Developmental or Attachment “Trauma”

Image: Three white daisies in the grass.

In addition to Adverse Childhood Experiences, some experiences such as the ones listed below may be affecting you as an adult, despite recognizing that our parents or significant caretakers did the best that they could. Many of our elders did not have the resources to be emotionally present with us when we were growing up. This could be due to their own experiences with intergenerational trauma or other oppressive systems that required them to prioritize basic livelihood.

Many of us may not have thought of the below experiences as “traumatic,” yet such emotional disconnect could shape our spirit well into adulthood.

Before your 18th birthday:

  1. Did you often feel that at least one of your parents was not able to lovingly connect with you or protect you?
  2. Did you often feel like you had to be the grown up or the caregiver in the family?
  3. Did you often feel like one or both of your parents smothered or dominated you, or wouldn’t let you become your own person?
  4. Did you often feel like you were expected to be high-achieving, perfect “good” girl or boy who make your parents proud, or you would be rejected, punished, shamed, or abandoned?
  5. Did you grow up feeling like you were an imposition or burden to one or both parents?
  6. Did one or both parents fail to help you normalize, feel, process, and handle difficult emotions?
  7. Did one or both parents feel hurt or rejected when you tried to pull away, rebel, or make your own choices?
  8. Did you often feel unsafe at home or your neighborhood that you feel the need to hide or “stay below the radar”?
  9. Were you often teased or targeted for your features or characteristics?
  10. Were you often subjected to generalizations or assumptions that did not fit you as a person?

Adapted from Rankin, L. (2022).  Sacred Medicine: A Doctor’s Quest to Unravel the Mysteries of Healing.  Boulder, Colorado: Sounds True, Inc.