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Attachment theory

One person's experience

There has been recently a lot of "chatter" on here about attachment theory and various papers that have been put forward as being "definitive". I do not want to argue for or against any of those but to share my experience.

I was raised in a volatile household, and the abuser in my case was my mother. My father was reactive rather than proactive in relation to that abuse.

Now 50 years later, and after a lot of sessions with counsellors and psychologists, things are starting to improve. And for the first time ever, the pschologist has identified that I was subject to "disorganised attachment". He is impressed with how well I have coped with raising my own family and about how I have instictively protected myself, and have risen against what I learnt as a child when raising my own children. But it (the disorganised attachment) certainly has had an impact on my relationships.

I am now in a blended family situation, and certain things have happened, that have triggered all those feelings of, I don't know, despair and helplessness that I felt as a child. I am also dealing with the realisation of my strong feelings of upset with my father for not being proactive in this situation. I loved my father deeply, and since he passed away over 9 years ago, I feel as though I have lost a solid and somewhat steadying influence in my life. And yes, as you would expect, I no longer have a relationship with my mother, who continued her abuse of me well into my adult life.

As far as I am aware, my mother has not been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness (that she told us), but considering that for many years, she was under the care of both a psychologist and psychiatrist, I wonder. My aunt, her sister, has told me about their childhood, and it would appear that my mother was like this as a child, so it was not something that just developed or happened when she became a mother. She has been adept at blaming others for all the "wrongs" in her life, and has never taken responsibility for any of her actions.

But you know what. There was no one, any one, from outside of our family who saw what was going on. And that is what happens. It is hidden, and sometimes hidden really well.

Some people have an inate inbuilt resilience, and sadly some don't. And there are no guarantees of anything in life.
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