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Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan Coaching, Training and Consulting

[email protected] Tel.0868373582



When I am contemplating something or have learned something worth sharing I will post it here.

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Dealing with someone with Coercive/Anxious Attachment

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on April 25, 2022 at 8:20 AM Comments comments ()


To begin I want to explain that Coercive Attachment is the name given to Anxious Attachment in the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and it is used to describe the 8 attachment strategies used by someone with Coercive Attachment to get their attachment needs met. This can range from disarming behaviour to punishing and protest behaviour, feigned helplessness and even in its extreme form, narcissism.

My work involves working with people who are primarily using Avoidant attachment strategies, simply because that is what I have used myself before developing a more secure and balanced way of being and I have greater understanding of their difficulties, especially if they have a coercive strategist in their life.

Like Coercive, there are 8 Avoidant attachment strategies ranging from false positive affect (acting like there is nothing wrong), inhibiting emotions (hiding your negative feelings from others), being a people pleaser, compulsive caregiver, compulsively compliant and on the extreme end being promiscuous, abusive by being socially withdrawn or unreliable, and struggling with self-concept and a sense of self.

Type A avoidant and Type C coercive often end up in relationship together because Type A parents often produce Type C children and vice versa, which means we are drawn to the strategy that is familiar to us, which is the one our parents used when we were growing up. Type As often struggle to understand and feel safe with Type Cs and Types Cs often worry that Type As will abandon them because they find it hard to read the Type A's emotions.

A type C goes through a cycle of behaviours in an attempt to get their attachment needs met and this involves, comfort seeking, anger, fear and then back to comfort seeking again. What they are trying to do is feel safe and protect themselves from danger but when they get close to a type A and that person withdraws they feel sacred of abandonment and will engage in protest behviours such as criticism or stonewalling, gaslighting or withdrawing themselves to punish the other person. After that they will become apologetic and seek to pull you close again by being disarming and charming.

If you are type A this can be hard to understand, mostly because you don't recognise that you are hiding your emotions or being emotionally unavailable. When you go away to deal with your anger the other person can feel ashamed for displaying their's. Type As are often people pleasers and so they don't always pay attention to what the other person actually needs which can cause them to feel like a child or to lose their independence or feel invisible.

The solution is to learn to display your emotions in a healthy way, to really pay attention to what the other person needs by asking questions, being consistent and open about your plans and motives and having clear boundaries around how your relationship works. What you must request from the other person is trust and that when they display their emotions they express a clear need as to what they want from you, otherwise you will go into people pleaing mode and trigger them all over again.

If you work together to build a strong and healthy relationship then you can both start moving towards an earned Balanced attachment strategy and both of you will start to feel safer in your relationship together. One important thing to remember is, there is a difference between someone who displays narcissistic behaviours and someone who is a narcissist. A big red flag is the ability of the other person to take responsiblity for their behaviour and their willingness to work on the relationship and change. If they expect you to do the changing and they do nothing then you either walk away or if you can't then you need help in dealing with a narcissist and how to maintain very strong boundaries with them.

Thanks for reading. If you are interested in working with me, get in touch.

I hope our paths cross again in future,


Understanding the DMM of Attachment

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on April 4, 2022 at 7:45 AM Comments comments ()

I have been interested in Attachment Theory since I studied it as part of my degree in Sociology back in 2007. When studying the Family it made complete sense to me that our feelings of safety and perception of danger could influence our personality and how we interact in all our relationships.Since then I have spent a lot of time studying the different models and supporting my coaching clients to become more secure in the attachment.

The most recent and contempory model of attachment theory is the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment. This is the work of Patricia Crittenden and it breaks down the three dominant attachment styles into A, B and C with an AC and A/C strategy that combines both. This, in the past, was often referred to a disorganised. Each strategy (not style) is further broken down into sections B1-5, A1-8 and C1-8. The more unresolved trauma a person has in their life the higher their number.

Most people fall somewhere between A1/2, B1-5 and C1/2, with quite a few at a naive B, meaning the grew up with Type B parents without much exposure to threat or danger. The A1 and A2 involve inhibited affect and idealization, which in simple terms means the person struggles to ackowedge their negative feelings and sees their childhood and parents as pretty perfect even if it wasn't.

