Wounded Attachment

One of the many deleterious effects of childhood sexual abuse is the kind of relationships that adult survivors establish.

Sexual abuse occurs within a relationship and there is no  surprise then that all later relationships will be riddled with problems.

Because of wounded attachment, survivors, therefore, sadly and usually subconsciously, seek out relationships in which they can reinforce the wounded aspects of themselves. They are very likely to take full responsibility for all the problems within a relationship or find relationships in which they are belittled. It is also normal for survivors to have trust issues and experience deep insecurity, clinginess and dependence in all their relationships.

Now that my controlling husband is out of the picture, I have noticed this insecurity in my new found relationships and I remember now that it was the way I always felt. It has always been painful getting too close to people because I would always feel jealous. In my childhood friendships, I felt threatened and hurt when a good friend would spend time with another person and exclude me. I always put it down to some internal flaw within me.

Today I felt that familiar jealousy rear its head. I felt excluded, unwanted, unloved when I was not part of a social plan. I am proud of myself though for being able to step back and observe the pull to feeling small and unwanted. I know it’s a strong pull to my past! I realise that I am  not included sometimes because I do have a son among friends who are single. Its not as easy for me to stay out for many hours. In fact I often feel anxious when I am out, worrying about my son and if he’s ok with the babysitter. I realise also that just because I am not part of a particular plan does not take anything away from me, or make me any less loved or wanted. It is sometimes choice, sometimes circumstance, that determines who is invited to what and when.

I would like to be less clingy and dependent and not feel threatened! I would like to have a strong confidence in myself and a strong knowing that I am worthy regardless of people’s choices. It is hard when I am pulled back to dark places. Do you have similar or the same experiences? What have you tried to overcome jealousy? I don’t want to feel this insecurity anymore!



24 thoughts on “Wounded Attachment

  1. I consider myself to be an independent person, but I still hate that feeling of being left out or not included in something when I thought I would be or should be. I know it stems from my childhood. Thank you for sharing this. I thought it was just me.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I too am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. My history has been to migrate towards individuals who reinforce those negative feelings. I stayed living with the abuser for many years because I was in school and did not want to have loans. Really I now think it was playing the dutiful daughter….events occurred (which I’m not sure were just by chance and will never know) and in many ways I was guilted. Unfortunately I spoke openly of the abuse which got back to my family. The only sibling who I believe was not abused tells me I tell stories and I am a psycho (I was told by another family member he was angry about my open speech). Other events occurred which I believe some of my family members have joined forced with some other people to gaslight me. Can’t make this up trust me. So first and foremost how to do stop letting people have power over you. I can’t control some of the things that are occurred (home invasions…..pretty mental on their part and malicious destruction of property…my property)… I have been told that I know too much….but also told that if I knew too much I would be dead….pretty sick isn’t it. So please give me some insight, help because every time I stand up to then they do something else to me. I’ve been told I’m telling the truth, I talk to much (all to get someone to step up and help) and I’m told it is all in my head. I believe HIPPA was violated and my first therapist (who I found out was my sister’s therapist) told me she thought it was a good idea that I take care of the very family member who abused me. Are you kidding me~!!!! I have been told get out of the city I live in, the county, etc…. So please help. I’m not even sure this will get to you and if it does i’m not sure if you respond I will get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Shari,
      Firstly, I hope that this gets to you and I am very sorry that you too are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

      It is very natural and normal for survivors to gravitate towards those that hurt us. We seek out these relationships because unconsciously we are attracted to someone or something that reminds us of out wounds and hurts. This is until we become aware of what we are doing. You have taken a very important step by recognising that you have been doing this. Please don’t be hard on yourself for doing this because it is something you had no control over in the past. You are also very brave for speaking out to your family. I have not even found the courage to do that, so I admire your courage and strength.

      Of course, I know that people don’t just make this kind of thing up. It is the hardest thing to talk about because we grow up with so much misplaced shame and hurt.

