Friday, August 12, 2022

How Our Childhood Forms Different Attachment Styles, According to A Expert

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Are you struggling with relationship problems? The cause may be the attachment style you developed with your primary caregiver as a child.

Childhood is the building block of our personality and nature, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that the attachment style we form with our romantic partners was developed in our childhood. Mel Williams, Relationship Expert & Healing Is Sexy (HIS) Lifestyle Coach, explains the four major types of attachment styles and how our childhood plays a role in developing them. 

“Our relationship with our parents or primary caregivers is the first relationship that we experience. Therefore, this experience shapes how we perceive adult relationships and the type of attachment styles we form in our romantic relationships,” Mel said. 

1. Secure attachment style

What does it look like?

Mel said, “When you have a secure attachment style, you know how to feel safe in a relationship, have healthy conversations, don’t feel insecure and unloved, and know how to respond better.” 

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How does it affect our romantic relationships?

  • You can appreciate your self-esteem and build intimate relationships. You can comfortably express your feelings, hopes, and needs.
  • You are happy to be with others and openly seek your partner’s support and reassurance, but don’t worry too much when you are apart.
  • You are also pleased that your partner counts on you for support.
  • You can find healthy ways to maintain emotional balance and manage conflict in close relationships.
  • In the face of disappointment, setbacks, or misery in relationships or any other part of life, you have enough resilience to bounce back.

Primary Caregiver relationship

As someone with a secure attachment style, your primary caregiver was able to engage with you when you were a baby, manage your stress effectively, and calm you down when you were in pain. They made you feel safe, communicated your emotions, and regularly responded to your changing needs, which allowed you to become securely attached.

Of course, there are no perfect parents or caregivers, and you cannot witness and pay attention to your baby 24 hours a day, in fact, that is not even necessary to establish a secure bond with the child. But when caregivers missed your nonverbal cues, they kept trying to figure out what you needed, and this kept the attachment process safely on track.

With a strong foundation of secure attachments, as a child, you have confidence, trust, hope, and comfort in the face of conflict.

Also Read: According to Rebecca Binnendyk- The Self-Esteem and Workplace Productivity Go Hand in Hand

2. Anxious-preoccupied attachment style

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While talking about people with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style, Mel said, “This is someone who is constantly worried about abandonment and feels they are not good enough. These people internalize things a lot and always make everything about themselves. They tend to be very insecure, and if their partner doesn’t call them or respond as much as they want, they start feeling abandoned”.

How does it affect our romantic relationships?

If you have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style, you may feel ashamed of clinging too tightly or constantly needing love and attention. Or you may feel tired of fear and anxiety about whether your partner really loves you or not.

Primary Caregiver relationship

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Mel explained, “The parents or primary caregivers weren’t emotionally available for people with anxious-preoccupied attachment style. They were almost overwhelmed by work or too busy to give attention to the child. They didn’t pay much attention, and the child was often left with devices to entertain themselves. The parents didn’t attend any games or dance performances of the child and weren’t very supportive. The parents might have provided basic necessities like a roof and food on the table but weren’t emotionally available, so the child always felt insecure in the relationship.” 

3. Avoidant-dismissive attachment style

“People with this attachment style avoid emotions because they don’t know how to process, express or deal with them,” Mel stated.

How does it affect our romantic relationships?

As someone with an avoidant-dismissive attachment style, you tend to have trouble tolerating emotional intimacy. You value your independence and freedom to the point where intimacy even in a romantic relationship, can be off-putting.

Primary Caregiver relationship

Explaining the role of upbringing in the development of the Avoidant-dismissive attachment style, Mel said, “Oftentimes people with avoidant attachment styles were shut down as a child. They might have tried to express themselves, but the parents ignored them or asked them never to repeat that.” 

Also Read: Attachment Styles and How They Impact Our Romantic Relationships

4. Disorganized/Disoriented attachment style

Disorganized/Disoriented attachments, also known as fearful-avoidant attachments, are often the result of intense fear as a result of trauma, neglect, or abuse as a child. Adults with such unstable attachments tend to think they don’t deserve love or intimacy in their relationships.

How does it affect our romantic relationships?

  • You are likely to find intimate relationships confusing, and you often swing between extreme emotional love and hatred for your partner.
  • You can be insensitive, selfish, domineering, and unreliable with your partner. This can lead to explosive or even abusive behavior. 
  • You may exhibit antisocial or negative behavior, abuse alcohol, and drugs, and be aggressive or violent.
  • You may refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
  • As you long for the safety and security of an intimate and meaningful relationship, you also feel unloved and fear that you will be hurt again.
  • Your childhood may be marked by abuse, neglect, or trauma.

Primary Caregiver relationship

If your primary caregiver was dealing with unresolved trauma, this could lead to intense fear associated with Disorganized/Disoriented attachment styles. Parents often acted as a source of fear as well as comfort to you as a young child, causing the confusion you feel about your current relationships. In other cases, your parents might have ignored or neglected your needs as a baby, or their unstable and chaotic behavior may have been horrible or traumatic for you.

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