Attachment Theory

If you are new to this forum and are looking for information that is particularly helpful and relevant to those who have recently left RSE and are starting their recovery process, this is a good place to start.
Elizabeth
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 5:38 pm

Attachment Theory

Unread post by Elizabeth » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:38 am

These two articles on Attachment Theory, what it is, and how it can be hacked (like, by a cult leader) may be of some value here. I think it's another interesting way to view what happened to us, and also it may help people who weren't caught up in RSE themselves, but are trying to understand what is going on. I've posted the articles below, but they can be read with better formatting on the following links:

http://www.predatorpray.com/2014/11/10/ ... tionships/

http://www.predatorpray.com/2014/11/16/ ... nipulated/

ATTACHMENT THEORY PART 1: IMAGINARY RELATIONSHIPS

What is Attach­ment Theory?
The premise of Attach­ment The­ory is that an infant is dri­ven by a need for safety to stay in the prox­im­ity of the mother (or pri­mary care­giver). When the care­giver is present, there is secu­rity, when the care­giver is absent, there is alarm. The infant devel­ops sev­eral innate behav­iors such as cry­ing, smil­ing and crawl­ing to ensure prox­im­ity, such as smil­ing to keep the care­giver near, and crawl­ing to fol­low if she leaves.

The dis­tance that is con­sid­ered tol­er­a­ble ‘prox­im­ity’ increases as the infant learns that the care­giver is nearby and acces­si­ble; per­haps she is not in sight, but a cry will bring her back. In the safety of this prox­im­ity, the child feels secure and now begins explor­ing her envi­ron­ment, until she gets fright­ened by some­thing unfamiliar–then she returns back to the safety of the care­giver. As the feel­ings of secu­rity in the child are rein­forced, the dis­tance between the care­giver can increase, and the child’s world grows ever larger. An older child is capa­ble of feel­ings of secu­rity with­out the phys­i­cal pres­ence of the care­giver, as long as the emo­tional bond is still present. This is a nor­mal sequence of grow­ing up.

We out­grow our need for our par­ents to be nearby, but in a healthy emo­tional per­son our depen­dence on emo­tional bonds is not out­grown and dis­carded, instead it matures into a myr­iad of rela­tion­ships, con­nec­tions that are deep, endur­ing and mutual. Friend­ships, rela­tion­ships, fam­i­lies, co-workers, teams, com­mu­ni­ties… we are no longer chil­dren, but we are not iso­lated islands, either. This adapt­able behav­ior sys­tem, genetic mate­r­ial plus feed­back from expe­ri­ence, results in the devel­op­ment of an indi­vid­ual capa­ble of com­plex social interaction.

What does Attach­ment The­ory have to do with Instinct?
Attach­ment The­ory is a lens through which to explore human instincts. The won­ders of ani­mal instinct–intelligence dri­ven by genetic mate­r­ial: newly hatched sea tur­tles mak­ing their way to the ocean, monarch but­ter­flies under­tak­ing their bian­nual migra­tion, bears hibernating–can be mys­ter­ies to our eyes. How do they know how to do that? What dri­ves them to take those spe­cific actions? It is easy to think that we, as humans, have lost some­thing unspeak­ably great when we left behind the woods and plains for civ­i­liza­tion and education.

Yet the human instinct to bond with other humans is as insa­tiably vora­cious and pri­mal as any act that can be viewed in the wild. But like a fish, so accus­tomed to the water it swims in that it is vir­tu­ally unaware of it, it is easy to become overly accus­tomed to the ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence of the dri­ving force of attach­ment in our lives.

Attach­ment is a deep and endur­ing emo­tional bond that con­nects one per­son to another across time and space. Attach­ment The­ory explains the intense, emotional-driven behav­iors that drive us to form emo­tional bonds with other humans. Start­ing from birth, we develop the skills based on the respon­sive­ness of our pri­mary care­giver, thus set­ting the stage for con­nec­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and relat­ed­ness through­out life. These are the core emo­tions that demand we take action; they are respon­si­ble for us falling in love, form­ing friend­ships, want­ing to reach out to oth­ers, estab­lish­ing com­mu­ni­ties and civ­i­liza­tions. When not man­aged prop­erly these emo­tional forces result in defense mech­a­nisms, anger, mur­der and war.

Dis­tin­guish­ing itself from instinct alone, Attach­ment The­ory is a com­bi­na­tion of genetic pro­gram­ming plus the ongo­ing learn­ing from expe­ri­ences. Our early attach­ments shape (but don’t deter­mine) our abil­ity to con­nect with oth­ers. Attach­ment is based on our genetic, sur­vival impulses. But unlike inbred genetic mem­ory of how to build a nest from twigs, the emo­tional drive plus experience-response is a com­plex sys­tem, open to feed­back and sen­si­tive mod­i­fi­ca­tions. And like any other com­plex sys­tem, it can learn flaws and also be hacked. But before we get to the hack­ing, let’s look at strength of the emo­tions Attach­ment The­ory describes, in the form of unre­quited love.

