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What Are Attachment and Developmental Trauma?

Everyone has a variety of needs. From the moment an individual is brought into this world, their clever brain begins to create the list of things it expects from this world. The developing mind takes natural cues from the body attached to it. It listens to the simple demands for food, water, shelter, and protection from the elements.

It also has its own ideas of what it needs, and so the brain continues to add to its list of demands. It needs emotional presence and stability. It demands contact and loving support from the humans who brought it into this world or at least from the humans who promise to take care of it. It needs to feel loved and cared for every day, just as much as it needs water.

If the Mind Gets What It Wants

If the baby is surrounded by parents who can care for it daily and provide it with the emotional support it needs to develop fully, then odds are that child will develop into an adult without attachment or developmental trauma. Naturally, parents cannot be there for their children at all times. It is understandable that no parent, no matter how clued in they are to the mental well-being of their baby, will be able to anticipate the emotional needs of their child every moment of every day.

But if the parent can afford to be present regularly, then the child’s odds of being more developmentally prepared for the world increase. Although, there is no guarantee that another trauma will not occur or that the child is guaranteed a happy, healthy life. It only means that the child is less likely to feel trauma from a lack of attachment.

Attachment Trauma

There are many reasons a parent cannot be present for their child. Economic factors could force parents to be away from home all the time to pay for the essentials of life. A parent could have passed away and left a void in the child’s life. Or, even worse, a parent could be a predator, a source of physical or emotional abuse to the child.

Any or all of these factors could cause a ripple of developmental encumbrances that inhibits the child’s ability to handle life on social, intellectual, or emotional levels. Research shows that the level of attachment, whether positive or traumatic, serves as a lifelong template that follows the child well into adulthood. An adult who experienced attachment trauma as a child is more susceptible to self-defeating behaviors ranging from sex addiction to substance abuse. 

Seeking Treatment

It is never too late for individuals to understand what makes them who they are. There is a possibility that individuals suffer from attachment trauma and do not even realize it. A trained therapist can help provide the means to explore the past and determine if negative feelings or behaviors might have some root in their childhood and, in doing so, help individuals learn to overcome them.

Exploring the roots of our childhood can be challenging. There is a chance that we can’t acknowledge that we were exposed to trauma at an early age. We might not want to consider that our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings stem from our parents. Trauma can hide in the corners of our biography, and the best possible treatment we can provide ourselves is by looking at our past with the help of a professional. The Guest House uses private therapy, psychodrama, and trauma therapists to help process the feelings hidden in our past. Call (855) 483-7800 for more information.