In this section, we will look at what we can do to achieve more choice and mastery over how to respond to triggering events and the consequences of insecure attachments.
Healing the impact of misattunement and attachment wounding
The good news is that the impact of early childhood wounding can be repaired. Fortunately the human psyche is strongly inclined toward self-healing. So, with the right support and conditions, people can achieve an ‘earned’ secure/autonomous attachment status. They can finally make sense of their childhood wounds with the help of more supportive relationships and/or psychotherapy and acquire the tools and skills to re-parent themselves. They can understand, organise and discuss painful childhood attachment relationships in a coherent way without the wound “getting in”. They can achieve more mastery/choice over how to respond to stressful and distressing events in the present and future.
Re-parenting our wounded child
Working with wounded childhood parts is particularly useful to help adults who did not have the right support from the beginning; it enables them to develop for themselves in the present the foundational stability to live their life with more of a sense of hope and fulfilment.
In broad terms, to recover, childhood wounded parts need to know they can be safe in the present with a competent caregiver. The pathway to healing from those wounds lies in helping a person to recognise and develop their confidence in their own adult care giving skills. This builds the trust of younger wounded parts that the adult they are today can re-parent them: offer them a healthy role model of an adult who is able to consistently meet their needs now in a way that should have happened in the past. When this relationship of trust is established, younger wounded parts can get unstuck from the past they’ve been trapped in, lean into their most adult self; knowing they can rely on them to meet their emotional needs for nurture, protection, guidance and support from now on. Gradually, as this model of quality attunement and secure attachment is offered consistently, these wounded parts will be able to let go of habitual reactive behaviours and assimilate the skills of the healthy ‘parent’. In effect they can get unstuck from the past, grow up and operate in an adult manner, in the here and now, so that over time unwanted behaviours, beliefs, and emotions diminish.
How can we measure success when it comes to recovering from attachment wounding and relational trauma
Let’s be clear, wounds are wounds. We carry them within us because they are part of our life experience. We will get triggered, knocked off balance when situations and events happen which remind us of past wounding events. Success is not that we never get knocked off balance by life: because ‘life’ happens. The real measure of success is that if and when we get knocked off balance, we are able to soften the impact and recover quicker: we can better at spotting it, understand why it’s happening and access our most adult self to soothe the wounded parts of us that are being affected so we can re-group and think and respond in the here and now from our most adult self.
In this article we’ve sought to convey to readers the value of understanding the root causes of their issue/s as a first step toward their recovery. With that in mind readers can look for an intervention that they believe will best match their needs. It’s not the purpose of this article to signpost readers toward one particular therapeutic approach as being the only one which can help. All therapeutic approaches work toward the goal of emotional health and well-being; they just come at the same goal from different directions. However, some approaches are particularly suited toward looking at a pathway to recovery through the context of healing childhood attachment wounding and relational trauma. These include those which utilise the principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy; Ego-State therapy; DNMS (a therapy to stabilise wounded parts) and EMDR (a therapy to recover from the residual trauma of wounding experiences), and integrative therapy (which uses a combination of therapeutic approaches as appropriate).
If you want to receive an alert for future articles or would like me to address topics you are interested in, put in a request by email: firstname.lastname@example.org