Can you have a con­nec­tion with some­one who is not hav­ing a con­nec­tion with you?
Is there any­one alive that does not know the pre­cious agony of being madly in love with some­one who does not feel the same way? It’s tor­ment when you see the object of your desire isn’t madly in love with you, but it’s heav­enly when you imag­ine that he/she is. This exam­ple pro­vides the proof we need to estab­lish that the emo­tions a per­son can feel in a one-sided rela­tion­ship are real and intense.

Is it pos­si­ble to be in a rela­tion­ship with some­one who is in rela­tion­ship with you, when only one of you is connected?
Or to rephrase, is it pos­si­ble to be in a rela­tion­ship with some­one who is in an entirely dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ship with you? Ouch, yes it is.

For exam­ple, Tier­ney and Renee. Renee was recently divorced and going through a very dif­fi­cult time with one of her three kids, who was hav­ing com­pli­cated med­ical issues. That’s when she met Tierney.

He was older, hand­some, intel­li­gent and car­ing. He was also a doc­tor, and they became friends when he offered to help her wade through some of the con­fus­ing diag­noses she was being given. For over two months, they talked every day and met sev­eral times a week for cof­fee. When I was hav­ing din­ner with Tier­ney, we were often inter­rupted by a phone call from Renee, and sev­eral times he was not avail­able to meet with me because he had plans with her. And then one day, it all fell apart.

Tier­ney: “I don’t know what the prob­lem is, we were very close friends. I’m very trou­bled that she won’t even tell me what I did to make her so upset.”

Renee: “What is this guy’s prob­lem? We’re not dat­ing, I have no com­mit­ment to him. We talked on the phone occa­sion­ally and met for cof­fee maybe a cou­ple of times.”

Whoa. What? It’s a total he said/she said, except I was there and I saw that Tierney’s ver­sion was accu­rate. Right?

My inter­pre­ta­tion: Tier­ney was expe­ri­enc­ing a con­nec­tion with Renee. He was hav­ing a real rela­tion­ship with feel­ings, a grow­ing sense of trust and a future. Renee… was she just using him? Well, she was inter­act­ing with him, but she was not expe­ri­enc­ing a con­nec­tion with him (we will not psy­cho­an­a­lyze Renee here, even though that would be fun…) The times they spent together meant less to her than to him. She may not have been using Tier­ney inten­tion­ally, but she cer­tainly was not rec­i­p­ro­cat­ing emotionally.

Aside from any feel­ing of injus­tice here, the point is that even though Renee was not emo­tion­ally avail­able to Tier­ney, he thought she was. And that mis­un­der­stand­ing, whether inten­tional or not, laid the foun­da­tion for Tier­ney to expe­ri­ence an emo­tional con­nec­tion with, essen­tially, his imagination.

If you are now rec­og­niz­ing that you, too, have a col­or­ful imag­i­na­tion, go grab a tis­sue and wel­come to the club.


The upside of this inten­sity is that when two peo­ple who have mutual feel­ings of con­nect­ed­ness form an attach­ment, the result can be ben­e­fi­cial for both of them. And when many peo­ple come together to form a com­mu­nity based on mutual pur­pose, the out­come can be many times greater than the indi­vid­ual inputs. Human civ­i­liza­tion is built upon con­nec­tions such as this.



What hap­pens when an intense, instinc­tive drive to con­nect is not directed towards another per­son or per­sons, but out­wards to the universe?
We have a bio­log­i­cal dri­ving force to con­nect with a pri­mary care­giver that in our pri­mal form pro­vides us with:
  • safety and security,
    love and understanding,
    nour­ish­ment and shelter.
Attach­ment The­ory can be extrap­o­lated to pro­vide a bio­log­i­cal under­stand­ing for our spir­i­tual drive that resem­bles our ini­tial bond­ing expe­ri­ence, but in a pure form. Uncon­di­tional love flows from a fault­less source that is capa­ble of meet­ing our every need. Feel free to add your own superla­tives, but the rela­tion­ship strongly mir­rors the neu­ro­chem­istry of infant-mother bonding.

To be clear, this is not proof of a higher power, since it is painfully clear that we are extremely capa­ble of devel­op­ing intense rela­tion­ships with some­one who either doesn’t feel the same way or sim­ply doesn’t exist. There­fore, our abil­ity to feel some­thing when we con­nect with god or nature, does not mean that there is some­thing out there we are con­nect­ing to. It just means we are ter­ri­bly, ter­ri­bly good at connecting.

