“Try not to confuse attachment with love. Attachment is about fear and dependency, and has more to do with love of self than love of another. Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn't about what others can give you because your empty. It is about what you can give others because you're already full.”—Unknown
What is Attachment Disorder?
Attachment disorder is where a child or adult is unable to form normal healthy attachments. This is usually due to detrimental early life experiences - such as neglect, abuse, separation from their parents or primary caregivers (after six months of age and before three years of age), frequent change of caregivers, and lack of responsiveness from their caregivers.
Symptoms vary depending on age. In adults, they fall under one of two categories – either avoidant or anxious/ ambivalent personalities. These are summarized below.
· Intense anger and hostility
· Hypercritical of others
· Extremely sensitive to criticism, correction or blame
· Lacks empathy
· Sees others as untrustworthy and unreliable
· Either sees themselves as being unlovable or “too good” for others
· Relationships are experienced as either being too threatening or requiring too much effort
· Fear of closeness and intimacy
· Compulsive self-reliance
· Passive or uninvolved in relationships
· Find it hard to get along with co-workers and authority figures
· Prefers to work alone, or to be self employed
· May use work to avoid investing in relationships
2. Anxious/ Ambivalent
· Demonstrates compulsive caregiving
· Problems with establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries
· Feels they give they give more than they get back
· Feels their efforts aren’t noticed or appreciated
· Idealizes people
· Expects their partner to repeatedly demonstrate their love, affection and commitment to them, and the relationship
· Emotionally over-invests in friendships and romantic relationships
· Are preoccupied with close relationships
· Overly dependent on their partner
· Believes that others are out to use them or to take advantage of them
· Fears rejection
· Is uncomfortable with anger
· Experiences a roller coaster of emotions – and often these are extremes of emotion
· Tends to be possessive and jealous; finds it hard to trust
· Believes they are essentially flawed, inadequate and unlovable.
“It is not a question of being attached to the present moment. You ARE the present moment. This moment is all there is. The past is your memory. The future is your imagination. Therefore being in the moment and accepting the emotions that are present is not a form of attachment, it is a way of coming to terms with reality on reality’s own terms as opposed to your own. Attachment is the desire to freeze things as they are and keep them that way. Detachment is the awareness that all things change, all things come and go. Nothing is yours, not even your body. Choices are indeed ego-oriented because choice implies preference. Any choice you can make will only have relevance to your ego, to your concept of separate existence. When you understand through experience that you are inseparable from the world you experience, what choice is there to make? You simply flow. ”—lazyyogi
“Let me tell you about the middle path. Dressing in rough and dirty garments, letting your hair grow matted, abstaining from eating any meat or fish, does not cleanse the one who is deluded. Mortifying the flesh through excessive hardship does not lead to a triumph over the senses. All self-inflicted suffering is useless as long as the feeling of self is dominent. You should lose your involvement with yourself and then eat and drink naturally, according to the needs of your body. Attachment to your appetites - whether you deprive or indulge them - can lead to slavery, but satisfying the needs of daily life is not wrong. Indeed, to keep a body in good health is a duty, for otherwise the mind will not stay strong and clear.”—Buddha
How can we love others without attachment?
Love is not a cause of suffering but clinging to those we love will inevitably cause us suffering because relationships like everything are ultimately impermanent. It depends on what you mean by love.
If you depend on others for your happiness, if you need their approval or attention to find your own self worth and fulfillment, you will suffer when you don’t get it. We must love in such a way that those we love feel free.
We love for its own sake not for what we get out of it, or else it isn’t really love. It’s just attachment. We must not use others. We must give selflessly without discrimination or coercion. In that way we can be happy and free.