Adults With Attachment Disorders – What it’s like.


I wanted to talk about what attachment disorder feels like for adults.

There’s a mountain of information out there that allows therapists to read and understand the fundamentals of attachment disorder/attachment trauma and how it manifests in client’s behaviour. There’s also lots of theories about how attachment wounds should be treated. Some ideas are better than others from my perspective.

However what I am not seeing out there, is an understanding by therapist’s how it feels to have attachment wounds. And that’s what I’d like to address in the hopes that it might help therapists understand the depth of the wound a client is suffering from.

There seems to be a general thought that healing from attachment wounds starts with acceptance and learning to grieve.

And whilst acceptance and grieving is a huge part of the process of healing, it is not the only part. In fact, acceptance and grieving is more like the last few pieces of healing.

An adult with developmental trauma/attachment wounds can not fully accept or grieve the lost attachment until they’ve received adequate amounts of re-parenting from somewhere. That is because attachment is not just psychological injury but a physical one. The damage of attachment trauma and neglect are now showing up on brain scans and there’s lots of research coming though about how attachment affects our ability to thrive.

When therapists talk about grieving, it feels to me like they use the word and relate that grieving process as being the same a grieving the death of someone. It isn’t. It’s far more and far worse.

My own therapist recently talked to me about acceptance and grieving. And I wondered if she really knew what she was asking of me? And I wrote a blog post about it which I will show her.

But I want to quote what I wrote about the experience of attachment wounds, the how it feels to have it. Because I feel like it’s important.

I am not an expert, I am not claiming to be. There’s room here for me to be wrong about my perception of how attachment trauma needs to be understood or dealt with.

What I can tell you, expertly, is how attachment trauma feels to me and from what adults who are suffering tell me.

I can tell you how I want to heal from my wounds, what I think I need to move on. And I can tell you acceptance of the loss and the grieving for it is only part of the puzzle, it is the last part of the healing, not the only part and certainly not the first part.

I hope this helps Therapists who haven’t experienced for themselves the depths of attachment trauma to understand a little better how attachment disorder feels.