Q & A – What is Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is a psychological framework that focuses on the relationships we form with others, particularly in childhood. It suggests that our early attachment experiences shape our ability to form healthy relationships later in life, and that these relationships can have a significant impact on our emotional and psychological wellbeing.

When it comes to grief and trauma, attachment theory can help us understand how these experiences can affect our attachment patterns and relationships. For example, if someone experiences a traumatic event that disrupts their sense of safety and security, they may develop an insecure attachment style that makes it difficult for them to trust others or form close relationships. Similarly, if someone experiences the loss of a loved one, they may experience intense feelings of separation anxiety and may struggle to cope with the loss.

Attachment theory can also provide guidance for how to support individuals who are grieving or experiencing trauma. For example, it suggests that providing a safe and secure environment, offering emotional support, and helping individuals process their emotions can all be helpful in promoting healing and resilience.

Overall, attachment theory provides a valuable framework for understanding the complex interplay between relationships, emotions, and wellbeing in the context of grief and trauma.

©Linda Turner http://parentalalienationpas.com 2023


PA Cases and court orders

1. In re Marriage of B.L. and J.L. (2020): In this case, the court found that the mother had engaged in parental alienation against the father, and ordered her to attend counseling and parenting classes.

2. In re Marriage of M.L. and J.L. (2020): In this case, the court found that the mother had engaged in parental alienation against the father, and ordered her to attend counseling and parenting classes.

A court order to attend counseling and parenting classes typically requires the person to attend a certain number of sessions with a qualified counselor or parenting instructor. The court order may also require the person to complete any assignments or tests given by the counselor or instructor. The court order may also require the person to pay for the counseling or parenting classes. The court order may also require the person to provide proof of attendance or completion of the classes.

Examples of counseling and parenting classes


1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

2. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

3. Solution-Focused Therapy

4. Family Therapy

5. Group Therapy

6. Trauma-Focused Therapy

Mindfulness-Based Therapy Parenting Classes:

1. Positive Parenting 2

. Parenting with Love and Logic

3. Conscious Parenting

4. Attachment Parenting

Q & A – Attachment

Attachment is the emotional bond between two people. It is a deep and enduring emotional connection that forms between two people over time. Attachment styles are the way in which people interact and respond to others in relationships.

Secure attachment is a type of attachment style in which an individual feels secure and comfortable in their relationships. They are able to trust and rely on their partner, and they feel safe and secure in their relationship.

Avoidant attachment is a type of attachment style in which an individual avoids forming close emotional bonds with others. People with an avoidant attachment style often have difficulty trusting and relying on others, and may be uncomfortable with physical and emotional closeness. They may also be overly independent and self-reliant, and may have difficulty expressing their emotions.

Anxious attachment is a type of attachment style in which an individual has a strong desire for closeness and intimacy with their partner, but also has a fear of being rejected or abandoned. Individuals with anxious attachment often worry about their relationships and may be overly clingy or dependent on their partner. They may also have difficulty trusting their partner and may be overly sensitive to criticism or perceived rejection.

Why does a coercive controller do it? A very secure Attachment

Responding to the conversation on cults and parental abduction and alienation, a UK parent has summarised her own story of being Alienated from her daughter. Starting the Alienation long before separating from her, her husband kept his daughter close. She was ‘his blood’.

What makes this guest blog story so unusual is how much of her ex-husband’s tragic early life is known that completes the picture. Often past painful trauma is buried deeply away from everyone. Usually we only see a disturbed person/ality; all we can do is pin nasty personality disorder labels on them.

Here we get a full – sympathetic even – emotional understanding of the Alienating parent, of one kind of various Attachment traumas that can shape up a parent to control and Alienate a child. (Names and details have been changed).

We can see clearly why this coercive controller does it: He gets a very secure Attachment in a relationship that takes his daughter in and cuts her off.  But of course this is a disturbed and disturbing solution to the controller’s problems. And it is positively harmful to his entrapped if happy looking child.

Alienation can take a life-time


Continue reading “Why does a coercive controller do it? A very secure Attachment”

Attachment, Arousal, and Anxiety

The “house of psychopath” is constructed on a foundation of no attachment,

underarousal, and minimal anxiety. These appear to be necessary, related, but insufficient characteristics that provide certain biological predispositions for the development of the psychopathic character.

Attachment is a biologically-based, species-specific behavioral system which serves the survival of the infant by maintaining the closeness of the caretaker. First conceptualized and investigated by the British psychoanalyst John Bowlby and his colleagues (Robertson and Bowlby, 1952), it is deeply rooted in mammals, but absent in reptiles. The human infant first expresses his object-seeking through sucking and crying, behaviors which maintain his physiological balance by obtaining warmth, touch, and food. During the first few months of life, this proximity seeking becomes more object specific and emotionally refined as the infant attaches most readily to his mother, and cries when she deserts him while in a state of need, even if it is momentary. It is during this time when the rudiments of object permanence are first observed: the infant can anticipate the presence of an object that was just perceived, and squeals with delight when peek-a-boo is played; or when shown a photograph of mother in her absence, will react emotionally to an external image that is also found in the child’s mind.

As 3 psychoanalysts, we infer that this object representation can be held in the child’s mind as a memory for the first time, and is one manifestation of attachment.

