February 6th – my Mother’s birthday. Were she still alive, today would have been my mother’s eightieth birthday. My Mother died when she was sixty-nine. Enough years on the planet one might suppose to ‘get things right.’ What things, you may ask. Well to find that out, you’ll have to wait for the publication of my book. And of course, ‘getting things right’ means different things to different people. Now, you may think I’m talking in riddles but one thing is true, we all have a mother and we all have an attachment style that is indicative of how we were ‘mothered’ as infants by our mother or our significant caregiver.
To learn more about attachment, read the work of John Bowlby, the founder of Attachment Theory.
(The main theme of Attachment Theory is that mothers who are available and responsive to their child’s needs establish a sense of security in them. The child knows the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for them to explore their surroundings.)
I am fortunate my mother died when she did because sadly, I was never properly attached and would have remained in this state (with a poor attachment style) had she not passed away. My mother was never ‘available’ for attachment (for whatever reason) nor was she able to ‘get things right.’ I would still be in a state of ‘Dismissing Avoidant’ or ‘Fearful Avoidant’ (recognised attachment patterns) were it not for her death. Because of the work I have done on my own ‘self development’, today I can happily say I have a ‘Secure Attachment’ pattern; I am positive to others and to myself and most days I can say I am secure in my relationships, feel loved, accepted and competent.
Understanding Attachment Theory helps me as a writer. I am able to consider my characters in a way which helps me make them fully formed people with not only a past, present and a future but with a mother (or caregiver) whether they feature in the story or not. Reflecting on a character’s mother is important, as is their attachment style because every character has a mother and an attachment style. Ignore them and you miss a wealth of juicy writing material that will enrich your work.
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