The child is afraid to separate from mother (and/or father) and mother is afraid to separate from the child. They are locked into co-dependency and that can even be hostile dependence. The child refuses to go to school or demonstrates repeated illnesses in an attempt to avoid school.
If untreated, this in adulthood can change into things like agoraphobia, fear of using public transport, fear of driving a car, paruresis or the inability to use public toilets. Any anxiety condition which restricts the movements of the person away from their secure base.
Symptoms = Excessive distress when separated from parents.
When separated the child needs to know where the parents are and will seek regular contact with them ( for example by phone).
They may be miserably homesick when away from home, yearn to be home and have persistent fantasies of the reunion.
Come from close knit families and often emeshed families.
When separated they may have persistent fears of accidents or illness befalling the parents.
Uncomfortable travelling independently away from home.
Refusals to go to school camp, sleep overs.
They display ‘clinging’ behaviour and may ‘shadow’ the parents if a separation is anticipated.
Difficulty at bed time and may want the parent to stay until they are asleep or try to sleep in the parents bed.
If there are nightmares often the content is about the death or destruction of family and/or home.
Bed wetting can occur as it restricts the child’s movements away from the home.