Becoming Attached First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-04-23
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The struggle to understand the infant-parent bond ranks as one of the great quests of modern psychology, one that touches us deeply because it holds so many clues to how we become who we are. How are our personalities formed? How do our early struggles with our parents reappear in the way werelate to others as adults? Why do we repeat with our own children--seemingly against our will--the very behaviors we most disliked about our parents? In Becoming Attached, psychologist and noted journalist Robert Karen offers fresh insight into some of the most fundamental and fascinatingquestions of emotional life. Karen begins by tracing the history of attachment theory through the controversial work of John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, and Mary Ainsworth, an American developmental psychologist, who together launched a revolution in child psychology. Karen tells about their personal and professionalstruggles, their groundbreaking discoveries, and the recent flowering of attachment theory research in universities all over the world, making it one of the century's most enduring ideas in developmental psychology. In a world of working parents and makeshift day care, the need to assess the impact of parenting styles and the bond between child and caregiver is more urgent than ever. Karen addresses such issues as: What do children need to feel that the world is a positive place and that they have value?Is day care harmful for children under one year? What experiences in infancy will enable a person to develop healthy relationships as an adult?, and he demonstrates how different approaches to mothering are associated with specific infant behaviors, such as clinginess, avoidance, or secureexploration. He shows how these patterns become ingrained and how they reveal themselves at age two, in the preschool years, in middle childhood, and in adulthood. And, with thought-provoking insights, he gives us a new understanding of how negative patterns and insecure attachment can be changedand resolved throughout a person's life. The infant is in many ways a great mystery to us. Every one of us has been one; many of us have lived with or raised them. Becoming Attached is not just a voyage of discovery in child emotional development and its pertinence to adult life but a voyage of personal discovery as well, for it isimpossible to read this book without reflecting on one's own life as a child, a parent, and an intimate partner in love or marriage.

Author Biography

Robert Karen is a clinical psychologist in private practice and an award-winning author. In addition to two previous books, he has written articles for The Atlantic, New York magazine, Mirabella, The Nation, and The Yale Review. He is Assistant Clinical Professor at the Derner Institute of Advance Psychological Studies, Adelphi University.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: How Do We Become Who We Are? 1(12)
PART I. What Do Children Need? 13(116)
1. Mother-Love: Worst-Case Scenarios
2. Enter Bowlby: The Search for a Theory of Relatedness
3. Bowlby and Klein: Fantasy vs. Reality
4. Psychopaths in the Making: Forty-four Juvenile Thieves
5. Call to Arms: The World Health Report
6. First Battlefield: "A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital"
7. Of Goslings and Babies: The Birth of Attachment Theory
8. "What's the Use to Psychoanalyze a Goose?" Turmoil, Hostility, and Debate
9. Monkey Love: Warm, Secure, Continuous
PART II. Breakthrough: The Assessment of Parenting Style 129(48)
10. Ainsworth in Uganda
11. The Strange Situation
12. Second Front: Ainsworth's American Revolution
PART III. The Fate of Early Attachments 177(92)
13. The Minnesota Studies: Parenting Style and Personality Development
14. The Mother, the Father, and the Outside World: Attachment Quality and Childhood Relationships
15. Structures of the Mind: Building a Model of Human Connection
16. The Black Box Reopened: Mary Main's Berkeley Studies
17. They Are Leaning Out for Love: The Strategies and Defenses of Anxiously Attached Children, and the Possibilities for Change
18. Ugly Needs, Ugly Me: Anxious Attachment and Shame
19. A New Generation of Critics: The Findings Contested
PART IV. Give Parents a Break! Nature-Nurture Erupts Anew 269(92)
20. Born That Way? Stella Chess and the Difficult Child
21. Renaissance of Biological Determinism: The Temperament Debate
22. A Rage in the Nursery: The Infant Day-Care Wars
23. Astonishing Attunements: The Unseen Emotional Life of Babies
PART V. The Legacy of Attachment in Adult Life 361(50)
24. The Residue of Our Parents: Passing on Insecure Attachment
25. Attachment in Adulthood: The Secure Base vs. The Desperate Child Within
26. Repetition and Change: Working Through Insecure Attachment
PART VI. The Odyssey of an Idea 411(32)
27. Avoidant Society: Cultural Roots of Anxious Attachment
28. Looking Back: Bowlby and Ainsworth
APPENDIX: Typical Patterns of Secure and Anxious Attachment 443(3)
NOTES 449(20)

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