Trauma and Attachment

I have worked with many clients over the years who have suffered traumatic childhoods; ones in which they were thrust into survivor mode from a very young age, often experiencing abuse and/or neglect while having to take on adult roles in the family. In this article, I was impressed with the writer’s words in explaining attachment in the face of trauma.

“Attachment and C-PTSD: How Complex Trauma Gets in the Way” by Fabiana Franco and featured on GoodTherapy, Franco had this to say: “Like all human traits, the ability to form attachment bonds is not purely innate; it is learned behavior. And as with most human learning, attachment is learned by doing. From the moment they exit the womb, babies are learning attachment. This, and not only the need to materially provide for the child, is the basis of the family, a universal component of human society.”

“Survivors of complex trauma typically emerge with gaps in their ability to form attachment bonds with others. This is not to say their desire for attachment is any less—far from it. The unfulfilled desire for connection and pervasive feeling of loneliness in survivors of complex trauma is a major contributing factor to the symptoms they experience, including depression, inability to regulate emotion, and engagement in risky or self-destructive behaviors.”

Successful treatment of trauma often requires long term therapy, but the ability to attach is an innate process and one that can move towards the formation of  safe and secure relationships. A person’s trauma does not have to define them.

To read the full article (it goes into so much more detail):

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