Did you have a secure, reliable loving bond with at least one parent or caregiver? Was one of your parents or caregivers consistently emotionally available and responsive to your needs? If not, then you likely have attachment wounds. Sadly, few people had parents or caregivers who were emotionally healthy enough to be loving parents with their children.
Bonnie asked me the following question:
“My mother used to leave me alone as a baby and then my parents divorced when I was only two. When my husband moved out several years ago, I felt immobilized and terribly afraid and alone and vulnerable…. How can I heal permanently from this early attachment wound so I can be strong and be in a healthy loving relationship?”
Fortunately, with enough Inner Bonding work, these wounds can be healed.
If I were working with Bonnie, I would ask her “How are you treating yourself in the ways your parents or caregivers treated you? How do you leave your inner baby alone? Do you stay in your head, ignoring your feelings? Do you judge yourself as a way of covering over your feelings? Do you numb out your feelings with addictions? Did you give your inner child away to your husband to love and care for? The fact that you feel afraid, alone and vulnerable indicates that there is no inner adult to love and care for your inner child, which is what creates the immobilization. Healing the attachment wound means that you need to learn to be the loving adult to your inner child – the loving parent that you never had as an actual child.
You might need to do this work with a therapist or facilitator. Developing a caring relationship with a supportive person is often key in healing attachment wounds. We can’t always do this ourselves.
You perpetuate the woundedness by how you treat yourself, so developing your loving adult is essential to healing attachment wounds. The more you learn to see and value your beautiful essence and lovingly manage the very painful feelings from childhood, the more these wounds heal. The patterns you developed in childhood to manage the early abandonment are deeply programmed, and it takes much practice in being a loving adult to rewire the brain with loving behavior toward yourself.
“How would you suggest I address the message I received from my mother that I shouldn’t exist? The depth of the pain is horrific. Loving myself, thinking of myself evokes no emotion in me.”
Trish needs to develop a personal connection with a spiritual source of love and compassion. She has been deeply programmed to reject herself and the wounded self cannot feel any love toward her essence. Love and compassion are not feelings we generate within ourselves – they are feelings we open to and invite in to our hearts. Trish needs to develop her spiritual connection in order to feel the kindness toward herself that her inner child needs from her to heal. As long as she is rejecting herself, the pain will continue to be horrific.
“Are certain attachments necessary to have? Like a child wants love and care from the parents? I am learning to give love to myself and developing connections with my guides, but I often feel sad that my parents neglected my feelings when I was young and my attachment to get approval from others is always there. Any suggestions? Many thanks.”
Yes, Vivienne, we all needed love and care from our parents. Now that you are an adult, you need to fully accept that others cannot give to you what you missed out on as a child. Now it’s your responsibility to give your little inner child the love, attention, care and approval that she needs. Again, therapy or facilitation may be necessary to support you in this. While someone cannot heal these wounds for you, they can certainly support you in the healing process.
Healing occurs when we learn to see and value our essence and to treat ourselves the way we would treat a cherished child. Healing is supported when we receive help from someone who sees and values our essence.
A loving relationship is extremely helpful in healing attachment wounds, but since we attract at our common level of self-abandonment or self-love, some personal healing may need to occur before you are able to attract a loving partner.
[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]
CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.