Pick Up The Phone



          We are writing about attachment this week because we hope to make a connection without being attached to the results. Did that make any sense? Only to some guru in India. How is this for a reason to keep reading; Paul reveals just how crazy he is. You knew that already?


          Paul says: When psychologists talk about attachment, they use the word as a good and healthy thing. When they want to denote unhealthy behavior then they use words like enmeshment and ill-defined boundaries. But that is their highfaluting talk. For those of us who are not in the mental health field (and paying a therapist does not make you a mental health professional), when we think of attachment we think of Siamese twins, the human centipede, and all forms of freakish disturbing images. Attachments in our world require a scalpel and forceps.


          For us, being connected is a bit more palatable. Having a connection brings to mind romantic attractions, bungee cords, and good cell phone reception. We are in control of our connections but are forced into attachments.


          Why am I going off on this semantic distinction? Because for my particular form of crazy this is very important. As you may recall, my issues tend to revolve around fear. I am the classic ‘the other shoe is about to drop’ kind of person. For example, if Lee does not answer the telephone, my first assumption is that she is dead. Not that she is on the toilet. Not that she is having an affair. Not that she is masturbating wildly and thinking of me. No, I think that she must be lying on the floor with the phone clasped in her hand, one numeral from 911.  


          Admittedly, I should have written that last paragraph in the past tense because I have done a whole hell of a lot of work around it. The conclusion being that attachment leads me to fear whereas connectedness gives me insight into myself and others. Attachment, the thing that a psychologist might call enmeshment, is that painful blending of yourself with someone or something else. It is the part where your house becomes your children in that they grew up there. The conclusion that your mind makes is that, if you lose your house, you lose your family (either in reality or metaphorically). Enmeshment is when you cannot distinguish yourself from your children, spouse or lover.


          When I am working on my attachments to Lee, I am usually in an unreal soap opera of my mind where nothing but drama lives. There is nothing real in this type of attachment. In Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, they all talk about this world being an illusion and telling us that we need to move from this attachment to a connection with what is truly important. Usually this is God.


          The attachment that a good therapist is looking for in your life is really a connection, an emotional bridge from one human to another. Being connected is not being attached. Being connected comes with an understanding that the person to which you are connected is safe and loving. This is one of the reasons that the religious promote a connection with God. We can also see the breakdown in the religious structure when the connection with God is supplanted with an attachment to church, but that is an editorial for another time.


          Back to me. When I am connected with Lee (and feeling safe with God) I know that I have her love for eternity, that she has a life outside of just picking up the phone in hopes that it is me, that that life is good for her to have, and that she is not dead, which is the best part of all of my therapy.


          Lee says: Usually when Paul talks about this I smile a lot and pat his head. Today, I think I’ll hug him and make sure to pick up the phone when he calls.

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