Secret Attachments: Exposing the Roots of Addictions and Compulsions

Michaelson, Peter

Published by Prospect Books, 1993
ISBN 10: 1882631269 / ISBN 13: 9781882631261
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Synopsis: Genes and brain chemistry are factors in addictions and compulsions?but so are negative emotions. Everyone has unresolved negative emotions from the past, and for some of us these emotions are very problematic. Unwittingly, addictive and compulsive individuals replay and recycle familiar, painful emotions through the events and situations of everyday life. These unresolved emotions?which include feeling refused, deprived, helpless, criticized, rejected, and abandoned?all originate in childhood. These emotions create an effect known as secret attachments. These attachments are revealed and explained in this new, revised 2015 edition of Secret Attachments, first published in 1993. Unconscious or secret attachments derive from the fact that whatever is unresolved in one?s emotional life is simply going to continue to be experienced, even when painful or self-defeating. Unless explored and understood, these secret attachments (the term is synonymous with "emotional attachments") will go on producing inner conflict, suffering, and self-defeat. Varieties of negativity are produced in the psyche of most people, causing varying degrees of dysfunction or neurosis. An addictive or compulsive person is often more challenged by negative emotions than are other people. With knowledge of the principles of depth psychology, individuals can access much of this inner content, especially the content that governs self-regulation. Attachments to unresolved negative emotions are hidden from our awareness, hence the word ?secret.? In other words, secret attachments exist in our unconscious mind, yet our psychological defenses operate in such a way as to keep these attachments a secret from our conscious awareness. Modern science has established, of course, that much of the mental and emotional processing going on within us operates at an unconscious level. These attachments create powerful negative effects that include the weakening of our capacity for self-regulation. We can overcome the disrupting influence in our psyche of these attachments, and thereby enhance our capacity for self-regulation, when we see our inner dynamics clearly enough. This book provides more than 100 specific examples, taken from the author?s psychotherapy practice, of exactly how this all happens. Once one's attachments have been identified, the individual now becomes aware, through the monitoring of daily experiences, just how determined he or she has been to continue to replay and recycle them. People now clearly see how the attachments have been pushing them into various kinds of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors. We can say, in fact, that addicts have a hidden or secret addiction to those negative emotions that are unresolved in their psyche. Because of the attachments, addictive personalities are compelled to go looking for the old hurt, and a price they pay for doing so is the loss of self-regulation. The inner knowledge concerning this collusion in our suffering is, in itself, not that difficult to understand. The hard part is overriding our resistance to acquiring the self-knowledge. In a sense, addicts don?t quite know who they are without these secret attachments. People haven?t been able to live free of them. Secret attachments constitute what seems like an essential part of one?s sense of self, although one?s identification with them is largely at an unconscious level. The negativity is experienced over and over, especially when a person is triggered by life?s challenging moments. Readers will see that the same basic psychological principles and dynamics apply through a wide range of addictions and compulsions. In other words, the same basic underlying dynamics can produce an alcoholic or a compulsive overeater, a drug addict or a self-defeating gambler.

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Title: Secret Attachments: Exposing the Roots of ...
Publisher: Prospect Books
Publication Date: 1993
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Very Good

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