach all the adults and they sometimes approach total strangers. And they're very cute and very sociable. And they ask for love. And they ask for compassion and affection. And they ask to be comforted.

But they do this not with mother specifically, not with father, grandmother or grandfather, but they approach any other wherever.

So there is a promiscuity. It's a promiscuous sociability, promiscuous behavior. And it's a disorder of attachment.

And these, as I said, are children who didn't have the opportunity to form an attachment with a specific figure, as the DSM says, or whether the distorted relationship or existing attachment has been disrupted.

So some children react by becoming promiscuous. They attach to any other and others react exactly the opposite. They withdraw emotionally. They fail to seek comfort from anyone, any other.

And so very often we mistake these children for shy children and say, oh, he's shy. This is not shyness. This is extreme pain aversion, extreme aversion to hurt.

The child totally identifies any attempt at an interaction with another with life threatening pain and hurt and abandonment and neglect and rejection and humiliation, total threat of disintegration.

So these children withdraw emotionally and fail to interact.

And this is reminiscent of reactive attachment disorder, because in reactive attachment disorder, we have inhibited and disinhibited forms. Disinhibited forms are children who approach any adult for attachment and inhibited forms are children who approach no adult for attachment.


Now Boris and Zina describe a condition that they call secure base distortion.

Secure base distortion is when the child does have someone, a mother, a father, a grandmother, a grandfather, some caregiver, teacher, and he prefers this familiar figure. But the relationship with this figure is such that actually the adult does not provide the child with safety.

When the child starts to explore the environment grandiosely, this kind of adult does not encourage the exploration and does not provide a safe base, does not broadcast to the child.

Go ahead, find yourself, find the world. I will be here when you return. I'll be here when you need me.

On the contrary, the broadcast transmission is opposite. It is who do you think you are? What are you doing? You're hurting me. You don't love mommy anymore. You are impudent, insolent. You are impertinent. You are misbehaving. You are impolite, etc.

So these are all inhibitory messages, messages that inhibit, prevent the child from exploring the world.

Such children, they don't know what to do. And many of them are disinhibitory.

They cling to any adult. They endanger themselves. They are excessively compliant, submissive, or they try to become a parent because they don't have a parent. They try to become a parentand they try to parent themselves and even to parent the adult or even to punish the adult as a parent.

So these children are in total mess, total confusion as to roles, who they can trust, and how they should function once there is an interaction which implies directly or indirectly some type of attachment.

And Boris and Zina discuss a lot what they call "disrupted attachment." Disrupted attachment is any abrupt separation or loss of a familiar figure, a mother, a father, to whom the child is attached.

So the child gets attached and then suddenly this figure is gone. It's gone because he died. It's gone because of a divorce. It's gone because it's lost interest in the child. It's gone because there's a new sibling, a newborn, and the attention of the parent is totally diverted to the newbornand the parent abandons and neglects the first born or the previous child.

And so whenever there's a process of devaluation after idealization or after idolizing, as I mentioned, sibling rivalry, the child perceives such abrupt absence as rejection.

So even if the parent has to travel, it's perceived by the child as abandonment, abandonment and rejection, essential rejection, rejection of his essence, of who he is.

So the child decides that he is not worthy of love, not worthy of object constancy, not worthy of the parent being there for him, not worthy of safety, in other words, a bad object.

As the child becomes an adult, he will try to sustain this self-image because it's his comfort zoneand a promiscuous child will become a promiscuous adult, an inhibited child will become an inhibited adult, and a child who had lost an attachment figure for whatever reason, a child who has been devalued, a child who has been dumped, a child who has been neglected and abandoned and humiliated and rejected, or just let go.

This kind of child will try to recreate this in his intimate relationships. He will try to force his intimate partner via projective identification to play this role of the dysfunctional, not good enough, dead mother.

The young child's reaction to such a loss is grief. It's exactly grief, exactly the same, the five stages of grief described by the Swiss American psychologist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

The child protests, he cries, he searches for the attachment figure. Then the child is depressed, he is desperate, he's sad, he withdraws from communication and play, he detaches from the original relationship and gradually, veryvery gradually, he accepts, he accepts the attachment figure, motherfor example, he's goneand he resumes, gradually, slowly and usually dysfunctionally, social and play activities.

