The human brain adapts and adjusts in order to keep you safe.
Attachment adaptations often cause people to feel “damaged” or “broken,” which misrepresents what the brain is really doing to protect its keeper. Attachment adaptations occur in early childhood when disruptions between the caregiver and child relationships interrupt Secure Attachment and are a necessary coping tool based on the availability of caregivers.
Avoidant Attachment – “You’re on Your Own”
If you follow our blog, you know that Avoidant Attachment adaptation occurs when caregivers or parents do not attune to the child’s needs. As a result, the child learns to rely on him or herself to have their needs met. They will not ask for help readily, as it has not had responsive results in the past.
The brain has created this adaptation of lack-of-need and over-independence to ensure that the Avoidantly Attached individual can manage their own needs and self-regulate.
Ambivalent Attachment – “Come Here. Go Away”
People with Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment adaptation lived in a virtual hornets’ nest during development, never knowing for sure what kind of scenario they were walking into. The brain developed distrust and anxiety around the unpredictability of having their needs met.
The hope of having someone reliable combined with the uncertainty of having their needs met created Ambivalent Attachment and the brain’s struggle to remain afloat in a sea of unpredictability.
Your Reality Now and Developing Secure Attachment
Fortunately, just as the brain adapted in childhood, the adult brain also adapts and remains malleable through a function called neuroplasticity. Learning new behaviors and relational skills require forfeiting many years of habitual responses, but are within reach, especially with a trained therapist familiar with healing Attachment injury and trauma.
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