Attachment is a word used by Psychologists to describe the connection between children and their primary caregivers. Attachment starts in early life from the child is born through each developmental stage. However, by seven, each child will have some form of connection to their caregivers.
The attachment style inherited is not based on you but your parents’ pattern before you. This type of connection forms the basis of every relationship that you will have. Despite not having a solid and safe connection with your parents, any attachment injuries that you inherit can heal, and you can move on to have a secure connection in your meaningful relationships.
Below I will outline three of the four major attachment styles. Although the description below is not a diagnosis, you might be able to identify your patterns from the descriptions.
With secure attachment, there is an easy flow in the parent/child relationship. The parent and child have a strong bond. They are confident in their parent’s ability to love and protect them and meet their needs, and this security also impacts other relationships. People who have securely attached experience safety in relationships; they can be okay with being with others and being alone. Securely attached people don’t feel the need to perform to get attention or feel loved; there’s safety in the idea that they are loved.
People in this group approach relationships in general from a different perspective because of the security they experienced with parents. They come to a relationship knowing and accepting their worth and worthiness of love. They have a strong sense of belonging and is comfortable setting and maintaining boundaries.
The avoidant person is not as comfortable in relationships as the person who experiences secure attachment. Avoidant people are used to being on their own. In childhood, they had to attend to many of their own needs, which teaches them that people are unreliable. The early lack of response to needs leads them to be wary in a relationship. Trust is often challenging for them. Therefore avoidant people can develop the ability to take care of themselves.
They are self-sufficient, efficient and capable, sometimes high functioning, high achieving, task-oriented, and capable of getting things done. Sometimes these habits are used as a way of coping with loneliness.
People who experienced avoidant attachment are often talked of as being encased in their world fully functioning, perhaps high achieving but cold and lonely. Though this is difficult, they struggle with the thought of allowing anyone in because they question others’ ability to meet their needs.
Because of the trauma of attachment injuries, avoidants will sometimes gravitate to people incapable of meeting their needs not because they want to but because that’s the familiar pattern.
Healing the fractured pattern of avoidant attachment is one way of enjoying fuller, more authentic relationships.
Healing happens when you know your needs and become intelligent in letting others learn how to meet them. This sense of surety with your needs also helps you break the unhealthy pattern of allowing people into your life that is unsure how to help you or love you. Healing the avoidant pattern enables you to see that relationships can be safe and experiment with people who are also secure.
Individuals who have an anxious attachment pattern want love but have a fearful of losing it. This fear makes them unsure and insecure. The anxious pattern started in childhood, where inconsistencies in parenting create confusion for the child. Therefore, as an adult, the fear of losing love often makes you overly focused on others.
This outward focus can sometimes keep you trapped in untenable situations.
It is important to note that attachment injuries can heal. Not with your parents, unless they have recovered theirs or are aware of how the pattern you got from them impacts you. Families can heal together; learn how to build a secure relationship so that everyone can thrive.
However, it will take the commitment and dedication of everyone in the family unit to make this a reality. When you begin to heal your attachment injuries, it will invariably change your relationship with others because you will realize their pattern and set expectations in the relationships.
The person with avoidant or anxious attachment style often lives with a fear of abandonment,
This fear will impact all relationships because the early training teaches that relationships are unsafe and painful; the brain gets used to loss, therefore as humans, we create structures that help protect.
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