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RELATIONAL PROCESSES AN D DEVELOPMENTAL DESI DERAT

Disorganized atrachmenr is generaily seen ro reflect the breakdown of .rrr adaprive straregy on the part of a frightened infant instinctively driven r. s.eek proximity to a frightening parent. yet Main (r99s) also notes as ,’r’idence of disorganization the sequential or simultaneous iisplay of conr rirdictory behavior parrerns: An example observed in a maltreated infant consisted of a strong display of attachment behavior (running crying to parent with arms outrt..t.h.d, followed inexplicably by avoidance (infant suddenry stops, rurns her back to rhe parent, silent). (p. 423) t ”rrespondinglS it has been suggested that unresolved adults have rearned ro resort to both deactivating and hyperactivating strategies. Such adults lrcquently have a history of trauma in reration to “ttn.hi'”nt figures that t’voked both an avoidance of closeness and a terror of abandonment i.vlrkulincer & shaver, 2003). patients like these are torn by conflicting im- |trlses (to avoid others out of fear of attack, to turn desperately to others ‘rtrt of a f,ea,r of being a.lone) and often experience their feeiing, “, orr..po*- t ri^g and chaotic. As therapists, it can be very helpful to ,eallre that the apl’,rrently self-destructive behavior of such patients represents their past and l)rcsent attempts to contend as self-protectively as possible with these con_ trirdictory impulses a_nd overwhelming feelings. ih. i.,t.grrtion we are ,:rlled on to facilitate here has multiple dim.rrrio.rr, includirig (but not limrtcd_ to) the integration-of traumatic experience and dissociated affects, as *1lf as the mending of splits in rhese patients’ images of self and others. \laking this integration possible depends ,pon o.r.lbility to generare an rrrcreasingly secure attachment-a haven of safety and secure”base-that r:rrr itself become the primary source of the patient’s ability to tolerate, rrr.dulate, and communicate f-eelings that were previously unbearable