Enough with the flaws. We want hacks! You promised us hacks!!!
Yes, and here it is…

For some, per­haps dis­il­lu­sioned by love, or dis­sat­is­fied about the endgame that biol­ogy offers, the solu­tion seems to be tran­scend­ing the earth-bound earth­i­ness of these mor­tal rela­tion­ships and their mun­dane rewards. Many new age and east­ern spir­i­tual bod­ies of thought are directed towards not get­ting caught up in the illu­sion of day-to-day life, pre­fer­ring to grad­u­ate out of this end­less cycle of want­ing and get­ting and want­ing more. The pro­posed solu­tions are often methods–whether ide­o­log­i­cal or practical–of detach­ing from our per­sonal con­nec­tions, and re-connecting to spir­i­tual ones. And often the pro­posed line of rea­son­ing would seem sound, except for the hid­den results…

Step 1: We dis­con­nect from our past friend­ships, part­ners, lovers and fam­i­lies. By cut­ting these con­nec­tions, we are dri­ven to seek oth­ers. We end up con­nect­ing with: an exter­nal god, an inter­nal god, a cre­ative energy of some kind. The ideal is that this con­nec­tion is a purer form, and will result in a puri­fied life.

Step 2: The pro­po­nent of your ide­ol­ogy is often a liv­ing person–often called a yogi, mas­ter, sen­sei, teacher, guru, leader etc. The decep­tion is that when you detach your­self from all sources of con­nec­tion in your life to engage this spir­i­tual ideal, this liv­ing per­son often inserts him/herself in their place–because who else is guid­ing you on this quest to a more per­fect rela­tion­ship with the cre­ative force of the uni­verse? You think you are detach­ing from this world to expe­ri­ence free­dom. What you are actu­ally get­ting is an extra­or­di­nar­ily pow­er­ful attach­ment to a per­son who may have a hid­den agenda.

How can you tell when this is happening?
If you are the one deceived, you can’t, but you may be able to see it in oth­ers. If the behav­ior of the true believ­ers and the leader are eerily sim­i­lar to the rela­tion­ship between a dog and it’s owner, that is a red flag.

Why a dog? A dog is a social species that dis­plays attach­ment behav­ior. To a dog, it’s owner (a higher order being) is the sole source of nour­ish­ment and love. The rela­tion­ship between a sin­gle dog and a sin­gle owner is an apt anal­ogy for a pack ani­mal that is out­side of it’s nor­mal pack envi­ron­ment where many dif­fer­ent rela­tion­ship dynam­ics are shared within the group. Am I say­ing that humans are sup­posed to be pack ani­mals? No, I am say­ing that humans are adept social crea­tures that func­tion opti­mally when con­nected in a myr­iad of ways with many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, and there is an evo­lu­tion­ary pres­sure that moved us in that direction.

Am I say­ing that lead­ers can only work their decep­tion when the ratio of leader:follower is 1:1? No, most of this decep­tion typ­i­cally occurs within a group setting–but each mem­ber of the group is encour­aged to dis­con­nect from every­one around them and then learns to rely almost exclu­sively on the leader for val­i­da­tion, guid­ance and love. Sec­on­dar­ily, the sup­port sys­tem can be with other mem­bers of the group, but the leader–capable of ending/starting rela­tion­ships and dic­tat­ing pop­u­lar opinion–is always in con­trol of those relationships.

Attach­ment The­ory explains the exu­ber­ance of your dog, whose joy at see­ing you walk in the door is not just remark­able in its inten­sity, but also in its endurance; it repeat­edly per­sists even if you barely pet him and don’t give him a treat. Instead of view­ing it as a response-reward behav­ior (owner walks in the door->dog gets a treat), view it as him bask­ing in the source of Love, the pro­tec­tor of his King­dom, and the giver of Life’s needs–it makes way more sense.

How sim­i­lar is this to the behav­ior dis­played by a believer when in the pres­ence of the leader? Sub­sti­tute pet­ting for hug­ging and bark­ing for cheer­ing, and the pic­tures match pretty nearly. It is a demon­stra­tion of the power of pure attach­ment in an ide­al­ized form, when the believer feels him/herself to be in the hands of safety and security.

This is the Attach­ment Sys­tem hacked; a person’s drive to con­nect with a greater/spiritual pres­ence is manip­u­lated through that drive to become com­pletely depen­dent on a sin­gle leader for all their emo­tional needs. The manip­u­la­tion can be done through mis­in­for­ma­tion and fear–leaving the believer untrust­ing and resis­tant to all other out­side infor­ma­tion and resources. The believer is now sev­ered from the pro­tec­tion nor­mally pro­vided by friends, fam­ily, com­mu­nity and legal system.

So are you say­ing that spir­i­tual lead­ers are evil?
No, I am say­ing that becom­ing a spir­i­tual leader is a very desir­able posi­tion for those with mali­cious intent–people don’t rise into posi­tions of spir­i­tual power because of their spir­i­tu­al­ity, they are drawn to posi­tions of power because of their desire for power. Spir­i­tu­al­ity, to them, is only a vehicle.

