Attachment Theory: The Roadmap for Healing D.I.D.

About 5 years ago, Karen and I began a journey together to heal her dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. As we continued the journey, 6 other girls joined her and me on the outside. Neither Karen nor I knew much about d.i.d. theory or healing, so we “did what came naturally.”

As we traveled along, I ran across some literature on attachment theory about 2 years ago when I was briefly a member of TAG in the UK. Then recently I revisited that literature and read other literature that was focused on attachment theory.

This time with nearly 5 years of healing under our belts and the last girl in my wife’s network almost thru the preliminary phase of joining our family, the attachment theory literature I read really hit home. I was shocked to see how much of the attachment tenets I had naturally used to help my girls heal. And I finally found some answers to inner questions about our experience.

I will put some links to attachment literature at the bottom, but to put it succinctly attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans (Wikipedia). Attachment bonds begin in infancy between the child and the primary caregiver(s). The strength of the relationship and the reciprocity involved are what enables the child throughout the rest of life to build strong relationships and have the inner strength to explore and conquer the world. But when a child experiences trauma at an early age AND is not securely attached to its caregivers,  major upheaval occurs and lifelong patterns of dysfunction develop.

I’ve read more and more about various tenets of this theory that has come to dominate the view of a person’s development and relationships throughout life. It’s helped me understand what I naturally was doing with the little girls and why they have moved from the “avoidant”, “ambivalent/resistant” and “disorganized” categories of attachment to the “secure” one. I believe this theory also explains the virtual lack of negative side effects my girls have suffered on this healing journey and why they work together so well with me as the focus of their secure attachment.

I also want to applaud the trauma therapists who are attempting to implement some of the basic tenets of attachment theory into their therapeutic relationships and leave the “cold and aloof” model of the therapist behind. But in the end I believe attachment theory demands that the primary burden of healing and health will fall upon the willingness of the spouse or involved family member or friend to offer him/herself as an attachment caregiver around whom everyone in the network can rebuild their inner world and the securely-attached relationships that will follow.

I would love to reorganize this blog to reflect the kinship I have found in the attachment theory. The nature of d.i.d. allows the sufferer a second chance to become a securely-attached individual from the core of his/her being. Five of the seven girls in my wife’s network are securely attached to me. Tina and Karen are nearly there. I’m excited about the possibilities when the attachment process is done, and they can begin to move forward as a securely-attached woman/group.


Sam, I Am (note Kathy’s support of attachment dynamics)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: I Didn’t See that Coming… | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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