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You have the opportunity to show your child what you hope for her life by what you bring to yours. Forgiveness doesn't mean becoming the object of abuse. It means remembering that mistreatment only comes from those who are mistreated. Teach your child to take responsibility. Teach you child to leave blame in the trash can, where all unusables belong. Vivian was determined to make a change, which for her meant learning to self-regulate--managing disruptive impulses and emotions. She trained herself not to panic when she didn't immediately hear back from someone. In those moments, she practiced quieting her anxieties by either taking a walk or calling a friend. And for those of you who are avoidantly attached, pay attention to your feelings when you sense yourself withdrawing. Learn to ask for space instead of disappearing into space. Or when you sense yourself focusing on your partner's shortcomings and wanting to leave because of them, try a different technique: Practice looking for the positive qualities instead. Remember that no one is perfect, and if you leave, the next person you meet won't be perfect, either. Changing your attachment style on your own can be challenging. There are so many unconscious reasons we are the way we are, and mining the past may bring up unexpected and difficult questions. How does our relationship with our mom relate to our attachment style? You don't need formal training either. You could go to the store right now, buy markers, a blank pad of paper, and start drawing. Art helps us find a way to make our pain visible and to express everything we're feeling and thinking in a safe and healthy way, rather than stuffing, storing, and ignoring it. Through art, we also reconnect to our inner child--the one who may be really wounded, who's scared and may be hiding from all the trauma we endured growing up. As we engage in art, we build the bridge to our inner child.

We create the safe space for that part of ourselves to come out from hiding and to have fun again. This alone is healing and can help us loosen our tight, fear-driven nervous system response to the world. We can also get into flow, which is when time and space seem to converge and inner energy and strength move us. We're communicating from the inside out and creating from our heart and soul. We may have revelations and insights that leave us going, That was so good! If you help her to turn a situation around with love and reassurance, she won't be handling abuse, she'll be handling miracles. If your child sees chores as a way of making a contribution to the well-being of the family, he takes pride in his involvement. If he sees himself as a slave to parental whims, he feels alienated and alone within that unit. Chores represent a willingness to cooperate. If they don't teach this, what are they supposed to teach? Not discipline unless your child enjoys the task; If you have a big family and work is equally shared, your child feels included. He may complain now and then, but if all the people around him are pulling their weight, he feels embraced by the whole and, therefore, loved. The reason you ask your child to help with chores is different from the reason you offer him an allowance. The first teaches him the value of cooperation; If we find a healthier attachment now, does that mean we're betraying or abandoning her? You may have to face that you didn't get what you needed from the person you most needed it from. Many people find it helpful to talk through these issues with a therapist. Vivian and I continued to discuss her love life after each class. Soon she stopped calling guys boring when they began to express interest in her.

She proudly texted me when she told a clearly avoidant suitor to buzz off. And guess what? After about six months, she met a great-looking guy who had just relocated to San Francisco from Houston. After their first date, on a Friday night, he called her and said, I really like you, and I want to see you again tomorrow. Instead of deeming that pathetic, she found herself at breakfast with him the very next day, just as he'd asked. With art, you get to choose everything, from the medium you use to what you create. Trauma can leave us feeling disempowered and out of control. Art helps us to feel empowered in a safe environment. There's one more amazing turn that happens with art, and it's the slow move from dark, deep pain into the light. In one story we were told, a woman had started to draw in a blank journal. She had never drawn before and certainly didn't consider herself an artist. She grabbed a black magic marker and started scribbling. She went all the way back into her past, beginning with her childhood when she had been neglected by her parents. She didn't have the words to describe what she was feeling--which is common when trauma happens to us as kids. Instead, she just scribbled away. Don't confuse the two. If you do confuse them, and you give him an allowance for household chores, you open the door to abuse. What's to prevent you from bargaining for cheaper labor, and what's to prevent him from bargaining for more money and special treatment? Early in life, this bargaining tool becomes: I'll clean my room if you take me to the Mall. Later in life it becomes, I'll fix the closet if you give me sex.

Chores are an integral part of families working together harmoniously; If a child develops a skill that becomes valuable and helpful to the family's well being, he deserves to be compensated. In fact, why wouldn't you compensate him? You compensate those outside the family for their expertise. The subject of allowances turns volatile if children disagree with their parents about why they need an allowance and how much it should be. Breakfast turned into a walk. The walk turned into meeting up with her friends at a brewery. The brewery turned into a drunken cab ride back to his house, followed by a long nap. Two years later, they're still napping together. KEY TAKEAWAYS Attachment theory is a popular framework for understanding relationships. It can help explain why you're attracted to certain people, why past relationships haven't worked out, and why you're trapped in a pattern of bad habits. You may be anxiously attached if you crave a lot of closeness but are insecure about your relationship's future and your partner's interest in you. You may be avoidantly attached if you feel uncomfortable with intimacy and value independence over connection. You may be securely attached if you are comfortable with intimacy, spending time alone, and drawing clear boundaries. At first her marks were dark and heavy, where she pressed her marker down hard in the journal. Then she drew a picture of herself standing and looking over her shoulder with chains around her neck, arms, and feet. Week by week, she kept drawing, filling her journal with scribbles and sketches of her past, and over time they became lighter. She eventually switched from using a black marker to green and blue ones. She felt lighter after every entry, where the scribbles helped her to release her stored pain.

So, what would art as self-nurturing look like in your daily routine? It might be writing or drawing in a journal. Maybe you write letters to your trauma, your younger self, the event that happened, or the person who harmed you. You're not sending these, you're simply using them as a container to pour your thoughts and feelings into without censoring yourself, because whatever you're feeling is what matters most and nothing you feel is wrong. It could be that you paint with acrylics, pastels, or watercolors. Even parents disagree among themselves. It's only logical that children need money to purchase odds and ends, but what is a fair amount? Why not ask your child what he thinks is fair? Believe it or not, when trusted to come up with an answer, he will most likely deliver a well-conceived suggestion. If your child spends his allowance on something you consider unwise, let him. It is his money to do with as he pleases. Unless he tests through trial and error to see how long his allowance lasts, he won't have the needed skills to manage his money later in life. If you make him responsible for the amount he has, he takes more of an interest in what he does with it. If a child receives an allowance from you after he reaches the age of majority, he may not be motivated to create his own funds. Even if he knows that you only help him out of love, he eventually becomes resentful if his livelihood depends on your achievements rather than his achievements. Securely attached folks make up 50 percent of the population but not the dating pool, since they tend to get into relationships and stay in them. Anxiously attached and avoidantly attached people often date each other, reinforcing their worst tendencies. If you're anxiously attached or avoidantly attached, you can help yourself develop better relationship skills by looking for a secure partner and learning to self-regulate--managing disruptive impulses and emotions. How to Focus on What Matters in a Long-Term Partner Brian looked like Keanu Reeves's more attractive brother.