Secure attachment is characterized by the ability to keep the needs for closeness and distance in a fluid balance. Neither being alone nor being close triggers fears or tensions. Separation is not experienced as existentially threatening abandonment, and being together does not contain a drive to unresolvable melting.
Elements of Insecurity
Yet there are also secure attachments, which contain elements of insecurity. Probably that is true to all secure attachments, for there are rarely parents who can grant secure attachment to their children on all levels.
There is an interesting variation in the following example: Parents can use the security in attachment as a mental and emotional construction for suppressing their own insecurity in attachment. Security of relationships in the whole family system is held up with ostentation. This is often the case in relationships, which started under insecure circumstances on the outside so the founding of a family was meant to form a nest of security, e.g. during or after war or economic crisis. People withdraw from an unbearable reality and build up sheltered refuges for regenerating life.
Still there is a price to pay: For the sake of security, individual freedom has to be given up. Freedom is considered as threat for this stability. In this system, people want from the others to be accountable, and this is why they try to behave accountable themselves. To keep up this in itself shaky network of reliable expectations, a lot of subtle pressure and covered manipulation is required.
Members of these systems are not acknowledged and safeguarded against loss of love because of their individuality, but only insofar as they adapt to given expectations. Parents demand from their offspring to give them a safety they did not have themselves – and all this happens on an unconscious level – and the children give in to this role, because they do not have an alternative, and refrain from self-centred aspirations.
This structure of sacrificing individuality in favour of the system as a whole is well known from the tribal organization of society. Tribal communities in early human history only could allow a small amount of individuality, as the social frame was closely woven and traded knowledge had to be sacred and unchangeable. In the course of history, new developments emerged, which broke the narrow confinements of tribalism and offered more space for individualities to unfold. Yet the remembrance of the cosiness and security of this early phase was never forgotten, and so it can easily be instrumentalised by different ideologies.
Ideologically Faked Securities
Interesting for the history of Middle Europe is the connection with the presumed security, national socialism and other fascistic movement have promised 90 years ago, a security guaranteed by an accountable racially unified community („Ein Volk“). As a precondition served ethnical purity, “one” blood without strange ingredients, so that any deviations from an unconsciously created consensus of “the people” would be impossible. This context explains the brutality, with which all that should be eradicated that was racially alien. In reality, what was threatened was not the “purity of race” but the safety of a net of prejudices and preoccupations, which was meant to grant inner security. Successfully, anything strange was equated with unpredictability, which was considered the same as dangerous. The efficacy of this ideology is evidently unbroken up to today and still attracts many people.
It is impossible to erect a functioning tribal community (except in the heads of right-wing national populists), just as there is absolute safety in family attachments. Under the guise of love and communion, often subtle dependencies are created, fuelled by the unconsciousness of parents due to their unfulfilled needs for attachment in childhood. The soul wants to get back from the won children what has been missed long before. The secure attachment, parents offer, serves the purpose of receiving love, which was absent in the beginning. Children cover this deficit and start to suffer themselves from the flaw of love, which can only be perceived on an unconscious level.
Yet the conflicts of emancipation in adolescence can be very grave in such cases. For the parents, the securities are at stake, which they have created via their children, and for the children, their own life is at risk. They want to retrieve their birth right of recognition of their true self.
Every soul wants to set free. Adolescents, who break out of the guidelines of their families, pay a service to themselves and to their parents to check the concepts of love and to define them anew. As long as love is mixed with dependency, there are inner forces, which surface in conflicts. When these tensions can be resolved in a constructive way, dependent attachments can be transformed into free flowing relationships. Thus, a deeper wisdom is revealed, that safety can only be found in inner freedom.
A Start With a Welcome