Transformance Talk by Kari Gleiser, PhD
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Attachment experiences between caregiver and child are powerful sculptors of personality, and become key determinants in how an individual relates to self, other and emotions over a lifetime. When a child’s early attachment relationships are characterized by recurrent “errors of omission” – neglect, deprivation, misattunement, and lack of affection, recognition and/or affirmation — that child can develop areas of psychic darkness or invisibility, in which parts of the self that are not seen and mirrored become dissociated. Such children, and later adults, may struggle with chronic and profound feelings of emptiness, detachment, unbearable aloneness, identity diffusion and avoidant attachment patterns. Because such attachment wounds are, by their very nature, absences, they can easily go undetected, leaving individuals who have lived through them with incomplete life narratives. Such “invisible” traumas are hard to heal because they are hard to see, and left unrecognized, can become self-perpetuating, both relationally and intra-relationally.
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