Disorganized Attachment Style

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The table is in disarray with plates and unclean bowls. Electronic tools, paper, and an unused pan is present | Coping with Disorganized attachment | Counselors in the Happy Valley, Damascus, Clackamas and Hillsboro, OR at Life Discovery Christian Counseling can help

Disorganized Attachment Style

by Megan Coggins


Did you have a parent who became enraged when you sang “too loudly”, or were you hit after requesting a hug? Children who develop what Bowlby called a disorganized attachment, often grow up in a home where you are unsure how your parent is going to respond to your requests. This parental behavior is disorienting and alarming for children. According to Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell in Parenting from the Inside Out, parents who exhibit such behavior, often have their own unresolved trauma or grief that presents as chaos from their own chaotic experiences growing up.  Many parents who express these behaviors have drug or alcohol abuse issues, which contributes to chaotic and frightening reactions.

If you grew up in a home such as this, you may experience a sense of being unreal or detached from what is happening around you or you may feel internally fragmented.  This dissociation can lead you to feel disconnected from yourself. You may feel yourself becoming frozen or your emotional response feeling more intense during interpersonal relationships.  Maintaining relationships can be difficult when you feel such heightened responses in a relationship, potentially causing you to run away from the relationship or putting up an emotional wall to protect yourself. You probably have your own trauma that needs to be processed if you grew up in a chaotic household. Counseling can be a very helpful in learning strategies to working through these experiences, looking at how they impact you currently and beginning to heal from those wounds to grow into the partner and parent you want to be.

Not only does this attachment style greatly impact how you experience life, it impacts your relationships and how you raise your children.  If you experience emotional disconnect from yourself, your spouse and children experience that disconnect as well. In order to create a healthy attachment with your children, it is important for you to work through trauma and learn how to have healthy attachment with those around you. There is hope for healing from past trauma and healthy relationships in your life.  This will require work and dedication, but you can experience healthy relationships, raise healthy children, and experience a sense of connection within yourself.

To learn more about how to develop healthy attachment and heal from past trauma or pain from your family of origin, call 971-808-2686 ext. 700 or email megan@lifedcs.com.

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