Tonight, the St Andrew’s Study Trust seminar is about Family Violence. (6.15pm). I’ve just looked at one of the powerpoints for the evening presentation.
This reminds me how important attachment is for us all. If caregivers, mother or father, have issues which interrupt bonding with their child, the child suffers.
These issues might be beyond parents’ control. Maybe their own upbringing wasn’t great. Poverty distracts stressed parents from parenting. Addiction and illness can interfere; anxiety, pain, busyness and general insecurity and fear all have an effect on how ‘present’ a parent can be to their child.
It is a basic need, when we are very young babies, to see ourselves reflected in another’s eyes. If we see someone else looking at another person, and slowly realise that person is us, then we know we exist. It is a very, very basic need for the child to get this slowly growing awareness that they are a person, that they do exist, that they have an identity.
If this realisation is not cemented in early life, the growing person always has a black hole at their centre, where their identity should be. To compensate, they seek other’s approval and attention and guidance as to what to do. This might be through being very, very good or compliant. It might be through ‘acting out’, grabbing attention through anti-social behaviour. The black hole might get ‘filled’ by addictions of different sorts – drugs, alcohol, food, religion, work, sex or other ordinary behaviours which become obsessions. I wonder if the reliance on social media by many young people springs from this need to be validated as a person.
Disordered attachment explains a lot of the ills of our society. It also gives us clues as to where we might insert ourselves as advocates for social justice. At the point when families contain those most vulnerable human beings – babies – all the support and interventions which society can bring to bear need to be present. This is where we need to put our social justice energy – advocating for the vulnerable little human beings at the mercy of the world into which they are born.
On Sunday we will be looking at the very familiar story of Martha and Mary which, I am now thinking, might have some connections to this e news! After church, the social justice education group will meet to hear John Morgan talk on “United Nations – a critical international institution in financial crisis”. See you there.
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