It is Called a Pattern

Hello readers, did you miss me? I apologize for a few things: 1) the ever so clear Moriarty reference 2) my leave of absence, I have a job now working with pre-k students, got to produce the next generation of nerds! 3) our current political state of affairs- or this could be either fake news or alternative facts no one knows anymore.

I discovered Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt. For those who don’t know what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt. Season one and two is on Netflix. Also, check out the trailer here.

Okay, so who is Kimmy? Well, the series follows 29-year-old Kimmy Schmidt as she adjusts to life in New York City after her rescue from a doomsday cult in Indiana where three other women and herself were held captive by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne for 15 years.

“Yes, there was weird sex stuff.” Kimmy said to her roommate. While talking about her PTSD would be great for this article because, hey she attacked her date because he grabbed her and smacked her lover while they were trying to have sex, this is not what troubles Kimmy. Kimmy has attachment issues, and that is what is going to be the topic of this post.

First, let’s talk about attachment. Attachment theory is a concept in developmental psychology that concerns the importance of “attachment” in regards to personal development. It makes the claim that the ability for an individual to form an emotional and physical “attachment” to another person gives a sense of stability and security necessary to take risks, branch out, and grow and develop as a personality. There are two key people John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, I’m not going to focus on them too much just their theories.

Bowlby established that childhood development depended heavily upon a child’s ability to form a strong relationship with “at least one primary caregiver.” Typically, this is one of the parents. Bowlby’s studies in childhood development and “temperament” led him to the conclusion that a strong attachment to a caregiver provides a necessary sense of security and foundation. Without such a relationship in place, a great deal of developmental energy is expended in the search for stability and security.

Ainsworth identified the existence of what she calls “attachment behavior.” She ran a study  to see how child attachment. The attachment types are as followed:

Secure Attachment: children feel confident that the attachment figure will be available to meet their needs. They use the attachment figure as a safe base to explore the environment and seek the attachment figure in times of distress. They cry when the attachment figure leaves but are able to be soothed when the figure returns.

Insecure Avoidant: children do not orientate to their attachment figure while investigating the environment. They are very independent of the attachment figure both physically and emotionally. They do not seek contact with the attachment figure when distressed. These children will cry when the parent leaves, but when the parent returns they are distant.

Insecure Ambivalent / Resistant: children adopt an ambivalent behavioral style towards the attachment figure. The child will commonly exhibit clingy and dependent behavior, but will be rejecting of the attachment figure when they engage in interaction. The child fails to develop any feelings of security from the attachment figure. Accordingly, they exhibit difficulty moving away from the attachment figure to explore novel surroundings. They will cry when the figure leaves and once the figure returns they are difficult to be soothed.

lisa-kudrow-ellie-kemper-unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt-season-2-finale

“The trick is not caring whether you live or die,” says Kimmy when asked how she could hold her breathe for four minutes. Why would she care? Kimmy was kidnapped for 15 years because her mom never taught her how to tie her shoes, her mom was never really a mother figure, “I made you lunch,” Kimmy says. She never knew her father, her mom gave up looking for her to go ride roller coasters. Her attachment problems are seen throughout the season, but it is finally Andrea (Tina Fey) who points out her problems

In “Kimmy Sees A Sunset!,” Kimmy sees a marvelous sunset as she realizes that Andrea will have to leave for rehab because Kimmy has failed to help her. Kimmy is upset that she has failed, and blames herself for Andrea’s drinking problem. Andrea forces her to see that her abandonment issues are rooted in a toxic cycle of blaming herself for things that are in no way her fault. “It’s not your fault,” Andrea insists to Kimmy twice—and then once more, Oprah-style. Kimmy needed to be told that it’s not her fault that people leave in order to really understand where her attachment issues come from.

How does this apply to attachment theory? When Kimmy’s mom left, she developed major abandonment issues, that “stink up my relationship with other people.” Kimmy tries to help people because she was always helping her mother, and Kimmy feel like it is her fault when she fails to help them and then they, of some reason or another, leave. I believe that Kimmy has insecure ambivalent / resistant attachment type. Here is why: Kimmy, helps one person at a time, and spends so much time with them that while they are the ones who seem clingy and dependent it is actual Kimmy who is clingy because she refuses to see them fail, and she is dependent because Kimmy depends on their success to feel good about herself. Kimmy has difficulty moving away from the person she is trying to help. Finally, when Kimmy is unable to help, she honestly believes it her fault the other person fail. While some of the things are Kimmy’s fault, the person’s success or failure were results of the individual person.

Kimmy finally realizes this in “Kimmy Sees a Sunset!,” and goes out to find her mother and develop better attachment styles, because if she doesn’t she will not be able to truly be in a healthy relationship. Like Andrea says, “It’s called a pattern.”

The season ends with Kimmy getting over some of her mommy issues, only to find herself facing her PTSD. Season three comes out on May 19.

 

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