SOURCE: Diane Poole Heller (www.dianepooleheller.com)
What’s your Attachment Style? Take the Quiz http://dianepooleheller.com/quiz
My work is influenced by the work and lineage of John Bowlby. Bowlby’s investigation into the intense distress caused in children when separated from their parents led him to define what he called the attachment behavioral system. Later work by Mary Ainsworth made clear distinctions of attachment categories including Secure, avoidant resistant, and avoidant. Contemporary research shows that these early experiences in childhood repeat themselves in adult relationships by how we interact in and what we expect from our significant other.
I frequently refer to the hallmark work on attachment by experts Allan Schore, Dan Siegel, Marion Solomon, David Wallen, Rachel Heller, Amir Levine, Susan Hart, Stan Tatkin, Ellyn Bader, Bessel van der Kolk and Pat Ogden. The current research being done in this field, including my own, has shown great promise in understanding the emotional and neorbiological origins of attachment styles. This understanding, and the revelations of modern brain science on brain plasticity, gives us the exciting opportunity to change destructive relationship patterns in to constructive behaviors that lead to better, deeper and longer lasting adult relationships.
In the DARe workshops we address four of the core Attachment Styles, their origin’s the way they reveal themselves in relationships, and methods for transforming attachment hurt into healing. I use the terms Secure, Avoidant, Ambivalent, and Disorganized Attachment. These are described below.
Secure: Secure attachment is the ideal type of attachment need to enjoy healthy boundaries, fluidity of intimacy and individuation, and social engagement. This is developed by the child having caregivers who are positively attuned to the child, provide a safe haven with consistency and “good enough” care, attention and affection. Children who experience this type of holding environment grow to feel safe to explore the world, interact with others with trust, and to have emotional resilience and regulation. As adults they will tend to have greater confidence, better balance and choices in relationships, and the ability to both give and receive love.
Avoidant: In the avoidant style, caregivers’ emotionally unavailable, insensitive and even hostile responses to a child’s need for connection forms a coping strategy of disconnection in a child. Avoidantly attached people commonly find their greatest struggle to be a lack of emotion. Without intimate nurturance the limbic system is neurologically starved and does not receive the signals required for building social responses nor the frontal brain stimulation that develops bonding.
This disconnection extends first to the parents and then to all other relationships. Though some of our cultural models extol the virtues of this self-reliant lone-wolf behavior (think X man Wolverine, or the quintessential “Desperado” cowboy icon), actually living with such a lack of emotional attunement can be increasingly isolated. When working with Avoidant attachment, the intrepid task of the therapist is to nurture a transition to a fully embodied and participatory existence by creating a welcoming and contactful experience full of compassion “permission for existence.” DARe provide resources for ways Avoidants can cross the tenuous bridge to emotional connection.
Ambivalent: Ambivalently attached people have had caregivers who were on again off again, inconsistently tending and attuning to the child. Because of the lack of consistency the child doubts whether their needs will be met and is on the constant look out for cues and clues to how their behavior may or may not influence the parent’s responses. Over time they find them selves on an emotional see saw of needs being met and not being met. Their object relation is “I can want, but cannot have.”
You may observe that in ambivalent attachment there is a tendency to be chronically dissatisfied. First, there is a tendency to project their own familial history onto their relationship. Secondly if the other person becomes available, they become unavailable! Unaccustomed to receiving love, having it available doesn’t fit their profile of “still wanting”. Over time partners of Ambivalent people can be discouraged by their love being dismissed and the loss of the relationship can be the both the feared and created outcome.
Disorganized Attachment: Disorganized Attachment results when caregivers present double-binding messages to children. This is sometimes called “paradoxical injunction.” An example of this is a, “Come here, go away. Come here, go away.” message. Parents create situations for the child that are unsolvable and un-win-able. For example a parent may ask a child to do a task such as sweep the floor. When the child begins to do so the parent criticizes how it is being done, or even when it is being done. The child may attempt to do the task again taking the direction but is criticized again. The parent may then deride the child for not doing what the parent has asked them to do and punish them for not doing the job.
When exposed to these impossible-to-resolve situations over and over again the child develops a pattern of not solving problems. When parents set up these interactions that are frightening, disorienting, inherently disorganizing, and which sometimes involve violence, the parents become the source of fear. The disorganized pattern arises in the child when there is a desire to be close to the parent as an object of safety conflicting with a drive to detach from a dangerous and confusing caregiver. For the Adult this may mean being held emotionally hostage by the conflict of the desire for intimacy and was well as the fear of it.
To figure out your attachment style, I have provide this short attachment quiz / for you and your partner.
Building Your Consciousness Container: A Practice
To Deepen Your Transformation and Success
This is designed to help you put together a short and long term
plan to build your energy and consciousness container in all three mind,
energy and body systems.
As you increase your baseline of energy transformation skills and consciousness, you increase your self mastery.
Over the past couple weeks my life challenge has been trying to
overcome the flu. I lay slammed on my back like a flopping fish on the
shore ‐‐ a very humbling experience. Although, my body was asked to surrender to the rest and renewal process, my Explorer’s Mind engaged the experience with a sense of
"Why is this sickness here?" it asked. "And what message
does it bring that will support my awakening process?"
