3. Anxiously or resistantly attached
This child is fearful with or without the parent. This child can’t be reassured by either the parent or a stranger. Children like this may become angry when the caregiver leaves and continue to be angry when they return.
4. Disorganized attachment
Child becomes disorganized during interactions with caregiver. They may resort to the primitive “F’s” and freeze, flee or fight. This child may disassociate, speak incoherently or have loss of memory as a result of interacting with a caregiver they perceive as harmful.
These four “types” of attachment are not universally accepted and a person can have elements of one or more attachment style. A particular attachment style can vary from mild to strong in severity and all attachment styles are influenced by an individual’s personality.
The one attachment issue that has made its way into the DSM-4 and can be diagnosed as a separate mental illness is 313.89 Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood which is then divided into two types, Inhibited Type (like resistant above) and Disinhibited type.
A person with disinhibited attachment disorder will form over close relationships with people they barely know. This is the type of person to stop a stranger on the street and then begin to tell them all about the most intimate personal issues of their life.
These clinical definitions are extreme cases.
Some adults will report their parents were never there for them and were non-affirming. This results in a personality style of being self-sufficient or avoiding others.
Other adults believe that their caregiver was over involved and controlling and did not allow them to develop a secure sense of self.
Learning life skills that may have been missing from your childhood learning can be described as “inner child work” or “re-parenting.” The goal for the client in these situations should be to develop the attachment skills that are lacking and to learn the developmental tasks that should have been learned at an earlier stage.
Various schools of psychotherapy will approach the task of addressing attachment issues in adults in quite different fashions.
Have you had to go back and work on attachment issues or do you still struggle with these problems? If something worked for you what worked?
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page . For information about my other writing work beyond this blog there is also a Facebook authors page, in its infancy, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com . Thanks to all who read this blog.
If you enjoyed this post or think others might enjoy it please click on one or more of the “Like” or “Share” buttons on this page.