IPFP for Dismissing (Avoidant) Attachment

The IPFP for Dismissing (Avoidant) Attachment: The Mask of Independence

Dismissing attachment, characterized by an aversion to emotional vulnerability and a facade of self-sufficiency, has a distinct approach to healing and requires a high-level of commitment to collaborative work.

First, because the meditation (and sharing it with the facilitator) is initially so repulsive to the nervous system, it’s easy to devalue and distance from working with IPFs. 

Second, because after the repulsion and devaluing is overcome, the path to healing goes straight through anxious attachment — which brings up painful loneliness and confusion.

It takes diligence to both start and continue the process instead of turning off emotion.
Drawing inspiration from Daniel P. Brown and David Elliott, we embark on a profound journey of reactivating the attachment system and bringing companionship to the exploratory system through the Ideal Parent Figure meditation, guided by the insights shared in “Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair.

Special IPFP Considerations for Dismissing Participants

Collaborative Management of Attachment Fear and Threat

Revisiting attachment themes can bring up bewilderment and confusion. These feelings may indicate there's not yet an internal sense of the possibility to experience safety in closeness and care, which is the reason for doing this work.

Closeness and Distance Regulation

It may be too difficult to tolerate the idea of being near IPFs, in which case the imagery can include experimenting with finding just the right distance. These parent figures know how to be present in ways that feel comfortable and safe. They would never make you be closer than you want to be.

Deep Encouragement and Acceptance

Rejection and being forced to deal with negative feelings alone is one of the primary causes of dismissing attachment. Therefore, these ideal parent figures are especially comfortable with any physical or emotional contact you'd like to have. They are warm and openly affectionate when you want to be with them.

Openness, Flexibility, and Permissiveness

Another primary cause of dismissing attachment is rigid and controlling parenting. The ideal parent figures would never be rigid or controlling. They are so very open, supportive, and completely flexible. They warmly support your spontaneous creativity and being fully yourself.

Relational Safety and Protection

Rather than guiding imagery around general safety and protection, these ideal parent figures provide protection and a felt sense of relational safety, so you can really be yourself with them and feel a deepening sense of security and safety within your connection.

Expressed Delight

Another primary experience associated with the development of dismissing attachment is the lack of expressed delight received from a caregiver, or only receiving expressions of delight around independent play. These ideal parent figures delight in your emotional expressions and wish for closeness, emotionally and physically.

Exploration in the Context of Attachment

Another cause of dismissing attachment is parental reinforcement of strong, independent, exploratory behavior. This contributes to an unhealthy belief that one's value increases apart from relationship. In IPFP, best-self exploration is done in the context of the secure attachment base.

Fostering Collaborative Teamwork

Given the deactivation of the attachment system, activating the cooperative behavioral system supports repairing dismissive attachment before activating the attachment system. This includes identifying shared goals with the facilitator and the mutual understanding that both of you will show up not only physically but emotionally for your self-exploration in the context of relationship.

Address Non-Collaborative Nonverbal Behavior

Using the participant's metacognitive awareness of collaborative relational behavior, the facilitator will help the participant see and support a shift away from non-collaborative nonverbal behaviors, such as sitting far away, rarely turning the head toward the facilitator, muted gestures and facial displays, and frequently averting the gaze. The goal is to foster open expression around attachment themes.

5 Metacognitive Skills for Dismissing Attachment: Unlocking Emotional Awareness

In the intricate web of human connections, attachment styles play a pivotal role in shaping our emotional landscapes. For those with dismissing attachment, delving into their internal states can be a challenging journey. In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies to enhance metacognitive skills, helping individuals with dismissing attachment gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and attachment beliefs.


Understanding Dismissing Attachment

Dismissive attachment is marked by a tendency to distance oneself from emotional vulnerability. This often leads individuals to be out of touch with a wide range of emotional experiences, making it crucial to develop strategies that encourage self-awareness.


1. Anchoring Scales for Inner State Awareness

To kickstart the journey of self-discovery, simple anchoring scales can be incredibly useful. Ask yourself questions like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how aware am I of my inner state right now?” This self-assessment can provide a starting point for gauging your emotional awareness.


2. Exploring Underlying Emotions and Beliefs

Dismissive participants should be encouraged to explore what lies beneath the surface. Dive into your inner world and be open to uncovering underlying feelings, vulnerabilities, memories, and attachment beliefs. Allow your mind to wander, and let images, thoughts, and words arise spontaneously to describe the sensations within your body.


