Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adult Attachment Disorder

This is a subject I haven't lived with. But Bear is 16 and fast approaching adulthood. I see on my stat counter that often this is a topic that is googled. So I thought I'd dig around a little and see what I can find. What I find is that living with an adult with attachment disorder would be a tough tough life. This first information is from Evergreen Consultants. I bet anything people with adult attachment disorder are diagnosed with personality disorders. It would be tough to tell the difference. I think, as a mom observer, the key is looking at what lies underneath. What started it all? Was there some form of abandonment or severe neglect especially in the first 3 years of life?

"Unresolved childhood attachment issues leave an adult vulnerable to difficulties in forming secure adult relationships. Patterns of attachment continue through the life cycle and across generations. New relations are affected by the expectations developed in past relationships. There is a strong correlation between insecure adult attachment and marital dissatisfaction and negative marital interactions. If an adult does not feel safe with others, he/she will tend to be either rejecting of their partner or overly clingy. Attachment problems are often handed down transgenerationally unless someone breaks the chain. As a parent, an insecurely attached adult may lack the ability to form a strong attachment to their child and provide the necessary attachment cues required for the healthy emotional development of the child thereby predisposing their child to a lifetime of relationship difficulties. Depending on the genetic personality style of the individual and the early life events experienced, insecurely attached adults fall in one of two categories of insecure attachment:
AVOIDANT
Intense anger and loss
Hostile
Critical of others
Sensitive to blame
Lack of empathy
Views others as untrustworthy
Views others as undependable
Views self as unlovable or "too good" for others
Relationships feel either threatening to one's sense of control, not worth the effort, or both
Compulsive self-reliance
Passive withdrawal
Low levels of perceived support
Difficulty getting along with co-workers, often preferring to work alone
Work may provide a good excuse to avoid personal relations
Fear of closeness in relationships
Avoidance of intimacy
Unlikely to idealize the love relationship
Tendency toward Introjective depression (self critical)
ANXIOUS/AMBIVALENT
Compulsive Care giving
Feel over involved and under appreciated
Rapid relationship breakups
Idealizing of others
Strong desire for partner to reciprocate in relationship
Desire for extensive contact and declarations of affections
Over invests his/her emotions in a relationship
Perceives relationships as imbalanced
Relationship is idealized
Preoccupation with relationship
Dependence on relationship
Heavy reliance on partner
Views partner as desirable but unpredictable (sometimes available, sometimes not)
Perceives others as difficult to understand
Relationship is primary method by which one can experience a sense of security
Unlikely to view others as altruistic
Sensitive to rejection
Discomfort with anger
Extreme emotions
Jealous
Possessive
Views self as unlovable
Suicide attempts
Mood swings
Tendency toward anaclitic depression (dependent depression) "

Here is a site with an adult attachment disorder support group.

"You say you are struggling; many with depression, anxiety, self mutilation, sadness, a loss of self worth, lonely, and feelings of just not being good enough. So why put hearts on a site where people are suffering and lonely? The hearts are there to remind you that people really do love you and care about you. You are not alone and you really are lovable. Really! I'll say that again in case you missed that. You really are lovable! So when you are feeling lonely, sad, depressed, or thinking you are not worthy, remember the hearts, you are lovable!
Here you will find adults working at overcoming attachment disorder, adults who have overcome attachment disorder, or adults who have relationships with someone who has attachment disorder."

The Institute for Attachment & Child Development has excellent information but their site is copyrighted so here is a link: http://www.instituteforattachment.org/adult_intensives.htm

If you live with someone who has Attachment Disorder as an adult there is hope. I have a dear friend who has a relative who began her healing from RAD in her 60s and is doing very well. ALL things are possible. Never give up hope. Be determined to find the help you and your family need.

15 comments:

Simply Moms said...

We've got a few posts about adult RAD too. Unless the cycle is broken...relationships are devastated. Speaking from multiple firsthand experiences....it is not a pretty picture. You are right....adult RAD is often misdiagnosed and sadly.....causes more RAD.

Brenda said...

Simply Moms,

That is so sad. I think all we can do is try to educate our friends, doctors, everyone we come into contact with. It is still so unknown.

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out this discussion here:

http://answers.psychcentral.com/published/page/4/

it is from an undiagnosed RADster who lives in a 12 year celibate marriage.

Angeni said...

Thanks for the info. It is confusing and frustrating to experience that it's so hard to get the right diagnosis. I am 37 yrs old and have known something is "wrong" since I was a kid. I have been diagnosed with ME/Chronic Fatigue, depression, PTSD and some other "stuff". After reading here about RAD I found info on C-PTSD. Which is probably a little more accurate for me.