Through the lens of Attach­ment Theory
But we have only scratched the sur­face of what Attach­ment The­ory can tell us about our­selves, our rela­tion­ships with god and our behav­ior under the influ­ence of spir­i­tu­al­ity. Part 2 of this series will go into more detail about the result­ing think­ing and behav­ior that can hap­pen when this con­nec­tion gets sub­verted and bro­ken… and maybe some insight on how to repair it.



ATTACHMENT THEORY PART2: SUBVERTED & MANIPULATED

How can Attach­ment The­ory be subverted?
In order to under­stand how Attach­ment The­ory can be used against us, it is nec­es­sary to under­stand how our adapt­able behav­ioral sys­tem is able to be sub­verted from its opti­mal path of devel­op­ment. There are four cat­e­gories of attach­ment pat­terns, and they offer plenty of infor­ma­tion on how our abil­ity to process inti­macy and con­nec­tion is devel­oped in infancy and sets us up for rela­tion­ship pat­terns through­out life. They are:
  • secure attach­ment
    anxious-ambivalent attach­ment
    anxious-avoidant attach­ment
    disorganized/disoriented attach­ment
[Note: these cat­e­gories are part of a major sci­en­tific the­ory of socio-emotional devel­op­ment AND are dis­tinct from “Attach­ment Ther­apy” that is com­monly con­sid­ered a pseudoscience.]

The four attach­ment pat­terns are each wor­thy of their own study, but of inter­est to us here is dis­or­ga­nized attach­ment dis­or­der, in con­sid­er­a­tion of the believer/spiritual leader rela­tion­ship dis­cussed in the pre­vi­ous arti­cle in this series, where the mul­ti­ple con­nec­tions of the believer have been deceit­fully replaced by a sin­gle rela­tion­ship with the leader.

What is Disorganized/Disoriented Attach­ment Dis­or­der?
A securely attached child exhibits the behav­ior of protest­ing the caregiver’s depar­ture, greet­ing the caregiver’s return, cling­ing when fright­ened, and fol­low­ing when able. All of these behav­iors are in close agree­ment with the premise of attach­ment the­ory. But what hap­pens when the source of the threat IS the caregiver?

Dis­or­ga­nized attach­ment results when the infant/child per­ceives the pri­mary care­giver as fright­ened or fright­en­ing. The care­giver may act in ways that do not make sense, demon­strat­ing unpre­dictable, con­fus­ing or erratic behav­ior. In this sit­u­a­tion, when an infant/child is con­fronted by a threat, an innate urge to flee to a source of safety is trig­gered. When con­fronted by a need to flee from the threat straight to the… threat, the child is con­fronted with an ‘unsolv­able para­dox,’ result­ing in defen­sive exclusion.

What is defen­sive exclusion?
Defen­sive exclu­sion is the sub­con­scious selec­tive dele­tion of infor­ma­tion before it hits the brain’s emo­tional pro­cess­ing cen­ters. It is a defen­sive mech­a­nism of preservation–the infant learns quickly that cer­tain reac­tions are unde­sir­able and will cause the prox­im­ity between her and the pri­mary care­giver to increase, there­fore as a sur­vival mech­a­nism those reac­tions must be suppressed–the method is to divert the infor­ma­tion before it can be reacted to emotionally.

Click here to watch a short video explain­ing Defen­sive Exclusion: https://vimeo.com/21420217

To review…
Dis­or­ga­nized Attach­ment Dis­or­der is an approach-flight con­flict aris­ing from an intense, innate, bio­log­i­cal drive to flee to safety–and that safety is the source of the threat. The result is an over­loaded neural sys­tem that essen­tially shuts down to per­mit the flight to ‘safety’ to occur.

The expla­na­tion of HOW defen­sive exclu­sion works may change over time, as neu­ro­science is con­stantly inte­grat­ing with psy­chol­ogy and other fields. What is not likely to change is the some­what sur­pris­ing obser­va­tion that it hap­pens at all. It is a trait that is devel­oped to sup­port the sur­vival of the infant, but it is also a com­plex sys­tem that later in life can cause infor­ma­tion right in front of us to be diverted away from our aware­ness. If you can imag­ine a sit­u­a­tion where being blind to infor­ma­tion that is star­ing you in the face is dangerous…

Back to our model…
In mod­el­ing our believer/leader rela­tion­ship as anal­o­gous to the infant/mother rela­tion­ship, is there a sim­i­lar anal­ogy for defen­sive exclu­sion when the believer is pre­sented with infor­ma­tion that causes the believer to per­ceive the leader as a threat? That is to say, does the thinking/feeling/words/actions of a believer show an almost will­ful incom­pre­hen­sion, a lack of accep­tance and block to any­one or any­thing that would impart such knowledge?

