|Photo By Amelia Grace Photography|
and A Church 4 Chicks Panel Questions from The friend Me? Conference 3/16
Q. “I know that scars from past relationships damage my ability to trust deeply in order to make strong connections. I’ve prayed, but I’m still scared. How can I move past this”?
A. Let me explain. There’s an important idea about humans called Attachment Theory.
Attachments are strengthened or neglected when humans are infants. If babies grow up having their needs met, their fears soothed, and if they can come to rely on predictable caregivers, they will probably grow up to be securely attached adults. They will not only trust others, they will trust themselves as worthy of love and capable of getting their needs met.
Sadly, many babies don’t get that. For a quick example of what happened when moms and dads don’t attune, watch this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apzXGEbZht0
Children often grow up with various forms of abuse (physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual) or neglect. Caretakers die, get depressed, and divorce. In an article written by Marnie Feree, she explains that when this happens a baby’s brain gets flooded with stress hormones and neurotransmitters that imprint a neuronal pathway, affecting a child’s ability to self-regulate. Traumatized individuals search for various ways to calm their brains. A common response to calming a traumatized brain is to medicate through sex, food, shopping, etc.
Think about what is needed for genuine intimacy:
How are those who never learned to form secure attachments going to risk all those things? They’re not. They’re going to seek the counterfeit that gives them the feeling of being in relationship, but without any of the risk.
People can heal by learning to risk attachment with safe people. A recommended counselor or pastor might be a good place to start.
One of my professors used to say the counseling office is a microcosm of the larger world. If I work with a client and over time, get them to trust, take risks, and create a safe attachment with me, and eventually with others, they will heal. When I am trustworthy and genuine, showing love, safety, and acceptance, I have seen clients decide they want to replace fake relationships for the real thing.
As a child, who could you turn to for safety and comfort?