How does attachment tend to impact domestic violence cases? What are the common attachment patterns? What are the common self-protective attachment strategies (or attachment-based defense mechanisms). What are the common aspects and how does each aspect present as a unique A or C facet? How do AC patterns fit in? What DMM dangers are most likely to trigger a rejection and aggressive response? Is the chart below helpful as a quick guide, and how can it be improved? Maureen Lowell and Mark Baumann will lead an exploration of the topic, bringing their years of experience with domestic violence, counseling, law, and attachment.
Draft chart of DMM attachment strategies in DV, IPV, and coercive control cases
|CSI QUICK GUIDE||Common DMM-attachment aspects and facets in DV cases|
|A-victim facets||Aspect||C-aggressive facets|
|Negative minimize/avoided, positive emphasized even at expense of safety and children’s needs||Affect||Quick to display negative affect, oscillate between positive and negative to control|
|Sequentially thin “People should not cross the border illegally. If there’s a wall then they can’t cross it… We should build a wall.”||Cognition||Sequentially overbroad “They are pouring across the border, raping and murdering our women and children…. We must build a wall!”|
|Over-attributed. “It must have been my fault.”||Causation||Unknown. “I didn’t do anything.”|
|Over-attributed. “Sorry, I’ll take care of it.”||Responsibility||Avoided. “NOW look what you’ve done!”|
|Self. “Sorry, it’s all my fault.”||Blames||Others. “It’s all your fault.”|
|Self. “I’ll take care of it.”||Relies on||Others. “You need to fix this.” or “I can’t dooo it”|
|Others. “Let’s take care of you first.”||Perspective||Self. “Let’s take care of me first.”|
|Not allowed. “Court? We’ll settle, they will be reasonable, I don’t need to waste time preparing.” “I don’t need a safety plan, I’ll be fine.”||Vulnerability||None &/or total. “They can’t hurt me!” or “They are trying to kill me! You have to help me!!”|
|Minimized. “It really wasn’t that bad and the kids are doing just fine.“||Past||Persists, intrudes. “My spouse has been hounding me since day one, it’s never ended.”|
|Unchangeable. “There isn’t anything I can do, why try!”||Future||Ever-changeable. “I don’t know if I should agree. What if my spouse changes their mind and doesn’t testify?”|
|Thin, dry, lacks details and episodes, denotative. Can involve fast talking in order to prevent questions or self-reflection, and often lacks recall of or minimizes past negative events.||Narrative||Blurred facts & episodes, rich, connotative. Run on speech bouncing from episode to episode strung together by a common feeling.|
|Shame||Primary triggering emotion||Humiliation|
|Please note: this list simply identifies common elements seen in DV cases when the “victim” is using DMM A-strategies and the “aggressor” is using DMM C-strategies. There are several other common dynamics not captured in this chart, such as bullies using A strategies, and couples both using C strategies. There are also two basic types of A and C strategies which can impact behavioral dynamics.||© Mark Baumann 2021|
Many of the terms above are described in various articles on the Conflict Science Institute web site. Attachment for lawyers (really for anyone), 13 Shiny Objects (understanding coercive control from an attachment perspective), and the article It’s legal to harm children: Attachment healing in custody and domestic violence cases are good starting places.
Date session A: Tuesday, 22 June 2021 (live, recorded)
Date session B: Thursday, 24 June 2021 (Live or video replay upon request)
Length: 90+ minutes
Host/Facilitator: Maureen Lowell and Mark Baumann
Platform: Zoom meeting
Sponsor: Conflict Science Institute
Multiple sessions: Each session will be unique, please join both! Invite your colleagues.
Session A (US/EU/Africa/India): Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. Seattle (UTC -7) (11:00 a.m. in Dallas; noon in Miami; 5:00 p.m. in London; 7:00 p.m. in Cape Town; 9:00 p.m. in New Delhi; midnight in Bangkok.)
Session B (US/EU/AUS/Asia): Thursday, at 1:00 p.m. in Seattle (3:00 p.m. in Dallas; 4:00 p.m. in Miami; 9:00 p.m. in London; and (in Australia/Thailand/China on Friday) at 6:00 a.m. in Sydney. (AUS/ASIA participants should confirm their local start time against Seattle time.)
Maureen Lowell has worked as a practitioner in the field of family violence for over 20 years and as a lecturer and trainer for over ten years. Maureen has been actively involved in community efforts to respond more effectively to domestic violence since 1993, experience which she brings to her teaching. During these years, Ms. Lowell developed two curricula for working with families impacted by domestic violence: The Program for Empowered Parenting; and Empowerment through Accountability: working with women convicted of domestic violence.
Since 2007, Ms. Lowell has worked on a project at San José State University to develop an educational model to teach students to respond more effectively to family violence through interdisciplinary collaboration. These efforts have resulted in the new Institute for Collaborative Response for Victims of Family Violence, engaging students from the applied sciences in this new, innovative learning opportunity that bridges classroom learning with community experience in collaboration.
My name is Mark Baumann, I am a family law attorney, I have trained in several DMM attachment assessment methods, and I am the director of the Conflict Science Institute (CSI). Through my case work and CSI I have been developing client counseling and conflict management techniques. Domestic violence cases can be intense, heartbreaking, and sometimes filled with hope, and they always offer excellent learning opportunities. The DMM offers a model uniquely suited to gain quick and deep insight into high conflict and coercive dynamics. It goes far beyond what the DSM and personality disorder models can offer for both insight and effective solutions. Please contact me if you would like to explore these topics with your organization.