Healing Bonding and Attachment Issues

Oct 31, 2022

The process of bonding and attachment is the emotional and spiritual adhering of ourselves to another person. It is a foundational aspect of development. It is where we download and internalize the love that will empower us to grow in the future.

Bonding, connection, and attachment are important for several reasons. First, they provide a sense of safety and security. When we feel bonded to someone, we feel like we can trust them and that they will be there for us. This is especially important in early childhood when we are developing a sense of self and learning how to interact with the world.

Bonding and attachment give us:

  • Safety
  • A strong sense of security
  • Feeling the most protected
  • The ability to internalize everything we learn, and to take in new information
  • The ability to process negative feelings
  • The regulation of our emotions

Bonding happens as a result of being dependent on others. As children, we are in a need state. Likewise, as adults we have some needs that we look to others to meet as well. When we feel onfused, we search for someone to give us clarity. When we feel discouraged, we search for someone to encourage us. These transformational moments when we have a need state and someone responds well create a kind of glue that bonds us to them. Our needs were met and now you and this person are more invested in each other.

This can break down when things like this are present:

  • Inconsistent caregiving
  • Absent caregiving
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Unhealthy use of control

When these things happen. We can develop a bonding deficiency, attachment hunger, and feelings of emptiness. It can cause fears to develop, and may lead to anxiety and depression. It can cause our lives to feel meaningless, and can even lead to us feeling like we are a bad person.

The opposite of bad is not good, it is being loved. When someone doesn’t feel good about themselves, but then they experience love and connection, the question of ‘Am I bad or good?’ will go away. If we are loved, we are valued. When people are left alone and isolated, they feel like they aren’t good enough.

In order to begin tackling these issues, we need to start with recognizing our own needs and taking ownership of them. We must see that we have a lack of love, or a lack of connections with others, and then take actions to correct the situation.

You can start by allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable with others.

Emotional vulnerability is sometimes wrongly characterized as a weakness, something to be avoided at all costs. But vulnerability is actually a strength. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to put yourself out there, and be open to the possibility of rejection or hurt.

Vulnerability is also essential for connection and intimacy. Without vulnerability, we cannot truly connect with another person. We may be able to fake it for a while, but eventually, the cracks will show and the relationships will crumble.

So how do we get comfortable with being vulnerable?

Talk about it.

Talk to a trusted friend or therapist about your fears and concerns. This can help to normalize the feelings and make them less daunting.

Take baby steps.

Start small. Share something that you are comfortable with. As you build trust, you can share more.

Set boundaries.

It is important to know your limits. You don’t have to share everything with everyone. Choose wisely who you open up to and don’t feel pressured to share more than you are comfortable with.

Be prepared for setbacks.

There will be times when you open up and it doesn’t go the way you hoped. People may not respond the way you want them to. This is normal and it doesn’t mean that you should give up. Just keep trying.

It can feel horrible to experience life with emotional wounds related to bonding and attachment issues, but it doesn’t have to be this way forever. By taking action, you can form lasting relationships that will help you meet your emotional and relational needs. You will begin to trust others more. This will help you lay a foundation of connection to set you up for the rest of your life.