Early attachment to our parents or other primary caregiver is of vital importance to healthy growth and maturity. However, traumatic breaches or disruptions in attachment between a child and a parent, places the individual at risk for developing some forms of pathology, excessive fear, anxiety or depression.
The vital process of attachment starts out during early infancy. This happens when a baby’s immature brain uses the mature functions of the parent’s brain to start to organize its own mental processes. Making sense to the world actually starts out with how the parent responds to their environment.
In particular, the parents help aid in reducing uncomfortable feelings such as fear, anxiety, or sadness; this enables the child or baby to be soothed and gives them a basic sense of safety in the world. In essence, the child feels a sense of value, greatness and builds their self worth. These positive traits are instilled in the child’s developing mind, which are essential for development. Attachment, empathy and love play a vital role in healthy development.
Fundamentally, the relationship between a child and their parents can literally determine if a child has a positive view of the world or a negative view of the world. Basically if the parent is there to soothe and comfort a child when they are uncomfortable there needs are met, a healthy relationship between child and parent is established. Consequently, a child would feel secure and safe; this would provide the basis for a positive world view. However, when a parent neglects or is not healthy themselves, insecure attachments are made.
When a child doesn’t experience a real sense of safety in the world, or the child has no one to turn to for comfort, these repeated experiences of terror or fear, can become engrained as a negative world view. Consequently, a child would experiences feeling of being overwhelmed, being out of control and could suffer from learned helplessness. These negative experiences become ingrained in their minds and become realities with which these individuals live by, on a daily basis.
Recent research is strongly pointing to insecure attachment as the main cause to many difficulties people are experiencing in their lives today. Regardless, in reality trauma is a fact of life; however, it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. With the help of a professional therapist trained in identifying and dealing with traumatic breaches, these problems can be over come.
For more information on this topic see "Childhood Trauma and Intimate Relationships".