If you have a family member who has attachment injury, you might have noticed that maintaining a healthy relationship can be a challenge.

We recently received a letter from an individual who has a family member that displays classic signs of disorganized attachment style. She describes a push and pull type relationship with her. The family member claims to want more familial closeness and support, yet pushes family members away by displaying erratic and aggressive behavior.

Is it possible to maintain a close relationship? Perhaps. Examine these topics to preserve your own health inside of a bond shared with a loved one with attachment injury or trauma.

Can You Maintain Healthy Boundaries?

We cannot change others, but we can control our reaction to their behavior. When your loved one or family member displays attachment injury, can you walk away or realize that their behavior is not truly related to you? This is difficult sometimes, as individuals often lash out due to chaotic emotions and the inability to self-regulate.

Letting your loved one know your boundaries can benefit you – and them. Is your loved one ready for help? If they are unaware of the area of attachment therapy, pointing him or her toward resources to help with secure attachment might be of value.

Display Sensitivity and Attunement

Realize that everyone comes from a subjective place. Often, showing attunement and compassion for your loved one with attachment injury gives them a taste of secure attachment while also setting a good example. It is possible to heal attachment at any age.

Attunement strategies include verbal and non-verbal qualities.

  • Affirmations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Active listening
  • Mirroring body language
  • Eye contact

Through attunement, your loved one can feel more secure, and being with less insecure people is far more pleasant.

Don’t Go on the Defensive

If your loved one shares a feeling with you, “I feel like my family doesn’t love or support me.” Or, “Everyone always lets me down.” Don’t come back with an immediate rebuttal. Respond while keeping in mind that it is their reality, their feelings. A compassionate response will validate their feelings and avoid the barrier that often arises with an instant rebuttal.

Sometimes we need to feel heard.

Get the Help You Need

Ultimately, seeking the counsel of an attachment therapist will expedite the healing of insecurely attached loved ones.

If your family member is not open to therapy, many self-guided resources and live trainings can provide the hope and a foundation for seeking individualized help with an attachment therapist in the future.