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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