“I was built on anger. Rage raised me.”
-Derrick “Dice” Jones
Takerra Allen, Seasons of Fidelity: End Game
Derrick "Dice" Jones—charismatic, rich, charming, and attractive...more than attractive, actually. Women couldn’t resist him. Unfortunately for Dice, there always seemed to be something missing. He was never quite fulfilled despite all of the money, sex, designer clothes, and foreign cars—never fully happy. It wasn’t until reading the series finale, End Game, that it all came together for me. Dice was broken because he never really had a family, although at one time, he belonged to a foster family. That family, the family that was supposed to allow him to start anew, protect him, and restore his faith in family betrayed him, neglected him, and abused him mentally and emotionally. It definitely sounds like Dice was validated in being angry and enraged, huh?
According to Attachment Theory, everyone has a specific attachment style. Typically, those who receive an appropriate amount of love and attention have secure attachment styles. However, children who have experienced trauma, abuse, and/or neglect, often times become adults with preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, or fearful avoidant, or disorganized attachments. One who has a dismissive-avoidant attachment often times displays characteristics such as:
· Independent and very well put together; could have an inflated sense of self
· May have difficulty being vulnerable
· Communication is more intellectual in nature, rather than emotional
· Attempts to avoid conflict as much as possible; when in conflict often times explodes, unable to control emotions
· Has difficulty depending on others and prefers to be alone
· Controlled, stoic demeanor
...sounds a lot like Dice Jones to me.
How was Dice’s unhealthy attachment developed? Inconsistency, unavailability, and abandonment. Dice felt like all he had was himself because no one had been there for him. He couldn’t trust anyone to take care of and love him. So, he learned to be independent, to not need anyone. He learned to bury his emotions because no one would be there to tend to them anyway. To him, people, especially women, were disposable. The only thing he needed them for was sex—until Bunny. But what happened when Bunny decided to put her needs first? What happens when all of your experiences with loved ones end in abandonment and why is this important?
Currently, 23% of the foster care population in the United States is African American, even though only 15% of the United States child population is African American. What’s alarming is that there has been no relationship found between race and the incidence of child maltreatment (childwelfare.gov), which suggests that other systemic factors, such as racism, discrimination, and poverty play a role in the removal of children from their homes. And although the foster care system is supposed to be a buffer and protect children, unfortunately, many foster parents are similar to Dice’s foster family—they add to the trauma rather than relieve it. And just like with Dice, the consequences of that trauma can last a lifetime and can negatively impact those who attempt to build relationships with the affected person.
So, what can you do to change your attachment style? Well, my suggestion would be to follow Dice's lead and find a culturally responsive therapist to assist you. Attachment styles are often times determined by the attachment (or lack of attachment) between you and your early caregivers. So, there may be a lot of trauma to work through before being able to change your current attachment style. This link can help you find a therapist near you: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
If you’re not ready to consult a therapist, try reading these books on attachments, their effects, how to overcome an unhealthy attachment, or how to love (or find love) despite certain attachment styles.
Others may have abandoned you, but please don’t abandon yourself.