How Attachment Styles Impact Trauma Recovery

Prajinta Pesqueda
5 min readMar 27
Mahdi Bafande

All people discover if they can depend on others to keep them safe or not, and this all begins at a very early age. Your nervous system either grows with the idea you’re inherently, intrinsically lovable and protected, or it drives you to learn coping mechanisms to deal with emotional pain and danger if you don’t feel validated, accepted, or safe. These first emotions in response to the environment will shape the entire life of that person since they carry those foundational beliefs in their mind, body, nervous system, and emotions.

Attachment styles form in childhood and act as a model for navigating life and relationships in adulthood. Secure attachment teaches your nervous system how to regulate itself by understanding what healthy behavior and relationships look like. Hopefully, you learn that you are never alone and can weather any storm of emotions and still feel secure and confident.

Attachment styles are categories for different degrees of emotional security in relationships. They have an impact on how you respond to negative stimuli including trauma.

The ability to regulate your emotions isn’t baked in. It’s taught in your earliest relationships, ingrained throughout childhood, and practiced throughout life. A person who does not have a secure attachment style where they have always felt seen and hear and validated by their inner circle is more likely to have difficulty recovering from trauma or grief.

Several researchers have explored the relationship between post-traumatic recovery and attachment style. Two previous studies suggested that a higher level of attachment avoidance was related to lower post-traumatic growth in individuals who suffered from life-threatening trauma or life-altering loss.

Many times, these individuals with attachment styles that are not optimal healthy or preparing them to emotionally regulate life’s trials and tribulations, vicissitudes, and certainly not the aftermath of narcissist abuse — these individuals struggle to heal because the invalidation, objectification, and other mistreatment from the narcissist tends to confirm their fears and doubts and make them feel unseen and unheard all over again reckoning back to infancy.

Prajinta Pesqueda

Educator, aspiring humanist, composer of words. Survivor, warrior, healer, believer. Contact me at

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