Scholars such as Daniel Schechter and Erica Wilhelm, they've shown a relationship between maternal PTSD and secure base distortion. In other words, when the mother is violent, physically abusiveor even worse, sexually abusive, it creates a safe base distortion and the child becomes reckless. He develops separation anxiety, hypervigilanceand role reversaland if this sounds familiar, it's because these are elements of borderline personality disorder.

Fralley and Shaver, these are two scholars, they describe the central propositions of attachment in adults. They said that all attachment in adults recreates the behavioral dynamics of infant and caregiver. In other words, adult relationships are nothing but a repeat, a replay, a reenactment of childhood relationships.

When we observe individual differences during childhood, these differences will be preserved to adulthood.

Actually, we have learned that attachment styles are pretty stable throughout the lifespanand only in 20% of cases, attachment styles are mildly modified. In 80% of cases, attachment styles, which are usually determined by age two to six, the formative years, attachment styles survive lifelong.

Individual differences in adult attachment behavior, they are reflections of expectations and beliefs people have formed about themselves and about close relationships. These expectations have to do with attachment history.

The working models that we started with, if you remember, we all build working models about ourselves, about other people. These working models are stableand they reflect early caregiving experiences.

A romantic love involves the interplay of attachment, caregiving, intimacy, and the attachment part is actually unalterable, immutable.

Rhodes and Simpson, they suggested that biology is involved somehow. It's biology that propels children to form attachment with caregiversand it's shaped by interposable experiences.

They said that experiences in early relationships, they create the internal working modeland they create the attachment styleand these systematically affect attachment relationships.

The attachment orientations of adult caregivers influence the attachment bond of their children. This is how crucial it is to be good parents.

Working models and attachment orientations are relatively stable over time. They are impervious to changes, very dangerous.

Some forms of psychological maladjustment, some clinical disorders, including cluster B personality disorders, they are attributable in big part to the effects of insecure working models, insecure attachment styles.

Biology drives attachments, but attachment is largely shaped by learning experiencesand it depends crucially on expectations and beliefs that people have about their relationships. These expectations and beliefs come from internal working models.

These internal working models, they guide relationship behaviors. They are relatively stable, as we said, and they hark back to childhood.

Individual differences in attachment contribute positively or negatively to mental health.

So we have four main types of attachments.

In adults, now it's very crucial because people make the most god-awful mess, confusing childhood attachment styles with adult attachment styles. They are not the same.

In adults, we have secure, anxiouspreoccupied, dismissive avoidantand fearful avoidant attachment styles.

And to this, I've added a fifth one, my attempted contribution, a flat attachment style.

So Cindy Hazen and Philip Shaver, they observed that interactions between adults share similarities to interactions between children and caregivers as the issue of closeness, comfort versus anxiety or loneliness.

And even in adult relationships, there's an issue of secure base. Secure base, you want to know that you can trust your intimate partner, that she will be there for you, that you have somewhere to come back to. And it helps you face the surprises, the opportunities, challenges, it helps you face life.

Everyone has an attachment style.

Now, I would like to talk a bit about my my contribution or attempted contribution to attachment theory.

I suggest to introduce a fifth, a fifth style.

I'm going to discuss each of the other four later, but I'm trying to introduce a fifth one called flat attachment.

These are people who are incapable of any kind of bonding and any kind of relatedness at all. Flat attaches regard other people as utterly interchangeable, replaceable and dispensable objects or functions.

When a relationship is over, people go through a period of latency. They mourn the defunct bond, they process the grief and their withdrawal symptoms associated with the breakup. They go cold turkey if you wish.

Flat attaches are different. They react to the disintegration of even the most meaningful or primary relationships by becoming defiant and becoming mad rather than heartbroken and sad. They're mad, not sad.

