Trouble Forming Emotional Attachments

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

For as long as I can remember people have been telling me I am depressed.  When I was young (teenage) I tried counseling and complained that I was worried I didn’t know how to make friends or form emotional attachments to people.  This has continued even though I am now on medication for depression.  The only difference seems to be that I am now able to articulate what seems wrong.

Problem:  A lack of attachment.  I have friends, and they act like friends do, but where they seem to have an emotional attachment to me, I don’t feel anything.  I’ve been trying to talk through this with some of them, and mostly get that I should talk to a professional.  I have taken the time to look at everything around me to try and feel some attachment to something, some sentiment from things I own, and I still feel no attachment.  This worries me.

Question(s):  What could be wrong with me?  Could I simply have not learned how to make these connections?  Should I see a professional, and if so what type?

Hello, and thank you for your question. You may have what we would call an “Attachment Disorder” and these often begin  in very early childhood. It could be that you were separated from one or both parents physically, or that Mom was depressed or Dad was emotionally distant. The result is often the same; we don’t learn how to attach and form deep trusting bonds when we are “supposed to” that is, in infancy and early childhood.

That doesn’t mean that a therapist can’t help you. One trained in this kind of problem can teach you how to trust more, risk relationships more and find deeply intimate and wonderful connections with people, but you can’t do this on your own.

You have identified the cause, and you need help in learning how to do this on our own. You can find a therapist at PsychologyToday.com one who is in your area and takes your insurance or offers a sliding scale. The same therapist will likely be able to help you with your depression as well.

Best of luck,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Trouble Forming Emotional Attachments. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/27/trouble-forming-emotional-attachments/