This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adult Attachment Disorders: Fearful/ Unresolved

Attachment disorders in adults are called by different names, but still have the same causes.

Child: Disorganized attachment.
Adult: Fearful Unresolved Attachment

As infants and young children, the children's parents were there for them sometimes, but at other times failed to protect them from trauma or make them feel safe. (Could be due to caregiver's drug use, mental illness, and/ or their own attachment issues). As children they detach completely from their feelings during times of trauma for survival, and as adults, they continue to be somewhat detached from themselves.

They desire relationships and can be somewhat comfortable in them until emotion closeness is expected or desired by the significant other. At this point, the feelings that were repressed in childhood can begin to resurface and, with no awareness of them being from the past, they are experienced in the present.

Bear has developed what we call "armor" to protect him from responding as though he's reliving the attachment trauma. We have been unable to breach it and help him process his trauma.

Hot/ cold; come here/ go way. These mixed feelings are combined with negative views about themselves and their partners. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their partners, and they don't trust the intentions of their partners.

Little events are often interpreted as frightening, scary, and can easily dysregulate them. Often when the attachment system is activated and leads to disorganized behaviors, being overwhelmed and flooded and losing the ability to think and use good judgment and coping skills. Behavior may be out of control and explosive. They are unable to see resolution to problems and feelings.

Kitty has been working on attachment for over 4 years, and while she was physically and emotionally numb when she came to live with us, she has been slowly removing the protective layers. I believe this is why she's becoming more overwhelmed and dysregulated as she becomes more attached.

Similarly to the dismissive attachment style, people with a fearful/unresolved attachment style seek less intimacy from partners and frequently suppress and hide their feelings. Their lives are not balanced, and they do not have a coherent sense of themselves, nor do they have a clear connection with others.

This is the type of attachment disorder that Bear was diagnosed with, and Kitty probably has too. Due to drug use and mental illness, their biomom was most likely inconsistent in her parenting, and definitely didn't protect them from abuse.

Don't know what all this means for Bear down the road. His armor is thick and firmly in place. I hope Kitty is healing, and that's why she's struggling more.

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