The flat attaches instantaneously, smoothly, abruptly and seamlessly from one insignificant other to the next target. She fully substitutes a newly found bold lover, mate or intimate partner for the discarded one whose usefulness is expired for whatever reason.

Many narcissists and almost all psychopaths are actually flat attaches.

In 1995, I coined the phrase idealize devalue and discard. And I should have added idealize devaluediscard and replace.

Flat attachment is often confused and conflated with commitment formula, the fear of committing to a joint future. But it's different. Flat attaches are constitutionally incapable of bonding with other people. Commitment forms anticipate with anxiety, the expectations that their attachments to others and gender.

Socommitment forms are terrified of all the expectations of their intimate partners and the emotional and pragmatic outcomes of liaisonsof intimate relationships. They are simply in a state of anxiety.

Flat attaches have no anxiety. They simply don't bond. They don't attach and they don't give a hoot about your expectations. Commitment forms are avoidant. They're not emotionally dystonic.

On the contrary, they're very strong emotions. Flat attaches are emotionally not bare. They're emotionally absent.

Intimacy increases with time together. But the more time you spend with a narcissist or with a flat attacher, the less intimate you get.

I call this effect reversed intimacy. It's the outcome of the fact that one is interacting with the narcissist's false self. It's a piece of grandiose fiction, a placeholder where an entire person should have been. Traumatized victims of narcissistic abuse have learned to emulate the narcissisthimself in a post-traumatic state, as you know.

They try to slap a label on their tormentor and then to ignore him and relate only to the label, total labeling. Where no intimacy is involved, of course, where no intimacy is possible, stereotypes take over.

Sothis is my attempted contribution. I suggest that there's a fifth style.

Because all the other four styles that we have for adult attachment, they assume some kind of interplay. They assume some kind of need for attachment that is either frustrated or avoided, but flat attaches don't have a need to bond or to attach, nor do they have the capacity to do it.

The secure attachment style in adults corresponds to the secure attachment style in children. The anxious preoccupied attachment style in adults corresponds to the anxious ambivalent attachment style in children. The dismissive avoidant attachment style and the fearful avoidant attachment style in adults are separate and distinct, but in children they are one and it's called avoidant attachment style.

Sochildren have a single avoidant attachment stylewhile adults have dismissive avoidant or fearful avoidant. So there were two scholars, but there are two scholars, Bartholomew and Horowitz.

Bartholomew and Horowitz, together with Pietro Monaco and Barrett, they created all kinds of tables and models of attachments.

And Bartholomew and Horowitz proposed that working models consist of two parts.

The first part of the working model deals with thoughts about oneself. The other part of the model deals with thoughts about other people.

They propose that the person's thoughts about the self are generally positive or generally negativeand the same applies to someone's thoughts about others. Soyou can be positive about yourself or negative about yourself. You can be positive about other people or negative about other people.

And sowhat you do, you can construct a tablewhich is exactly what Bartholomew and Horowitz have done. They created a table of relationship between attachment styles, self-esteem and sociability.

And they said that if your sociability is positive and your self-esteem is positive, you have a secure attachment style. If your sociability is negative and your self-esteem is negative, you have an anxious preoccupied attachment style. If your sociability is negative and your self-esteem is positive, you would have a dismissive avoidant attachment style.

And if both are negative, you will have a fearful avoidant attachment style.

Sothe secure and dismissing attachment styles are associated with higher self-esteem compared with anxious and fearful attachment styles.

This corresponds to the distinction between positive and negative thoughts about the self in working models.

The secure and anxious attachment styles are associated with higher sociability.

Dismissive and fearful attachment styles are less sociable people.

And this corresponds, of course, to the distinction between positive and negative thoughts about other people in working models.


But narcissists, psychopaths, borderlines, victims of trauma, complex trauma, and histrionics, they have only insecure attachment styles.

We'll start with the first one, anxious, preoccupied.

The anxious preoccupied attachment style characterizes the compensatory narcissist, the inverted narcissist, other covert narcissist, borderline personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder, colloquially known as codependent.

The anxious preoccupied attachment style is people who have a negative view of the self, but they have a positive view of others.

