Monday, August 08, 2011
Does parental rejection create insecure attachment?
There is a strong lobby of opinion about "insecure attachment" among psychiatricts and psychologist who follow Freudian theory, that it is the relationship with the primary caregiver who sets the ton of relationship-forming and that pattern is set for life. As this puts the burden of any relationship failure between parent ans child squarely on the parent, it would be nice for us parents to find a new way of seeing this where the blame does not lie totally on ourselves - and so we shall.
Here for example is an article, written by Erin J. Lee of Rochester Institute of Technology, available in full with peer discussions, here on the Net, that dares to question such luminaries of psychological thought about attachment as John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Firstly, lets take a look at what John Bowlby has to say on attachment problems and their origins, that he assumes must lie in "maternal rejection".
This quote is from the essay, describing "insecure" attachment.
Insecure attachment systems have been linked to psychiatric disorders, to which a child is especially susceptible after the loss of an attachment figure. Children with insecure attachment patterns "develop the inability to form secure attachments and react in a hostile, rejecting manner with their environment" (Pickover, 2002). Severe attachment disorders cause the child to get close to an attachment figure, and then pull away before they can be rejected or they deem themselves unworthy in the eyes of the attachment figure. Children with secure attachment patterns are capable of forming new attachment relationships while maintaining their current relationship with their parents. Insecure children focus all of the attention on achieving a better relationship with their parents, therefore making it difficult to form new attachment relationships (Pickover, 2002).
It does seem to make sense that a rejecting mother will create a rejected and rejecting child, but notice how varied the responses are: that some children do not reject but try hard to please their parents, because they want that close relationship very much and in some cases sadly that is not available.
Now if we introduce womb twin survivors into this, we see that before the child was born there had already been rejection, not by mother, but by the twin. The twin relationship had been broken in a particular way so that the sole survivor is left fearing rejection. According to my research, a fear of rejection is one of the most common characteristics of womb twin survivors.
"Severe attachment disorders cause the child to get close to an attachment figure, and then pull away before they can be rejected.."
This is not a "disorder" of any sort, but the entirely natural response of a womb twin survivor to being left alone in the womb when your twin died. It is the result of a fetal assumption - that intimate relationships don't last.
Meanwhile, as psychological theorists continue to ignore the pre-birth experiences and the effects of losing a twin before birth, experienced by 600,000,000 people worldwide, good people are left accused of being bad parents, when all they did was their best, in bringing up a womb twin survivor with no knowledge of what that entails.
This book is my attempt to being to put that to rights. I wish it could be required reading on all training courses for therapists, but of course those old theories still hold sway because they sounds so scientific and reasonable, and prebirth psychology does sound a bit way out and unreliable, despite the fact that is has been practiced for almost a hundred years.......[sigh]