“Most people are only as needy as their unmet needs.” — Amir Levine
What is Early Attachment Trauma?
Early attachment trauma is when a child suffers one or multiple harmful experiences that affect trust and connection with others such as abuse, abandonment, and neglect. These experiences may occur in infancy or even as early as in utero!
These traumas can have subtle yet long-lasting effects on our emotional health, affecting the way that we connect and self-regulate with others. The ripple effect can impact connections with our friends, partners, co-workers and anyone else we share life with.
These emotional injuries occurred so early in life we may ask ourselves, “Why is this happening? Is this just who I am?” mistaking traumatic symptoms as our identity. They may be washed away in labels like anxiety, depression, trauma and PTSD.
Attachment trauma shows up silently during adulthood. It is often not until we notice constant relationship issues that we start asking ourselves if we are doing something wrong. Our capacity to have and maintain healthy thriving relationships is under threat! It is often at that point we find the courage to look at our inner child and understand how they were impacted by their caregivers. It is at this point our healing journey begins.
Have You Experienced Attachment Trauma?
Here are some pointers that may guide you to discover if you have:
- One or both parents was not present. This may have meant divorce, abandonment, death, or just the sense that they were ‘never around’
- There was physical and/or emotional abuse from a caregiver towards you, a sibling, or another parent
- You experienced physical or emotional neglect. This may have meant ‘feeling invisible,’ having less attention than siblings or learning that work would always come before your needs
Moving Forward With Hope
Attachment-based therapy aims to build or rebuild trusting and supportive relationships. To achieve this, it is necessary to explore the belief systems that were created during childhood that you might still consciously or subconsciously be carrying with you. It also means to explore the unfulfilled needs of your inner child, learning to take care of that small self who still holds hope that the world and relationships can be safe and fulfilling. It may involve individual work or couples counselling.
If you are ready to welcome your inner wounded child into your life, I am happy to co-create a safe container for both of you to heal and evolve. If you are curious about early attachment trauma reach out or book a counselling session with me.
Fabiola Pérez is a doula, psychedelic medicine consultant and counsellor at Thrive.