Anger Coming from an Insecure Attachment

Many people who had an insecure attachment in childhood carry anger as adults, some of it intensely evident and some latent. I have, however, met people who suffered neglect in childhood, who assured me that they did not feel anger and I believed them. Sometimes during a counselling session the anger emerges, but not always. Generally, I have found that children who suffered physical abuse show anger in adulthood.
Before looking at the nature of anger, its management and healing, it is worth considering that anger is strongly influenced by culture. It should be noted that culture affects all the themes in this book and it also dictates how people are socialised. For example, women may feel as angry as men, but it may be culturally forbidden for them to show the anger and they have to hide it beneath a meek and obedient façade. Similarly they may be socialised to show a soft and gentle nature that conceals a different inner emotional state. This is true in societies where males exercise dominance.
Apart from the existence of such abusive societies, we now live in an increasingly multicultural world where we travel widely and intermarry with other races, so failure to understand what provokes the emotional reactions of other cultures can cause misunderstandings, confusion and sometimes conflict, particularly in relation to anger triggers. Likewise, emotional reactions taken from Irish culture may come across as deviant to other cultures. The Japanese psychologist Junko Tanaka-Matsumi offers some interesting research on anger in a cross-cultural context. Basically different cultures, particularly in Eastern countries and among Eastern immigrants and refugees, cluster different words associated with anger. In the United States anger is clustered with such words as fury, wrath, hostility, and resentment. In Spanish culture there are precise words for different levels of anger.
Some studies have found that in various European countries personal and intimate relationships were the major source of anger. This was followed by being treated unjustly and poor behaviour by strangers in a locality. In Japan, however, interacting with strangers was the principal reason for anger, possibly because of the hierarchical nature of relationships there. Some people, such as the Japanese and the Utku Eskimos, forbid expressions of negative emotions such as anger, especially in public, lest they disrupt social harmony. Facial expressions, which are often used as gauging the presence of anger, also differ from culture to culture.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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Hitler a good example of how a childhood can damage us although it does not excuse how we behave.

As you can see from the last blog, many circumstances preventing adequate parenting are simply unavoidable. One of the most familiar cases in my experience is that of having a large family, where parents struggle to find time to meet the needs of their children. Frequently, in such cases clusters of children form within the family some with maternal figures taking care of younger siblings. Due to modern life and financial necessity, increasingly either one or both parents have no option but to work long hours and are reluctantly absent from their children’s lives. Despite the pressure of time, it is, nonetheless, vital to make time for children and most parents strive to do this.
We must, however, recognise that not all circumstances are unavoidable. While we appreciate that parents do the best they can for their children, we also have to accept that there are parents who deliberately harm them. This may be cultural in some societies where human development is poorly understood or there is a misplaced idea of what parenting is. This is most evident in subsistence economies, where corporal punishment is seen as the optimum way to bring about obedience to ensure the survival of the family.
Unfortunately, childhood neglect may also be due to abusive parenting in so-called enlightened societies. It is quite prevalent in modern well-developed countries. Have you ever, for example, wondered why Adolf Hitler behaved in such a monstrous way and was responsible for the deaths of millions, or why Stalin had millions murdered without any shred of remorse? These are extreme cases, of course, but they illustrate a point. Alice Miller in her book, For Your Own Good. The Roots of Violence in Child-rearing, paints an interesting portrait of Hitler. He was a dutiful child, who had a very distressing childhood. Instead of being emotionally nurtured, he was from a very young age, frequently humiliated and beaten by his father, Alois. He was eighteen when his mother, Klara, died from breast cancer, and by that stage would have permanently benefitted from any emotional maternal warmth she might have given him. But, his father’s savagery was so consistent that she could never lessen to any significant extent the psychological damage inflicted on him. But, there may also have been maternal shortcomings. Alice Miller challenges the idea that Hitler was loved by his mother, but perhaps was spoiled, an ultimately devastating experience in itself. Many parents confuse spoiling with love, but it is a trauma which comes to fruition in adult life. That, however, was the least of Hitler’s worries as he endured the cruelty of his father. As in almost all cases of childhood abuse there was a transgenerational factor involved. Hitler’s father was born outside of wedlock into poverty and was separated from his mother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, when he was five years old. There is also the possibility that Alois’s father was partly Jewish. Hitler was aware of this and uncertainty about one’s ancestry can cause anxiety in itself and the possibility of a Jewish ancestry enraged him. Hence, six million Jewish people perished.

