I have been doing a lot of thinking about a conversation I had with someone last night at the ball game. Her job is working with people with attachment disorders. I thought how interesting. How do you deal with that and what exactly classifies a person as having this disorder? Is it circumstances, behaviors, loss? I think about how many of us here probably have attachment disorders of one level of severity or another. I mean, realistically speaking, many of us did not begin this road to unhealthy choices because we were thrilled to pieces with our lives. Most of us are, or were harboring anger, fear, resentment – we suffered abuse, rape, neglect – we felt the need for love and lacked those needs being fulfilled, bringing us to a very unhealthy place in our lives. Spiritually, mentally and physically.
So what a great thing to help children learn to move past that place of abused trust into trusting again. Allowing them, in time, to open their hearts and their minds to those around them, believing that they are loved and safe. Trust is a very difficult thing to earn once broken so I was thinking this must be a very long process between either adopted parents, foster parents, or even birth parents and children to re-establish bonds never formed or broken.
We are fragile and at an early age messages can be received that can create this attachment disorder. “Come here, go away, but don’t go too far because I don’t want you to be independent – you must rely on me – and not show your strength” just as an example. Or, like in my case I remember there were many times I had horrific nightmares and I needed the love of my parents to make me feel safe and their sleep was more important, telling me to go back to bed in the most annoyed tone they could muster up, with no words to comfort my fears. Simple things like that teach us, we’re on our own, we can’t rely on others, thus no attaching…does this create a disorder? A life time of distrust, and keeping people at arms length?
How do those early messages affect the person we are today? In our relationships with our children, our parents, our siblings, our spouse or co-workers.
Part of what I have seen over time is those with that “disorder” tend to wait, wait for the person they are allowing into their life on one level or another to screw up so they can fully detach and say “HA!!!!!! I told you so!! THIS is why I trust no one”. It’s simply a protection mechanism….how sad is that? Protecting from what? The chance to be happy. To love. To trust. To allow.
I know I’ve done it in my life…I expected the worst and often I created the worst without even realizing what I was doing. We create unrealistic expectations of others (personally that’s why I believe most marriages fail….we look to others for OUR happiness, we make THEM responsible – an unrealistic expectations – creating almost certain failure).
I heard a quote once that goes “ Growth means change and change involves RISK, stepping from the known to the unknown”~ how true that is ~ Sometimes easier said then done. I imagine for the children she works with there is great risk in allowing the attachment to take place, just as many of us today find it not so easily done ~ but with risk comes rewards if we’re only able to see past this moment and hope for better things.
Thankfully some children and getting the help from people like the woman I spoke with last night, hopefully changing their fate in terms of how the relate to others and form healthy relationships and boundaries. For most of us here, thankfully we have these 18 steps and the unconditional support of each other to do that now. Better late than never, and I am grateful for the learning and growing process I have been through here to allow those risks to be taken.
Learn to trust. Open your heart. Allow others in and don’t make those in your life today pay for the mistakes others made before them. There is such a thing as healthy attachments ~ trust that they do exist and gift your life and the lives of others by doing so.
But when you are the one being trusted, by a friend, spouse, family member ~ treat that trust like it is a fragile ornament, if dropped it gets broken, and putting it back together can be very tedious and sometimes impossible ~ so be gentle, compassionate, understanding, and unconditional – respecting that trust as you want others to.