Posts Tagged ‘Attachment’

Attachment and C-PTSD: How Complex Trauma Gets in the Way March 22, 2018 • By Fabiana Franco, PhD, Topic Expert


“Complex trauma is what happens when someone experiences multiple incidences of cruelty and abuse in the context of an unequal power relationship. This is most commonly found in people who grew up with abusive or neglectful parents, but also happens to kidnapping victims, prisoners of war, and people in abusive sexual or “romantic” relationships.

The result of this complex trauma is C-PTSD (complex PTSD), which has similar effects to the posttraumatic stress (PTSD) experienced by people who have been in car accidents or similar traumatic events but involves deeper disturbances of the personality.

Many people diagnosed with bipolar and other personality conditions are, in fact, survivors of complex trauma. This requires delving into the individual’s personal history and life story, rather than only analyzing their present symptoms.


Another way of looking at complex trauma and C-PTSD is the concept of attachment trauma. Attachment—the bonds that exist between one human being and another—sounds like a rather vague or abstract concept. Like all emotional states, however, such as happiness, fear, or anger, it is rooted in our biochemistry and is essential for human flourishing.


While our level of intelligence distinguishes humans from other animals, it is only through working together that we were able to survive and thrive. There is simply no way an individual human could take down a woolly mammoth. Human beings evolved to cooperate and work together in groups. One aspect of this is our unique capacity for language acquisition. For true social cooperation, however, bare communication of information is not enough. In the modern world, one may be able to go about many items of daily business (shopping, for example) without any emotional bond, but the cohesive groups in which humans evolved required a much deeper level of connection.

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Attachments: Matthew Ricard: “Happiness”



Aversion is the negative side of attachment; we may have aversion to failure, loss, instability, or discomfort; and we usually believe that if the things toward which we feel aversion happen, we’ll surely be unhappy.


It can’t be emphasized enough that to experience genuine happiness we first have to recognize what blocks it.


This includes seeing our attachments, the things we believe will bring us happiness, but which actually do just the opposite.


We will continue to pursue the conditioned strategies of behavior that we hope will bring us happiness as long as we believe they are working.


And because they sometimes do bring us some degree of personal happiness, these behaviors can get reinforced for a long time.


That’s how people get caught on the treadmill of their attachments and routines for a lifetime without making any effort to change.


Paradoxically, we’re actually fortunate if life occasionally serves us a big dose of disappointment, because it forces us to question whether our attachments and strategies really serve us.




Evaluate your attachments




Attachment is about feeding the “Ego”.


We search for relevancy and importance.


We crave value and approval, incessantly.


We are always chasing pleasure that we associate with happiness.


Frustration sets in when pleasure fades.


Fulfilling desires and needs does not quench our souls for long.


Looking for happiness in external things ends in suffering and confusion.


Try something different, be satisfied with yourself just as you are.


Look inside and introduce yourself.



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