“The psychological effects of early parental loss have been ruminated on since ancient times. Infants are vulnerable and dependent on the maternal bond with the mother. Separation comprises everything that they know. The latent effects of the emotional pain caused by early childhood attachment loss are known to be deep-rooted, long-lasting, and profound. Separation from the primary attachment figure constitutes a trauma, which may precipitate a dissociative response that may look like a totally frozen state of mind, or a mild zoning out, so low-key, that you may not even notice that you spaced out.” Judith Land
Adoptees experience a higher prevalence of dissociative anxiety as a means of coping with the loss of the first attachment bond. They have more conduct and behavior problems, including hyperactivity, aggressiveness, delinquency, conduct disorder, conflicts with peers, and running away. They tend to have a significantly higher prevalence of depression and reactive attachment disorder. This is particularly true with emotionally stranded adoptees torn between two cultures and two families, and adolescents lacking a cohesive sense of identity, with a significant part of themselves attached to their biological heritage.
Disassociation is a psychological defense mechanism associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, including daydreaming, highway hypnosis, losing touch, becoming inattentive and distracted, and mentally remote; a complex psychological condition linked to a history of trauma, lapses of attention, compromised emotional memory, and a disintegrated sense of self associated with a loss of memory and amnesia. Victims feel emotionally numb, detached from others and their surroundings, and disconnected from the world around them. Symptoms include daydreaming, spacing out, eyes glazed over, and changes in behavior due to an emotional overload triggering anxiety.
Dissociation is of great concern in the therapeutic treatment of adopted individuals because this pattern of behavior threatens harm to the quality of personal relationships and self-evaluation. Adoptees with this condition should seek advice and practice grounding techniques.