What is the deeper reason behind the ‘grapes are sour’ attitude?
What is the payoff of seeing something as desirable or undesirable?
What is possible to get and what is impossible to get?
Generally, we’d like to see what is ‘possible to get’ as desirable,
And what is ‘impossible to get’ as undesirable.
That way, the psyche remains stable, and its efforts bring continual fruits,
Without wasting effort on what is impossible.
I am going to look at the ‘grapes are sour’ attitude in the context of relationships.
Generally to bond with someone, you idealize them,
Which is the basis of the whole romantic fantasy.
That they are good for you, best for you, the perfect match, that they will raise you higher and so on.
Idealization is the process of desiring itself.
That is what motivates you to seek anyone i.e. to seek to include them as a part of yourself.
The whole life of the ego is the Kohut’s tension arc,
Driving between where you are now and the image of your ideal.
On the other hand,
Devaluation is the process of avoiding/fearing (vs. idealizing/desiring).
As an ego, one would idealize that which is in one’s interest, and devalue that which is not in one’s interest.
What serves one —-vs—- What does not serve one.
What is life positive —-vs—- What is life negative.
However this does not explain the ‘death drive’.
What causes a person to consume poisons? severely deprive themselves? self torture? and actively seek death and self-destruction?
The child idealizes the caregiver to bond with them.
Esp. the infant idealizes the mother,
Because the mother is the source of life and protection for its initial years.
So this is where the primary attachment is created.
A certain primary relational structure gets formed in those years.
If the mother herself is lost, and the birth was from unconscious compulsion,
And if the mother is severely misattuned to the child’s needs,
Then the child’s needs go severely unmet.
If its needs are met highly randomly and inconsistently,
Then it will develop disorganized attachment
(that includes anxious-preoccupied and fearful- avoidant attachment patterns).
If its needs are met consistently,
Then it will develop secure attachment.
If its needs are not met at all, even once,
Then it will become a dismissive-avoidant.
Basically for a dismissive-avoidant,
Opening up to an other fully is anathema to them.
It is as good as committing suicide,
It will de-structure the entire psyche they have built.
They live only relying on themselves for almost everything.
Now this naturally idealizes self-reliance,
While decrying dependence of any sort.
The world-view formed by a person with this attachment style,
Precisely mirrors his interaction with his caregivers.
The image could be something like:
“Everyone is selfish and serving their own interests.
So I too will do the same.
Nobody cares about me unless it benefits them.
I must avoid dependence at all costs.”
Something like that,
And there are many layers to this.
There is grief/sadness and great anger towards others.
Even ignoring something is a form of hostility.
The dismissive-avoidant may ignore others with such intensity.
In the deeper psyche, it is a form of punishing them for what they did.
Giving them a taste of their own medicine, what they did to him.
RULE: “We do onto others, what others did onto us.”
So their treatment of others is a reflection and it mirrors how they were treated in their formative years.
What matters here is “FORMATIVE” years.
Because that is the time the ‘Self structure’ is formed.
Thereafter the entire experience of the world is in relation to that structure.
So for the dismissive avoidant, there is no alternation between grapes are good and grapes are sour.
They don’t even talk about it, in fact they don’t talk about anything related to their needs for relationship. It stays preserved in their own unconscious darkness .
It is just stuck on “Grapes are sour”, the idealization part has been repressed and buried into their unconscious.
Because if that is brought out, it will dismantle their entire independence idealizing structures.
The irony is, it is traumatic for them to see the world as good.
It is much easier to see the world as terrible and keep finding more proof for that.
Because that would justify their position right, of being to themselves and independent like an island.
They believe they have separated themselves from the morass of an ugly uncaring hostile humanity.
Generally the ‘grapes are sour’ experience applies to people who go through its opposite too of ‘grapes are wonderful’.
It is the alternation between the 2 that gives the strong experience in either direction.
Since in their formative years, their needs were intermittently met, followed by long periods of the opposite, it is a torturous confusion.
It is like living in a place where a gale, hurricane, flood, earthquake and other natural calamities keep striking your house again and again, causing you to somehow survive that and build your house once again from scratch maybe in a different area, only for that to happen again, and only for you to once again build a new house, and so on.
It becomes like an eternal improvisation exercise,
Where all relations are nulled, and where you try all over again and again.
This is basically a situation of high insecurity.
Where all “basis, rooting, hinging, foundation” is lost on a dime again and again.
This can be quite maddening for them.
Why? Because the projections wildly alternate,
Swinging from one extreme to another extreme,
Canceling everything out as they move from extreme to extreme.
For instance, suppose someone does not like me,
Then I will tend to try to see them as undesirable/terrible,
Because only then can them not liking me, become a kind of ‘good riddance’, i.e. a good thing.
Else, if I see them as good/desirable,
Then that means I am not getting access to something good,
And that will entangle my energies where I keep making efforts to try to get them to like me.
So it is better to tune perception to see them as undesirable or poisonous,
Then them not liking me back will be good and alright,
Because that would only prove I am good and they are bad.
Else it would turn into, I am bad and they are good,
And that I have to be the sorry one to change and please them enough for them to accept me.
This is precisely the harrowing attachment struggle.
Preparing the body to bond OR to be alone.
Essentially, for the secure attachment people, the aloneness gets repressed in the unconscious.
For the dismissive-avoidant, the bonding part of them gets repressed in the unconscious.
They both appear to be stable, because of achieving successful repression from moving from chakra 2 to chakra 3.
Whereas, when repression cannot happen easily, because of conflicting caregiver’s attitude and behavior, then it results in the anxious-preoccupied or fearful avoidant,
Depending upon which side the scale veers to.
# If it comes closer to the secure side, then it has greater hope “If I can just try harder this time, I will make it to secure attachment”.
# If it comes closer to the avoidant side, then the hope is towards the opposite “If I can just become independent, then I can get rid of this painful need for others”.
So the scale is:
Dismissive avoidant —- Fearful avoidant –|– Anxious-Preoccupied —– Secure attachment.
This inner drama play between ‘he loves me’ and ‘he loves me not’, happens only with the middle 2. Because it is the middle 2 that are the realm of insecurity.
The dismissive avoidant is sure ‘he loves me not’.
The secure attachment person is sure ‘he loves me’.
So they both are somewhat settled in their lifestyles.