Attachment is often defined as a strong affectional bond in both children and adults. It

was extensively researched during the last half century because it can be relatively easily measured: proximity seeking to an object, distress when the object leaves, and certain characteristic behaviors when the object returns. It is a stable characteristic in both children and adults, and most human beings with the requisite biology and loving, dependable parents will grow up to be able to form secure attachments throughout their lifespan (Cassidy and Shaver, 1999).

Pathologies of attachment, however, have been identified and measured: they are typically labeled fearful, preoccupied, disorganized, and dismissive (Meloy, 2002). Most salient to the psychopath’s mind is the latter pathology, characterized by behavior that indicates a chronic emotional detachment from others. Bowlby (1969) regarded the elements of detachment to be apathy, self-absorption, preoccupation with nonhuman objects, and no displays of emotion.


Attachment, parenting styles and bullying during pubertal years

Research that focuses on combining attachment, parenting styles, bullying and the reciprocal nature thereof in the parent-adolescent and peer relationships is limited. The bio-psychosocial changes that adolescents experience open up broader social realities and are perceived differently by parents and adolescents. Attachment processes and parenting styles may elicit dissimilar perceptions. These processes are also associated with the multifaceted dynamics of bullying. The aim of the article is to advocate for research on the possible link between the implications of attachment, parenting styles and bullying. Exploring the association between attachment, parenting styles and bullying can deepen the understanding of the developmental challenges within the parent-adolescent relationship, add insight to the different perceptions of adolescents and parents, and complement intervention programmes accordingly. Firstly, this article outlines bio-psychosocial changes in the pubertal years as related to the social realities of the adolescent. Secondly, a discussion on the concepts ‘attachment’, ‘parenting styles’, ‘bullying’, and the potential link between these concepts will follow. Thirdly, an outline of the clinical implications of the apparent association between these concepts is given. The article concludes with recommendations that researchers can consider while exploring the relationship between attachment, parenting styles, and bullying and the delineation thereof in the parent-adolescent relationship. 

van der Watt R. Attachment, parenting styles and bullying during pubertal years. J Child Adolesc Ment Health. 2014;26(3):251-61. doi: 10.2989/17280583.2014.947966. PMID: 25533411.

Parents’ self-reported attachment styles

For decades, attachment scholars have been investigating how parents’ adult attachment orientations relate to the ways in which they parent. Traditionally, this research has been conducted by developmental and clinical psychologists who typically employ the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) to measure adult attachment. However, dating back to the mid-1990s, social and personality psychologists have been investigating how self-reported adult attachment styles relate to various facets of parenting. The literature on self-reported attachment and parenting has received less attention than AAI research on the same topic and, to date, there is no comprehensive review of this literature. In this article, we review more than 60 studies of the links between self-reported attachment styles and parenting, integrate the findings to reach general conclusions, discuss unresolved questions, and suggest future directions. Finally, we discuss the potential benefits to the study of parenting of collaborations among researchers from the developmental and social attachment research traditions.

Jones JD, Cassidy J, Shaver PR. Parents’ self-reported attachment styles: a review of links with parenting behaviors, emotions, and cognitions. Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2015 Feb;19(1):44-76. doi: 10.1177/1088868314541858. Epub 2014 Jul 14. PMID: 25024278; PMCID: PMC4281491.

Attachment is controlling. Love is freeing.

When you are attached to someone, because you desire to spend so much time around them in order to feel good, you might realize that you are using controlling behavior in order to do so. For example, this shows up a lot in unhealthy attachments as one person in the relationship convincing the person they are attached to not to hang out with their friends, or their family, and instead to hang out with them, and this is where we often see a lot of manipulation. I don’t even think this manipulation is something most are aware of, but it’s there, because an attached person wants the focus on you and you only. This is really unhealthy behavior, and it shows that you are definitely not in love with them. You are trying to control someone, and you wouldn’t do this if you really cared about them and their feelings.

The Trauma Bond

Trauma bonding is similar to Stockholm Syndrome, in which people held captive come to have feelings of trust or even affection for the very people who captured and held them against their will. This type of survival strategy can also occur in a relationship. It is called trauma bonding, and it can occur when a person is in a relationship with a narcissist.

Within a trauma bond, the narcissist’s partner—who often has codependency issues—first feels loved and cared for. However, this begins to erode over time, and the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical abuse takes over the relationship. 

The codependent understands the change, but not why it is occurring. They believe they just need to understand what they are doing wrong in order to bring back the loving part of the relationship.

If they do manage to break free, all the narcissist has to do is go back to that courtship phase to win them back. The more the codependent reaches out to the narcissist for love, recognition, and approval, the more the trauma bond is strengthened. This also means the codependent will stay in the relationship when the abuse escalates, creating a destructive cycle.


Attachment Styles in Adulthood

Studies of persons with borderline personality disorder, characterized by a longing for intimacy and a hypersensitivity to rejection, have shown a high prevalence and severity of insecure attachment.

Attachment styles in adulthood have labels similar to those used to describe attachment patterns in children:

  • Secure
  • Anxious-preoccupied (high anxiety, low avoidance)
  • Dismissing-avoidant (low anxiety, high avoidance)
  • Fearful-avoidant (high anxiety, high avoidance)

However, attachment styles may be better thought of as dimensional, where a person rates as relatively high, low, or somewhere in the middle in their levels of attachment-related anxiety and attachment-related avoidance. Also, a person may not exhibit the same kind of attachment pattern in every close relationship.


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