child. As I sat in the chair listening to her story, I experienced
a lightning bolt of “me too” followed by a kick in the gut
feeling. On that day, I more fully realized that my ignorance
about my own attachment challenges had on some level
affected all of my children. I had not mirrored them well.
I have heard it said that even though children are great
recorders of events, they are terrible interpreters.15 As I look
back on my own early life, I see the wisdom in this.
Throughout my childhood, my mom suffered a series of health
challenges. As a child, I had no way to make sense of some of
the dynamics within my home. I remember one day finding my
mother in great pain. I felt terrified that she might die, and I
desperately wished that someone would help me figure out
what to do about this situation. My parents held to a belief that
“we should not burden our children with adult matters.” There
was little follow up, explanation, or communication about my
mom’s health issues, so I was left to interpret (most often quite
incorrectly) complicated feelings and circumstances alone. No
one mirrored my confused and painful emotions during these
times. There also are family tales of my parents leaving me in
my crib to “cry it out.” Though it depends on the
circumstances, duration, and frequency of such crying, this
parenting strategy can affect an infant’s ability to securely
attach emotionally to a parent. As a child and teenager, I spent
a great deal of time banished to my room after times when I
expressed my emotions in a loud fashion. I have a distinct
memory of “acting up” in church during my elementary years.
My father marched me to the car, spanked me, and then left
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