Most people don’t know anything about attachment disorder. Few have heard of the term.
Attachment disorder is the inability to form loving and lasting relationships, to give or receive love or affection, form a conscience, or trust others.
People like me with attachment issues desire love and acceptance. We just don’t have the cognitive tools to reach that attachment with others. We’ve learned that past experiences change our brain patterns. Simply put, our brains sabotage the very thing people with want and need the most—love and acceptance.
I am a very avoiding person. I have vague and non-specific early childhood memories and more often than not, I cannot recall much of my childhood experiences. I avoid intimacy and close affective involvements at all costs. I am uncomfortable with closeness and intimacy. I am emotionally distant in relationships and get uncomfortable expressing my needs or asking for help. I tend to avoid conflict and I’m passive-aggressive and sarcastic. I don’t want to rely on anyone and I fear dependency or a perception of being weak. I prefer detachment rather than connection because of a fear of dependency, which I believe will lead to rejection.
Most of these attachment issues stem from an early childhood problem such as abuse, neglect, or separation. I didn’t experience any of these things as a child, however, I feel my parents divorce lead to my attachment issues but wasn’t actually what triggered the problem.
Shortly after moving to Minneapolis I met a nice boy “Chad”, who was definitely out of my league. This boy was the definition of perfect. We went out on dates, we had so many new experiences together, and we shared the same love for ice cream. He told me every day, and I mean every single day, how beautiful he thinks I am and how lucky he is to finally have someone who wanted nothing more than to be with him. After talking to him for about 2 months, he dropped a giant bomb on me that I wasn’t at all expecting. He confessed his love for me, he used that 4 letter word and I knew he genuinely meant it. He told me that he felt something he has never felt before, which was surprising considering he just got out of a very lengthy relationship. He told me he could see a future with me and was excited for me to meet his mom. I was so attached to him and he gave me butterflies. Two days later, he stopped replying to my texts and that was the last I heard from him. We didn’t have a fight. Nothing drastic happened. He just stopped replying.
How could someone tell me they’re falling in love with me then just cut me out of their life? Was I being naïve to believe everything he said, or was he just running because he was scared? I still don’t know the answer.
After this experience I told myself I wouldn’t allow myself to be so emotionally invested in a boy I barely knew. I did exactly that. But my self-esteem was at a low point and I needed some kind of acceptance from guys. I started sleeping around. I didn’t feel any emotionally ties with these guys, and we both knew it was just a one night thing. That was until I met “Ryan”. He had feelings for me, he loved Jesus, and loved his mom. I tried my hardest to have feelings for him and get attached to him like he was to me because he was a great guy. My attachment issues got in the way and unfortunately I was unable to make that connection. It wasn’t until this happened three more times for me to realize I needed help trying to overcome my attachment issues.
A month ago, I started seeking help from a therapist who explained to me that I was experiencing “attachment disorder”. She told me that although it is most common in children, it does happen to adults. She made me feel better about the situation. Since I started I learned things that keep me from having the love I want. I discovered the roots of current relationship issues and soon I will be able to build healthy relationships and be more successful in every area of my life.
Whether you are also suffering from attachment disorder, anxiety, depression, or just need someone to talk to, know that there are professionals out there who are trained to help you and make you a better person.
Many things over the course of my 19 years have contributed to me not being able to form emotional attachments to people. But, my parents divorce and allowing myself to be so emotionally invested in a boy I barely knew were definitely contributing factors. I am glad I’m getting the help I need to live a happier life and knowing letting people in isn’t as bad as I think.