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Old 12-06-2017, 11:32 PM  
chihirochild
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chihirochild is effing trying.
 
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Default Re: Risk Factors for Adult Attachment Disorders

So this is only tangentially related, for which I apologize. But I wanted to reply because I'm grappling with a somewhat-similar issue and I thought it might be helpful to make a list like yours.

(Before I get into this, I just want to make clear that the following diatribe is just how I happen feel about my own crap. I'm not suggesting that my dinky little conceptual framework is appropriate/accurate when applied to anyone else's experience; it's just a description of my current--and highly problematic--relationship to my own suffering. I know I'm not explaining this well... I guess what I'm saying is that I hope that folks don't feel invalidated as a result of reading about how I invalidate myself?)

I started working with a new pdoc/t duo about six months ago, and they believe that my treatment-resistant depression is due to attachment failure (whereas my previous pdoc/t believed it to be primarily biological in origin). They say that this is a kind of trauma. I have a difficult time believing this, because I was always of the impression that my parents were "good enough" --flawed, as are we all, but they never did anything even remotely awful to me on purpose. In fact, no one in my life has EVER done anything to me that falls under the category of "abuse." So it feels like I don't get to say that I experienced Trauma (which my pdoc/t are always going on about), and I don't feel like I can blame my parents for my suffering because they were trying their best. (The shrinks, of course, believe this attitude to be resistance/denial on my part.)

But. While I have trouble using the labels Trauma and Attachment failure/disorder, I can think of some things that could have contributed to my depression (and/or my struggles with attachment):

Me
-nature: two parents with chronic anxiety, suicidal depression --> likely inherited strong genetic predisposition for mental illness (makes me think of this paper, though it is about a different dx)
-nurture: only child of two parents with mental illness as above who hovered constantly and also isolated me a bit (non-religious but very strict eg not allowed to listen to pop radio, watch any TV other than public television through age ~16) and also modeled joyless sedentary lifestyle (no friends or hobbies, only TV and work and food)
-personality (some combo of nature/nurture, I guess?): geeky, smart, introverted, eager to please authority figures (aka "total suck-up"); got lots of crap from other kids in middle school (as did we all) until I learned to own my awkwardness
-physical injury that prevented me from pursuing my artistic dream (hard to describe without giving too many personal details, but it was a devastating loss)

Mom
-addiction
-traumatic childhood --> chronic anxiety, depression, chronic pain (I picture myself absorbing that whenever she held me as an infant)
-terrible relationship with her mother --> desperate to have a good relationship with me --> no boundaries (in all possible ways--e.g. refuses to close the bathroom door when she's using the toilet) + didn't want me to be close to other adults + couldn't tolerate me having *any* negative feelings towards her --> kicked me out sometimes for things like rolling my eyes at her or saying "mom" in a tone she didn't like
-frequently abandoning me at key moments/making things about her (e.g. when a friend of mine committed suicide, she took offense to something benign I said when I was on the phone telling her about it and refused to let me stay at home when I came back from college for his funeral)
-unable to argue in a fair way--easily short-circuited to irrationality/mean-ness (e.g. "I don't know how I raised a daughter without any compassion")

Dad
-chronic anxiety, depression
-repressed as all hell (e.g. in the closet about his sexuality--long story) --> prone to bursts of anger out of proportion to insult (never hit us but did throw things and also threatened to kill my mom once)
-always on mom's side + conflict averse --> would sometimes ask me not to come home from college during breaks b/c he didn't want her upset
-SUPER worried about my artistic thing not being a practical career (even though it was--long story, not worth getting into), so made me quit arts high school which was where all my friends were

Others
-death of best friend (cancer) at age 12
-in high school, male teacher I was very close with hugged me out of the blue and told me he loved me and then avoided afterwards
-in college, male professor gave me his cell # and told me to call him if I needed him (in setting of my friend committing suicide), and then when I did call him once he didn't pick up and got mad at me for having called him
-in med school, male prof I was working with on a project got really close to me, promised he'd be there for me personally/professionally, and then ditched me when for the first time I asked him for something
Possible trigger:

So I guess I can see how those things could have resulted in my depression. But I have a really hard time calling it "attachment failure" and I refuse to call it Trauma. It feels like... if I call my little losses and parental disruptions and adult-male-trust-failures "Trauma," I'm devaluing the word so it means less when other people use it to talk about the truly traumatic events and situations that they have endured (e.g. CSA, physical abuse, historical trauma, and the countless other horrific things that happen to people).

(And it also seems unfair, somehow, to highlight all of the things that my parents did that caused me harm. Like, I could also make a list of all the things that they did that were loving and supportive and good for me. Maybe it's just that humans are programmed to be more sensitive to the bad things than the good things? Like how if you tell a child they're bad, you have to tell them they're good five times to make up for it?)

So.... I just don't know and this is probably useless to you, peaches, for which I apologize. :/
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