Epistemes wrote:...If one person is trying to be non-afflictively attached but another person is afflictively attached then this creates the illusion of being non-afflictively attached for the person who thinks they are non-afflicitvely attached when, in fact, because of the emotional barriers created by the one who is afflictively attached, the non-afflictively attached person is actually afflictively attached as well.
No, if this were so then Buddhas would be afflictively attached to sentient beings, and they are not. The afflicitively-attached person owns their afflictions. There is no principle of samsaric co-dependence between Buddhas and sentient beings, which is what you are describing.
BTW, there is no such a thing as "trying" to be non-afflictively attached. One is either afflicted, not afflicted, or possess patience regarding the arising of one's own afflictions. If one possesses affliction, it is better to recognize that fact and not pretend one is above affliction.
Afflictions (desire, anger and ignorance) generally only function freely when one is not in possession of recognition of the operation of mental factors driven by affliction and b) when one's mind lacks stability. When one attains patience towards one's the arising of one's afflictions, they arise but lack force that propells one to act upon them.
In terms of parenting or caring for others, when one is purely under the infleunce of affliction, to some extent that care is blind and filled with self-interest. When one's afflicted relationship is characterized with patience, one is better able to make universal choices affecting all involved without falling under the fog of blind selfish interest. When one is free from affliction, one's caring for others comes from a place of pure altruism and equanimity.
Pretending that one is free of affliction is bullshit. That is not how afflictive attachment works. A realized bodhisattva possesses non-afflictive attachment towards all sentient beings. A non-realized bodhisattva possesses bias and attachment. If one is not realized, it is better to just recognize one's own state and work with it.
I.e. if you are attached to your kids, don't pretend not to be, don't pretend you are free from suffering around it, and work with it. Bodhisattvas can work with attachment and desire -- the one thing they cannot work with is anger and hatred. From a Mahāyāna perspective therefore, attachment is workable and it is fine. If you combine your afflicted relationships with altruistic motivation, you can even bring them onto the path, and make them part of your path.