Sunday, 8 November 2015


I am a now single 70yo male survivor. Doing what many are doing, trying to make a difference and trying to get our government agencies to listen and learn from survivors. The problem is as expressed bu many in the field, that agencies debate cases theoretically: Theory is all well and good, but it is not reality..There is a lot that could be done to benefit children, but we do not have the resources that government agencies do. Legally there are many things that our government agencies should and should not do. But they are side-swept, in the interests if financial savings: To the determent of the child. Children are the life blood of our future and as abuse increases year on year so does the damage done to future generations conception of empathy, compassion, love & judgment. Leaving our future generations of government colder and more corrupt than the previous. For they are no less lightly to be abused than anyone else. Deaths as a result of failures by one or more of our peoples protection services run in to the hundreds every year. And all in the name of economy:
Characterization of "Cold"
Doubtless, you've had the experience of interacting with someone who was--we'll say--"off-puttingly stand-offish." Detached, seemingly preoccupied, and not at all open or friendly, they seemed to hold you at a distance. And if you tried to say something to ease the situation, their response (though not exactly inappropriate) pretty much nullified your efforts.
Or, you may have begun a romantic relationship that started out promising, but over time compelled you to confront the fact that the other person really wasn't letting you in. Despite all your attempts to "grow" the connection, to make it more mutual and heartfelt, he or she seemed to prefer that it remain as it began--uncommitted, relatively superficial, and impersonal. Any natural progression toward greater intimacy (at least emotional intimacy) simply wasn't happening. And your trying to cultivate more patience, to cut the other person more slack, or make allowances for their perhaps having an especially "private" nature, ultimately didn't seem to make any difference in your feeling uncomfortably removed from them.
Hopefully, this is a relationship you walked away from. For odds are that, in both cases I've portrayed, you were dealing with a person who might best be understood as having what in developmental psychology is called an avoid-ant attachment pattern. This most useful concept--introduced into the literature by Mary Ainsworth who, along with her mentor, John Bowlby, represent the chief pioneers in the vital field of attachment theory--focuses on the nature of children's attachment to their earliest caregiver as it crucially shapes how they'll relate to others later in life.
Here, bulleted, are some words and phrases that collectively capture--on the surface, at least--the various dimensions of the "characterological coldness" I've been depicting (though, of course, no single individual is likely to manifest all these features):
aloof, apart, stand-offish
impersonal, disengaged, uninvolved; closed, shut-down
detached, distant, remote (these traits, like so many others on this list, actually characterize a schizoid personality disorder, which--at their extreme--cold people can sometimes be)
haughty, or projecting superiority (though, if these narcissistic features are present, they could reflect the individual's outward demeanor, or self-deception, far more than how--deep down--they actually see themselves)
self-absorbed; insulated, passively withdrawn
emotionally unavailable, inaccessible, unresponsive, indifferent, uninvested
unfeeling, unemotional, affectionless; unsmiling--straight-faced (or stone-faced)
cold-hearted--as in "cold fish" or (even worse) an "iceberg" or "ice queen"
lacking in empathy and compassion
untrusting, wary, guarded;
angry, hostile; critical
excessively independent and self-reliant
Before looking at the maternal caretaking causes of such coldness, however--as well as its short and longer-term psychological effects--I should briefly mention what avoidant attachment is not.
For one thing, it shouldn't be confused with introversion (presently understood as an inborn personality trait tied to the brain's reticular activating system). Given similar deficits in their parenting, extroverts are no less prone toward developing this same kind of dysfunctional attachment pattern. Rather, introverts need to be appreciated not so much as aloof or emotionally unresponsive (as compared to extroverts), but as more reserved, socially reticent, and requiring more solitude. As children they undoubtedly tended toward anxiety-driven shyness. But in time most introverts grow out of this. In brief, introverts are hardly lacking in the capacity for intimacy. Once they're sufficiently comfortable in a relationship, they can show quite as much warmth and commitment as do their extroverted counterparts.
Additionally, avoidant attachment ought not to be confused with any of the autistic disorders. The latter disturbances are now viewed as brain dysfunctions that lead to self-isolating and socially detached behaviors independent of the child's upbringing. By contrast, researchers typically regard avoidant attachments--though to a limited degree influenced by one's innate temperament--as principally determined by the child's early home environment.

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