Look at these photos, the baby looks loved and cared for doesn’t she?
And so she was.
So what could possibly be wrong? Where is the break in the bond?
These are not her biological mother and father, she was given away for adoption when she was 3 days old. Then she had to wait three weeks, in a crib, in a room filled with other noisy and unhappy babies crying out for love, affection, all wanting the basic human need to be held and longing to gaze up into loving eyes. All these babies who were touched only for basic care : food and cleanliness, then wrapped tightly and left alone, again suffered a severe Break In The Bond. Then one day she was picked up, held, wanted, longed for – but by strangers, there was no familiarity, she had not heard or felt them during her time in the womb, they had no genetic link to her. Of course the break in the bond started before this. The break in the bond started in utero when her biological mother realised she wasn’t going to be able to keep her baby. At that point she disconnected emotionally and this baby felt it, she realised she would be born alone into the world….. what had she done wrong?
This baby is me. Hi, I’m Rosey, and I am an adoptee
This might sound dramatic if you do not share the primal wound of abandonment, however it is one example of the type of break in the bond that occurs for so many babies and children and which has lasting affects on them throughout life, unless they are able to heal.
Some other situations where a break in the bond may occur are: the child is in a crib when born to help with lung development or some other reason, the mother may die or be very sick and unavailable early in the babies life, the mother may develop post-natal depression or a form of mental illness, the father may die / be sick, be away or not be present. Mother may also have been violent, inaccessible, inconsistent, dangerous.
How can a break in the bond affect people through their lives?
When we get little or nothing from our mother, it is hard to trust people and life itself. In a perfect situation our mothers nurture and comfort us and make sure we are safe.
Also Science shows that a newborn infant can see its parents expressions at a distance of 30cm, roughly the same distance between baby and mothers face when being breast fed.
By combining technology, mathematics and previous knowledge of the visual perception of infants, researchers have finally succeeded in showing to an adult audience how much of its environment a newborn baby can actually see. The results tell us that an infant of 2 to 3 days old can perceive faces, and perhaps also emotional facial expressions, at a distance of 30 centimeters – which corresponds to the distance between a mother and her nursing baby. If the distance is increased to 60 centimeters the visual image gets too blurred for the baby to perceive faces and expressions
This is how a newborn infant perceives expressions at different distances. Illustration by Olof von Hofsten/ Eclipse Optics and Bruno Laeng/ UiO.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Institute of psychology in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Uppsala and Eclipse Optics in Stockholm, Sweden.
When the early bond with our mother/s is interrupted (and in some cases the father is the day to day care giver so this applies in those situations too), then fear, scarcity, distrust descends and when the bond is not repaired we often loose our security in self and life, our inner strength, openness ie. we become closed off to people and life, we are vulnerable, scared and may use substances or close ourselves off from real love in order to be ‘strong’ on the outside and to ‘ survive’. We may also feel anxiety, deep pain and yearning, emptiness, we may feel invisible and this may lead to rage, numbness and insensitivity to others. An adopted mother may never understand why she feels disconnected from the adopted child this may manifest in her as feelings of self-doubt, anger, or unrealistic expectations of what we should be able to achieve. My adopted mother told me late in her life that she was terrified she would kill me accidentally by making a wrong decision when I was a baby and toddler. I don’t remember being held really tight with protective love – ever, I never felt safe in her arms and so my nervous system was switched onto fight and flight mode all the time.
As a baby and young child we don’t hold memories and experiences into story form so essentially we don’t remember. When we don’t have memories of positive interaction and love and safety, we can embrace behaviors to try to satisfy our urges and cravings, e.g. we are constantly looking for the next good thing : relationship, holiday, drug, dangerous activity to give us a high etc.
We may expect our partner to meet the needs of our inner child,
We may also reject our natural mother, adopted mother, people who take on the ‘mother’ role in life and in fact we may reject life itself!
Healing / filling the void
In order to start the healing process we work with our inner child, resourcing him or her, creating a dialogue between the adult who survived and the inner child who is still frightened and lonely and locked in that space and time.
We practice and learn to accept the ‘life’ we were given – I actually mean we focus on our life force, the fact that we are alive – and take that gift and look towards making the most we can / want to from the life we have been given.
Sometimes we have to accept that mother was not present, and make peace with that.
We also work to find a way to embrace’ mother’ – it may not be our actual mother, we may find an archetype, a goddess, a strong caring woman or friend, an animal etc and we build a relationship between our soul and that representative of mother. The relationship can be in our heart, soul, mind it doesn’t have to be physical – the power of the inner conversation is potent for healing.
We can also list all the emotions and fears and concerns and things that hold us back in life and then address them one at a time, sitting in the emotion, looking to where it comes from, working to release it, resourcing ourselves, and when we are ready to let them all go we can take our beliefs to enquiry ( The Work of Byron Katie ).
When we fill the void and longing with peace, life and integration of child and adult within, we move to a position of power in our lives and then we can, step by step, leave behind the old substitutes for love, mother and safety
I specialise in healing the “Break In The Bond” with clients
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