An exam­ple of a per­sonal story (mine):

When one’s life is dom­i­nated by a sin­gle attach­ment rela­tion­ship (typ­i­cal of one with a leader)…

“I was enmeshed in the belief sys­tem of JZ Knight/Ramtha for 20 years total. I had the fol­low­ing expe­ri­ence ten years before leaving…”

And then logic is intro­duced that shows the leader to be lying, manip­u­lat­ing, and dangerous…

“I started read­ing “Voodoo Sci­ence” by Robert Park. I had picked it up because of the inter­est­ing name, hav­ing no idea what it was about, and it was the first time I remem­ber see­ing the word ‘pseu­do­science’. The author, a physi­cist, with a gut­tural hatred for any­thing irra­tional, method­i­cally ripped apart many com­mon fal­lac­ies (all of which I had believed for years). He explained the sci­ence (or lack of) behind them, and sourced their ori­gin and then tracked how the con­cept had ‘gone viral’ in the years before social media made ‘viral­ity’ com­mon,’ and they had turned into some­thing that sounded like facts, but were just urban myths.

After cov­er­ing many sub­jects in detail, he explained his 7 Warn­ing Signs of Bogus Sci­ence, a quick lit­mus test of legit­i­macy. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to see the same trans­gres­sions repeated, end­lessly, in so many sit­u­a­tions. I couldn’t put it down, and read it late into the night. When I was fin­ished, yes, it occurred to me that much of what he was using to dis­prove snake-oil char­la­tans and igno­rant mis­guided, mis­in­for­ma­tion, also applied to JZ Knight/Ramtha and every­thing I believed at Ramtha’s School of Enlight­en­ment.”

Turn­ing away from the leader (i.e. all attach­ments) means turn­ing away from any­thing one is con­nected to…

“I remem­ber sit­ting in my arm­chair, alone and late at night, and kind of peer­ing into the abyss that would be my life if none of what I was devot­ing my time, energy and money to at RSE was true.”

And results in defen­sive exclu­sion, where infor­ma­tion is sub­con­sciously blocked to avoid ter­mi­nat­ing the rela­tion­ship with the pri­mary caregiver…

“I do have a good mem­ory of what came out of that expe­ri­ence, but my mem­ory of actu­ally hav­ing that moment… is very vague. Later, I col­ored the mem­ory (inter­pre­ta­tion: I was being ‘tested’ with doubt.), but the vis­ceral expe­ri­ence of the mem­ory itself… I can’t quite ‘re-feel’ it.

I remem­ber search­ing my mind for those moments of ‘proof’–whatever I could use to say I had a real, irrefutable, unex­plain­able expe­ri­ence. And I had those moments, of course. And NOW I can explain them and they are not proof of any­thing mys­ti­fy­ing, but at the time, I could not. So I was able to hold on to part of my belief sys­tem. But what about the rest? Did I go to bed not believ­ing in the great spir­i­tual teacher Ramtha after being absorbed by RSE for 10 years? I don’t remember.”

The cause of the dis­tur­bance has passed, the result: re-attachment…

“After read­ing the book, I had been pretty shaken, and I don’t know if I talked about it to any­one, but hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with my fel­low mem­bers about the next meet­ing of the ‘school’, the impor­tance of doing the work we were doing… it sort of put things back together for me. What was dis­con­certed was smoothed out again, like wak­ing up after a bad dream and slowly the wak­ing world becomes more solid than the night­mar­ish land­scape of pure fear.

I can’t say that I inten­tion­ally immersed myself in that belief sys­tem by re-associating myself with thoughts con­nected to it. But that is what happened.”

The results are dif­fer­ent when other con­nec­tions are established…

“Fast for­ward to ten more years later, and my think­ing was very dif­fer­ent. I had gone to col­lege, stud­ied sci­ence and was exposed to many dif­fer­ent peo­ple and influ­ences. I still believed that Ramtha was a sep­a­rate spirit than JZ Knight, and that both of their spir­i­tual inten­tions were of the high­est order. But I had devel­oped a dis­re­gard for Knight’s per­sonal behav­ior and for Ramtha’s reliance on pseudoscience.

I also had a life built out­side of RSE, which I hadn’t done inten­tion­ally. I think it was the out­come of get­ting an edu­ca­tion and want­ing some­thing bet­ter for myself than liv­ing at the poverty level in an eco­nom­i­cally depressed, rural area. I found that I had as much, if not more, in com­mon with the peo­ple I had gone to school and worked with than with the peo­ple I had been with on this spir­i­tual path for 20 years.

So the next time I took the thought of Knight/Ramtha as a fraud seri­ously, there was some­thing in the abyss I was star­ing into. It was a desir­able life, unen­cum­bered by the irra­tional­ity of RSE, and I was able to step out of the miasma of Ramtha.

