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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 4 conceptualized as any message eliciting emotional and psychological distress, whether minimal or extreme, resulting from perceived injury or wounding by another. Thus, HMs can be verbal (e.g., criticism), nonverbal (e.g., rolling of the eyes), their combination (e.g., an aggressive comment), or an omission of behavior (e.g., forgetting an anniversary). Because HMs cause emotional distress, they may have a significant impact on the development of attachment in relationships. Attachment to Parent Grounded in the principles of ethology, Bowlby (1969; 1988) argues that infants are biologically primed to form attachments to caregivers. In other words, the parent and child must form a bond that ensures the safety of the infant. The infant thus uses the caregiver as a “secure base.” As the infant explores the world, he or she can seek comfort and safety from the caregiver in times of crisis, need, or fear. The type of attachment formed with the caregiver depends on the level of parental sensitivity (i.e., the parent’s responsiveness to the infant’s care-seeking behaviors). Infants whose parents are consistently and appropriately responsive to their signals likely develop secure attachments. Because their caregivers are reliable and caring, the infants learn to be trusting of others. If primary caregivers are inconsistent in their responsivity, infants likely develop anxious-ambivalent attachments. These infants become carefully attuned to their caregiver’s actions and whereabouts because they are uncertain if the caregivers will be responsive in times of need. In other words, these infants become anxious about the availability of their caregivers. Finally, if primary caregivers are generally unresponsive and cold, infants likely develop avoidant attachments. These infants, because they have learned that their caregivers are unreliable, do not seek comfort in times of need; instead they learn to care for themselves.

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 4
conceptualized as any message eliciting emotional and psychological distress, whether minimal
or extreme, resulting from perceived injury or wounding by another. Thus, HMs can be verbal
(e.g., criticism), nonverbal (e.g., rolling of the eyes), their combination (e.g., an aggressive
comment), or an omission of behavior (e.g., forgetting an anniversary). Because HMs cause
emotional distress, they may have a significant impact on the development of attachment in
relationships.
Attachment to Parent
Grounded in the principles of ethology, Bowlby (1969; 1988) argues that infants are
biologically primed to form attachments to caregivers. In other words, the parent and child must
form a bond that ensures the safety of the infant. The infant thus uses the caregiver as a “secure
base.” As the infant explores the world, he or she can seek comfort and safety from the caregiver
in times of crisis, need, or fear. The type of attachment formed with the caregiver depends on the
level of parental sensitivity (i.e., the parent’s responsiveness to the infant’s care-seeking
behaviors). Infants whose parents are consistently and appropriately responsive to their signals
likely develop secure attachments. Because their caregivers are reliable and caring, the infants
learn to be trusting of others. If primary caregivers are inconsistent in their responsivity, infants
likely develop anxious-ambivalent attachments. These infants become carefully attuned to their
caregiver’s actions and whereabouts because they are uncertain if the caregivers will be
responsive in times of need. In other words, these infants become anxious about the availability
of their caregivers. Finally, if primary caregivers are generally unresponsive and cold, infants
likely develop avoidant attachments. These infants, because they have learned that their
caregivers are unreliable, do not seek comfort in times of need; instead they learn to care for
themselves.


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