Life is full of trauma (physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual) and attachment is at the root of much of it. At the root of many sexual issues are attachment injuries. Our relationships reflect these issues in behaviors such as withdrawal, conflict and aggression to name a few.
Our earliest attachment (often our mothers) lays the foundation for how we connect with others throughout our lives. Our bonding and displays of love from our parents and families affect how we love our significant other (or others) later in our lives.
Trauma at any stage along the way will affect our capacity to bond and trust another person. It leaves us guarded and protected, not wanting to be hurt again. Our bodies automatically shut down to guard against any further harm …even when we want intimacy in another relationship.
It's as if 'parts of us' are in conflict with our desire for closeness and love due to the fear of invasion or injury. It may seem like we have “parts" that don't want to go along with other “parts" that desire intimacy and relationship. These opposing "parts" may show up as resistance, conflict, sabotage, aggression or conflict.
Conflict in a relationship is often a space creator. It guards against intimacy and closeness when we are feeling threatened. We are trying to guard to our hearts and our bodies in order to protect ourselves from further harm. Underneath that, we long to feel safe and loved and transparent so that we feel seen and loved just as we are.
When we become aware of our particular attachment histories and the specific traumas holding us back from giving and receiving love, we become free to love others and ourselves without living from our defenses. With therapy, we are able to live from our vitality and core energies rather than our defenses that are always trying to keep us safe.
We are able to open and trust and dissolve into each other intimately without losing ourselves. We are able to feel safe in the world. We no longer live in relationship from our defenses. In couples work I have seen many couples that are relating from their defenses and it's painful to see. They are often frustrated and out to “be right." Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy asks Dr. Phil.
Mature love is a learned set of thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that most of us need some help to develop. Our parenting and early childhood experiences, as well as any trauma (specifically attachment related) will cripple us and need mending.
According to David Wallin, author of Attachment in Psychotherapy, most of us have “islands" of trauma and dissociation in our history. A client of his states “ it's like a sharp pebble in my shoe and when you've got a pebble in your shoe, it can't help but deform your stride.
Not all traumas are attachment based but I'm sure much more of them are than we recognize.
Diane Poole Heller, a Somatic Attachment & Trauma Expert, states “The good news is that we are all inherently hardwired to heal. We have an innate ability to overcome the effects of trauma and unleash the core aliveness we all possess.