If you think of the compensatory, or if you think of the borderline, for example, she has a negative view of herself, usually, but she has a positive view of her intimate partner. She wants her intimate partner to help her to regulate her internal environment. She believes in the intimate partner's omnipotence. That's why the borderline is a perfect match for the narcissistbecause she encourages his grandiosity. She agrees with it. She wants him to be grandiose. She wants him to be godlikebecause she expects him to do miracles. She expects him to give her inner peace. She expects him to reduce the mobility of her moods and to regulate her emotions.

So the borderline is a positive view of others.

Similarly, the covert narcissist, he has a very negative view of himself. He is shy, he is fragile, he is vulnerable, but he has a positive view of others.

In the case of an inverted narcissist, he has a positive view of the overt narcissist she is with.

Again, there's a lot of magical thinking herebecause they expect their intimate partners to do miracles, to do the impossible, to accomplish the impossible. They expect their intimate partners to make life tolerable for them, to regulate both their internal environment and their external environment.

The inverted narcissist busts in the glory and accomplishments of her overt partner. The covert narcissist undermines and manipulates his intimate partner in order to self-regulate and to obtain his or her own goals.

And these kind of people say, "I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close to me as I would like." Or they say, "I'm uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them."

This kind of attachment, the "I'm anxious preoccupied" attachment, these people want intimacy, they crave intimacy, they seek high level of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their attachment figure. They value intimacy to an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figurebecause they consider the attachment figure the only source of intimacy.

Minnie-breaker.

And these people feel a sense of anxiousness. And this anxiety recedes only when they are in contact with the attachment figure.

In a way, codependency can be easily reconceived as an anxiety disorder.

These people doubt their worth as people. They blame themselves for the attachment figure's lack of responsiveness. They have autoplastic defenses. They feel guilt. They feel shame. They feel ego-distonic. They feel unease. They feel discomfort. They feel apprehension. They feel anxiety.

These are neurotic defenses.

These people are essentially what used to be called neurotics.

And this dependence and idealization of the intimate partner, they render the attachment figure the sole source of solace and comfort and succor.

The dependence is total upon the source of intimacy.

And this, the intimate partner, serves as an anxiolytic, an anxiety-reducing medication. They self-medicate.

These people, borderlines, covert, inverted narcissists, they self-codependence. They self-medicate with an intimate partner.

And they exhibit high levels of emotional expressiveness, emotional dysregulation, worry, impulsivity, and it easily and seamlessly can glide into psychopathic or histrionic territory.

So there is a lot of back and forth and a lot of switching, which is very reminiscent of multiple personalities, by the way. They are like self-states that they switch between.

So a borderline can easily become secondary psychopaths. And the change is so pronouncedand so amazingand so startling that you feel that this person is possessed, taken over by another entity, unrelated to the original.

And so there's a lot of this switching going on. And this switching is triggered by perceived rejection, humiliation, neglect, abandonment, being ignored by the intimate partner.


The second type of insecure attachment style is dismissive avoidant. It characterizes the overt narcissist and the primary psychopath.

A dismissive avoidant attachment style is when you possess a positive view of yourself and a negative view of others.

When you, for example, hold other people in contempt, when you devalue others, when you consider them inferior to you.

And these kind of people say, "I'm comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient. I prefer to not depend on others or to have others depend on me."

And these people desire a high level of independence. They are fiercely independent. Independence is their autonomy, self-autonomy, self-agency, self-efficacy, is their religion, their ideology.

And the desire to attain these goals of independence, it translates into avoidance of attachment. They avoid all types of attachment whatsoever.

We are not talking only in romantic relationships, but for example, they can't hold a job. They are itinerant. They don't live in one place for long. They move around. They are ruthless, ruthlesslike R-O-O-T-LESS. They have no roots and they are ruthless in pursuit of ruthlessness. They view themselves as self-sufficient, invulnerable.

And this blends into, sustains and buttresses their grandiosity. Their grandiosity is founded on self-containment, self-sufficiency, independence, autonomy, self-efficacy, the ability to extract by forceif needed, beneficial outcomes from the environment, including the human environment.