But there is really no amount of logic you could have thrown at me at that point, ten years pre­vi­ously, that would have made me walk away. I think the miasma would have taken me safely back into the arms of delusion.”

The fog, haze, miasma, limbo, confusion

Through the lens of Attach­ment The­ory, the believer is not walk­ing around in the fog of defen­sive exclu­sion all the time, it just gets very dense as one approaches any real­iza­tion that the pri­mary care­giver is the source of the danger.

The abyss is the lack of any other connections–an anath­ema to a social species–and the instinct is to retreat from it is as strong as the instinct to move toward safety.

My story is one of many sim­i­lar sto­ries, told by many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but the abyss described is quite sim­i­lar. Any­one who has stopped being a believer has had to nav­i­gate through this invis­i­ble bound­ary at some time. Some man­aged to see through the fog and gain clar­ity. And some jumped into the abyss and walked through the empti­ness to leave the leader’s grasp. But most of us also have sto­ries to tell of other times when we were wrapped up in the arms of con­fu­sion until the aware­ness of it faded and we were left in the famil­iar, com­fort­ing con­nec­tion with the leader. And know­ing that friends and loved ones are still inside that bound­ary is a painful reminder of unnec­es­sary suf­fer­ing for no real cause.

Does Attach­ment The­ory offer a solution?
If the abyss (lack of con­nec­tions) and the fog (defen­sive exclu­sion) are:
  • cre­ated by genet­ics (that’s 60 mil­lion years of evolution)
    engi­neered by the leader, and
    trig­gered by logic,
then any solu­tion sug­gested by Attach­ment The­ory would be one of con­nec­tion. In my story above, the way out was paved with con­nec­tions: to friends that were not caught up in the same bind as I was, to a career that had mean­ing, to a world that was not threat­en­ing, and to a future that was worth liv­ing. To won­der at how believ­ers put up with the lack of all of these, and to won­der why they don’t get fed up and leave… it is lit­er­ally the lack of these things that keeps them there.

The more des­per­ate their life is, lack­ing any other con­nec­tions beyond those to the leader, makes their abyss darker and deeper. To move away from that innate dan­ger, they are dri­ven closer to the secure prox­im­ity of the leader. To sug­gest that the leader is the cause of their prob­lems, causes their defen­sive exclu­sion to be stronger, mak­ing their men­tal fog thicker.

Per­haps now it is clear how nec­es­sary it is that lead­ers turn mem­bers away from their own fam­i­lies, against their com­mu­ni­ties, and against any­one that would lend them emo­tional sup­port. Some­one who still sees the world as a viable option is not eas­ily controllable.

Attach­ment The­ory, then, sug­gests that the one pow­er­ful thing we can pro­vide to any­one still in a cult is a human connection–against strong head­winds and of ques­tion­able observ­able rewards. The model doesn’t tell us how to accom­plish that, or even if it’s pos­si­ble, or how to find the strength of com­pas­sion to do so when our attempts to reach out are so icily and openly rebuffed.

It only tells us of the great util­ity it is to the leader’s ends when we turn away from our peo­ple or offer them only hard facts and cold criticism.

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David McCarthy
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Re: Attachment Theory

Unread post by David McCarthy » Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:16 am

Hi Elizabeth, everyone....
Finally found an afternoon to explore your post.
I've yet to fully study THE ORIGINS OF ATTACHMENT THEORY:
by JOHN BOWLBY AND MARY AINSWORTH INGE BRETHERTON
PDF Download Here:
http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attach ... rigins.pdf

I will share this much....These are Excellent and brand new insights.
That offer another piece of the psychological puzzle into how we (intelligent and caring human beings) become trapped and enamoured by the likes of JZ Knight and turning a blind eye to her abuses and cunning deceptions.
First... A THANK YOU Elizabeth :idea: for sharing this fascinating publication and equally for
sharing your personal insights and journey beautifully and concisely written.

