There are many (maaanyy) posts on attachment around the mental health sphere.
This post is just a glimpse as well as a little myth buster.
There are four primary attachment styles that we develop as infants based on the quality of interaction that we develop with our primary caregivers. For many, this is our mothers. But for others, access to one solitary maternal is not a reality.
Attachment can be built with whomever takes on that role, be it dad, grandparents or even a community of carers. The key is the consistency of style of interaction.
A lot of talk centers on how one is, let’s say “doomed” to live and act out their attachment styles in all their relationships throughout life- predominantly acting out in our romantic relationships. We talk of anxious, avoidant, disorganized and secure styles. This isn’t a psych lecture on attachment theories however…go forth and google for more insight into these.
However, the myth surrounds the “doomed” aspect. Evidence has *actually* shown that the attachment style we develop in early childhood doesn’t necessarily determine or dictate the attachment styles we form in adulthood. we can and do evolve. This is owing to the fact that we have opportunity for many restorative or (destructive style) vital relationships in our lives-outside caregivers -that shape us further.
It is not a simple road to undoing our primal and basic wiring for attachment. we are so often not in control of this incredibly fundamental aspect of human functioning. But real authentic cand very possible rewiring is possible once we begin to recognize how we act out our attachment patterns with those around us and how they serve to connect or disconnect us. Connection is survival and it is always fascinating to recognize the ways in which so many of us are built to resist or corrupt this basic survival instinct. But this chain can be broken…
SELF-AWARENESS EXERCISES FOR EACH TYPE
Learn how to communicate your needs. Not only will this guarantee less anxiety for you, but it will help you to filter out inappropriate partners (how your date responds to effective communication is extremely telling). Effective communication is the tool of the secure attachment style. Practice surfacing your feelings and seeing how your date reacts. This is a scary prospect for an anxious attachment style, but on the other side of that fear is a lot more of a stable experience in your romantic attachments.
Avoidants should start to become aware of where they use deactivating strategies (any behavior or thought that is used to squelch intimacy). Such strategies include saying you’re not ready to commit, but staying together anyway; focusing on small imperfections in your partner; pining after ‘the phantom ex’; pulling away when things are going well; forming relationships with an impossible future; avoiding physical closeness, for e.g., pacing ahead when walking with your partner. When they happen, remind yourself that the picture is skewed and that you need intimacy despite your discomfort with it.
Other goals for avoidants are: de-emphasize self-reliance and focus on mutual support; choose a secure partner (rather than anxious) if possible; be conscious of your tendency to misinterpret behaviors and think negatively about your partner; make a relationships gratitude list; forget about finding ‘the one’ – choose to make the person you are with, your soulmate; adopt ‘the distraction strategy’ (says you are more able to foster closeness with your partner when you can focus on other things).
Be aware of giving someone too much the benefit of the doubt, or staying in a relationship just because you can tolerate it.
On average, around 70-75% of adults remain consistently in the same attachment category at different points in their lives, with the remaining percentage reporting a change to attachment style. Researchers attribute the change to romantic relationships in adulthood that are so powerful, that they revise our most basic beliefs towards connectedness.
DID YOU KNOW???
ANXIOUS STYLE VALIDATES AVOIDANT STYLE, MORE OFTEN THAT NOT THESE TWO WINDS UP TOGETHER
IT IS POSSIBLE TO MOVE TO A SECURE ATTACHMENT STYLE BUT ITS HARD, IT TAKES A LOT OF SELF AWARENESS.
If you fear you have a role to play in unsatisfying or unsafe relationships with those around you,(hint you do! we all do!) seek out therapy with a focus drawn to attachment ..this is really where it all begins