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!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adult Attachment Disorders: Preoccupied Attachment

I just realized I never included the 3rd type of attachment disorder (probably because this is the one of which no one in my family is diagnosed).

Children who have an anxious ambivalent attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As infants and children, they received inconsistent caregiving - caregivers responded to them in an erratic and unpredictable manner. At times parents were under-involved and emotionally unavailable, while at other times they were overly attentive, intrusive and "emotionally merged" with their children's feelings. Because of this inconsistent parenting style, these children learn from a very young age to heighten and exaggerate their attachment signals- they turn it up a notch- so they are seen, heard, and try to get more reliable care. Occasionally it works, so they keep it up.

As adults, these individuals may look self-absorbed, irritable, demanding and angry. But they are often self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting. They have difficulty making decisions and sticking with them- they get caught up in a "thought circle," going back and forth in their minds (racing thoughts); it keeps them from feeling deeply. These people's lives are not balanced: their insecurity leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in their relationships. They tend to act out impulsively.

People who are preoccupied with attachment tend to agree with the following statements: "I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them." Compared to securely attached people, people who are preoccupied with attachment tend to have less positive views about themselves. They often doubt their worth as a partner and blame themselves for their partners' lack of responsiveness. They also have less positive views about their partners because they do not trust in people's good intentions. People who are preoccupied with attachment may experience high levels of emotional expressiveness, worry and impulsiveness in their relationships.

1 comment:

Jane said...

This parent behavior sounds like what we observed in Toots' and Ninja's birth mom, the few times we met her. I wasn't previously familiar with this attachment disorder diagnosis, but it does sound something like Toots.