Even thought I suffered many desperate and dark days during my time at RSE (conveniently explained away as 'The Dark Night of the Soul)' it took me near on seven years before I broke free and began the arduous journey of reclaiming my life from the clutches of a religious extremist cult run by a greedy narcissistic sociopath.
'Attachment Theory' helps map this territory. It help explain how I replaced my abusive childhood parents and experience with 'Papa Ramtha'.... having learnt as a child that to be loved you must be subjected to abuse, deceit and fear.
" ATTACHMENT THEORY . Yet the human instinct to bond with other humans is as insa­tiably vora­cious and pri­mal as any act that can be viewed in the wild. But like a fish, so accus­tomed to the water it swims in that it is vir­tu­ally unaware of it, it is easy to become overly accus­tomed to the ubiq­ui­tous pres­ence of the dri­ving force of attach­ment in our lives. "
To break this cycle of abuse 'to step out of the forest to see the trees' is to break the cults hold that feeds off our genetic pro­gram­ming.
This I believe JZK dared not 'own', and so the cycle of abuse continues as 'Ramtha', spreading like a virus 'hacking' into the minds of anyone that gets drawn too close. Few ever immerge intact after a close encounter of the cult kind.... :roll:
" ATTACHMENT THEORY
For some, per­haps dis­il­lu­sioned by love, or dis­sat­is­fied about the endgame that biol­ogy offers, the solu­tion seems to be tran­scend­ing the earth-bound earth­i­ness of these mor­tal rela­tion­ships and their mun­dane rewards."
Oh yes.....and this is exactly the audience JZK targets with her RSE sales pitch.
" ATTACHMENT THEORY
Step 1: We dis­con­nect from our past friend­ships, part­ners, lovers and fam­i­lies. By cut­ting these con­nec­tions, we are dri­ven to seek oth­ers. We end up con­nect­ing with: an exter­nal god, an inter­nal god, a cre­ative energy of some kind. The ideal is that this con­nec­tion is a purer form, and will result in a puri­fied life.

Step 2: The pro­po­nent of your ide­ol­ogy is often a liv­ing person–often called a yogi, mas­ter, sen­sei, teacher, guru, leader etc. The decep­tion is that when you detach your­self from all sources of con­nec­tion in your life to engage this spir­i­tual ideal, this liv­ing per­son often inserts him/herself in their place–because who else is guid­ing you on this quest to a more per­fect rela­tion­ship with the cre­ative force of the uni­verse? You think you are detach­ing from this world to expe­ri­ence free­dom. What you are actu­ally get­ting is an extra­or­di­nar­ily pow­er­ful attach­ment to a per­son who may have a hid­den agenda."
Elizabeth Wrote:

An exam­ple of a per­sonal story (mine):
When one’s life is dom­i­nated by a sin­gle attach­ment rela­tion­ship (typ­i­cal of one with a leader)…

“I was enmeshed in the belief sys­tem of JZ Knight/Ramtha for 20 years total. I had the fol­low­ing expe­ri­ence ten years before leaving…”
And then logic is intro­duced that shows the leader to be lying, manip­u­lat­ing, and dangerous…
“I started read­ing “Voodoo Sci­ence” by Robert Park. I had picked it up because of the inter­est­ing name, hav­ing no idea what it was about, and it was the first time I remem­ber see­ing the word ‘pseu­do­science’. The author, a physi­cist, with a gut­tural hatred for any­thing irra­tional, method­i­cally ripped apart many com­mon fal­lac­ies (all of which I had believed for years). He explained the sci­ence (or lack of) behind them, and sourced their ori­gin and then tracked how the con­cept had ‘gone viral’ in the years before social media made ‘viral­ity’ com­mon,’ and they had turned into some­thing that sounded like facts, but were just urban myths.

After cov­er­ing many sub­jects in detail, he explained his 7 Warn­ing Signs of Bogus Sci­ence, a quick lit­mus test of legit­i­macy. It was fas­ci­nat­ing to see the same trans­gres­sions repeated, end­lessly, in so many sit­u­a­tions. I couldn’t put it down, and read it late into the night. When I was fin­ished, yes, it occurred to me that much of what he was using to dis­prove snake-oil char­la­tans and igno­rant mis­guided, mis­in­for­ma­tion, also applied to JZ Knight/Ramtha and every­thing I believed at Ramtha’s School of Enlight­en­ment.”

Turn­ing away from the leader (i.e. all attach­ments) means turn­ing away from any­thing one is con­nected to…
“I remem­ber sit­ting in my arm­chair, alone and late at night, and kind of peer­ing into the abyss that would be my life if none of what I was devot­ing my time, energy and money to at RSE was true.”

And results in defen­sive exclu­sion, where infor­ma­tion is sub­con­sciously blocked to avoid ter­mi­nat­ing the rela­tion­ship with the pri­mary caregiver…
“I do have a good mem­ory of what came out of that expe­ri­ence, but my mem­ory of actu­ally hav­ing that moment… is very vague. Later, I col­ored the mem­ory (inter­pre­ta­tion: I was being ‘tested’ with doubt.), but the vis­ceral expe­ri­ence of the mem­ory itself… I can’t quite ‘re-feel’ it.

I remem­ber search­ing my mind for those moments of ‘proof’–whatever I could use to say I had a real, irrefutable, unex­plain­able expe­ri­ence. And I had those moments, of course. And NOW I can explain them and they are not proof of any­thing mys­ti­fy­ing, but at the time, I could not. So I was able to hold on to part of my belief sys­tem. But what about the rest? Did I go to bed not believ­ing in the great spir­i­tual teacher Ramtha after being absorbed by RSE for 10 years? I don’t remember.”

