IMAGO STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT – Attachment stage

IMAGO STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT – Attachment stage

IMAGO STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT
Attachment stage
(Birth to 15 months)

The Stages of development help us understand were we potentially could have been wounded and thus what we need to learn to grow into to become whole individually and as a couple.

According to Imago Theory When parents are reliably available, warm and attuned to our needs we develop emotional security and trust. We internalize the message that “It is Okay to Be.” The developmental need is to bond and remain connected to the caretaker, primarily through the function of the senses.

The healthy outcome for the child is emotional security and coherence, a capacity to adapt flexibly to changing environmental demands.

Couples Wounded at the Attachment stage develop Clinging or Avoidant Defence Mechanisms

Longitudinal research suggests that attachment styles are fairly consistent across time so that those who are observed to be securely attached in childhood also score as securely attached in their adult relationships and tend to be in relationships with others who are securely attached. Those wounded at the attachment stage are attracted to others with similar pain around caretakers not being consistently there for them. For these early wounded couples conflicts often rage intensely around the dual fears of abandonment and annihilation.  e.g. You never make time to be with me or We are always together. I need space or can we do this together.

Both partners have intense anxiety around both connection and separation.

One partner tends to express more of the anxiety around the other’s unavailability and absence and the other expresses more anxiety around the partner’s intrusive presence.

Childhood stage ATTACHMENT  
The Basic Need To remain attached
The Defence they have perfected in childhood Clinging Detaching /avoiding
The internal message they carry as Adults I’ll be safe if I hold onto you I can’t initiate contact because you’ll destroy me
They See partner as Unavailable,
Unfeeling,
Cold
Demanding,
All-consuming
Their Behaviour towards their partner Clinging,
Demanding,
Attempts to fuse
Detaches,
Core Power Struggle Avoids Partner’s detachment and unavailability
Too much separateness
Partner’s demands and neediness
Too much togetherness
Conflict management Hyper-emotional,
Demanding,
Giving in,
Compromising
Hyper-rational,
Avoiding,
Passive aggressive withdrawing,
Cold
What they need to learn in order to grow Let go,
Self soothe connect more to self
Differentiate
Listen to self-
Think things through
Assert their own right to be
Be more aware of the other
Initiate contact
Listen to the other
Express their feelings
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