Monday, October 6, 2008

ATTACHMENT: Sherry Zhang

1. What Are you attached to that may ultimately be providing more pain, suffering or negative than than pleasure and benefit? And why do you continue to stay attached?

I indeed spent a little bit time to understand the phrase of "attachment" and got better understanding when I finished the reading of all others' response; and after conducting the survey of my attachment style. If we could go beyond the context of relationship, I would say, I might have attached too much with my work, my current romantic relationship, nice clothes and household goods, some habit from my childhood... And, maybe all of these links to the feeling of security.

I came from a rural area of China - northwest China where connects to eight countries at the board area like Russia, Afghanistan..etc. The living in hometown was poor but pleasant. As the eldest at home for 3 younger sisters, I was expected to be the role model, the leader to share the live burden with my parents, bring positive impact to my sisters and meet the expectation of "being the ridgepole" when I grow up. The living condition, lifestyle and culture of that location as well as the attention from my parents impacted me to be a person that maybe subconsciously worry about the scarcity of resources - therefore, you have to work extremely hard to earn them, this might have been reflected on my hardworking, my strong sense of caring and being loved, my yearn for nice materials - just to make myself feel secure.

Does the above attachments bring me pain, suffering and negative impact than pleasure and benefit? I think they provide me both feelings at different stage of life. Example as one of my younger sisters - she is used to "go with the flow of life" - in a negative way, no planning, lazy to prepare and relative passive on taking iniatives (or doesn't know how to) to build up relationship... When my father shared his strong concern on her life, I often comfort him that human beings intend to live in a life that he/she feels most comfortable. When the pain grows over the benefit, she will reinvent herself. I can see that she lives in the life of obtuse pain and pleasant of the moment. I'm going to talk about how this may reflect/affect me on my relationship in the responses to coming questions.

2. Does your “attachment score” at the following survey indicate anything important about your feelings on attachment? (Attachment Survey)

The survey says that I "fall into the preoccupied quadrant. Previous research on attachment styles indicates that preoccupied people tend to have highly conflictual relationships. Although they are comfortable expressing their emotions, preoccupied individuals often experience a lot of negative emotions, which can often interfere with their relationships".

I was given the comments that I have a "big heart", and I have been surprised to be aware of my tolerance and patience on handling conflict during the relationship... sometimes I was totally confused by myself with my tolerance. To dig it, I think it may come out from the following two sources:

One is the lack of individualism due to my growing environment and the normal collectivism culture in China. I have been always taught to take care of others in my childhood - to my sisters, to guests that visited our home and to classmates of the school as I had been almost always as the class monitor Till today, I am often descripted by my peers as like a "elder sister" to take care of everyone in the team... when I see the needs from my partner, I feel the obligation to stay on and offer my help. Interestingly, this may also comes out from inherit of my parents. Though often my father would scold my mom as "you are not the saviour", I saw my father never rejected any requests from his patients even when he retired and those patients just came to my parents' apartment for free treatment.

I think the other reason may come out from my inner belief of taking the suffer as a challenge and only move on when I feel I overcome it. I experienced two serious relationships before I got married. In each, I had pleasant, suffering, tears, back and forth on breaking up... each lasted for 3-4 years. It seems it's not easy for me to just break with people quickly and decidedly - that's why when I watched "the Sex and City", I often was really surprised to see how quick they can get in and out a relationship (maybe even for Americans, that's just a show - I'll need other authors' comments on this point). To me, I just feel when the time is right, the relationship will be "terminated" naturally, and when such time comes, I feel ease and peaceful in my mind. It's just the cost of such "natual maturity" may become too high when I'm getting older and older. But this is also part of life experience. Some people enjoy "quick and diverse" relationships, while for me, the lessons might be deep and thorough in each relationship, until you're released naturally (or sometimes, "exhausted"). I could also be viewed as too stubborn. In my professional life, I once experienced really "bad" peer and boss, and I struggled and stopped idea of escape - it's so easy to change a job with higher pay in China. But I insisted and figured out how to deal with them, then I move on with relief in my mind and feel proud that I did not give up, and I can handle such people in the future. Not sure if this also applies to my personal relationship.

3. Is someone too attached to you?

I can easily attach to people who are around me. Sometimes, I need to be cautious on keeping distance with my working peers whom I really appreciate and enjoy talking to therefore to avoid favorism and bias to team members. But "over attachment" may happen on my relationship with my husband. I once moaned he did not care me as I cared him, and then I realized that different people have different way to express their emotion and he is just different than me. But when I am also clear that he is just more selfish and immature, my "altruism" starts to effect mischievously. On one side, I want to run away and be in a relationship that I can feel be loved and cared; the other side, I feel the needs from him to me. And this sometimes makes me intentionally contribute more in the relationship just expect that my change will support him to grow up. And sadly, I seems still not find the key. Or maybe the key is in my mind and the solution is easy - as some of my friends said "you deserve more and better". I just can't to make that decision now. To me, the decision seems not as easy as "get rid of the life and reinvent myself", it's even not the scare of worse life, it's just a cross I have on my back now. Maybe when the time is right, I will move on and feel ease in my mind.

4. Share your thoughts on the following quote: “"Suffering finds its roots in your desire to be free from something that's either present for you right now or something that you fear may be present for you in the future . . . Your suffering is directly proportional to the intensity of your attachments to these passing phenomena and to the strength of your habit of seeking for some kind of personal identity in the world of forms." - Chuck Hillig

I have some difficutlies to understand thoroughly the quote given my English level. After reading Rick's answer, I know where he came from as we recently had the wonderful chat of "dream". I think my answers to the above questions may have shared some of my thoughts relates to the quote. My suffering comes out from all the attachments I have which corelates to the growing experience I had. And if I'm a type of person that not care or think so much (or not at a position to be forced to think so much by a guy named Rick), my life could be easier. I am a Sagittarius, if I believe some of the saying about it, I believe my suffer comes out from the yearning for freedom from the bottom of my heart ("like to be free as the wind that blows") while I came out from the experience that I've been so used to take care of others' feeling - on some of the life choice I made, I think I'm scared to disppoint people who are important to me (like my parents). I know you may say but life is yours, yes, it's because of that, I know I would also suffer if I sense that I disppointed my parents or hurt others that I care. I'm still struggling in mind but not in a bad way, as I'm also learning and exploring pleasant from the journey.

5. Are you able to get rid of the life you’ve planned, so you can have the life that is waiting for you? (See interesting idea on “core beliefs” by Erza Bayda link below)

As shared in the above answers, I guess I'm the one that not decisive enough at this stage of my life to get rid of the life I'm having - maybe not planned. I still have the dream on my list of chasing wonderful relationship and be a freelanced consultant as the last phase of my professional life. And I believe I'm on the way to the life I am dreaming, it may just take longer time for me to go there, and it takes effort and sincerity if I avoid to be hurt too much and to hurt others too much - in my mind, there is the visual image now that a person is crossing the thorns, it indeed takes more effort not to be hurt and not break too much tress...
Okay, I dare to go back and read each of the answers I made to the above questions. I admit that I've been really honest, to people who know me. And I appreciate your patience to read through them.

Time to go to bed - it's almost my 2am and I am not the one on sabbatical time. Luckily I'm still in jet lag of flying back from SF last night so that I can finish this tough task, but worthy! Thanks, Rick, and thanks for all other authors' sharing.

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