Attachment disruption can happen for a variety of reasons, including medical reasons and the social policy at the time of the child's birth. Normally, the attachment between a child and caregiver is the primary source of safety and stability in a child’s life. The early care giving relationship provides the primary context within which children learn about themselves, their emotions, and their relationships with others. Lack of a secure early attachment can result in a loss of core capacities for self-regulation and interpersonal relatedness.
The attachment relationship is very fragile. Attachments can be disrupted through medical interventions or procedures, parents post-natal depression and bereavement. A disrupted attachment is not always the result of poor parenting. Throughout life we will form hundreds of relationships. The majority, but not all, of individuals that seek therapeutic support can trace the initial source of their presenting issue to a time/incident stemming from some aspect of their own past or childhood. Disrupted attachments in childhood lead to poor relationships in our present and future.
Understanding attachment patterns can support us in our interaction with others. Unresolved childhood attachment issues leave an adult vulnerable to difficulties in forming secure adult relationships. There is a strong correlation between insecure adult attachments and marital dissatisfaction and negative marital interaction. If an adult does not feel safe with others, they will tend to either be resenting of their partner or overly clingy.
Attachment issues are often handed down generationally, i.e. we parent how we were parented unless someone breaks the chain. As a parent, an insecurely attached adult may lack the ability to form a strong attachment with their child, and inadvertently be unable to recognise the necessary cues required for the healthy emotional development of the child, thereby impacting on the child’s future relationships.
Addressing disrupted attachments can be explored using internal child work / ego state work and / or attachment focused EMDR.