We’re all aware that the flu is definitely no walk in the park, yet my
Explorer’s Mind invited me to exercise the same sense of curiosity and
playfulness that an Explorer feels when she gazes out upon a new
landscape with wonder. No self‐recriminations, judgment or sense of regret‐just an open and
pure Explorer’s Mind.
We resist illness/challenge for slowing us down, yet they always brings
a message and a gift to enhance our journey‐if we can open to receive it.
Usually, the message we receive is not a new one. For if we have gotten
sick, lost a job, or face a huge challenge, often times the message is one
we have been ignoring or not taking seriously enough.
Learning how to listen to your inner voice is an empowering asset in this
fast‐paced, high‐octane life that many of us are living. It can be a light in
the darkness when we feel confused and lost. Yet, listening is only the first step. For when we listen, yet fail to take action on the guidance provided by our inner voice, it is like we are deciding to win the lottery but not buying the ticket! Illness, emotional pain, lost of a job or relationship are all clear and powerful reminders to Build Your Energy and Consciousness Container.
Since energy is consciousness and the physical medium that connects the
mind with the body, your Container is an interconnected system
consisting of your energy system, your body, and the thoughts and
beliefs in your mind. Building your Energy and Consciousness Container is the process of strengthening all three mind, energy and body systems. Why exactly is it so important for you to strengthen these three systems?
Any time you want to make a change in your life, your container
must become stronger to hold the new level of success and
empowerment that you are ready to allow in.
Just as Einstein said, you can’t solve a problem with the same
consciousness that created the problem. As you strengthen your
Container, you raise the consciousness in both your mind and body. This
enables you to then have more energy available to make the changes
you want to manifest!
Strengthening your Container also lends additional benefits that
support your desired transformation and success. For as you strengthen
your Container, you also strengthen your ability to see, track and sense
energy. You increase your intuitive ability, cleanse your field, and bring
in High Vibrational Consciousness (HVC) to magnetize the changes you
wish to make with greater ease and effectiveness.
For instance, when I first began teaching energetic work, at the end of
the day I found myself exhausted after holding a Container for the entire
group and for myself. Now I can easily teach an entire weekend and a
much larger group and feel energized at the end of the day. This is
because I consciously engaged the process of growing my Container.
What once felt overwhelming, now feels far easier. Strengthening your Container doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and focused intention. But anything of real value requires focus to build and create. Your Container is no different!
To Help You Become Strong Enough To Master Your Next Steps,
Dreams and Passions:
Write down something you are passionate about achieving or something
that feels difficult for you right now.
Then, over the next several months, focus on building your Container so that you are able to step into this next level of life that awaits you!
10 Ways To Build Your Energy And Consciousness Container To
Increase Your Success And Well Being.
The following questions are entry‐points designed to a) help you assess
the areas in which you are currently creating a healthy Container for
yourself, and b) show you the places that are needing additional support
and transformation. Remember to focus on what you are already doing
well and build upon that!
1. How Connected Are You To Core Being And Self Love?
We all have a part of ourselves that is whole and has never been
damaged by trauma and challenge. The more that you can
connect to this energetic vortex of spiritual wholeness (Core
Being) in times of stress and difficulty, the stronger your
Consciousness Container will become. As you extend love to
yourself, especially when you have made a mistake, your Container
will grow exponentially, for you will be supplying yourself with
self‐love at a point when you need it the most! What are your
challenges in feeling the sensation of self‐love and Core Being in
all three mind, energy and body systems? For instance, can you
feel Core Being as a sensation in the body and a concept in the
mind? Are you able to use the energy of Core Being to experience
wisdom? I encourage you to write out a plan to support yourself
in this area. Feel free to contact me for support.
2. Can You Engage Your Explorer’s Mind For Clarity Of
Perspective? In the article above, I mention the Explorer’s
Mind. It’s the inner detective that helps you look at difficulty with
curiosity and a sense of adventure. The Explorer’s Mind helps you
understand that what you see in each moment is an illusion
containing only a mere ribbon of truth. As you open yourself to
questioning your current perspective, you open to the possibility
of seeing a deeper truth. This truth is not invested in any outcome
and doesn’t allow fear to cloud its vision. As you engage life from
this more expansive place, you allow your Container to naturally
expand. Begin to think of some challenges in your life. Now
imagine seeing these challenges from the perspective of an
explorer. Challenge yourself to live more from your Explorer’s
Mind and feel the strengthening of your Container!
3. Do You Use Your Enlightened Observer To Help You
Differentiate From Emotional Pain And Challenge?
In this work, we use our Explorer’s Mind as a
vehicle to help us raise our consciousness, so that we can then
connect to our Enlightened Observer. Your Enlightened
Observer is the “God Consciousness” that holds High Vibrational
energy, enabling a strong part of yourself to be differentiated from
the pain and challenge.
The Enlightened Observer is the energy of presence that prevents you from merging and collapsing into despair, anger or sadness. This vital tool can help you to vastly strengthen your Container by helping you transform the energy of misfortune back to Core Being. Each time you engage in this transformational process, you strengthen your Container so that you are more equipped to experience life’s offerings. How
connected are you to your Enlightened Observer and what can
you do to strengthen it?