      I am so sorry that your family continues to hurt you in so many terrible ways. This must be incredibly difficult and it is not what you need.

      I am also very concerned that the therapist you mentioned told me that you should be looking after your abuser. You are not responsible for taking care of the very person who violated and betrayed you in the worst possible way.

      You asked me how to stop letting people have power over you. Well in your case, it might be a good idea to consider having some distance from them all. It would be difficult for anyone to heal with all of that negativity and gaslighting. Is there a possibility for you to leave this environment? Do you have the support of people outside of this circle of people. Sometimes it’s not about standing up to them but removing yourself from these dysfunctional and toxic influences for your own well being. Being away will give you the opportunity to take care of YOU with self-love and self-compassion and get a more objective therapist who has nothing to do with your family.

      I pray that you are able to do this or even that you are able to get this reply. Please know that you have shown incredible strength by reaching out and speaking up. Keep reading as much as you can around the area of childhood trauma so that you can empower yourself and thank you for finding my blog.

      I have only been able to do all of this healing work in the absence of all the toxic people in my life!

      Sending you hugs and warmth in your journey to wholeness! Write to me anytime!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Can I leave…..perhaps but I have concerns because of what I have been told. Now, with that being said, I am not sure what or who is trustworthy anymore and because of that I’m not sure what is being said to instill fear in me and keep me around so I can be battered more or who is really being helpful.

        There is a lot more to this then I have said. Because of some events I hurt some people also. Probably a combination of reasons….mirroring, fear, battered by those around me, clawing for survival, inability to make good decisions because of having been bullied (work hooked up with my family….to the point where my abuser told me if I lost my job I could come and stay with them 24 hours a day) Sadly I have lost everyone and I am alone so as far as support goes NO THERE IS NO ONE The sickest part of this is that it appears whomever I have hurt, maligned or just plain pissed off have decided to exact revenge in some form or another. I have been told I am on a journey…people who don’t even know me walk up to me to make statements (and when I mentioned this to someone they stated they knew..everyone had a request). I was told to forgive but don’t forget, forgive and forget, etc….I had a mini bible which I threw away actually taken out of my garbage, highlighted and put back in the very drawer it was originally in before I threw it away…..talk about sick. I have had more people make statements to be about prayer, god and church in the past year than I have had the other years of my life. Most certainly no coincidence. As if they think that would change my feelings in any way…..

        Whatever I say is judged….I’m not supposed to be able to stand for myself or have an opinion and if I have a negative one someone gets to exact their anger. I’ve been told I’m being subjected to the ghosts of past, present and future…..again pretty sick don’t you think

        So to go back to can I move, without stating what was said I am concerned about taking that course of action.
        Try feeling stuck…….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Shari,
        Firstly, I am glad that you got my message and I apologise for the delay in replying to your email. I havent been feeling well.

        Please know that you are not alone and that I am here for you! I am sorry that you don’t have the support you need and are being judged so harshly. It sounds like a very toxic environment in which it would be very hard for anyone to find healing.

        No matter what you have done to hurt others, you don’t deserve this.

        If you can’t leave, I would suggest ways of freeing yourself from these people mentally. This would mean you take the focus off them and what they are doing and you turn your attention inwards to yourself. It means taking the time to reconnect with yourself and develop self-love and self-compassion. When you love yourself, then nobody can hurt you with their judgements etc.

        I have a long way to go but what helps me to reconnect with myself is meditation and journalling all my thoughts. Nobody can take my words and thoughts away from me. Mediation and the practise of mindfulness allows us to be in the present and sit with whatever feelings arises. In doing so with compassion and acceptance we learn how to just be comfortable with ourselves, in our own skin!

        Other ways are to try doing things that you love to do; a hobby that you can enjoy like reading, gardening, exercise or something else that you enjoy doing.

        I know that these activities won’t change the people around you but it will change the way you respond. Freeing yourself mentally is the most liberating feeling. You don’t need the validation of these people. You are full of beauty, love and strength and just need to reconnect with that again in your own way.

