Any real change involves deliberate attention to early childhood experiences. Attachment theory explains why. The most important tenet of the theory is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for the child’s successful social and emotional development. This is particularly important for learning how to regulate one’s feelings successfully. This is huge because there is an abundance of behaviors that both children and adults adopt when they cannot do this. These behaviors range from the more socially acceptable to the more dangerous and unacceptable. Zoning out in front of a screen, abusing substances such as alcohol, drugs, and sugar, as well as gambling or engaging in retail therapy is at one end of the spectrum. Self harming behaviors such as cutting and attempting suicide are on the other end with a whole slew of abusive behaviors toward others in between. Not regulating one’s feelings clearly takes a toll on the self as well as society as a whole.
Secure attachment is considered to be the best attachment style. It occurs when children feel they can rely on their caregivers to attend to their needs of proximity, protection and emotional support. Attachment applies to adults when we feel closely attached to our parents and romantic partners. For those of us who don’t feel this or have a pattern of attracting those who over time cannot provide this type of security, the answers are rooted in close examination of our attachment styles to our earliest caregivers.
The internal working model useful for forming attachment is developing differently by adolescence. The goal of the attachment behavior system changes from proximity to availability in terms of seeking a secure attachment with the caregiver. Generally a child is content with longer separations as long as opportunities for contact are made available. Behaviors such as clinging and following decline. There can also be a shift in which the caregiver and child negotiate these methods of supervision and communication. The child is moving toward a greater degree of independence therefore many factors come into play as a parent decides how much to “back off” with a particular child. It’s important to seek support and guidance as you parent. Often times going to your own caregivers with whom you may be insecurely attached is not the way to break generational patterns of insecure attachments.
So why am I bitching about this internal working model inside of ourselves which forms the basis for almost all of our future important relationships? Whatever your gender, secure attachments lead to empowerment and empowerment leads to increased quality of life. Increased quality of life leads to a more just and compassionate world. This is what Psycholobitch is all about.
So what if you are recovering from creating lives with a fucktard and that fucktard has made contact with your child difficult or impossible? We know that the availability of both parents when at all possible is important but how important is it? How important is it if the child until now had a secure attachment to the caregiver with whom they have become estranged or alienated? If circumstances have created a situation in which you are not able to make contact with your child, is there anything you can do to help them? What if family members are allowing themselves to be manipulated by the fucktard as well as the child? This sucks because you must face the situation with eyes wide open with the knowledge that those who claim to love and support you don’t have a clue how to do so, even after you tell them. That’s ok, bitches. I don’t mean it’s right or just, but it’s ok. It’s ok because just like with the fucktard, this situation can also be a gift. It can be an opportunity to do what you couldn’t do as a child.
A child is helpless to the availability of their caregiver. Obviously as babies we could not feed, clothe or sooth ourselves in any way. Without secure emotional attachment, we couldn’t get our emotional needs met in childhood either. As adults, if we are willing to go outside of our comfort zones, we can find others with the skills to meet our needs. This is how we begin the process of self care which involves meeting our own needs. Unless this happens we are doomed to continue “going to the hardware store for bread.” In case you are unfamiliar with this analogy, Psycholobitch readers, this is the phenomenon resulting directly from the development of early childhood insecure attachments. Seeking love, support and validation from others who cannot provide it…. it is the motherfucker of attachment!
Thanks to our reader who posed the very complicated and tricky question, “how do you help your child when you have lost the ability to have contact with them?” We are honored and humbled that you courageously shared some of your story with us. Obviously there is not an easy or quick fix. Before we offer more to help you grapple with this issue, we ask fellow readers to comment. Please comment with the utmost compassion for what our reader or anyone who has lost a child who is still living must be going through. We particularly encourage short empowering comments or questions posed to stimulate further insight or problem solving. Remember readers, being a bitch means naming and reclaiming. Being a Psycholobitch means not falling prey to victimhood or self pity. We do this through thinking, feeling, expressing, connecting, and taking charge of our lives.