C1 and C2 cycle between being disarming and corecive behaviour. Which basically means they cycle through wanting comfort, displays of anger or frustration, feelings or fear and back around to wanting comfort again. This can be seen as pulling people close and then pushing them away when they don't get what they need. They are more overtly emotional that Type A.

No one strategy is better that the other because they are all useful depending on what is going on around us in our relationships. Obviously getting to be a B and being able to cycle from B1 to B5 is optimal and when we are not facing a threat in our life it is the healthiest way to be.

People who didn't grow up with a type B can earn it with the right help. The first step is recognising that your strategy is not working. This is called a reorganising B and is tipified by the awareness but not the change. The earned B integrates the awareness and the change and starts to interact differntly in their relationships with others.

For me, as a coach, supporting people through this change is some of the most important and rewarding work I do.

Thanks for reading. I hope our paths cross again in future.


Pondering Parts-work and developing self-awareness.

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on March 21, 2022 at 11:10 AM Comments comments ()

I haven't written a blog post in while. Partly because I was busy recording videos and partly because I got a bit burnt out with writing whilst I was doing my dissertation. But here I am finally getting around to one again.

This one is short one and is really a pondering on my part about what helps you to develop self-awareness. For those of you who follow me on social media you will be aware that I have been doing a lot of parts-work lately both as a client and with my own clients. One of the things this process has taught me is to be curious about my thoughts and what is driving them.

I have come to recognise many of my own parts, managers, firefighters and exiles and the way they communicate both to me and for me when they become blended. I have also recognised that I have parts that are strongly linked to my attachment style and jump in when they feel my internal system is threatened. This can take the form of over-explaining (an avoidant behaviour), of shame, of formulating responses in my mind to potential conversations or full on overthinking and panic mode where I feel like I am going to be rejected.

The more familiar I have become with these patterns the easier it has been for me to speak to them with kindness and to understand the protective patterns of behaving that they engage in. It has opened a space for greater self-acceptance and more importantly from a developmental perspective, self-reflection without judgement.

Learning to reflect with curiosity and openness, fully and somatically accessing body and emotional feelings, being able to engage in perspective taking and being open to discover discrepancies between how I see the world, how another sees it, and how it might actually be, is key to creating a balanced and non-judgemental way of being in the world.

If we are afraid to explore how we really are then we limit our growth. Getting familar with the parts of ourselves who communicate for us when we are stressed, or upset, allows you to bring kindness and self-acceptance to how you are and the reasons behind your behaviour. It is quite liberating. If you want to find out more, get in touch.

Thanks for reading. I hope our paths cross again in future.


Self-love exercise

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on July 9, 2021 at 5:25 AM Comments comments ()

Here's the link to my YouTube video of the self-love exercise" target="_blank">

Just the Way You Are Self-Acceptance Exercise

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on July 7, 2021 at 8:55 AM Comments comments ()

My blog has been out of action for a while due to some technical difficulties with my service provider. Thankfully it is back now and so I am haoping to post more regularly again. I have a new video on Friday on Facebook and Instagram with a self-love and self-acceptance exercise for all of you out there with a harsh inner critic. If there is anything you woud like me to post about then let me know and I'll do either a video or written blog. Have a great weekend, Elfreda

YouTube video series Video 1

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on June 24, 2021 at 9:45 AM Comments comments ()

Check out my video series on YouTube" target="_blank"> Under the Circumstances You're Totally Frickin' Normal This is the link to video one in the series.

Love of Learning

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on August 29, 2019 at 3:15 AM Comments comments ()

I remember about 4 years ago attending some training and we were asked to discuss with someone beside us, what our goals for the future were. I have one goal that rarely changes even if the specifics of it do and that is to continue to study. I mentioned that I wanted to go back to study and do a Masters. The person was incredulous and couldn’t understand why I would do something like that for pleasure and not because I had to.

I have been engaging in some form of study every year since 1998. I realise that love of learning is one of my strengths and as a friend and colleague says, ‘it’s my drug of choice’. What I learn varies but there is a common thread, I am continually learning about myself and about they way in which people engage with the world and deal with each other.