Hitler suffered severe fear of abandonment as an adult, even when he was Fuhrer. There is plenty of evidence of his nightmares, cries of terror and shrieks in the night at the image of his long dead father, even when at the pinnacle of his power. He feared the Jews, he feared medicine (even though he allowed his doctor to heavily medicate him as he got older and more stressed), he feared heights, he feared being poisoned and had a food taster, and he feared death, although he committed suicide.
It is more than likely that Hitler suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his childhood. Certainly he has some of the symptoms of PTSD, which is an intense anxiety reaction caused by adverse circumstances including childhood neglect. For example, the mistreatment by his father was beyond the norm of suffering, and Hitler became emotionally dissociated from others, apart from his terrifying dreams, he suffered from insomnia and was subjected to mood swings, he had poor concentration, he was devoid of emotions apart from rage and anger and he frequently relived the emotional trauma of childhood as he tried to sleep. Laurence Rees in his book, The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, rightly states that his main characteristic was his ‘capacity to hate.’ Hitler’s description in Mein Kampf of a three year old child witnessing the brutal behaviour of the father against the mother undoubtedly refers to his own experience. A battered mother, filled with fear, cannot protect her child from a brutal father. Ultimately the massive childhood trauma, stored in his psyche as a child, eventually emerged and as Alice Miller puts it ‘the child who was once persecuted now becomes the persecutor.’ And millions died.
From this section of the blog I hope you now understand fear of abandonment coming from insecure attachment. Equally important, if you are a parent, especially of young children, you will realise how you can ensure (or choose to ensure) their mental health and mental wellbeing by meeting their dependency needs of love, affection, attention and direction. I do not believe that there can be a more invaluable contribution to the mental health of your descendants than this. Further I would add that if you are the child of controlling parent(s) you may have inherited some controlling tendencies that accompany your fear of abandonment. Acknowledge this and take steps to heal it so that you will more easily be able to meet the dependency needs of your children. The final chapter in this book looks in some detail at how to heal issues that come from an insecure attachment, including fear of abandonment.

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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Emotional or soul wounds inflicted in childhood can run from generation to generation.

Parental failure to meet dependency needs is, in effect, traumatic for the child, and inflicts what is called an emotional or soul wound, which is too painful to experience. The result in teenage years, especially around the age of sixteen, is a severe lack of concentration in school, where the child’s psychic energy is diverted to protect this emotional wound. Children who have very low levels of concentration carry a severe wound and their behaviour consists of either disturbing the class, fantasising, doodling, or all three. This behaviour does not require any concentration and their class time is almost exclusively focussed on the wound to soothe the emotional pain. This is a core defence mechanism to avoid the pain of rejection and is subconscious. Of course, with the arrival of the digital age all young humans are now in danger of losing the ability to concentrate for long periods. The famous neuroscientist, Susan Greenfield, explores themes such as this in her interesting book, Mind Change. How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains.
Children with a severe wound generally drop out of school around fifteen or sixteen. Unfortunately, the wounded inner child remains throughout adult life and the concentration levels do not change, except in activities that the individuals enjoy. My clinical experience repeatedly shows this and clients confirm that the theory is correct. In the initial counselling session I normally ask about the level of concentration at the age of sixteen, and from this I get a general impression of the client’s childhood. In my long experience as a teacher I have also seen the behaviour of wounded children many times, and misjudged it as impertinence or sheer bad manners. In those years I was unaware of dependency needs and insecure attachment. Educating teachers, especially those at primary level, on this aspect of formation would be very beneficial, and prevent some stress in the classroom.
To sum up, therefore, failure to meet dependency needs can be equated to childhood emotional neglect that leads to attachment problems, which in turn breed fear of abandonment and its many toxic offspring. Children can suffer emotional starvation in many ways and it is by no means always a deliberate act by parents. Most parents want the best for their children and would never dream of harming them, but it is not the good intentions of parents that matter, but what happens in the practical situation of child rearing; for example, addicted parents find it very difficult or even impossible to make emotional contact with their children. Parents who are ill, looking after their own aged parents, or nursing soul wounds from their own childhood, are likely to be diverted from their parenting task and generally fail to meet the emotional needs of their children. Severe and constant
depression and its dark world make the creation of an emotional bond almost impossible. Bruce Perry tells a story about a depressed mother who used television as a means of occupying her only son. In effect the child was ‘reared’ by the television, learning most of his language from this machine that incessantly babbled from the corner, unresponsive to his needs. The effect on the child was disastrous, and probably long lasting.

