The cross : Does loving attachment depend on childhood experiences?
Patrick Traube: Yes, even if in humans nothing is ever written definitively. We know, however, that the baby’s first year is a pivotal period in his emotional development. In utero, he already perceives maternal emotions and is imbued with them. If the mother is anxious, he feels it, and this will affect the acquisition of what is called basic safety.
The first few months will be even more decisive. The behavior of the mother but also that of the father and even of other development tutors (grandparents, godfather …) will play a role in the emotional evolution of the child. These first attachments will guide all his life choices, not only emotional but also professional, as well as his areas of interest.
How does attachment direct the choice of love?
PT: These first links leave an imprint. An adult who grew up in a safe environment will be able to form rich, uninhibited romantic relationships, with better chances of sustainability and happiness. On the other hand, someone who has lived in an anxiety-provoking family atmosphere, with parents who were not protective enough, will look for a romantic partner who can compensate for this lack. In her quest for love, there is always the hope of mending an old, untwisted bond. But the partner will be assigned a compelling compensatory role, and no matter how good will they are, they will never do enough or do the right thing in the eyes of the other, which can lead to breakup.
→ READ. Attachment, a lifelong bond between parents and children
Those who have experienced an “insecure-avoidant” attachment, with a mother who did not allow them to express their emotions, they will tend to fear intimate relationships and to avoid them.
What about friendly choices?
PT: Friendly relationships are formed according to the same mechanisms as in romantic relationships. Adults who have not experienced emotional security find themselves in this same desperate quest for a relationship that brings what they did not receive as children.
Can couple function as an attachment system?
PT: Probably, since it is one of the strong and involving attachment modalities in which we invest the most hope. Even independently of the partner, the couple is already, in itself, a reassuring and reassuring entity.
You said, nothing is ever written definitively. Are there any encounters that can heal childhood wounds?
PT: Certainly, there are testimonies to this effect. Sometimes it is a chance meeting with a person you never imagined meeting, made in exceptional circumstances. It is a kind of astonishing love at first sight, a promising event which introduces a break in the inevitability of infantile conditioning. This person comes to fix something, to compensate for a lack, provided that the suffering of childhood was not too great.