(In) securely attached –

Attachment wounds and crises of development

A project by Marielle Gerke with Ann Antidote (Shibari), Dan Farberoff (Video) and Oliver Stein (Photography). Berlin and Kassel in Summer 2021.

“I am sensing pain. Pain in my chest. It gets tighter and tighter. Breathing becomes difficult. I can´t stand it for much longer. I am asking for help. My feet touch the floor. Then my knees. The pain eases up. My heart has more space again. I am breaking in tears. I feel vulnerable and powerless. I am capitulating. I am breathing. I am starting to free myself from the bonds. It needs time. So entangled, so involuted. I am getting angry. Powerless-furious. What´s all this? I want to escape. I am screaming, but nothing can be heared. I am defending myself. Pain on my skin. I want to give up. But I don´t. I am looking closely. I am seeing all the knots. Patiently, I am untying one after the other. I am starting to relax. I am getting calmer. I am moving myself. There is more freedom. There is aliveness. I am sensing the echo of the bonds on my skin. In my soul. Their resonance. Gently, I am caressing myself. Slowly, I am developing. Further and further. It gets easier. I am moving. A little more free. I am safe. What is left, are the scares. How long? I don´t know, maybe forever. Some wounds are also not healed by the time. “

The word trauma comes from the Greek and means “wound”. In a psychological context trauma describes a strong shock for the soul. It can be caused through a massive danger for body, mind or soul, that an individual feels helplessly exposed to. The experienced misery, the loss of control and the following feelings of powerlessness are overwhelming the nervous system of the affected person so that it goes to a state of emergency. Sometimes, individuals can´t overcome this state anymore on their own without help. An attachment trauma is a trauma that happens in the childhood through a close attachment figure such as a parent that leads to a massive inner conflict for the child and a insecure bond. Causes of attachment trauma can be physical, sexual and emotional abuse, physical or emotional neglection as well as sudden separation from or unpredictability or lack of attunement of the attachment figure. Attachment trauma, that often takes place repeatedly over longer periods of time , lead to the development of insecure attachment styles of the affected children. As adults these people with insecure attachment styles often struggle to feel good, safe and secure in their relationships or struggle to even start, maintain and keep long lasting relationships. Often they repeat in their later lives unconsciously and unintentionally the destructive relationship and behavioral patterns of their childhood, through which old traumas are being reactivated or new wounds are being caused.

This project has dealt with the topic of trauma, due to my personal interest and the societal relevance of the topic in our times. Through the pandemic and what it has brought for me as consequences, I was confronted with real and irrational existential fears as well as with feelings of powerlessness and anger. Feelings, that I already knew quite well and which have updated themselves so intensely in the lockdown that I sometimes did not know how to deal with them or if I would have the capacity to hold them. Over and over, I have had to remind myself that I am not as mighty as I wish to be but also not as powerless as I fear to be. In the meantime, my system has settled down again, I feel safe, self-effective, able to act and lovingly supported. In this context, I have experimented with Japanese rope art in this project. I have let myself be tied up and tied myself up also. I was interested, how it feels for me, to voluntarily surrender myself to someone and to temporarily give up my (movement) will power and my (movement) freedom. I wondered what I could learn from that for my life, about myself and how the ropes inform my physicality and movement material. Do I experience the ropes as restriction or do they also give me orientation and support? Does the ambivalence between my desire to control and the longing for devotion dissolve for a moment? One thing I can say for afterwards: I am more devoted than I have expected before but also more vulnerable.

I am grateful for the support and expertise of my three colleagues who went with me on this journey: Ann Antidote (Shibari), Dan Farberoff (Video) and Oliver Stein (Photography). Special thanks to Ann, who tied me up in this touching and appreciative way with respect and attunement. Thank you!

Gefördert durch die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Programm NEUSTART KULTUR, Hilfsprogramm DIS-TANZEN des Dachverband Tanz Deutschland.

These are the links to the website of my project partners:

Ann Antidote www.strangesavagelives.net

Dan Farberoff www.danfarberoff.com

Oliver Stein www.oliver-stein-photography.com