And they are invulnerable.

And because they want to remain invulnerable, they perceive attachment as a weakness, as a vulnerability, as a chink in the armor.

And they don't want to be closely associated with others. They deny that they need close relationshipand they view close relationship as unimportant in the best case, if not outright, weak and stupid.

And they seek less intimacy with attachments, with attachment figures.

They often view their intimate partners less positively than they view themselves. They tend much more to devalue others, including their intimate partners.

And they have a defensive character. It's actually a defense.

The irony is that these people are actually highly insecure. That's why we call it an insecure attachment style.

The dismissive, avoidant attachment style, they're not really heroic or victorious or impermeable or invulnerable. They are suppressing and hiding their feelings.

Remember the unthought-known? They can't afford to get in touch with their emotions. They can't afford to know what has really happened to them.

They tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection. And they tend to do this not only when actual rejection is happening, but also when they predict or anticipate rejection, when they misinterpret some behaviors as rejection.

And they tend to misinterpret most behaviors as rejection. Their attachments are very fragileand they are very fragile because they are fragile. They are fearful. They are unresolved.

And so this leads to the next attachment style, which is fearful, avoidant attachment style.

This characterises some borderlines, compensatory narcissists, and secondary psychopaths.

The fearful, avoidant, unresolved, cannot classify attachment patterns. They are people who have unstable, fluctuating view of themselves and unstable, fluctuating view of others.

So they tend to idealize and devalue themselves as they idealize and devalue others.

By the way, everything in the psychology of cluster B personality disorder has a self-dimension and an other dimension.

Narcissistic supply, there is self-provision of narcissistic supply. Narcissist sometimes can provide himself with supply. There is self-devaluation. There is self-idealization. I call this process co-idealization.

As a narcissistidealizes his partner, he is actually idealizing himself. If he is deserving of such an ideal, perfect, brilliant, most beautiful partner, then he himself is perfect. So everything has, in these people, with the fearful, avoidant attachment style, they fluctuate, they are lay by, they are not stable, they are not regulated. Their view of themselves and view of others is fluctuating.

And these are people usually with losses or massive traumas, including, for example, sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence.

And these people say I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to completely trust others or to depend on others. I sometimes worry that I would be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to other people.

So they tend to feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness. They feel ill at ease when they are loved. When someone tries to get intimate with them, they become aggressive, rejecting and pushing away.

And these are mixed feelings, mixed signals, mixed messages. It is crazy making.

Driving their intimate partner is insane because they have unconscious negative views about themselves and about their attachments. They view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments. They say I am a bad object, can't you see? I am unworthy. Why do you give me love? If you give me love, either you are blind and stupid, or you are cunning and manipulative.

These are the only two reasons to give me love. You can see that I am damaged goods. You can see I am broken and defective and dysfunctional.

And yet you give me love. Something is wrong with you.

Or you are doing this for a purpose. There is some hidden agenda. There is some ulterior motive. They don't trust the intentions of their attachments.

Similar to the dismissive- avoidant attachment style, people with a fearful- avoidant attachment style, they seek less intimacy from attachments. They suppress, deny their feelings, and they are much less comfortable expressing affection and love.

And finally, Baldwin and others, they have applied the theory of relational schemas to working models of attachment. A relational schema is a scheme which contains information about the way the attachment figure regularly interacts with each other.

So a relational schema is a schema which pertains to a relationship.

And for each pattern of interaction, the schema contains information about the self, information about the attachment, and information about the way the interaction usually unfolds.

So the relational schema has a predictive value, a prognosticating value. In other words, if you have a schema in your head as to how you're interacting with your intimate partner, this schema tells you something about yourself, tells you something about the relationship, tells you something about your partner, and tells you a lot about how your partner is likely to react to your signals, to your advances, and to your attempts to be close.

Relational schemas help us to guide behaviors and relationships because they allow people to anticipate, to predict, to plan for the responses of the intimate partner.

A relational schema is simply a lot of experience from which we derive heuristically a rule. This is a rule-based system, a rule of thumb if you wish, heuristic rule, based on experiences.

