How disorganized attachment can lead to dimension

A father who keeps his newborn is plucked from his phoneThe attachment can be understood as the relationship between a child and a carer (often a parent). This relationship is the most important in the child's life, as the carer is the provider of all his needs. Not only the child is dependent on the caregiver for basic survival, but the child's social, emotional and cognitive development is also formed within this relationship.

Attachment and disorganized response

In a secure relationship, the carer is able to recognize and respond to the child's needs in a way that provides support. Caregiver behavior is predictable and steady. In a safe relationship, the child is more likely to develop healthy emotional conditioning skills as well as a healthy view of the self and the world. This is because when the child needs comfort and reassurance, they are available. Over time, the child develops a view of the world that when it needs help, it can be measured. In addition, the child comes to see himself as worthy of love and support. In a safe and secure environment, the child is better able to benefit from the important learning and development opportunities.

Conversely, children with unpredictable or abusive care often face internal conflicts and may not be an organized response to fear or distress. When scientists attach an "organized answer", they refer to the strategy the child uses when it needs attention. For example, if a child's conservator is a source of risk and danger (as in the case of a violent, neglected or abusive carer), the child may run to the caregiver when upset and then show ambivalence to the caregiver, such as refusing to take or show anger. This proves a radically contrasting situation for the child as they need the caregiver for safety and at the same time he needs to protect himself from the caregiver. In this way, the child can form a disorganized response to anxiety.

How can the dissolution symptoms develop?

Researchers have found that disorganized attachment is associated with congestive symptoms. Children in a relationship with an unpredictable or sometimes traumatic parent carer have a hard time creating a consistent picture of the parent and themselves. The parent is necessary and should be avoided. The child may not understand what makes them a "good" child or a "bad" child, as the caregiver's behavior is often confused and unpredictable.

In order to maintain a relationship with the caregiver – and try to understand oneself – some children simply forget or deny abuse. Jennifer Freyd refers to this as a betrayal of betrayal. Wasting or denial of trauma is a symptom of the dimension. It is an adaptive and defensive strategy that allows the child to function within the relationship, but often leads to the development of a fragmentary sense of self.

The disorganized attachment is not always the result of an abusive carer

While disorganized attachment is often associated with abuse, sometimes loving caregivers who have experienced the injury themselves can behave confusedly with the child. This is because of the inability of the caregiver to control his feelings. Wounded parents can have a difficult time managing their feelings and providing a sense of security for the child, even if they are not abusive or neglected. Anger or fear may explode unexpectedly and injure the child. A loving caregiver may experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or identity disorder and behave inadvertently in a frightening or confused way in the child.

If a caregiver deals with his or her own trauma, it is advisable to seek treatment. In treatment, the caregiver can learn to deal with stress, develop emotional management skills, and learn more about understanding his or her child's needs. Often carers who grew up in abusive families do not know how to respond appropriately to a child's emotional needs because they did not have their own needs when they were children.

There are a number of treatment regimens for PTSD adults who have proven useful. These techniques help reduce wound symptoms such as anxiety, depression and chronic stress. Psychotherapy can provide emotional support to carers so they can begin to grow and provide a safe and sensitive environment for themselves and their children.

Bibliographical references:

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  3. Freyd, J. J. (n.d.). What is a trauma of betrayal? What is the theory of injury? Retrieved from:
  4. Gillath, O., Karantzas, G.C., & Fraley, R.C. (2016). Adult Adhesion: A brief introduction to theory and research. Academic Press.
  5. Paetzold, R.L., Rholes, W.S., & amp; Andrus, J.L. (2017). A Bayesian analysis of the relationship between disorganized adult attachment and congestive symptoms. Personality and individual differences, 107, 17-22. Retrieved from
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© Copyright 2019 All rights reserved. The publication authorization was granted by Fabiana Franco, PhD, a therapist in New York, New York

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