“Attachment theory argues that infants are biologically programmed to form an emotional bond with their caregiver, and an attachment figure should act to provide physical security and comfort to an otherwise helpless infant.“
This concept is something that has been discussed with my psychologist and I when we are speaking about my lack of attachment to a parent. I have always been so curious of my first significant years of living; I had gathered small details from photographs and overhearing stories, the main one being that my parent was absent from somewhat would consider momentous milestones. However, I was too frightened to question it. I had never felt a connection with my parent, and I have always thought it to be something related to the length of time between being born to the age of 2ish. Only in recent years, together I have questioned certain aspects such as how did the parent react to finding out he would be having a child; a response by a parent in which would crush their child, but seeing as I don’t have a bond with the parent I feel nothing.
While researching another topic, I was suggested by Google that ‘self-harm and the attachment theory’ would be of interest, they were right. As I read the basics behind the hypothesis, it all clicked together.
The lack of relationship between myself & parent now + the lack of existence of parent in my early developmental years = that no relationship development was able to be created through the work of providing ‘physical security and comfort’ as the parent was absent.
So what does all this have to do with self-harm?
Self-harm can be seen as “extreme attachment behavior” that is manufactured as a reaction to threats that pose “signal distress and the need for caregiving,” and when the symptoms of stress and need of guidance arise the caregiver (family & friends) can recognise this and act accordingly. The idea of inflicting self-harm can come in when there is a lack of or no caregivers, and the victim is left to continue spiraling into more emotional trauma and will inflict harm on themselves.
Information in this post provided from this resource: Glazebrook, K., Townsend, E., and Sayal, K. (2015), The Role of Attachment Style in Predicting Repetition of Adolescent Self‐Harm: A Longitudinal Study. Suicide Life Threat Behav, 45: 664-678. doi:10.1111/sltb.12159
There is so much to cover and understand about self-harm, that is why this post is apart of the 5-part series “Self-Harm & Self-Reflection” to provide insight, create awareness, and to interpret self-inflicted harm. Make sure you are subscribed to the blog, to ensure that you don’t miss a post!