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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We must show an interest in our child and show him or her how to do things.

Affection and love needs are obviously closely linked, and all of the dependency needs overlap into a holistic parental behaviour sending out positive messages to your child, which in adult life increases his capacity to give affection and love in the best sense of the word. The third need is making the child feel worthwhile. We do this by attending to her. Essentially it means showing an interest in the child, praising them, asking how they are, what they are doing, how they are feeling and so on. When a child is attended to in this way they feel worthwhile, and will not grow into adulthood seeking attention or feeling dependent on another for their happiness or self-esteem. If this need is not met in childhood the adulthood seeking attention will never cease. As Amy Lew and Betty Lou Bettner wrote, it is like a cup with a hole in the bottom that can never be filled.
The fourth need is showing a child what to do; giving them direction. It is easy to dismiss this need as less important than the others, but it is a vital component of human development. It is hard to believe that we have to be shown everything. Children carefully observe how parents do things and learn in that way also. Parents are role models and it is incredible how children learn by observing and then by doing. The great Irish poet, Seán Ó Ríordáin, once wrote that the mind of the poet is like the mind of the child, always exploring, learning, and experiencing the immediate environment. Failing to meet the direction need in the child will instil feelings of incompetency (the condition of being incompetent). This will be looked at in more detail in the chapter on fear of failure.
Failure by his father to help him meet his dependency needs was resented by Jason, who as an adult felt inept. He defined himself by how his father treated him.
“My dad would never show me how to do anything, whether it was mending a puncture on my bike or latterly changing a wheel on the car. Just simple things that a father would show his son. I was too embarrassed and ashamed to ask him how to do any of these tasks. Anytime there was work to do around the house he would never ask me to help him. I just knew he was thinking I was lazy and useless. I would work very hard for my uncle and he would always compliment me to my mother. She would say it to my father to ask me to help, but he would just say that I wouldn’t do anything if I wasn’t being paid for it. This wasn’t true and I would have gladly helped him, but he would never ask. He would ask my older brother to help him, but never me. It really made me feel useless and good for nothing. As a result, I began to resent him for it. I would rebel a bit and try wind him up. It often ended in a blazing row with me sprinting out the door away from his clutches. If he had caught me I would have been beaten.”

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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Give your child as many hugs as possible. You can never hug enough!

Touch is the heart of affection, and that is how you make the child feel a sense of approval, the second need. Alice Miller, the great Polish psychiatrist, advocated that the first year of the child is the most important one. This is the time when the child should be hugged and nurtured with affection. Miller argued that warm maternal body contact is of incalculable value in the formation of a child’s development, while Allan Schore shows that affection has a profound effect on the development of the brain’s amygdala, where memories of emotional events are stored. Professor Jane Simington also argues that touch is essential for psychological and physical development and the maintenance of life. She writes that touch is the earliest form of communication for the human, when the uterine waters soothe the skin of the foetus. It is now known that skin to skin contacts have benefits for both baby and mothers, who have the ability to thermoregulate (maintain homeostasis or internal core temperature) for the baby. So important is touch and affection that it appears to affect the IQ of the human and their capacity to learn. It certainly affects their concentration levels. Recent research has shown that tender stroking helps premature infants to thrive both physically and cognitively.
All the years up to the age of puberty are important for the human, but the younger years, particularly at the toddler stage, especially so. Children shown kindness and affection feel special, feel accepted and loved. As adults they will not be seeking approval, will not see it as imperative to be always nice, and will have good boundaries. Recently I bought a small book called the Little Book of Hugs. A gift to bring comfort and Joy, by Lois Blyth, which I recommend and which I think you will greatly enjoy. A hug is a non-verbal sign of love and protection. A hug is worth a thousand words. You can give your child a hug even if you feel apathetic about it, or even if it is alien to you because you never experienced it in your childhood. You can choose your behaviour.

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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Meeting a child’s dependency needs is absolutely vital and has a profound impact on his or her adult life.

