I can remember at 6 years of age, lying in bed at night time, trying very hard to work out how to be good. There I was, at a young age, trying to fit into the expectations of my parents. Trying very, very hard to know what I needed to do. Why? Probably to get love. It didn’t feel like there was any unconditional love for me. To be accepted. To be safe. To be looked after. To belong.
What does the word “good” mean anyway???
When we are young, attachment is the key to survival. There is no way that a baby or young child can survive on their own. There has to be an attachment to an adult, so that the baby/child is fed and kept safe and looked after.
Attachment means that there is a bond between baby/child and adult. This bond is an emotional connection of love that is strong and resilient. It allows for care to happen naturally as a response on the part of the adult to the baby or child. The adult is emotionally available to the child. The adult provides stability.
When this bond is disrupted or not properly formed, then the baby or child is somehow aware that all is not well. Survival becomes an issue, with the child doing their utmost to fit in with the caregiver and do what is expected.
So love comes with conditions. Be good and life can be smooth sailing. Be not good and turbulence arrives. Stuff your real self down because you might create waves. And then the attachment might break. Habits develop. Ways of being develop. Strategies to stay safe or be comfortable are put in place by an immature young person.
Trouble is, the strategies keep on doing their thing, even when they are no longer useful or needed. Growing up and into adulthood and further. The awareness may come. It’s the first step towards change. Sometimes, the acknowledgement alone can allow for the strategy to soften and allow for something different to emerge.
Sometimes, some guidance is needed.