I always wondered — why can’t I have normal relationships? Why can’t my friends be just as madly supportive as Monica Geller, Ted Mosby, Jake Peralta, and every possible character in sitcoms? Well, that’s highly unrealistic, isn’t it?
Okay, can I get my soul-mate, “The One,” my special someone, and so on?
Thank you for bearing with that dramatic start, but isn’t it true? Don’t we all secretly wish the best of friends and the best partner in the world? But why is it so tough to find that trust, love, loyalty? There has to be an explanation for it! Well, it is—our attachment styles!
Our childhood shapes most of our beliefs as adults. Up until five years of age, our brains are almost completely developed. And whatever attachment style we get acquainted with as a child, gets reflected in our relationships in teenage and later adulthood.
“Attachment style” is the expectation we have from our relationships with other people. It develops according to our bond with our early childhood caregivers (usually parents). How can something so far in the distant past affect our current relationships? Let’s find out…
Types of Attachment Styles
Secure Attachment Style
The capacity to establish safe, loving relationships with others is referred to as a stable attachment style. A person who is securely attached may love and receive love, trust others and be trusted, and form close relationships with others relatively easily. Intimacy doesn’t scare them, and they don’t freak out when their partners need some alone time or space. They have the ability to rely on others without being fully reliant.
Anxious Attachment Style
An intense dread of abandonment distinguishes the anxious attachment style, a type of insecure attachment style. People who are anxiously attached frequently worry that their partner will leave them, which leaves them constantly seeking approval. This attachment is characterized by needy or clingy behavior. They persistently believe that their partner or close friends don’t care enough about them.
Avoidant attachment style
Insecure attachment styles can take the shape of avoidant attachment styles, which are characterized by a dread of closeness. Relationships might feel suffocating for those with an avoidant attachment style since they frequently find it difficult to trust or grow close to others. Most of the time, they keep a certain emotional distance from their partners or are mainly emotionally unavailable in relationships since they like to be independent and rely on themselves.
Disorganized attachment style
The anxious and avoidant attachment styles are combined to create the fearful-avoidant attachment style. People who have a fearful-avoidant attachment, simultaneously seek affection and actively try to avoid it. They are hesitant to enter into a committed relationship, yet they also really want to be loved by others.
To know more about it click here.
Now that we have discussed in brief our attachment styles, what else is there to discover?
You now know your attachment style (probably), and you might think, so? This is who I am now and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
It’s not the end of the world! If you have the awareness of the problem and the will to find a solution, there’s nothing that can hold you back. A lot of people do not want to acknowledge the damage that their childhood experiences are capable of doing. But for those who are willing to change that, here’s a guide for the same.
Steps To get to a secure attachment pattern
Open up about your childhood wounds
It is the first and hardest step and probably why most people do not want to change their patterns. It is so damn tough to actually sit down and identify what went wrong in my childhood that I am unable to form meaningful relationships and friendships. This is the part that will require the most time and commitment from your end, especially if you are not planning to go to a counselor.
(From here you can follow along with the steps discussed below)
Write all of it down
It is old-fashioned but always works. Write about what you faced and what you felt at that time. For example, one of your parents was overly critical or dismissive. How did that make you feel as a kid?
Forgive your parents/caregivers/relatives and/or peers
After knowing your story and identifying the reason behind the pattern, take your time and forgive the people behind it, especially if they were your parents. Not because they do so many things for you or that you owe them everything, but because they did not know any better at that time. The intention is always pure, but the execution messes us up.
You will not be able to completely break the pattern if you do not forgive the people in your past-either your parents, peers, relatives, etc.-just do that and move ahead.
(All of these steps are triggering when you actually sit down to do them, so if it gets overwhelming, stop and start after a break)
If it helps, discuss it with your parent(s) and try to understand their point of view if they are receptive.
Rewrite the story
Reconsider what you’ve learned up to this point and revisit those memories. Now, as an adult, give them a new narrative and meaning.
My parents avoided emotional conversations. I was never able to express myself completely as a child. I learned to avoid emotions myself, and it benefited me as a kid to gain their approval. Now, I find it hard to get emotionally involved with my partner or friends. I try to avoid emotions. People who cry and get emotional make me uncomfortable.
A New Narrative
I learned that expressing your emotions makes you weak. But, I now take control as an adult. I understand that to gain trust and form bonds, emotional vulnerability is a factor. Also, I no longer want to cage myself as someone who is always put-together. I have my bad days, and I am not ashamed to express my grief and sadness. And on my good days, and I want to laugh out loud, dance, go out and celebrate. I am free.
This was just an example, and you can change the narrative of anything under the sun. It is just a shift in perspective!
You can also check our post on Comparison Trap And How Not To Get Into It
You will regress
Even after doing so much work, you might go back to the earlier experiences and feel bad, hurt, angry, and so on. Understand that it is normal. You are bound to regress to older patterns. But now you know them, and you will have the power to stop and think about them and let them go.
That is why healing is a journey and a fulfilling one.
Imagine, after all this, you will be so conscious of your reality. You will be so secure in your head and heart. You will know your triggers. Control will be in your hands and you will be able to free yourself from the narratives of other people and your past!
You broke the pattern
At long last, you broke the pattern, or took a step in that direction. It is not at all easy; it is no joke. More often than not, mental health issues and disorders arise because of these vicious patterns that people do not know about.
Here’s a video which you can check out.
Healing and coming out of your own limiting beliefs is never easy. And this post is not a substitute for actual therapy. But, I have seen various people suffering in toxic relationships with incompatible partners or with friends who are not at all reliable and supportive. They blame themselves or fate for failed relationships and friendships. Hence, this post was a step in the direction of helping you understand why you attract certain kinds of people. I hope it helps!
And lastly, break the goddamn pattern!