Do you feel like you go through life hiding, hiding how you really feel, how you see the world, how you see yourself?
Do you distance yourself in relationships so that no one finds out who you really are because you believe if people really knew you, the real you, they would reject you?
Do you bend yourself to make other people happy because you think if you don’t, you will be alone, and being alone is terrifying?
Do you allow other people to take advantage of you or treat you poorly or abusively because somewhere inside you, you believe you deserve it?
Do you feel like no matter how hard you try – at home, at school, at work, you will never be good enough?
Do you feel like your sense of hopelessness will eventually drown you?
Do you feel like you are broken, and no matter how hard you try, that will always be true?
These are all signs of attachment trauma, an early form of relational trauma which occurs when there is a repeated disruption in the healthy attachment between a child and it's primary caregiver due to an inefficient or unpredictable response to a child’s distress, a lack of affection, the absence or neglect of a caregiver, and/ or abuse of any kind.
Click here for resources on attachment trauma.
These problems all have an underlying belief or beliefs attached to them. These beliefs were formed as a young child, as a direct result of the early attachment relationships.
Children are like sponges. They take everything in around them, and the way they learn to see themselves, to see the world, and to see themselves in relation to the world is based on the content and quality of the messages they soaked up.
Identifying the factors that contribute to the formation of these beliefs is not the same as placing blame on others, and it is also not the same as agreeing with your behavioral adaptations to these messages.
What is meant by behavioral adaptations? The major premise of Psychiatrist William Glasser’s Choice Theory is the concept that "All behavior is purposeful". This means that all behavior, however seemingly destructive or harmful to self or others, is an attempt to get our core needs met. This attempt may be ill-fitted to the situation, and may, in fact make a situation much worse. Some examples may include (but are certainly not limited to the following):
Drinking to numb the pain that feels unbearable, only to drink yourself into a blackout and find yourself in a much darker place emotionally and possibly physically when you come to.
Feel so lonely and empty that you seek to numb those feels by engaging in sexual activities with different people.
Carry so much self-loathing and hatred that you by binge eating to feel better.
Feel so much anxiety and fear of losing control that you starve yourself.
Feel so inadequate that you treat others dismissively or abusively to gain a sense of power.
Are so fearful of being rejected and abandoned that you allow others to hurt and abuse you, so you don’t have to be alone.
If reading any of this makes you feel angry, defensive, or exposed, I would encourage you to ask yourself if you care to know why.
If there is even a part of you that is curious and wants to understand why you feel how you feel, why you behave the way you do, and wants something different, then contact us to start counseling.