If good enough parenting determines the creation of a secure attachment, obviously it is crucial to understand how this happens on a practical basis. In theory this is very easy, although, judging from the extent of attachment problems, it may not always be so simple to do. Good enough parenting involves understanding and meeting the dependency needs of your children. That is the secret of a happiness when they reach adulthood. It is about how to create an optimum emotional environment for the child.
Psychologists propose different types of needs that a child requires for lasting emotional nourishment. Don Carter in his iceberg series (Thaw, Thawing) lists four childhood dependency needs –love, approval, worth, and competence; indispensable foundation stones for adult life. These needs combine to make a child feel loved and lovable, feelings that endure for an entire lifetime, irrespective of circumstances and fate. Feeling lovable is the essence of self-esteem, which is ultimately unquenchable. Our primary relationship is with ourselves and if that is not right we cannot relate to others. Low self-esteem can spell anger, self-loathing, negative self-analysis, envy, jealousy, suspicion, hardness and fear, to name but a few. It is important for parents to understand self-esteem, and Robert Kelsey has a small but informative section on it in his book What’s Stopping You. In the final analysis, the important thing is that even if such parenting is alien to you, you can choose to meet these needs of your children. Needs must be met or the lifelong negative consequences listed above are inevitable.
But, how are these needs met? In the first instance, if you choose to spend time with your children then they will feel regarded, special and loved. This might seem simple, but in many cases does not always happen and leaves the child bereft. It is not the amount of time that matters but the quality of that time. So, time equals love. Children think in black or white terms – you love me or you don’t. There is no in-between. Saying the words ‘I love you’ to the child is not enough. Jasmin Lee Cori in her book The Emotionally Absent Mother, makes the point that love is best expressed in nonverbal ways, such as touch and this means taking the time to be physically and warmly close to the child. You have already seen what happened to children in orphanages, where there was a sterile emotional environment.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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Creating a secure attachment is the most important job a parent has

When you consider in the last blog Jason’s sad situation and the issues it bred in him, you might think that his mother would be able to compensate for it. But, that was not the case, showing how vital the father is for the boy in terms of attachment and ultimate happiness. Yet, his mother had a positive formative influence on him in other ways, because Jason is a warm, kind person lacking any controlling impulse, although as an adult he finds it impossible to form an intimate relationship or make a date, currently the major issue in his counselling. It is unlikely that he would have this kindness, if his mother had been a remote figure. note what he says-

“My mother and I have always been close. I can remember in my childhood being very attached to her and often crying my eyes out if she had to go somewhere or was tending to my younger brother and not me. I always felt, unlike my father, that I could talk to her. There was never anything awkward or forced about our relationship and we could talk easily and randomly. She always encouraged me and showed she cared. Unfortunately, I became too reliant on my mother. She was so good to me and she would do anything for me. Even the smallest things I would get her to do for me and I never stood on my own two feet. She was too soft on me and let me away with too much.”

So, the most important aspect of parenting is to create a secure environment in the home for the child to emotionally thrive. This must be consistent and ongoing, at least until the time of puberty, when the brain begins to undergo significant change and development, and the process of separation accelerates. If the mother is unable to do this, then the father can do it, or anyone else who has frequent contact with the child. All we need is for someone to show us love on a consistent basis. Secure attachment means that there is a close warm bond or connection between the child and one or both parents, who are attuned to the child’s feelings and needs. It is better if the child has a secure attachment to both parents. A child with a secure attachment will grow into an adult with strong self-esteem and a strong sense of independence, a willingness to explore the environment, and will never have to carry emotional or psychological distresses. People with secure attachment are comfortable in their skin, have good judgement, are loving and are capable of forming loving relationships, intimate or otherwise. Biologically it means the creation of the balanced development of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Creating this secure attachment is the most important task a parent has, and until recently it was advocated that it must begin immediately after birth. We now know differently.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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The love and attention of fathers’ is vital to male children

You have seen how one of Jason’s issues was fear of abandonment, and the following excerpt shows how significant his insecure attachment to his father was, and how it impacted on him, breeding shame, hurt, jealousy, discord, fear, depression, low self-esteem, poor self-confidence, and a stubborn desire for his father’s approval.

