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  1. #1
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    Attachment problems in adults

    I believe that difficulties resulting from damaged early attachment are far more prevalent that a lot of mental health professionals realise, although this is slowly changing and more and more therapists are now "attachment-based".

    It was only through my own research when I wondered what the hell was wrong with me, that I realised I had significant attachment problems, this was later verified by a mental health professional, but as yet, the traditional therapy I have been in has not even begun to address these issues.

    I am generally isolated, I never form close friendships really, although am friendly and have some superficial friends, I dont know how to be close with people. I havent had a problem with parenting because its unconditional, I dont expect anything back and I am the "carer" so in control and that side of things has been a success, at least I have a close good relationship with my kids who are now grown up and seem fine. The problem I have is that when anyone, and especially someone in a caring role, like a minister, a doctor, a mentor etc., shows an interest in me, I virtually become obsessed with them. I switch from being distant to excessively needy of that person, I tell them more of my personal stuff than is wise and I am desparate for them to "see" me, validate me, love me and care. I crave them to connect with me .. and then if they dont call me, dont show any interest or ignore me for a while I fall into total despair, anger and depression. But basically I act like a 3 year old!

    I have coped with this roller coaster of attachment difficulties all my life and I can cope with it a bit better now, by avoiding the attachment that I crave, or if I do get into it, to cut myself off pretty quick. I feel like the only comfortable way for me to survive though is totally alone and yet I am unbearably lonely.

    I dont think I am unique in this actually, as trawling other forums I have come across others with similar attachment difficulties, who like me, are being treated for depression or anxiety or eating disorders ... all accompaniments to attachment problems ... but not the actual issues!

    I suppose I relate this back to early abuse from my father and a mother that I adored who wsnt very adoring of me and was always ill, away from home, depressed and withdrawn who died when I was a child. I was then abandoned by my father and ended up alone and on the street at 15... but understanding why I still have this insatiable infantile need to be held, validated and loved, doesnt help me manage the feelings today.

    If anyone has anything helpful to say about this, even if its practical ways of coping, I'd be pleased to hear it. I'm not sure how or if I can be healed, its just something missing that needs to be there. I dont know if I can rationalise myself out of this in therapy. The only real healing for a lack of love is love!

  2. #2
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    Re: Attachment problems in adults

    Hi Molly,
    I am in exactly the same boat as you are and what you describe about becoming clingy and obsessed with people applies to me as well. It's hard to find attachment therapists who work with adults; most of them only work with children up to about the age of 12. My therapist happens to do alot of work with adolescents and while she's not an attachment therapist per se, she is very familiar with attachment issues and therapeutic approaches, and is able to help me. We were doing Theraplay for awhile which I found hugely beneficial. It is extremely difficult to find a therapist who will do this with an adult and it took me six months of begging (literally!) before she agreed. I did more than beg; I found lots of research to prove the success in working with adults. Lately we've been doing more talk therapy than Theraplay, but if I want a Theraplay session I just have to tell her and she'll throw one in.

    From what I've researched I think there are quite a few attachment therapists in the U.K. I'd suggest seeing if you can find one nearby that knows what they're doing and has experience working with adults.

    The last line from your post is so true, but for me, because I won't allow myself to attach, I can't get the love that would be healing and beneficial. It's a vicious circle for me.

  3. #3
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    Re: Attachment problems in adults

    I also wanted to say that I can relate a lot to attachment difficulties. My therapist works with my attachment wounds quite a lot, it being relationship focused therapy. There is a lot to heal. I've never had an intimate relationship, because of what I suffered as a child. Plus the early isolation and trauma that has also effected me. Therapy really helps, but it takes time.

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    Re: Attachment problems in adults

    I'm due to start therapy soon, I am a little worried about getting too attached to the therapist, which is likely really! I am reluctant to just go trawling through my past or past traumas really because Ive done this in therapy before and only ended up feeling like a victim and more depressed. I hope this is different. It seems to be a mixture of CBT, humanistic (whatever that means) as well as a bit of navel gazing I think. Well I hope it progresses me byond this point. I've been close to giving up this past year

    Also BG/Braveheart, I hope and pray that you find solutions and ways forward.

    All the best
    xx

  5. #5
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    Re: Attachment problems in adults

    I am a little worried about getting too attached to the therapist, which is likely really! I am reluctant to just go trawling through my past or past traumas really because Ive done this in therapy before and only ended up feeling like a victim and more depressed. I hope this is different.
    i think it would be a good idea to tell your therapist this, just so they understand where you are coming from and they can factor that in to the treatment. best of luck and i truly hope this time around you will find what you need.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  6. #6
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    Re: Attachment problems in adults

    I churned this poem out from a struggling needy place in the week. Its something about how my attachment needs go. It helped to write it!

    After hope


    I was hurt today and disappointed
    Needing, needing, reaching out, hoping
    And you never saw me
    You never loved
    Just a touch of that small light
    I only asked for a drop
    To lighten
    But that rawness was overlooked again
    Transparent as a window pane
    Could you not see that rock that cries?
    You see I desparately want to show you this secret rock
    I need you to embrace it and love it
    But **** you! You never see it
    And floodgates open
    thoughts pour in, in grotesque black torrents
    And I abandon myself to them
    You are self absorbed, selfish me me me
    I hate you, you deserve to be trashed and hurt
    And that familiar dilemma
    Stuck in that same agonising hollow with exits obscured
    until I ride full circle on this merry go round
    and hope comes again

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