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Book Review - Why attachment is really important in shaping our lives, especially for our future relationship?


"Attachment begins in the first relationship of life, the relationship of with the mother. This relationship begins early, even before birth. It can be heavily influenced by the circumstances of birth, including the parents' readiness and desire for the baby, the mothers' mental and emotional state around birth, and birth procedures... Even the levels of mothers' hormones have been found to have an effect, with higher levels of oxytocin supporting more attachment behaviors by mothers..."

Continuing my previous review of this book, in this part I will be focused only on the chapter about Attachment with our mother. To be honest, this section is one of my favorite parts of the book with the title The Emotionally Absent Mother. Why? Because attachment has a significant impact on our brain development, mental health, and future relationships. Even research indicates that attachment is created not just from meeting the immediate physical needs of the infant but also from the quality of these interactions.

I am writing this review at noon, but I feel the atmosphere so quiet, I occasionally close my eyes, and suddenly there is a longing that I feel. I miss the figure that should be part of my writing, she is my mother, who passed away 5 years ago. Disclaimer: If this post causes inconvenience to you, please take a break for a moment, and it's okay not to continue. Your feelings are much more important.

Let's start with a figure of Developmental Psychology, he is Erik Erikson, who mentions our 8 basic needs as human beings. What we are going to talk relates to the basic sense of trust or mistrust (as the 1st need) that we develop in the first year of life. We develop trust that we will have what we need and the world is perceived to be a safe place. This is what many today call secure attachment. Some significant evidence states that when a child receives a secure attachment in the first month of life and doesn't experience events such as loss or separation that are too hard for them, then the pattern of attachment will tend to be consistent throughout childhood. Secure attachment is a positive attachment pattern that can be a factor for children to grow and develop properly.

Why is an attachment so important?

Through this book, Cory told us that there are 3 reasons why attachment is really important in shaping our lives:

  • First, it very naturally affects self-esteem
  • Second, secure attachment gives us what is called a secure base
And here are 4 kinds of insecure attachments and how it affects our relationship in the future provided by this book:
  1. Self-sufficient style, some figures called compulsively self-sufficient (Bowlby), avoidant (Ainsworth), and dismissive (Main, referring to this style in adults). This attachment happens when a mother rejects the infant's need for attachment; be uncomfortable or hostile toward signs of dependency; dislikes affection; be more aversive to cuddly contact and physical contact; and shows less emotion. A person with this attachment style gets older as a person more armored in relationships and tends to not allow much closeness; doesn't like to depend on others; would rather not show their vulnerability to others; and feel so nervous when someone feels too close.
  2. Preoccupied style, this second style has been called anxious attachment (Bowlby), compulsive care seeking, ambivalent (Ainsworth), dependent, and preoccupied. All of these names reflect some important quality in the pattern. The dependence and care-seeking are obvious; the ambivalence is slightly more complex. Children with this style show both a heightened need for closeness and an angry, rejecting quality. Those with this attachment style are always looking for love. A person with this attachment style gets older as a person that often worries that their romantic partners don't really love them; Sometimes their desire for closeness scares other people away; more often want greater closeness than their partner wants.
  3. Caretaker style, another pattern identified in attachment theory is called compulsive caregiving. In this pattern, you deny your own needs and focus on the other person’s. You help other people (whether they want it or not) as a way to be close to them. A person with this attachment style gets older as a person that gets too close to others by meeting their needs.
  4. Disorganized style, some children fit a pattern that is called disorganized or disoriented attachment. Here, there isn’t a consistent pattern. This is the pattern found in the majority of children who are abused. A person with this attachment style gets older as a person that marked impairments in emotional, social, and cognitive functioning; being vigilant and distrustful, avoiding intimacy; use of dissociation, distraction, and/or aggression or withdrawal as coping mechanisms.
The essence of this book is not to find fault, who should be responsible, and indeed not to tell about bad mothers, but how do we finally realize that our personalities as adults are formed due to many factors when we were kids, one of which is attachment to our mother. No need to blame anyone, if the condition is not comfortable for us, then we can break the chain of discomfort when we grow up.

From my personal experience, reading this book was stirring my feelings. Sometimes I fall silent and think about my childhood, cry, freeze at every sentence, and even feel slapped by whatever Cori explains about the concept of mothering. I learn about how a condition can occur and affect the formation of my personality as an adult, including when I am in a relationship with other people or the opposite sex. Besides guiding me to do self-healing, this book also helps me to know myself even further. And yes, I believe that the search for identity takes place throughout our life span, not just when we are teenagers. Yes, this book really touched me deeply. 

Happy growing back after reading this book. May we find strength again after understanding the contents of this book as well as possible. See you in the next post :)

Lee Cori, Jasmin. (2010). The Emotionally Absent Mother: A guide to self-healing and getting the love you missed. United States: The Experiment LLC


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