It seems we are genetically pre-programmed to form attachments as our primary action tendency. This is an essential survival mechanism for a new born baby, whether human or otherwise; a baby that does not attach to the mother is rejected and in our recent past, a baby that is rejected won’t survive (it is only in our modern communities and society that alternative caregivers are available. Our brains, though, are still, evolutionary instinctually speaking, stuck in the past.). This attachment need follows us throughout life and is a primary action tendency in forming relationships as children (friends, etc.) and adults (friends and romantic & professional relationships).

If, during early brain development, we experience attachment as a danger or threat to survival, in any way. For instance; parental neglect, parental (or other relational) abuse, parental abandonment (especially the mother), or any other situation that causes extreme stress and trauma for the developing mind in the context of primary caregiver attachment, this imprints upon our emotional memory that attachment poses a risk to survival, at odds and opposed to the genetic programming of attachment. This sets up a conflict in the individual at the very core of their being that inevitably spills out on to any relationships the individual attempts as they juggle their conflicting core needs of attachment, and safety from the risk, or threat to survival that their attempts at attachment pose.

If you look deep enough in to the core of all conflicts and disharmony within relational dynamics, you will find an underlying dysfunction in the processing of fear, the response to threat and the unconscious perception of emotional attachment as a source of danger. And this dysfunction is at the heart of a wide range of diagnosis; Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Attachment Disorder and so on ….

I would hypothesise that at the core of all these disorders and more we will eventually find the same, or a similar dysfunction and conflict between our basic emotional needs and our survival mechanisms.