The relationships that children have with parents or caregivers can affect the way that they relate to others in adulthood. Difficult experiences in childhood can cause adults to close themselves off from others to protect themselves from pain, making it impossible for them to form healthy attachments to others. When children are neglected, abused or abandoned very early in life it can lead to an attachment disorder as they grow older.
Attachment disorders can start to appear in childhood and a child who has had negative interactions with their parents may be less likely to interact with others. The child may appear unhappy, irritable or scared when they are having normal activities with caregivers. These behaviors can carry on into adulthood as they continue to struggle interacting with others and find it difficult to become secure, stable adults.
Adults with attachment disorders may avoid intimacy and close involvements with others because of their past. Their caregivers might have been critical, dismissive or unnurturing to them in a way that makes closeness uncomfortable to them. Adults may also see themselves as unworthy of love and support because of parents that were distant or unavailable.
Attachment disorders can also cause adults to seek out relationships that mirror the issues of their childhood because it feels familiar to them. They may end up in abusive relationships full of conflict or neglect because they are repeating episodes from their past. It can be difficult to find a healthy and stable relationship because of their issues with intimacy and their subconscious need to relive their trauma.
Even though attachment disorders can cause many problems in adulthood, it is possible to improve relationships skills through therapy. Attachment disorder can be treated by allowing patients to resolve old grief and improve their attitude toward intimacy so that they can form healthier bonds with others.