“We are a very sporting family with rugby being the passion. My father was a really good player as a young man and would be very well respected in the community. My relationship with him has always been pretty much non-existent for as long as I can remember. I can remember times when I was young asking him to come and play with me and my younger brother, but he never would. My mother would always encourage him, but he didn’t have any interest. On the odd time he would come out, it would be for only a few minutes. I would plead with him to stay out for longer but he never would. I would often visit my best friend’s house. We would have big games of soccer or rugby and his father would play with us, encouraging us and really getting involved. Often we would still be out playing in the dark. Even though he might have finished a hard day’s work, he would never disappoint us and always played enthusiastically. I never had that with my father, I would play with my brothers but that was it. As my father was a decent rugby player himself, it was natural that we, his sons, would play. He got involved in my older brother’s teams, but never in mine or my younger brother’s. My older brother and father seemed to have had a close relationship always; so it was, I suppose, natural for him to get involved in his teams. He had high hopes for him. I was a little bit younger, but I was also togging out with my brother. My father would never pick me on the team, even though I felt I was better than some of the lads starting. My mother often used to ask my father to push for me, when picking the team. He never listened. I felt very low about this and felt like I was an embarrassment to him. My feeling was that he thought I was useless and eventually I started thinking this way myself. Sometimes if there was a row at home between him and me, he would often remark that I was useless on the rugby field. This cut deeply as I loved rugby and a lot of our identity at home was based around rugby and how well you could play it. What made it worse at the time was that my younger brother was rapidly improving and was clearly going to be better than me. This I found very difficult and jealously would kick in. I would often pick on him and resented him for being better. I think the only time I remember my father being proud was when the 3 of us played on an underage team together and won a competition. Myself and my older brother held key positions on the team, while my younger brother was the star. As he was a good player himself, there was always pressure on me and my brothers to be decent players. I often resented this pressure, but this was one of the times I was proud to have the family name. Unfortunately, I have always played with very low self-confidence. I do my bit for the team, but I never put myself out there to receive the ball. I am terrified of making a mistake and people accusing me of losing a game. So I sell myself short. I know I could be a lot better player than I am and have ability, but I just can’t force myself to demand the ball. I am transfixed by fear. I could see that the management could see leadership qualities in me, but I just couldn’t see them in myself. Self-doubt would fill me and I was never comfortable in a leadership role. I liked soccer as well as rugby, but my lack of self-confidence was making me hate playing it. I have often been asked for trials for higher teams, but I just couldn’t make myself go. I convinced myself that I wasn’t as good as all these other players, and I would make up some lame excuse not to go. I have no doubt that all this stems from not getting any encouragement from my father. I always felt belittled and useless around him.
Things got worse as I got older. We stopped talking to each other almost completely. I could never sit in the same room as him so I got a T.V. into the other living room and spent all my time there. I just couldn’t talk to him and I know he felt the same way. It was just too awkward for both of us, so we would avoid each other. Car journeys were the worst. I never looked for him to take me anywhere and always looked for my mother. Sometimes needs must, and he was the only person there to drop me to training or wherever. Even the shortest of trips would be painful. We would try talk about rugby, but it was always forced, and mostly it would just fall into a deafening silence. Even today as an adult, there is still the awkwardness between us. As I got older and started drinking I would head out most nights, a lot of times to escape the house.”

The insecure attachment Jason had with his father not only affected his relationship with him, but impacted on his ability to live. It was so detrimental that he ultimately decided to give up soccer, a game he liked. He was unable to enjoy the game, because every time he went on the field the thought of pleasing his father was uppermost in his mind. Failure to do so resulted in unbearable shame. For those of you with secure attachment it is difficult for you to understand how childhood can affect an adult to this extent. Jason’s thinking is clear in this extract, when he contemplates the decision he made in May 2015.