Relational schemas are therefore in the shape of if- then. If I try to kiss her, she will kiss me back. If I try to hug her, she will reject me. If I try to have sex with her, she will have sex with another man.

So you see, I have a morbid mind.

So the relational schema kind of augments and improves the working model because the working model is static. Working model says this is who you are, this is who you think you are, this is who you think other people are.

And the relational schema adds to this by saying this is who you think you are, this is who you think other people are, and this is what you think will happen if you do this and this.

People with attachment styleswere less likely to, people with various attachment styles, were less likely to operate outside the relational schema.

In other words, relational schema exists in each and every one of us.

Differences in attachment styles actually reflect differences in relational schema. Whenever relational schema dictates your behaviors, you're trying to avoid rejection, you're trying to avoid pain, you're trying to avoid hurt, there are some things you will not do.

You know that you will be reciprocated, you know that you will receive pleasant experiences and pleasant feedback, so you're drawn to do so. It's positive and negative reinforcements to use behaviorist theories.

Relational schema incorporates information about positive and negative reinforcements.

You will try to avoid negative responses, you will try to seek positive responses and gradually it will shape the way you attach to your intimate partner.

Relational schemas involved in working models are organized into hierarchy.

I will quote Baldwin. Baldwin said, "A person may have a general working model of relationships, for instance, to the effect that other people tend to be only partially and unpredictably responsive to his needs.

At a more specific level, this expectation will take different forms when considering different role relationships. For example, we will not have the same relationship with a customer, as we will with a romantic partner.

Within romantic relationships, expectations might then vary significantly, depending on the specific attachment, on the specific situation, or the specific needs being expressed.

Baldwin, 1992.

And so this hierarchy is three levels. There are three levels to this hierarchy.

The highest level contains very general relational schemas that apply to all relationships. These are general expectations about relationships, you know, all relationships.

Romantic, business, workplace, with parents, with children, with neighbors, with others, with strangers, and so on.

The next level of the hierarchy contains relational schemas that apply to particular kinds of relationships. So you would have relational schemas that pertain to customers, relational schemas that pertain to bosses, relational schemas that pertain to your underlings and subordinates, relational schemas pertain to your parents, to your intimate partners, to your children, to your neighbors, to strangers you meet in a bar, etc.

These are the second level in the hierarchy of relational schemas, and it's a differentiated level, depending on the specific type of relationship.

And the lowest level of the hierarchy contains relationship schemas that apply to specific relationships.

Relations withmy this specific wife, with this specific intimate partner, with this specific boss, in this specific workplace right now. These are time dependent relational schemas that are, of course, replaced. If you divorce your wife and marry another wife, you will have a totally different relational schema, hopefully for you.

Pietro Monaco and Barrett wrote the following, "From this perspective, people do not hold a single set of working models of the self and of others. Rather, people hold a family of models that include at higher levelsabstract rules or assumptions about attachment relationshipsand at lower levelsinformation about specific relationships and events within relationships.

These ideas also imply that working models are not a single entity, but are multifaceted representations in which information at one level need not be consistent with information at another level.

In other words, for example, that's Pietro Monaco and Barrett, 2000.

For example, you can haveon the second level, you can have a general relational schema with regards to, which regards intimate relationship. So you have a general relational schema regarding intimate relationships, but on the third level, you have a relationship schema, that pertains to your marriage. And the relational schema that pertains to your marriage could contradict completely the relational schema that pertains to intimate relationships.

Why?

Because your marriage is not intimate, is not functioning well. So evidence that general working models and relationship specific working models are organized into hierarchy is abundant.

And for example, I refer you to overall Fletcher and Fries.

Okay, let's try to wrap it up.


When you're securely attached, you look for support. And looking for support is your most effective coping strategy. You're not afraid of people, you believe people can help you, you believe they're good, essentially good. You believe they can provide you with what you need emotionally.

So you go looking out for them. That is secure attachment.

