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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 5 Responsivity and sensitivity are broad terms for the interactions between caregiver and infant; they are not specific about the behaviors they entail. It is argued here that HMs can be conceptualized as a form of inappropriate responsivity or insensitivity, thereby influencing the formation of attachment relationships. HMs could include a range of caregiver behaviors from a lack of response to a harsh rejection of care-seeking behavior—any behavior eliciting emotional or psychological distress. The specific manner in which caregivers reject or neglect their children’s appeals for nurturance and comforting could be emotionally wounding to the child. A caregiver’s callous remark to leave him or her alone or an omission of consolation may elicit emotional pain. According to attachment theory, children who are anxious-ambivalent or avoidant experience more unresponsiveness than children who are secure. Similarly, it could be argued that anxious and avoidant children, as compared to their secure counterparts, may repetitively or intermittently experience emotional wounding by their caregivers’ rejection or unwillingness to attend to their fears. Bowlby (1988) posits that the responsivity of the parent shapes infants’ working models (i.e., schemas about the world). Working models help individuals predict the behavior of others and also influence the interpretations of others’ behavior (Bretherton, 1992; Bretherton & Waters, 1985; Collins & Read, 1990). Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991) extend this argument suggesting that attachment styles influence individuals’ specific notions of self-worth and trust in others. Thus, infants who develop secure attachments likely have high self-worth and high trust in others. Through their caregivers’ actions they have learned that they are worthy of being loved and that others can be trusted. In contrast, infants who develop avoidant attachments likely have high self-worth but low trust in others. These infants learned that others cannot be trusted and therefore must rely solely on themselves. Consequently, they have also learned that they are not

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 5
Responsivity and sensitivity are broad terms for the interactions between caregiver and
infant; they are not specific about the behaviors they entail. It is argued here that HMs can be
conceptualized as a form of inappropriate responsivity or insensitivity, thereby influencing the
formation of attachment relationships. HMs could include a range of caregiver behaviors from a
lack of response to a harsh rejection of care-seeking behavior—any behavior eliciting emotional
or psychological distress. The specific manner in which caregivers reject or neglect their
children’s appeals for nurturance and comforting could be emotionally wounding to the child. A
caregiver’s callous remark to leave him or her alone or an omission of consolation may elicit
emotional pain. According to attachment theory, children who are anxious-ambivalent or
avoidant experience more unresponsiveness than children who are secure. Similarly, it could be
argued that anxious and avoidant children, as compared to their secure counterparts, may
repetitively or intermittently experience emotional wounding by their caregivers’ rejection or
unwillingness to attend to their fears.
Bowlby (1988) posits that the responsivity of the parent shapes infants’ working models
(i.e., schemas about the world). Working models help individuals predict the behavior of others
and also influence the interpretations of others’ behavior (Bretherton, 1992; Bretherton &
Waters, 1985; Collins & Read, 1990). Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991) extend this argument
suggesting that attachment styles influence individuals’ specific notions of self-worth and trust in
others. Thus, infants who develop secure attachments likely have high self-worth and high trust
in others. Through their caregivers’ actions they have learned that they are worthy of being loved
and that others can be trusted. In contrast, infants who develop avoidant attachments likely have
high self-worth but low trust in others. These infants learned that others cannot be trusted and
therefore must rely solely on themselves. Consequently, they have also learned that they are not


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