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Attachment: Our attachment to others.

Updated: May 7

Such a complex topic.

So, what is the theory behind attachment?

It is what it says – a theory, but, for me (and I can speak for myself) the theory of the different attachment styles makes sense to me.

There are 4 attachment styles (although there are sub-sections to these too):

Secure: Positive about yourself, positive about others – stems from: loving, sensitive, safe and consistent parenting, leading to, as a grown-up managing emotions effectively whether for themselves or others.

Insecure-Ambivalent: Negative about yourself, positive about others – stems from: inconsistency from parent, parent does not recognise their child’s needs, leading to, as a grown-up, loveable but undeserving of receiving love.

Insecure-Avoidant: Positive about yourself, negative about others – stems from: Does not rely on the parent for emotional need to be met. Shut down to their own feelings, leading to, as a grown-up rejecting feelings.

Insecure-disorganised: Negative about yourself, negative about others stems from: a previously safe parent, who then becomes unpredictable, leaving a child distressed by showing no emotion towards them. Child believes they are to blame, often presenting as shame and fear, leading to, as a grown-up, unresolved feelings that can appear chaotic, destructive and at times may present as dissociative behaviour.

There are so many websites out there about attachment, you only need to google ‘attachment styles’ so have a look for yourself if you wish.

There is no definite right/wrong answer and they are all theories so see what makes sense to you.

For most of my life I felt different to others in the way I connected or dare I say didn’t connect with those around me. I had no idea why (neither did anyone else) I just accepted that I was different, That I wasn’t meant to have lots of friends, invited to parties etc. Did I find that hurtful? Yes, if I allowed myself to think about it.

I believed I was different to others, that I was destined to lead a lonely life as I appeared to be unable to have any kind of relationship with anyone else.

Things started to change for me when I started my own personal therapy. It took time for me to trust my therapist, to believe they were there for me, supporting me. The therapeutic relationship that developed between us allowed me bit by bit to start opening up and exploring events from my past that had impacted on how I connected with others.

It wasn’t only the impact of events as such. It was also understanding who I am as a person. Being diagnosed as neurodivergent later in life was quite frankly a light bulb moment for me. I wasn’t weird, I was simply me. My brain works in a different way to neurotypical people, but that’s a story for another day.

It was finding the understanding of where my attachment style came from that allowed me to begin making the changes I needed to move forward. This started with the relationship I had with myself – accepting myself for who I am, learning firstly to like myself (that was a mammoth task on it’s own), then learning to love myself flaws as well.

I never looked in a mirror at myself, I would look at my hair, or what I was wearing, but never at myself as a person – I can do that now, I can really look in that mirror and accept, like, love and most of all respect who I am.

My attacment style: Pre-therapy, I was very much insecure ambivalent, at times disorganised, at times avoidant, rarely secure. Post therapy, mainly secure, I do have moments where I can dip into the insecure styles but I am able to recognise this quickly and with the confidence I now have I can explore the insecurity, make sense of it and move back into thesecure attachment.

People often believe we are one particular style but not so (there will most likely be one we are in more than the others). We can move about depending on what/who we are attaching to and the impact that/they have on us.

If you feel you would like to explore your attachment style, or any other matter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can arrange a free (no obligation) 30 minute telephone consultation.

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