In writing Chalice, and now again researching It’s Nobody’s Fault, I stumbled across the idea of “who” we think we are. This “sense of self” actually has a home in the left hemisphere of our brain, and it basically integrates all sorts of inputs.

Dr. Michael Gazzaniga has called it the “Interpreter.” I call it “Weaver.” Three quick thoughts, then I’ll leave it alone, for now.

First, it is important to know that one of Weaver’s primary jobs is to give reasons for what is happening in our world. Weaver is constantly weaving yarns of various colors into cause and effect, weaving them to make up our “reality.” That’s what Weaver does. Weaver explains. Always. Constantly.

Secondly, the fabric Weaver creates out of all these inputs is only as good as what Weaver gets by way of information. Some of that information is bogus. Not only external information, but internal, as well. My amygdala may fire a flash of fear through the circuits, and Weaver won’t know it’s a false alarm. Weaver will know only that there has been a signal of fear. Weaver will find an explanation for that signal, usually external, because Weaver explains. Always. Constantly.

This has been called “Tigers in the grass.” We evolved to run from tigers, so we run when the grass moves, even when it is only the wind.

Finally, it is possible to catch Weaver in the act. It’s a two-step process for me. First, I recognize that my unnatural calm may be the result of the chamomile tea, nervousness might be the coffee, the twinge is from seeing a car like one driven by someone I used to know, getting up to do something may not be because it needed to be done five minutes ago, but the result of a memory that just drifted through I did not want to face.

In other words, what I think is happening, even with my own emotions, is not necessarily what is happening. It feels real, Weaver says it is real, but it might not be.

Then I sit and watch Weaver work. That gives me space. It takes a few minutes now, it used to take longer, to put Weaver in his place. He doesn’t stop weaving or explaining, because Weaver explains. Always. Constantly. But, after a few minutes, “I” am no longer being yanked around at the end of his leash.

Living inside it

The research for “It’s Nobody’s Fault” kicks over a lot of rocks. While I really dislike it when somebody says with the best of intent, “It sounds like you are working through a lot of issues,” there is truth to that. Still, most of my life has been intensely private. It is horribly uncomfortable putting any of this out there.

But my goal is not personal. The goal is to provide a key for those with Adult Attachment Disorder, or those in a relationship with that person, to unlock the door or just create a window, so the oppressive neediness, the chaos of “crazy-making” is lessened,  the serenity of Jeff’s “it lasts as long as it lasts” visible, if not within reach. Because that makes all of life better.

“…because healthy functioning of the attachment system facilitates relaxed and confident engagement in non-attachment activities, it contributes to the broadening of a person’s perspectives and skills, as well as the actualization of his or her unique potentialities.” (Mikulincer, Mario (2007-05-14). Attachment in Adulthood (Kindle Locations 887-888). Guilford Press. Kindle Edition.)

The opposite is also true. My friend Greg would describe his unhealthy attachment system as causing anxiety, making it hard to engage in non-attachment activities, limiting his perspectives and skills, and difficult to actualize his unique potentialities.

I talked a day or so ago to a woman who is an Anxious, one of the first I have met since starting this project. She has had a very, very difficult time with serious consequences from her attachment behaviors.

AAD is not trivial, it impact is not limited to the realm of romantic relationships. It spreads like a stain through everything. But I have to be very careful not to look at too much through this lens, nor let this small project get out of control.