        I am sorry that I can’ t be more helpful; however, if you are being physically hurt or intimidated and threatened in anyway, you would need to seek outside help!

        Write to me anytime!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The migration towards what I knew was so great I married into a family that had almost exactly the same dynamics; a brother raped a sister and everyone acts like nothing happened.
    Go with what you know. If you grew up with love, kindness and a protective family, you seek one out. If not, you don’t.
    I made my life by separating from both families in a way, though living in the same town. It’s a lonely road, but worth it, or, my life was and is worth it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I could see myself in your story. The wounded parts of me. But I am growing in my ability to self love and that is where the answer lies. I have really learned how to love and nurture my wounded self. What a freedom

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All of what you say in this post is absolutely spot on! It all makes sense now. Obviously when you are feeling these feelings and you don’t know why you are feeling them, it can be very confusing. But once you learn about the deep psychological damage that sexual abuse does to a person, everything falls into place. I can’t tell you how many social situations I’ve been in and felt lost and alone, excluded and unworthy. And this all stems back to a time in my life in childhood when I felt all of these things so profoundly. If you don’t deal with these issues in childhood, then it makes sense that they follow you into adult-hood. I am certainly taking away from your very articulate post, a sense of feeling worthy and strong because of who I am, and not because of what I think others expect of me. An amazing well thought out post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much, I am so glad that you were able to take something that will empower you from my writing! It means a lot to me that others can benefit from what I write. May that sense of worthiness and strength stay with you even through the darkest moments.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you so much. Your writing is so honest, no holds-barred! I love that you have the strength and the ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings in this way. More power to you! I find that the blogs of people who have (sadly) been through abusive situations are empathic and uplifting. We absolutely understand each other and what we have been through, in a way that others (thank God) who have not experienced this type of abuse do not. Thank you for blogging. Funnily enough, we both started blogging around the same time – October 2014 – how amazing is that?! 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you for including me in “that family”.:) I am pleased to be a member of a family that is strong, understanding, compassionate and supportive. How comforting to know that our new family will never abuse our trust and simply wants us to grow and prosper!

        Liked by 3 people

  6. I have had many similar experiences. And the jealousy is there as well. Always feeling like someone else is more important or worthy of my friend/family member/partner, etc. I always feel second best or not even factored into the equation at all.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m so happy that I found this post. I’ve been battling with the adult issues of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault for many years. This article and the comments made me cry – again. I’ve struggled through bad relationship after failed relationship either feeling like something was wrong with me, accepting less than best treatment thinking it was love. Not able to accept that I could get better like I was damaged goods. Finally I have some understanding of the cycle I have been in for far too long and want so desperately to end. But what steps to take now? I’m in my late 30’s and repeat the same things over and over. I’ve had counselling. The only thing they suggested is that I could be treated with medication for anxiety and not being able to sleep. Is there some support or program out there for people who just want techniques to stop this wounded attachment?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and commenting on my post and glad you were able to relate but so sorry that you have suffered similarly. It is a long journey and process to heal and i still have a way to go so am no expert I share what has helped me. I can say that it sounds like you have come to the realisation of your worth and the fact that you deserve much better. That is half the battle so you have come much much further than you think. I don’t know if any one therapy that could ‘stop’ wounded attachement. I think that awareness of it acknowledging it is the way to go. Once we have embraced that and all the other hurt parts of our selves we can be gentle with ourselves and love ourselves. Once the deep self love is cemented, we invite the right people into our lives but I know that it starts from within. By really loving ourselves. Sounds easy enough but it’s the hardest thing when we’ve learned from neglect and abuse that we are less than ourselves. It sounds to me that you are in the right path. Keep being gentle with yourself and maybe try counselling again. It’s not sth that can miraculously go away, it is something that we have to work with gently over and over. Wishing you self-love and healing 🙂


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