There’s this theory in the counseling world about attachment. The basic premise of this theory is that our relationships with others are a result of our first relationships with our primary caregivers. This goes all the way back to being a newborn. Babies are conditioned to cry in order to get their needs met. The process of crying and then having someone come to their aid reinforces the fact that they are safe and that someone will care for them. When a baby is ignored for long periods of time and his or her basic needs are not adequately met, either the baby becomes really clingy or the baby can stop crying and withdraw. It’s funny how you can see the same behavior in adults when they feel that their needs are not being met. What all this means is that people can find themselves in emotional distress due to not having a secure attachment with their primary caregiver when younger or even not having a secure attachment when they are adults. A secure attachment is when you are securely connected to someone (usually a significant other) who you can trust and allow yourself to be vulnerable with. The whole idea is that if you have a secure attachment you won’t be as concerned about what others think about you because you have at least one person in your life who means a lot to you and is 100% supportive of you. It took me taking an actual class about this to realize that I don’t have a secure attachment with anyone right now. Definitely not the greatest news to discover as a therapist but it wasn’t a huge surprise. And while that is something that I’d like to change, I’m not quite sure if I want it to change. I’ve mentioned the “three year rule” in a previous post and that would definitely come into play as far as me having a secure attachment. I’m not necessarily upset about that, but I’m not ok with it as well. However, that’s where I am for the time being and it’s going to take me being super deliberate in order to change that.
Yes! there is truth to this theory that you are speaking about I presently work with a fourteen year old female, born in Russia and adopted from an orphanage at age 8. Reactive Attachment Disorder is quite apparent. she has never attached herself to anyone! in fact she reminds me more of a Psychopath a person who gets involve with this young lady now and in the future, most likely will not understand the many issues she has. Relationships can be like a box of cracker jacks, the prize hidden inside can be more than expected. I don’t think anyone considers the fact that they might be dealing with a person with a serious unresolved issue and or an undiagnosed problem until a relationship has its breaking point.
Wow yeah, that’s really common with children who have been adopted from orphanages in other countries. It’s so sad and there are lasting effects that become more pronounced in close relationships and adulthood.
I must say that admitting this takes a lot of courage. However, it is also the first step to healing and a change.