Some things are just easier to spot compared to others.
Chickenpox is identified through blister-like dots or spots on the skin. Jaundice is recognized when the eyes or skin turn yellow.
A quickened heartbeat, restlessness, and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach are common signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Depression is associated with feelings of sadness, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or withdrawal from people and events.
But other things aren’t as easy to identify. Attachment trauma is one of those things.
Here’s how to spot signs of attachment trauma in adults.
Seeking Constant Attention
One of the main signs of attachment trauma is the constant need for approval and validation for any thoughts, behaviors, and actions. If a child had to fight for the attention of their caregiver, the same will apply in adulthood. This action will transfer to people-pleasing behaviors as a way to avoid any conflict or feeling like someone is upset with them.
One of two things can happen in relationships when it comes to attachment trauma. Some may avoid getting too close to someone else as a way to protect themselves from getting hurt. Others may jump in and out of different relationships trying to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Striving for Perfectionism
Perfectionism is a common trait with attachment trauma. This is mostly due to the attention they received from their caregiver whenever they did something correctly. Another reason is that perfectionism was a learned behavior from having to take care of themselves. They may have learned that being perfect or doing things right the first time was a way to avoid disappointing anyone.
The Comparison Game
Attachment trauma also brings on low self-esteem and self-worth. If you had siblings growing up, your caregiver may have put pressure on you to act like your siblings. You may have felt the constant comparison and even felt like you didn’t measure up to them.
Lack of Boundaries
Boundaries may seem like a harsh ask, but they’re necessary and actually, a positive item to implement in healthy relationships. Individuals struggling with attachment trauma have a harder time setting and sticking with boundaries.
Disordered Eating Patterns
Disordered eating is extremely common among individuals with attachment or childhood trauma. Binging or restricting food is a way to feel like an individual has control over something in their life when everything else feels like it’s spiraling out of control.
Developing Additional Mental Health Problems
Additional mental health problems can occur in relation to just the signs and symptoms caused by attachment trauma. Anxiety, anger issues, and depression are three of the most common additional mental health problems that can develop over time if your attachment trauma is left untreated:
Substance Use and Abuse
Using and abusing drugs and alcohol is a common way to temporarily cope with any negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Individuals with attachment trauma may gravitate towards the use of drugs and alcohol as a way to temporarily numb the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they’re experiencing.
Still not quite sure if you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of attachment trauma? If you’ve been dealing with some of the signs and symptoms of attachment trauma listed above, you’re not alone.
No matter when your trauma occurred, you can and will get through this. You just may need a little extra help and support along the way.
Working with a licensed and trained mental health professional may be exactly what you need to move forward in your life again.