Attachment Bonds, Suppressed Anger and Anxiety Disorder
From the moment we are born we are conditioned to adapt to our environment; our climate, and social settings for the sake of survival.
When all goes well, our parents, educators, and society will give us valuable tools to help us find our way in the world.
Unfortunately, through reaction, we also identify with the unresolved thought patterns of our parents which are being acted out, in a distorted way, through us. These could include demands to live up to high standards at school, incessant comparing with siblings who might be performing better, overly controlling behavior, or even more severely, being an unwanted child, sexual and physical abuse, being considered worthless or a nuisance, and all of the neglect that goes with those possibilities.
How Developmental Trauma and Its Patterns Get Passed Down the Line
Nothing justifies abusive behavior; however, it is often engaged in to compensate for a lack, or perceived lack in the self–the overly attached mother to her child, who has never experienced an inner sense of belonging herself when young; the chiding, abusive father who has himself been exposed to neglect and tries to get a sense of self worth by putting his son down, and so on.
The trouble is that even if our mother, father or other prime caregiver is abusive towards us as children, we will do our utmost to get their support, love or attention, either positively or negatively, but overall by adapting to their demands and needs in one way or another. As a child, you do not have the tools yet to stand up for yourself or to be independent. Adaptation is, therefore, a survival strategy, although it has negative consequences that may be long-lasting.
Resilience and Lack Thereof After Having Gone Through Child Abuse or Neglect
Parents are responsible for helping children establish their identity, their sense of self, and the ability to abide by clear and healthy boundaries. They assist them in accomplishing this by helping children to regulate and integrate their emotional arousal, or stimulating them in the face of fear or shut down. This way, children increasingly learn to deal with more complex tasks, which in turn strengthens their scope of resilience and establishes a healthy, functioning nervous system.
When parents or prime caregivers can’t provide this and are either neglectful or abusive, establishing a healthy functioning nervous system will be impaired; the child will either develop very rigid boundaries tied by distrust, or have difficulty in setting boundaries altogether; for example,when the need to be loved or accepted overrides reason and the determined ability to say “NO” when a relationship turns abusive.
Core anger for not getting the support you need in order to grow and develop and having your possibilities stunted is often suppressed by fear of the consequences, which too often involve even more abuse or neglect.
How Suppressed Anger Relates to Anxiety Disorders
When anger is kept inside for long enough periods, it starts acting inwardly against the sense of self, giving rise to feelings of incompetence, failure, lack of self-worth and self-esteem. In adult life, fear takes on a prominent role and expresses itself as anxiety attacks and disorders, followed by the need to overcome them.
The need to overcome fear becomes the constant occupation and fear itself will, over time, uncouple itself from the initial anger. Fear and the need to overcome will also start to project itself onto oneself and the world, thereby making it cyclic.
It is only when core anger starts to be acknowledged and “owned” that a healthy identity, a clear set of boundaries, and a strong sense of self can be established. Owning anger will naturally diminish or relinquish anxiety, and put self-validation above any valuation set by others.