3. The Imaginary Emotional Dial

Imagine having an emotional dial that you can adjust, gradually raising the intensity of your emotional state within a comfortable and manageable range. This tool allows you to ease into emotional exploration at your own pace, fostering a deeper connection with your inner world.


4. Facilitator’s Mirroring and Intensifying

In guided sessions, a facilitator can play a pivotal role in helping you access and understand your emotions. They may mirror and intensify emotional states within your self-experience. For instance, they might say, “YOU must have been REALLY scared.” This reflective approach can be remarkably effective in validating your feelings and encouraging exploration.


5. The Impact of Ideal Parent Figures (IPFs)

For those with dismissing attachment, ideal parent figures represent a significant source of comfort and support. During sessions, facilitators can draw your awareness to how these figures impact your state of mind. They might ask you to notice the profound effect that IPFs have on your thoughts and feelings when they respond to you in ways that resonate with your deepest needs.

In conclusion, enhancing metacognitive skills for dismissing attachment is a transformative journey toward self-awareness and emotional authenticity. By utilizing these tools and strategies, individuals can embark on a path of self-discovery, gradually peeling back the layers of emotional avoidance to reveal their true selves. Remember, the journey may be challenging at times, but it is a powerful step toward embracing the radiant truth of your own worthiness and nurturing the soul.

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As Dismissing Attachment Heals, It Moves Through Anxious-Preoccupation

As the attachment system becomes more active, dismissing participants usually find themselves traveling through anxious attachment on their way into earned secure attachment. When that expected transition occurs, facilitation will shift toward anxious-preoccupied attachment repair strategies with the Ideal Parent Figure Protocol.
The Ideal Parent Figure meditation unfolds as a profound journey of self-discovery, extending a compassionate invitation to learn to rely on the soothing support of secure relationships and the transformative power of genuine connection.

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The Dismissing Attachment Ideal Parent Figure Meditation:

In the context of dismissing attachment, the Ideal Parent Figure meditation takes a unique approach, one that honors the need for autonomy while gently inviting vulnerability and connection.

Step 1: Creating a Safe Space

Begin by creating a safe space for your guided meditation. This space should evoke a sense of stillness and tranquility. Light a candle, arrange meaningful objects, and invite a profound stillness into your environment.

Step 2: Breath as the Bridge to Vulnerability

Your facilitator will invite you to close your eyes and turn your awareness inward. Let your breath serve as the bridge between your conscious mind and the depths of your being. Inhale softly, and as you elongate the exhale, imagine feeling yourself as a very young child.

Step 3: Inviting the Ideal Parent Figures

In the quiet of your inner world, summon Ideal Parent Figures who are not anyone you know, nor are they replacements for your actual caregivers. These caregivers embody acceptance, warmth, and safety. They are perfectly attuned to a closeness that feels just right, and would never want to be closer physically or emotionally than is comfortable for you.. They understand the need for independence and also celebrate all your emotions (especially difficult emotions) as an essential part of the human experience.

Step 4: Embracing Relational Safety

Step into the presence of your Ideal Parent Figures. Feel their gentle encouragement that allows you to begin to rely on the safety and emotional protection available within this relationship. They recognize when you want to be close to them, to have contact with them, and they are always ready to offer a comforting embrace when you want to be hugged and feel equally content when you simply wish to be near them and feel emotional closeness.

Step 5: Closeness

In the stillness of this space, allow yourself to explore your true emotions. Your Ideal Parent Figures welcome every feeling, whether it’s joy, sadness, fear, or anger. You can express yourself authentically to them, knowing that even (and especially) when you’re emotionally upset (even at them), these parents are so attuned to you and right there to help you in just the right ways that are soothing and comforting.

Step 6: A Secure Base for Exploration

As you explore, envision these parental figures as your steadfast companions. While you venture forth in discovery, they gently accompany you, watching over your journey with genuine interest and delight. Their protection ensures you stay safe while you explore, and their unwavering support encourages you. 

When the time comes to share your discoveries, they are interested, delighted, and ready to celebrate what you’ve shared and simply enjoy the light of your presence. Together, you form a collaborative team, navigating the terrain of life with trust, connection, and mutual understanding.

The Dance of Collaboration

Throughout the meditation, as you describe each unfolding scene, your facilitator will collaborate with you to expand and brighten your descriptions, begin again when memories intrude, further explore your state of mind, and amplify your experience.

Concluding the Meditation

As the meditation gently concludes, know that experiencing the 10 ingredients of secure attachment can serve as a foundation for healthier relationships and a deeper connection with your true self.

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