Attachment issues…what are they? I can read the books. I can dissect Freudian and Jungian views (and the intense Melanie Klein) and. I can look at it without their help. What is this attachment story? Does it become our greed? Is it the big fat SUV? Is it the extra TV in the room adjacent? Is it something within? Something someone else possesses? Or is it that we perceive someone has a quality we covet or simply want? (Are we even aware?) Is it that the only way we can access parts needful for our growth is to project an internal source beyond self into another person or group or object? We can’t quite get it so we send it out into other and then we chase or grab and refuse to let go or sob when we’re losing out or drool over the shiny red number. Is it that simple? It is and it isn’t.
There’s love. There’s need. The two, as separate as they need to ultimately be, do tend to go hand-in-hand. Or maybe one just grabs the other’s leg and won’t let go. In any case, we attach. We want. We hoard/horde sometimes. We have a time of valid need (from birth to ___). But we don’t always get what we need. We grow fearful. We try to fill the void within. Oddly, the void is only created by a sense of not having, not having what we really actually do have. An internal rift begins…where? Who cares, just fill it! We scramble. Something must fill, seeking beyond for what is within all along. But. But. But…we find it through the resonating exchanges in those depth relationships, the ones that awaken us to the internal wellspring. Those enduring and generous ones who have decided we can grab the leg for a while. Somehow those attachment moments settle the inner craving. “I can cling. I can be received without being engulfed or devoured. My love for other is safe. My love for me is…safe.” Even if the other will challenge me painfully. Even if I must let go and grab the solid me within.
I’m thinking a lot about attachment these days, apparently. My eldest sister sobbed when I left, wouldn’t let go. It was the most emotional moment directed AT me in years. (Eldest sister is 51, has Downs’ Syndrome, is learning to let go of her parents and move on into a house where people not her mom and dad are caring for her beautifully. It’s landmark. It’s epic.) I wondered: “Is this me?” Am I unable to mourn her changes? My own (ha! I’ve mourned enough!)? Is she doing it for me? I couldn’t tell. I ached for her but knew she would move on after the long hug and tears. “I”ll be here in December, Biz.”
Leaves just let go, right? Or do they reach that maximum point of readiness and fall? Is it that simple in our relationships? It should be. But that leg grabbing frenzy that never got full play (into a transition of healthy self-reliance!) can make for some messy transformations. My oldest sister has watched her sisters (all younger) move on and into love and children and loss. She didn’t get her time. Does she know this? She sure does. But she has no words available to oust the frustration. She gobbles her food, piles it up. Packs bags full and wants to carry everything she possesses along with her wherever she goes. She yells at night, at 3am, at her imaginary friend. Dementia is not uncommon at this age for Downs’ adults. It’s daunting to have to go seek the raging one out to tell her (loudly, fiercely because gentle does not get through to her when she’s given to the anger) to stop the yelling. You have to reach across the divide, the shut-out and shock enough to arrest the process of delusion. She shudders. She peers into your eyes and for a split second is forced out of her imaginary world, the one that substitutes for all she couldn’t have. The one where she can call all the women who’ve left her “fat pig” and otherwise speak an eloquence uncommon to the retarded. It blows me away. She quiets down. She finds that someone has brought her back from the brink. Something solid has asserted itself, an anchor of “other” introducing her to something within. But her expression undergoes amazing transformation in rage. It is succinct. Insightful. Alive. Nothing typical of Downs’ Syndrome “articulation.” The genetic mutation bends, morphs into something miraculous. How many of us live just like this but with less obvious parameters of dementia? With less obvious “imaginary” relating? Do we reach each other or do we reach the edge of our projection?
We can…we can reach beyond the mind-numbing process of self-protection.
All of it, all the rage, all the agony is wrapped up in the attachment story. My sister cannot have access to parts of herself. She longs. We can tell her “it’s all there within you, dear!” But we all need the leg to grab. The tree from which to emerge, unfold and let go. To float down to ground, disintegrate and begin again. We need the place to rest our hearts in love, in practice of the resonance we have within. A place that can only be awakened by the beyond of other, of mother, of sun’s changing shine. Even of the striking lightning, the wind supreme reminding that we are not lost to our own powers. Something is bigger.
I haven’t figured it all out. That spills out my fingers with a bit of mockery. I don’t believe any mind out there can master this issue. We’re all different. But some things are basic. We need to be able to need in a safe space, to cling and internalize the resonance provided by people of solid stuff. To love, cling, let go and begin again. To go through the process in zones free of the unspent cries of our own parents attachment sorrows. Like those trees with roots sinking down deeply into the grit grime of earthiness, smiling up at moonlit night, attached to the cycles of life and death. Only to begin anew, to learn the release and grasp, melt and grow into the leg for another to grab, a branch of rest for those who need to connect with connection itself.
We get the very thing we give in these attachment scenes…and the sun shines truth into the layers.