Since so many of you resonated with what I posted last week from Laurence Heller and Aline LaPierre’s book Healing Developmental Trauma about not getting your developmental need for connection met, let me share one more thing, based on the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) trauma healing modality. In my last blog, I posted about the predictable trauma symptoms and behaviors that tend to develop when babies don’t get the developmental need for connection with the mother/primary caregiver met in the first year of life.
So what happens if people don’t get the second developmental need (attunement) met? First, let’s define attunement.
Dr. Dan Siegel says,
“When we attune with others, we allow our own internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of another. This resonance is at the heart of the important sense of ‘feeling felt’ that emerges in close relationships. Children need attunement to feel secure and to develop well, and throughout our lives we need attunement to feel close and connected.”
When we get our attunement needs met, we grow up able to know what we need and to recognize, reach out for, and take in the abundance that life offers.
If the need for ATTUNEMENT is not met:
-difficulty in sustaining energetic charge; they get excited about new projects but have difficulty finishing them
-longing for their needs to be met without expressing them
-clinging in a covert way
-like to talk; getting attention is equated to getting love
-often describe an emptiness in the belly
-periods of elation at the beginning of a relationship or new, exciting project without the ability to follow through
-do not reach out for what they want because of low energy and fear of disappointment
-expression of anger is weak; tendency to be more irritable than angry
-relationship to love object is self-oriented: “I love you…I take care of you…you have to love me.”
-encourage others to depend on them
-pick up strays- animals or people
Those whose attunement needs don’t get met may have shame-based identifications: needy, unfulfilled, empty, undeserving. They may also have pride-based identifications: caretaker, pride in being the shoulder everyone cries on, make themselves indispensable and needed, pride in not having needs.
Almost every doctor and therapist I know shares this set of caregiving qualities and many of us never realize it’s a trauma symptom…
This is the kind of healing work we offer our health care provider students in the Whole Health Medicine Institute, where Heal The Healer is one of the three pillars of our program. Many doctors think we went to medical school because we were called to medicine the way others are called to the priesthood. And that may be true. But we may also choose our professions as a side effect of developmental trauma. Once we get healing for those traumas, we can be even more effective healers.
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