Submitted by Jkasali on
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Hello all,
I was just wondering if there's a correlation between lack of bonding behaviors between parents/child and the subsequent lack of bonding behaviors (or ability to initiate them) into adulthood?

Recently, as a part of my healing process, I began to dig further into my past. Not that I haven't already done that before, but my knowledge of sexuality/relationships/psychology increased exponentially recently so I also got a new perspective on old stuff.

When I was a kid I was expansive (perhaps excessively), cried for nothing, highly idealistic, creative and stuff.

Today.. well, let's say that people define me as "aloof" just for the lack of a better non-offensive word.

I haven't spontaneously hugged or kissed my parents since when I was about 10.
Sometimes I do that because my mother is deeply hurt by this (the usual "You-don't-care-about-me" drivel), so I fake it. And frankly, I do that mostly to shut her up. (Bad boy. I feel bad for myself.)

With my dad, I can't even do that - it's like there's something , like an invisible wall between us. They love me deeply and I know that. Only... well, there's something. I suspect that's related to the fact that my mother briefly abandoned me when I was about 10 - she had a quarrel with my dad and left. It was terrible. It was more or less in that period that I started to actively search porn (magazines and vhs', internet wasn't around yet) and non-creative escapism, and my relationship with the world in general deteriorated.

Also, my parents weren't in love (and most certainly are not in love now) and rarely expressed satifaction about themselves, life and their relationship - let it alone hugging, kissing or stuff like that. They just bickered most of the time. So if the basic concept of "kids learn how to be adults from parents" is true, I guess I never learned by example how love is expressed and got a very bad imprinting about relationships in general.

It's like speaking a foreign kinestetic language! Really, sometimes I see couples doing couples stuff on the streets or whatever, and I cannot help but wonder.. how did he know when to do that? Why is he hugging her now and not, say, 5 minutes ago? Is there a signal? is that random? And how do I know what's the right distance? The right timing? ARGH!

So, that's it. I basically went through the most delicate period - adolescence - without meaningful human warmth and basic relationship knowledge. And sure enough, now even thinking about hugging someone feels awkward. When my mother or a friend initiates that I actually have to remind myself to respond by hugging back, or I may remain stiff like a marionette or something (not to mention embarassed) until they are finished.

Are non-sexual exchanges between friends and family equally important? Should I force myself to pursue this, or is that irrelevant?

Boy, am I wrecked.. Wink

Interesting

and touching. I'm sorry for your pain. It seems that as we *undo* our frozen energy, it hurts all over again (just like it did when we "froze" in the first place). But at least it leads somewhere more positive when it's the thawing phase.

I think you'd really find the Prologue of this radio program interesting. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1150 (Thanks, Discordia!)

Your instincts are good in one area. Wink Sure enough, monkeys who weren't "bonded" properly with their parents make lousy parents themselves.

Your experience is not unusual. It's *often* some form of abandonment that causes people to reach for the comfort that becomes an addiction. As Gary says, "if your reward circuit doesn't find satisfaction through trusted companionship with others (one of its primary functions)...it looks around for a substitute." He lost his dad about the same time you lost your connection with your mom...and his mother started drinking then, so he kind of lost her, too. Gary just decided that he had to look after his own comfort...and ended up an alcoholic on antidepressants. As it turned out, what he really needed was regular snuggling and a "balanced dopamine" program. Smile The good news is that he wasn't "wrecked" after all. He just needed the right medicine. I think you will find the same thing.

You're such a fast learner and so visual...what about watching some "chic flicks" for a while? I know you like movies! *evil grin* You'll pick up how bonding behaviors work pretty quickly. The good news is that you will only need a "refresher course," because even though you are rusty, they are hardwired into all of us. You wouldn't have made it to age 10 if you hadn't mastered them as a baby.

All you have to do now is revise them slightly into "adult" behaviors. Did you read this article? http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/bonding_magic It has a nice, straightforward list. And remember...your goddess will know them, too. Just tell her you're not sure what would be appropriate. She'll have some ideas. Wink Just make sure she reads some stuff here first. *chuckle*

That radio show

is absolutely fantastic. What a great story. Informative too!

Yes, I read the article more than once but I never actually made the connection - I was focusing only on the relationships part.

Actually I understood part of the bonding/attachment mechanism when I got intrigued with the subject of shame and how it gets transmitted from generation to generation after having read the book Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw, which explains how the #1 cause of toxic shame (and consequent addictions, coping mechanisms etc) is in fact abandonment/lack of bonding behaviors. Being disconnected with your feelings is another symptom. The book however focused mostly on the psychological mechanisms. Now thanks to Reuniting I also have the science, so I guess I finally have a clear picture Wink That definitely gives me a sense of direction. I am extremely grateful for having access to all of this information - this is saving not only me, but my future relationships as well.

Also it's true, I *love* movies. My natural language! Good idea, I may use chick flicks to learn some tricks Wink Thanks for the advice. But now that I think about it, I guess the problem isn't really the "how" after all - it's summoning the courage to actually do it.

I hope you're

keeping a journal, because *your* story will make a fascinating movie or book someday. There are many people who face this same challenge because families have grown smaller and more isolated. This is a huge problem for humans, as our brains evolved for *tribal* life.

The January newsletter will have an article that focuses particularly on the link between addiction and being an un-bonded, too isolated pair-bonding mammal.

Would you like some "chick flick" ideas? I bet some of the ladies here could suggest some for your viewing pleasure.

The good news is that you can start small. ANYone can work up to looking people in the eye with a twinkly "hope I can brighten your day" smile. The rest will take care of itself.