When we talk about trauma (or when I tell neat and tidy anecdotes about it) it is incredibly easy to make it into an “us and them” deal. Namely, those of us who don’t “have it” dissect those who do. And on one hand, yes, it’s important to fully understand that many, many people in the world have suffered experiences that make healthy lifestyles and positive relationships very difficult to maintain. But on the other hand, trauma isn’t an alternate universe to be studied. It’s a magnifying glass into the human heart. Sure it makes the thing look bigger, but the actual nature of what you’re looking at is completely unchanged.
Without secure attachment, individuals will have challenges engaging in meaningful connections with others throughout their entire lives. In her article, “Truth Lies and Intimacy: An Attachment Perspective,” Jude Cassidy outlines four traits associated with the capacity to participate in intimate relationships. These include the ability to give care, to receive care, to negotiate personal needs and to have a sense of an autonomous self. These four traits are beautiful and success in them is something we all strive to achieve and teach to our precious children.
One area that has been receiving increasing research attention involves the effects of abuse and neglect on the developing brain, especially during infancy and early childhood. Much of this research is providing biological explanations for what practitioners have long been describing in psychological, emotional, and behavioral terms. There is now scientific evidence of altered brain functioning as a result of early abuse and neglect. This emerging body of knowledge has many implications for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.