The cause of the dis­tur­bance has passed, the result: re-attachment…

“After read­ing the book, I had been pretty shaken, and I don’t know if I talked about it to any­one, but hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with my fel­low mem­bers about the next meet­ing of the ‘school’, the impor­tance of doing the work we were doing… it sort of put things back together for me. What was dis­con­certed was smoothed out again, like wak­ing up after a bad dream and slowly the wak­ing world becomes more solid than the night­mar­ish land­scape of pure fear.

I can’t say that I inten­tion­ally immersed myself in that belief sys­tem by re-associating myself with thoughts con­nected to it. But that is what happened.”

The results are dif­fer­ent when other con­nec­tions are established…

“Fast for­ward to ten more years later, and my think­ing was very dif­fer­ent. I had gone to col­lege, stud­ied sci­ence and was exposed to many dif­fer­ent peo­ple and influ­ences. I still believed that Ramtha was a sep­a­rate spirit than JZ Knight, and that both of their spir­i­tual inten­tions were of the high­est order. But I had devel­oped a dis­re­gard for Knight’s per­sonal behav­ior and for Ramtha’s reliance on pseudoscience.

I also had a life built out­side of RSE, which I hadn’t done inten­tion­ally. I think it was the out­come of get­ting an edu­ca­tion and want­ing some­thing bet­ter for myself than liv­ing at the poverty level in an eco­nom­i­cally depressed, rural area. I found that I had as much, if not more, in com­mon with the peo­ple I had gone to school and worked with than with the peo­ple I had been with on this spir­i­tual path for 20 years.

So the next time I took the thought of Knight/Ramtha as a fraud seri­ously, there was some­thing in the abyss I was star­ing into. It was a desir­able life, unen­cum­bered by the irra­tional­ity of RSE, and I was able to step out of the miasma of Ramtha.

But there is really no amount of logic you could have thrown at me at that point, ten years pre­vi­ously, that would have made me walk away. I think the miasma would have taken me safely back into the arms of delusion.”

The fog, haze, miasma, limbo, confusion
Through the lens of Attach­ment The­ory, the believer is not walk­ing around in the fog of defen­sive exclu­sion all the time, it just gets very dense as one approaches any real­iza­tion that the pri­mary care­giver is the source of the danger.

The abyss is the lack of any other connections–an anath­ema to a social species–and the instinct is to retreat from it is as strong as the instinct to move toward safety.

My story is one of many sim­i­lar sto­ries, told by many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but the abyss described is quite sim­i­lar. Any­one who has stopped being a believer has had to nav­i­gate through this invis­i­ble bound­ary at some time. Some man­aged to see through the fog and gain clar­ity. And some jumped into the abyss and walked through the empti­ness to leave the leader’s grasp. But most of us also have sto­ries to tell of other times when we were wrapped up in the arms of con­fu­sion until the aware­ness of it faded and we were left in the famil­iar, com­fort­ing con­nec­tion with the leader. And know­ing that friends and loved ones are still inside that bound­ary is a painful reminder of unnec­es­sary suf­fer­ing for no real cause."
I remember during those gruelling indoctrination sessions at RSE... JZK/R systematically unraveling and destroying the last vestiges of love, trust and hope I held precious in this world. The constant fearfest's combined with psychological ripping into past traumas and attacks on family ties implanted with dark conspiracy theories and doomsday prophecies, Basically a psychological hatchet job skilfully aimed at the roots of identity and humanity. What was left standing was to fall in line with total obedience and trust in 'Papa Ramtha'... :twisted:
Tragically for many RSE converts this perverted 'loving Ramtha mind-set was the final step down the RSE rabbit hole , the final straw that broke free and critical thinking. For many kindred spirits at RSE searching for spiritual meaning and healing this led to an early grave. :sad:
ATTACHMENT THEORY " What is defen­sive exclusion?
Defen­sive exclu­sion is the sub­con­scious selec­tive dele­tion of infor­ma­tion before it hits the brain’s emo­tional pro­cess­ing cen­ters. It is a defen­sive mech­a­nism of preservation–the infant learns quickly that cer­tain reac­tions are unde­sir­able and will cause the prox­im­ity between her and the pri­mary care­giver to increase, there­fore as a sur­vival mech­a­nism those reac­tions must be suppressed–the method is to divert the infor­ma­tion before it can be reacted to emotionally."
http://www.predatorpray.com/2014/11/10/ ... tionships/
http://www.predatorpray.com/2014/11/16/ ... nipulated/

Highly Recommended if you have ventured down JZK's rabbit hole and survived to tell the tale....

David

Related:
Predator Pray | How Spirituality Makes You Vulnerable
http://www.predatorpray.com/
But he has nothing on at all, cried at last the whole people....

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