4. Do You Practice Acceptance Even In The Presence Of Your
Programmed Personality And Ego Challenges?
Although Ego is a multifaceted energetic presence, in essence it is that part of you that judges yourself and others. Ego divides you by convincing you that you are either “better than” or “less than.” In addition, the Programmed Personality is your false sense of self that is
comprised of the Ego and your unhealthy defenses. To practice
Acceptance is to acknowledge your Ego and Negative
Programming and accept that you are human and imperfect. Acceptance strengthens your Container by allowing you to see your Negative Programming and Ego as parts that are asking to be transformed back to the spiritual wholeness of Core Being. We all have “darkness” waiting to re‐enter the light. To what extent do you acknowledge and accept your Ego and Negative Programming? How equipped are you to then move out of Ego and Negative Programming and back into Core Being?
Remember to look first at what you already can do and then build
5. Can You Transform Negative Beliefs And Emotions? All of us
have negative beliefs and emotions that arise. Yet you can
become the alchemist and strengthen your Container by: (1)
learning to connect to them energetically, (2) discovering their
root causes, and (3) learning to transform their Low Vibrational
Consciousness (LVC) back into High Vibrational Consciousness
(HVC) of Core Being. All emotions and life challenges are
energetic constructs with the potential to be converted back to
your Higher Good. This transformational process is the
foundation of this work and a vital skill for self-mastery
and strengthening your Container. For me, the most
difficult energy to transform is that of being attacked and judged
by an authority figure. Yet, as I work to strengthen my Container,
I utilize the power of intention to support me in transforming this
type of LVC. What are your challenges in this area? Can you utilize
intention to transform your LVC back to HVC to strengthen your
Container? Message me and tell me how you are doing in this
6. Are You Drained By Too Much Thinking?
Too much thinking can drain your Container, especially if the thinking is negative in frequency and Ego‐based. Reviewing your random thoughts is a powerful practice to support the strengthening of your Container,
for it helps you to become aware of the thoughts that tend to drain
your energy field. Notice if there happen to be certain negative
themes that run your thoughts. When you work with your own
energy field, one way to prevent your mind from wandering is to
give it a job—the job of feeling the sensation of energy in your
body. I ask my mind to feel and assess, feel and assess, as it scans
through my body. As long as your mind has a positive job, and
grounds you back into your body, it is less likely to drift into
trouble by creating negative thought loops.
7. What Do You Need to Change In Your Health/Eating Habits,
Weight? Do you need a Cleanse?
thermograms and other supportive health practices are vital to a
strong container. Outline what changes you might need in this
area. For instance, do you need vitamins, supplements or other
Inner‐guidance urges me to strengthen my Container by
getting acupuncture, chiropractic, regular thermograms, seeing a
Tibetan Doctor, eating smaller meals more often and eliminating
sugar from my diet. In addition, I just started a Candida cleanse.
What health and eating support do you need? “Right eating” is a
basic but essential component to building a strong and resilient
Container for yourself.
What does your inner guidance tell you to
change with respect to your weight and eating habits? Note: never
cleanse or diet to lose weight. Diets don’t work – habit
changes do. (It’s always useful to check with a qualified health professional as
8. Changes in your exercise/sleep routine?
A balanced exerciseand sleep routine is arguable the most important aspects of a strong container. Over all, 8‐9 hours of continuous sleep a night is required for adults. And, an exercise program that includes
cardiovascular work as well as weight bearing exercise is a good
rule of thumb. What, if any, changes are needed to your
9. What Addiction Patterns Don’t Serve You?
Tackling challenges dealing with additions play a significant roll in growing our container. Whether it be an eating addiction linked to need to lose or gain weight or an addition dealing with alcohol, drugs or porn.
Additions can consume your energy and prevent you from
fulfilling your life task.
10. Do You Need To Raise Your Energetic Baseline? Do You
Need To Start/Improve Your Mindfulness Practice?
It’s empowering to be aware of your energetic baseline—the strength
of your charkas and central channel and where each of these
energetic structures can use additional support. Once you assess
your energetic baseline, you are then able to make adjustments to
the energetic frequency of your Container. I know that my
weakest chakra is the front of the third and 5th and the back of
the 4th, and since energy is consciousness, each energetic
misalignment represents an emotional issue. As you transform
the Low Vibrational Consciousness of the emotional issue back
into High Vibrational Consciousness of Core Being, you reclaim
your power and wholeness and strengthen your Container by
engaging the transmutation process. Just pick one or two
energetic areas to transform.
Energetic exercises such as meditation and Chi Kung help to
strengthen your energetic Container when practiced on a daily
You’ll recognize that your Container is growing when you
are able to engage a mindfulness practice while running high
vibrations and large amounts of energy through your mind and
body without falling asleep or feeling nauseous. A strong
Container easily converts low vibrations back into the High
Vibrational Consciousness (HVC) of Core Being.
What meditation and energetic practices support the strengthening of your Container? What more is needed to help build your Container?
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