Patterns of Attachment in Adults (A7-8)

A7: Delusionally idealizing individuals (Crittenden, 2000) have had repeated experience with severe danger that they cannot predict or control, display brittle false positive affect, and protect themselves by imagining that their powerless or hostile attachment figures will protect them. This is a very desperate strategy of believing falsely in safety when no efforts are likely to reduce the danger (cf., the “hostage syndrome”). Paradoxically, the appearance is rather generally pleasing, giving little hint of the fear and trauma that lie behind the nice exterior until circumstances produce a break in functioning. This pattern only develops in adulthood.

A8: Individuals using an A8 strategy (externally assembled self, Crittenden, 2000) do as others require, have few genuine feelings of their own, and try to protect themselves by absolute reliance on others, usually professionals who replace their absent or endangering attachment figures. Both A7 and A8 are associated with pervasive and sadistic early abuse and neglect.

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