I just want to add that whether it is RAD or C-PTSD it made my life nearly unbearable in relationships, friendships, couldn't finish college because of being undiagnosed at the time. I also passed on some things to my daughter during pregnancy. I had to stop working because of the anxiety and panic. It also caused adrenal exhaustion.
Understanding the influence of the attachment disorder and the unsafety during childhood makes me feel better. It helps me understand why I physically/emotionally respond the way I do. At the moment I am doing Brain State Conditioning developed by Lee Gerdes. The good thing is, you don't need an exact diagnosis for the treatment. It is based on the assessment of the brain and conditioning it back in a balanced state.

It is important to realise it is vital to understand what is going on in order to deal with it better and mourn your childhood. In my experience it is often underestimated, even trivialized as long as you act "normal" enough. I have been told to just get a grip many times, while I felt stuck and couldn't get out of my invisible prison, just because I didn't know what was going on.

Everyone deserves to know the truth about their health and background!

GrowingUpLost said...

I'm an adult living with RAD... and I can personally agree that it's hell on your personal life... and relationships always seem to fail.

My life is a nightmare on a daily basis, and I continously fight it...

http://growinguplost.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, recently, after a conversation with a friend, I realized I might suffer from Adult Attachment disorder. The list of symptoms you describe as "avoidant" pretty much define me. When I was a baby I had to put in the hospital for three weeks, and I guess that could be the reason? Other than that I had a pretty normal childhood, although I feel I never really created a bond with my mum (don't know why). My question is, is there a way I can cure or treat this on my own? I don't think I can afford therapy, but it is really affecting my life, specially my love life. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i am 37 i am a mom of an 18 yr old we both have rad and have attached to each other the rest of our relationships in our life have not beeen good can someone tell me what to do i dont want my son to live with this his whole life

Anonymous said...

I have just recently discovered that I am afflicted by RAD or Adult Attachment Disorder. I don't really have a lot of information but it's beginning to shed some light on areas of my life where relationships have been difficult. I am determined to have a fulfilled life and to share genuine feelings towards other people. I have hurt a lot of people by closing up shop whenever I felt obligated or expected to give more of myself. I have been carrying this around for 40 years and I am not committed to the baggage any longer. Does anyone have tips on how to meet this head on with out having to medicate myself or perform hypnosis? I joke but the reality is I see a great person with a lot to offer inside but my difficulty is getting that person to show up on a consistent basis.

Becky said...

my friend has just been diagnosed with an attachment disorder and feels he is doomed and it very upset by this all he think that it cannot be cured is this true?

Anonymous said...

I am 53, and my natural mother had T.B, and was extremely ill by the time she was pregnant with me. She died when I was 2yrs 8 months, but according to relatives, she had spent time in hospital away from me.
After her death, I was cared for by a number of relatives, which i remember, and was put into various day nurseries, one of which was so appalling I remember it with dread to this day. the regime there was brutal.
My father remarried, and when I was 8, my half brother was born- life changed for me then, as if a switch had been flicked.
My half brother was much longed for, according to the family, and he was worshipped.
I was outcast, and my stepmother said ''It is very hard to love another woman's child'' while pummelling me with her fists. My dad was driven mad by me, so she said, and often beat and kicked me for having a messy room, or not helping willingly around the house.
All my life I have felt ''apart'' from others, as if something was missing.I became addicted to opiate drugs which at first soothed, and this further estranged my family from me.
I have a son, who I love dearly, he is currently 30, and he is the only really good thing in my life.
I find mixing and dealing with people so hard,I have zero self confidence, and just wish I felt less exhausted and low all the time. It was a friend with an adopted daughter who said to me ''I think you have Attachment Disorder''- by dint of my early loss, which , when I tried to go for counselling, the counsellor said my loss was too great for them, the damage too deep, so I was sent away after an initial assessment.
This is a horrible condition, and even now, my stepmother makes me feel like a lesser member of the family [my dad is now passed away], with my two brothers held in high regard, and me not really liked at all.
I am 53, for goodness sake, why do I still feel like a lost child? why do I still care what a spiky 74 yr old woman thinks?
I just wish I could live in control of my own life, instead of feeling lost and like a child!

Anonymous said...

