Sunday, 30 June 2019 16:26

Always a Way

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David Wallin writes”…the need for comfort and connection in the face of threat or pain is built in by evolutionary design. It cannot be extinguished but only defended against.”

And why would it need to be defended against? It happens when, in the very beginning of life outside the womb, the need for comfort and connection has not been met. And this is so very painful to the little one that he or she has to bury the pain, and to find other ways to defend against it, against even knowing about this terrible, this deeply debilitating loss. The ways of being in the world that arise out of these circumstances are described by the kinds of attachment styles that are less than optimal.

There is a huge amount of information about and understanding of attachment now, and in recent years it has been added to by the increasing amount we know about the brain and about the impact of life events upon this organ as well as on the mind, and indeed the rest of the growing human. We are complicated beings. We know for sure that attachment relationships affect the development of the brain in the early years, and that such relationships can also have an impact later on.

And the really cheering thing we know also is that the brain continues to develop throughout the life cycle, and that people who have those less than optimal early relationships can achieve an ‘earned secure’ attachment (Mary Main) by building positive & supportive friendships, or a good romantic partnership, or a successful therapeutic relationship.

It’s important to remember that this is a really really complex topic and that attachment styles are not definitive. This theory is a useful way of understanding people in part but, when applied to individuals, we end up with a different story for everyone. Our journeys differ and there are many factors involved in who we come to be.

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