“Today I cried uncontrollably, and it is rarely I cried in childhood. I can no longer handle the stress of playing soccer. One evening last week I turned up for a match looking disinterested. This was a front for being terrified. I hid during the match. I tried not to get on the ball for fear of making a mistake. At one stage in the first half, my hands were shaking. All that was going through my head was how useless people in the stand would think I am. It was a horrible feeling. I never felt so alone. I then got on a few balls and made mistakes. I just couldn’t handle this anymore. I considered walking off the field but instead I hid for the rest of the match. I got a ball at one stage and drove it over the side line. In my frustration I gave the guy I was marking a dig in the ribs. He was only a young lad and did nothing wrong. By the end of the game all that was in my head was that this is the last game of soccer I will play. I played one more game. I togged in, cracking jokes with the lads but deep down I was in bits. I could no longer keep the show on the road. Why was I playing? Why was I doing this to myself? I drove around town and my head was spinning with all these questions. When I got home there was nobody there. I parked in the driveway and broke down. I sobbed uncontrollably. I got into the house and I went to the sitting room and I still couldn’t stop. I then went to my bedroom and the tears just flowed. I lay on my bed and let it all out. This was the tipping point for me. I just kept asking myself why I am doing something that makes me so unhappy. Then I decided that it was time to be brave. I decided that I would give up soccer for good. I never played for myself or my own enjoyment. It was always to please someone else, usually my family, or because my friends were playing. Secretly it was to please my father.”

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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An insecure attachment means there is no emotional bond between child and parent in adult life.

If a secure attachment is badly disrupted similar problems follow. This can occur, for example, if a caregiver gets depression or is sporadically unwell, or dies. The consequences of this can be serious in terms of the emotional development of the child and many of the psychological and emotional ills outlined in Appendix 1 may follow into adult life. We must understand that an insecure attachment is a serious core trauma that renders the sufferer incapable of self-soothing and hence fosters the growth of fear and its distressing companions in later life. If parents are extremely cross and if the child is so fearful that he has not a voice this may later show itself in the adult as severe anxiety, which is difficult to heal. As an adult you will always know if you have had an insecure attachment with a parent. If such is the case you will not feel an emotional bond with the parent simply because he or she did not create it in pre-puberty childhood. In my experience as a counsellor it cannot be created in adulthood unless the parent undergoes significant change through professional help. If that happens, a warm bond can then be established with the adult child, who also needs parental love.
Unfortunately, however, very few parents, who, for whatever reasons, cause childhood distress, seek to change and the bond is never created. This is one of the very sad realities of many parent adult-child relationships. What often surprises me is that I occasionally meet people who have insecure attachment to their parents and had extremely abusive childhoods, but are warm and empathic. I normally presumed that there was someone in their lives who loved them, but that is not always the case. I cannot explain this, but what is clear is that the great majority of people who have an insecure attachment suffer long term negative consequences to a greater or lesser degree. While mothers are vital to the emotional nourishment of small children and have a long term impact on the emotional life of the child, it is clear that male children gradually incline towards their fathers as role models from whom they seek approval. The importance of a father is only lately being recognised. A seriously insecure attachment of the male child to his father has disastrous consequences later on in life. The role and emotional influence of the father in relation to female children should not, however, be underestimated either.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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the foetus is conscious of what is happening outside the womb

Fear is now seen as one of the prominent emotions experienced by the foetus. Modern research also suggests that an anxious child has a larger amygdala (fear centre) than others, and while this does appear to be true of prenates, increased cortisol (stress hormone) in the mother also affects the structure and organisation of the foetal amygdala. There is some evidence, too, that a foetus at sixteen weeks can experience aggression, which is closely related to fear. Perhaps this is because it can hear at sixteen weeks. It can also cry with distress in the second half of its womb life and at an early stage the foetus experiences pain through its sensory systems, because it does not yet have the nerve pathways to soothe pain.
Perhaps the best works on prenatal life have been done by the late Dr David Chamberlain. His recent book Windows to the Womb: Revealing the Conscious Baby from Conception to Birth is fascinating. Chamberlain, who was President of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, offers credible evidence of foetal emotions and behaviour in the womb. The case studies he offers in one section of book from hypnosis should perhaps be treated with caution, because false memories can be created by hypnosis. This is not to say, however, that this is the case with the examples given by him.
The relationship between child and adult as the crucial factor in fear of abandonment begins, therefore, long before the child is born. Without realising it, the mother, as primary nurturer (in the great majority of cases), continues the process of nurturing (or the opposite) when the baby is born. Her maternal task is to make the child feel secure immediately after birth. Some books on parenting, perhaps, go too far in stressing the degree of nurturing a child needs. An over loved child may have as many problems in later life as an under loved one. It is important not to over-compensate for deficiencies in our own childhood by smothering our children (or by spoiling them).
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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