I am 53, and my natural mother had T.B, and was extremely ill by the time she was pregnant with me. She died when I was 2yrs 8 months, but according to relatives, she had spent time in hospital away from me.
After her death, I was cared for by a number of relatives, which i remember, and was put into various day nurseries, one of which was so appalling I remember it with dread to this day. the regime there was brutal.
My father remarried, and when I was 8, my half brother was born- life changed for me then, as if a switch had been flicked.
My half brother was much longed for, according to the family, and he was worshipped.
I was outcast, and my stepmother said ''It is very hard to love another woman's child'' while pummelling me with her fists. My dad was driven mad by me, so she said, and often beat and kicked me for having a messy room, or not helping willingly around the house.
All my life I have felt ''apart'' from others, as if something was missing.I became addicted to opiate drugs which at first soothed, and this further estranged my family from me.
I have a son, who I love dearly, he is currently 30, and he is the only really good thing in my life.
I find mixing and dealing with people so hard,I have zero self confidence, and just wish I felt less exhausted and low all the time. It was a friend with an adopted daughter who said to me ''I think you have Attachment Disorder''- by dint of my early loss, which , when I tried to go for counselling, the counsellor said my loss was too great for them, the damage too deep, so I was sent away after an initial assessment.
This is a horrible condition, and even now, my stepmother makes me feel like a lesser member of the family [my dad is now passed away], with my two brothers held in high regard, and me not really liked at all.
I am 53, for goodness sake, why do I still feel like a lost child? why do I still care what a spiky 74 yr old woman thinks?
I just wish I could live in control of my own life, instead of feeling lost and like a child!

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Amanda miller said...

I was told i have rad i was told along time ago. I have has these problems in my life for a while.
If my boyfriend goes out with his friends i will get mad for real no reason and feel like he hurt me.
Also i cant get over the past if something hurt me i can remeber it and it hurt just as much.
I cant tell you anything i like about my self but that i love my son.
I feel i hurt my loved one mainly my friends and boyfriend emotinal without feeling i did it.
I lie when i feel i am in troble or i guess bord and i dont know why.
Dose any of this mean i have rad if so please tell me if i can get help and how

Anonymous said...

I have lived with this nonsense all my life. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and ptsd at 8 after i was adopted. Then it changed to RAD once it became a bit better known around when I was 11ish. Life was hell for me until...well some days it still is hell. But around 14, after 6 years of intensive therapy, trips to the psych ward, intensive care facilities I finally started to care about people. From there I like to think I have changed a lot and that it has gotten easier. I am at least lucky that children are my therapy.. I started going to work at the daycare with my mom at 14 and found that I love interacting with little kids under 5 years old. There is a relaxing quality about taking care of them and most of them are really sweet. The ones that aren't are just plain cute. Angry children aren't threatening or scary even a little bit and it does not take much to gain the trust of most children. Having RAD myself i can work with all kinds of kids a bit easier, from autism to normal kids and especially RAD kids. I am actually working towards getting a psych degree and being stable enough to help others with RAD get stable too. Today nearly 11 years after I discovered that being around children was helping me to learn to trust and care about people I am stable "enough" to be mostly happily married, even despite my physical contact issues (which frustrate my husband to no end but I'm better about it now). I have a beautiful, genius level , amazingly healthy, perfectly normal son. I even managed to make a handlful of friends along the way! I still fight panic attacks, depression, general hatred of people, PTSD and social anxiety episodes which sounds much milder than it is. I also still have problems with self harm when overwhelmed (since harming others is no longer an option. But none of that is a problem when my son is around and to a lesser degree my husband. Even in the middle of a quiet panic attack as I call them ( cause no one can tell I am having one generally) they never fail to calm me just entering room. I have never been one to make a scene though. I have almost always been decent and kept my "episodes" for when i was alone or if i absolutely had passed my limit only around my parents/husband ( thank god and goddess for them. Sorry for the rant i am prego with my second and I am wondering how I will manage to keep my son from knowing how screwed up his mother is. I don't want him getting exposed to any of my "episodes " ever no matter how much better they are now. With my first I got a bit worse for a while due to the craziness of being prego and homeless living in crappy tiny houses with too many people to prevent being really homeless. At least we are financially stable now. (I took over the money after that... taking control stresses me out less than not having money) Anyways i guess what I am really trying to say is that it takes a very long long time to even begin to heal but eventually with enough help, support and social acclimatation it does get better. Just don't get discouraged too much, something I know is almost impossible. If I had any advice for both parents and people with RAD it would be in my motto "all thing go away, be it now or when you or it are dead". That sounds bad or cliche I know, but my motto used to only contain the first part so you can see the progress right?

Anonymous said...

A lot of this disorder is based on developmental trauma. For anyone else who stumbles on this blog after I do, help is "easier" than you think. I can personally recommend a therapy called "somatic experiencing" that can go a long way... for more information, read "Waking the Tiger" by Peter Levine, and then "Healing Developmental Trauma" by Laurence Heller.