Dr. Gabor Mate - Attachment Is Everything

Dr. Gabor Mate is a Canadian doctor who is well know for his ‘street level’ work with addictions and trauma. He’s become a mentor for me over the years via YouTube videos and interviews.

I watched this video once again a couple days ago…it’s good for me to refresh some basic concepts/knowledge that I can apply to myself in positive ways…in ways that allow me to see my own behaviours and habitual responses in a way that provides understanding rather than self-criticism.

And as I was lying in bed this morning I was thinking about a couple of ‘fixations’ of mine…things that I think about a lot that don’t really serve me…at least not in a thriving way. The word fixation came to me out of the blue…it’s not a word I normally use…it sounds kind of old-fashioned to me. But it seemed like the perfect word. It then dawned on me that a fixation is really just an expression of attachment and that we have many attachments as adults that go by many different names. Addiction, expectations, habits, fixations, possessions…it seems to me that these are all expressions of attachment or more accurately the primitive/survival brain searching for ‘secure attachment’ when those needs weren’t met in childhood.

Attachment has largely evolved into a psychological concept but fundamentally it is a biological relationship…not an emotional concept. Attachment begins for us as a very literal thing…we all began life physically attached to our mothers in her womb. If that biological attachment is severed or if it didn’t occur in the first place then there is no life. Life/survival is wholly dependent on attachment. When we are born we continue the physical attachment by being held and latching onto (attaching to) our mother’s breast. Of course some of us didn’t have that attachment need fully met which will have consequences.

Out of that biological/physical attachment grows emotional/psychological attachment and then further the ability to energetically attach to ideas and concepts and expectations and inanimate things in an attempt to provide survival feelings of comfort and safety and certainty just like those initial biological/physical attachments gave us. And this is how I came to see that the fundamental experience of attachment never leaves us. As Dr. Mate says “attachment is everything” and it seems to be accurate as I consider it. And if we did not have the experience of ‘secure attachment’ in childhood then we will have that as our unconscious biologically driven quest throughout adulthood and we will seek it in numerous ways…addictions, fixations, expectations, possessions etc. all can be expressions of the search for secure attachment if they are driven by the primitive brain and don’t serve us beyond that.

I just thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts from letting my mind going on a ‘walkabout’ this morning in bed. :slight_smile:

Peace y’all.


Speaking of Dr. Gabor Mate (also one of my favourite thinkers who has taught me sooooo much, starting with his book, When the Body Says No), the documentary “The Wisdom of Trauma” is rebroadcasting this weekend!