Here’s the next part in the series that began here: Preventing Our Children From Developing Demons (And Healing Our Own).
Those of us with the Attunement Survival Style are used to scarcity and sadness. Without them we feel lost and/or overwhelmed – pleasure and success are both desired and feared. We are the self-sabotagers of the world. We have constant internal conflict between our desire to have our physical and emotional needs met(which are natural biological and real) and our expectation that other people will disappoint us.
There are two subtypes to this survival style.
The first is The Inhibited Subtype. Those of us who operate from this survival mode are likely to block any recognition of our own needs. We are likely to be proud of our ability to manage without others. We are likely to stop or forget to eat when we are stressed, we are often thin and struggle to put on weight – with the extreme version of this being anorexia. Our pantries and freezers are almost always empty or near to empty and we feel anxiety if there is too much food in the house.
The second subtype is The Unsatisfied Subtype. Those of us who operate from this survival mode are highly demanding of the people around us, but we still feel constantly empty. We are likely to over-eat when we are stressed with the extreme being bulimia. Our pantries and freezers are full to the brim but still we buy all the food on special, in sales and at bargain prices. We become anxious if our supplies begin to dwindle.
The key aspects of this style are:
1. Highly attuned to (enmeshed with) the needs of others. Overly represented in the caring industries. Likely to collect strays and misfits – both people and animals.
2. Would love the other people in our lives to be as attuned to us as we are to them but are resigned to the ‘fact’ they will always disappoint us.
3. We are resigned to scarcity and sadness us our default emotion. Our expression of anger is weak and tends to lean more toward irritability.
4. Don’t reach out for what we really need from others.
5. Try to be both the “Thinking and Doing” person in a relationship AND the “Receiving and Feeling” person in the same relationship. That is, we can be passive-aggressive in the way we ask for help from others – wanting to receive and be nurtured, but not stating our needs directly. At the same time, we overfunction with organising and nurturing others, not allowing them the space to step-up.
6. We are great at giving but struggle to receive in any meaningful way – we don’t experience the sensations of pleasure easily – but we long for them.
7. Point out issues or problems to others, but then expect the other people in our lives to solve those problems when and how we would like them to be solved.
8. We equate attention with emotional connection, and will often be the life of the party and will feel anxious if someone else is ‘getting the attention’ of anyone else around us.
9. We seek or create problems in order to be the person who ‘rescues’ or ‘solves’ the problem, but then resent having to be the one to do that.
10. Often feel empty in our belly and experience almost constant emotional longing.
With The NeuroAffective Relational Model it is expected that we do not focus on the past but recognise that patterns of behaviour, which served us well as babies, children and teens, are not useful to us as adults. It is particularly important that Attunement Types DO NOT spend hours analysing our past as this is re-traumatising and reinforces the belief that we are helpless and dependent children.
This (Unsatisfied Subtype) has been a huge shadow for me, so the next post I will share some of the ways I am unknotting myself from this survival style.