Disorganized Attachment

WHAT IS IT?

An attachment style represents the way in which we connect with other people, and are generally developed as infants, and further refined as children, adolescents, and adults. Disorganized attachment is the most extreme of the insecure attachment style, and is hypothesized to be an outcome of abuse and trauma in childhood.


CAUSES AND EFFECTS

Stemming from when an attachment figure, when a parent or anyone who may have had a close hand in helping raise the child offers inconsistent emotional support and/or abuse. This can include verbal, physical or sexual abuse, or the child witnessing an attachment figure commit a traumatizing act, such as a father hitting his spouse. Even if the potential partner may be expressing genuine interest, the responding and often erratic behavior by those with disorganized attachment—like being overly trusting then suddenly suspicious, or being happily responsive then withdrawing at a moment's notice, may cause the partner to lose interest, which further enforces the internal negative beliefs; that he or she is unwanted

and unlovable. These things have the potential to influence and negatively affect and change the mind of your child when raising them.



EXAMPLES

When children are being raised in a household which caters to violence between the parents, the children can inevitably learn these things and start to implement them in their own life. For example, if a father begins beating his wife, the son can have the tendency to become physically abusive in the future as well. If a daughter was in this situation, she may be under the misconception and notion that this is okay and common between married couples.


RELATIONSHIP TO MENTAL HEALTH

Because “disorganized attachment” is such a negative parenting style, and shouldn’t even be considered a parenting style at all, it leads to detrimental effects on the children and even between couples. For example, if the type of disorganized attachment that is represented in the family is sexual abuse, this can lead to horrendous problem in the future, such as failure to develop genuine relationships. If violence and verbal abuse is common within the household, depression and anxiety, as well as suicidal thoughts can be experienced by the individual in the future. In adulthood, people with this attachment style are extremely inconsistent in their behavior and have a hard time trusting others. Such individuals could also suffer from other mental health issues, such as substance abuse, depression, or borderline personality disorder.



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