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Protest Behaviour

So...Coco my flat mate's cat has a bit of a thing for my plant. This is the 4th time he has gone into my bedroom and severed the plant into two cutting the plant away from it's roots. Tonight as soon as myself and my flat mate got engrossed in an enlivening and connected conversation - Coco apparently didn't like it! Why? Because we were not paying him attention. I am no Cat expert...but my theory is that this is Protest Behaviour. In the book called 'Attached' by Levine & Heller they talk about Protest Behaviour. A behaviour originating from an instinct to maintain contact with an attachment figure at all costs. So back to humans for the rest of my post.... Once we see behaviour through the lens of attachment style theory then we can have a lot more understanding as to why a person is behaving they way they are. Rather than shaming them, blaming them, or judging them as being overly dramatic. The theory doesn't label behaviours as healthy or unhealthy. The book then goes on to talk about Co Dependency Myth. And how we live in a culture 'that scorns basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency'. I can't tell how you how reassuring it is to read this book!! I have very much felt the impact of living in a culture that looks upon dependency in relationships as if it's a HUGE sign of emotional immaturity and a lack of spiritual evolvement in relationships. It can lead us to be emotionally hurtful towards ourselves when we go against our innate need to bond and attach with a significant other. If we are dating someone and feel our attachment needs arising we might say to ourselves this is 'silly' behaviour stalking them on social media. When actually we could be more compassionate with ourselves and see that the stalking is 'proximity seeking behaviour' which is understandable and not 'healthy' or 'unhealthy'.


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Emma Spiegler

 

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