According to Martin Seligman’s PERMA Model of Wellbeing, having a purpose and feeling in flow with what you do it an integral part of happiness and wellbeing. People who don’t have goals or who aren’t trying to improve themselves are less likely to feel their life is worthwhile. The great thing is, it doesn’t matter what you learn.

The internet is such a wonderful resource that you can fulfil your preference for learning and find out about pretty much anything. I love to read, I am not so good with videos or podcasts, although I do a daily yoga practice using video instruction. My husband prefers videos and talks, which gives us great insight when we share knowledge about the same subject as we often get slightly different perspectives. If you are into more academic learning you can download any course from Harvard University and study their course modules, although you won’t get any accreditation for it. The opportunities for learning are endless.

Another way I love to learn is through my meditation practice. As I teacher I find most people come to meditation to relax or de-stress. The reality is that meditation was actually for the purpose of self-awareness and is an essential tool if you are trying to develop your Emotional Intelligence. Time spent in silence can surface all sorts of thoughts and ideas about yourself and the world. It can also help you to identify the patterns of thinking that are most destructive to you and others. Additionally, meditation can improve inspiration. If you haven’t already checked it out, look at my earlier post about the ‘Eureka Factor’ by John Kounios. He explains how open awareness can give us ‘aha’ moments and help with problem solving.

As we start the academic year again next week, it may be time for you to set some goals. Perhaps it’s time for you to develop your strengths of ‘Love of Learning’ or ‘Curiosity’. You can find out more about strengths at When we are passionate about something it gives us the drive and momentum to keep going and it fill us with a sense of purpose. I know I am biased as both a teacher and a life-long learner but try it, you’ll be amazed at what you might learn about yourself.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email [email protected], phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,







Exploring Authenticity

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on July 26, 2019 at 7:05 AM Comments comments ()

Firstly, I want to apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know many of you have been very supportive in the past reading my posts. This year has been taken up with study for my MSc and so my usual time spent writing on a Friday has been spent reading and researching instead. Anyway, here’s a little pondering for you this week.

I had the pleasure of participating in some new research into authenticity in coaches and coaching. Although the results of the research won’t be available until next year it did get me thinking about authenticity again and as I spoke to the researcher it helped me to clarify some of my own thoughts about my own experience.

One of the key questions asked was 'how do I know when I am being authentic?’ As I answered the question, I began to realise that I am more aware of when I am not authentic than when I am. Which reminded me of the answer I often get when I ask clients what they are thinking about when they are in the moment or are not feeling stressed or anxious. The answer is always ‘nothing’. This is the same for me when I am authentic. For me to be authentic means I need to be fully present in the moment. If I am projecting my thoughts into a situation, or if I am trying to project an image that may be perfect or knowledgeable then it pulls me out of the reality of who I am. When I am authentic, I am present warts and all. I know only so much, and I am aware of how much I don’t know. It has taken me years to be able to accept myself with all my flaws and successes.

To be genuinely authentic one needs to be able to admit your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions but most importantly know that you are enough. Being and feeling that you are enough allows us to present the truth of who we are, as we are no longer afraid of the judgements or opinions of others. For me, it also an ongoing journey. I need to be mindful of the moments of when I slip back into old patterns of defending or trying to be something I am not. I love that I am awesome and crap all at the same time.

I was asked if I had any tips for being authentic for new coaches and my answer, is the same answer I would give anyone. To be authentic you need to continually work on understanding yourself, on accepting who you are and overcoming the misguided assumptions you make about yourself and others. You need to free yourself from blame and be able to sit with the sad, angry and crappy parts of yourself. You have to thrive on the feedback that tells you who you are, even when it means you have to admit that some problems or difficult relationships are as much your fault as they are others. You also have to be present. Get out of your head and the stories you tell yourself about the world and other people. As long as you stay in a place of judgement and assumption you will miss the beauty of the moment and wonderful lessons it may bring. Working on your self-awareness, whether it is through meditation, yoga or emotional intelligence practices, is so important. If you don’t know who you are, or why you do what you do, how can you be authentic even with yourself.

It was an illuminating and inspiring conversation as we explored my thought for the research. It’s funny when we talk about things out loud how much insight we can have, I guess that is why coaching works and why I love it. I’d love to know your thoughts on authenticity and how you know when you are authentic and when you are not. Please post in the comments.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email [email protected], phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,