When you have avoidant attachments, you tend to devalue the relationshipand you tend to withdraw. When you have anxious attachments, you use emotionally focused coping strategies, you think emotionally, and you pay more attention to experience distress.

Pistol in 1996 studied anxious attachment in depth. In 96 95. So securely attached individuals have less negative overall emotional experience than insecurely attached. We said it before, their early challenges, much happierand they had a safe base.

And there are many studiesincluding recent studies, for example, Fox and Codon that show that anxious and avoidant attachments predict behaviors such as stalking.

When you're anxious, when you avoidant, you tend to act antisocially, you become psychopathic. And this is where we tied in with victims of complex trauma, victims of CPTSD being exposed to multiple repetitive trauma can induce temporary, anxious and avoidant attachment styles.

For example, every trauma victim, every victim of narcissistic abuse will tell you how difficult it is for her to trust again, to date people again, to go on dates. She becomes avoidant, she becomes anxious.

And these attachments style encourage, encourage psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors and traits. And for example, there's a huge correlation between anxious and avoidant attachment style and behaviors such as stalking.

Ironically, stalking is about being committed. Stalking means commitment, the stalker is committed to you. A stalker is attached to you.

And the anxious person is committed to you, he's anxious because he's committed, he's afraid to be rejected. And the avoidant person is negatively attached to you, in a way, he's attached via his avoidance. He's attached to his avoidance.

So, ironically, these behaviors actually reflect commitment and variations of attachment.

And so attachment, commitment, trauma, pain, hurt, they're all one complex, you can organize them in a relational schema can organize them in an internal working model. It doesn't really matter what you call it, doesn't matter.

Psychopathic and narcissistic behaviors are induced by distress, and by pain and by hurt and by trauma. These are reactions, these are defense mechanisms. These are attempts to reassert control, attempts to be seen to become visible, attempts to diffuse or reduce and ameliorate anxiety, self medication, sometimes with recklessness, or with impulsivity, or with antisocial conduct. These are coping mechanisms.

And what people don't realize is that these coping mechanisms actually increase anxiety, increase distress. That's why we consider them dysfunctional.

In psychology, there's no value judgment, no morality, we don't say to be a psychopath is bad. It's not okay, it's even.

Well, youtubers do that. But academics don't.

What we are concerned with, is it working? Is it functional? Does it fulfill the role? Does it do things? Does it accomplish things?

And to become a psychopath and a narcissist, because you have been traumatized, or you've been hurt, or you're anxious or you're avoidant, this is dysfunctionalbecause we have proven conclusively in many studies, that psychopathic and narcissistic and borderline strategies, coping strategies, defiance, impulsivity, contumaciousness, secondary psychopathy, all these things, they increase distress, they enhance anxiety. They don't work.

There's a lot more to narcissists and psychopaths and borderlines than the disorders.


I started my work 25 years ago as a pioneer. And my work to some extent has been misunderstood, because people tend to reduce the narcissist to a figment, to his pathology, they ignore the person behind the persona, they ignore the core of the narcissistic nuclear meltdown of attachment, lack of self- base, lack of object constancy, fear of being loved, and fear of loving.

The need to love a dead mother because dead objects are fully controlled, inanimate dead objects, never betray you, never abandon you, never hurt you. And this renders any type of meaningful communication with the narcissistall but impossible and inefficacious, because the narcissist's main strategy is absence. He upsents himselfand he wants to absent you, and he wants to have an intimate relationship between two absences, a relationship between one non-existence and another, between two voids, between an emptiness and a void.

The borderline to a large extent is the same, the borderline is a failed narcissist, but still highly grandiose and has many narcissistic features.

The same with the psychopath, both primary and secondary.

The variation has to do with the existence of empathy and with the regulation of emotions or access to emotions.

But these are variations of the theme.

The theme is that these people as children, they were instructed, told, and encouraged to not exist. They were not seen, they were not allowed to become, they were given permission to exist only as elements of the parent, attributes of the parent, dimensions of the parent and instruments of the parent, or not at all.

Love was conditioned on not being. It's a lesson that is impossible to eradicate.

If it's attachment starts, a stable.

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