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How your childhood determines the types of people you’re attracted too.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we will be unconsciously attracted to the love that is “familiar” to us, not necessarily what is “healthy” for us. This also explains why you might be trapped in that cycle of being attracted to the emotionally unavailable partner, the over-protective partner, or the partners that just won’t give you enough space. It might not be just them. It may be your “‘attachment style”, too.

Why are attachment styles important??

  1. They influence how we communicate in relationships.

  2. They impact who we end up in relationships with.

  3. They inform our relationship satisfaction, how we handle conflict, and how we cope with our own emotions.

  4. They impact our ability to connect with others.

There are 4 major attachment styles that we develop with our parents/primary caregivers during our childhoods. In the video, they cover three. They can be impacted by a variety of things in our lives (Our temperaments/caregivers’ temperaments, trauma, caregiver’s anxieties and ability to control their emotions, physical and mental illnesses of guardians, emotional + physical availability of parents, family conflict, etc.)

Watch the video above to learn about each one!

They are based on the concept of feeling safe, attuned, and connected to our primary caregivers during our development.

Secure Attachment

In Childhood with your Parents

Caregivers were available and connected to the child. They had stable and “secure” figures that allowed them to feel safe while exploring independently.

Adulthood relationship patterns

Secure partners tend to operate by connecting easily with their partners while also maintaining healthy autonomy. They are more likely to soothe and be soothed by their partners during times of distress or conflict. Love and trust is obtained by these types of individuals more easily. These individuals have an advantage in love because of their emotional resilience and ability to talk openly about feelings and addressing conflict.

Avoidant Attachment

In Childhood with your Parents

Caregivers were primary dismissive or emotionally unavailable. Avoidant behaviors result from a protective strategy developed in childhood to self soothe. (Parent may have been depressed, preoccupied with work, had substance abuse issues, or had an avoidant pattern themselves).

Adulthood relationship patterns

These types of individuals tend to appear independent and self sufficient. Avoidant partners may be emotionally reserved and have a hard time tolerating intimacy. Avoidant types tend to have trouble with commitments and expressing their needs and feelings to others. They have learned self reliance and appear “needless” to their partners out of past experiences where needs were rejected or unmet. This may result in avoidant individuals having less meaningful, intimate friendships and relationships.

There is also a subtype referred to as “fearful avoidant”. These partners tend to feel overwhelmed by their own emotions. They crave closeness but simultaneously resist it. They may have frequent internal conflict that results in unpredictable behaviors. The avoidant partners evasive behavior seems cold and uncaring, but is actually rooted in fear of closeness. They tend to experience intense highs and lows in love.

Anxious Attachment

In Childhood with your parents:

This occurs when children do not properly attach to caregivers. The caregiver may have been rejecting, unreliable, or absent altogether. Essentially, the child could not depend on their attachment figure to take care of their emotional or physical needs.

Adulthood Relationship Patterns:

This style of attachment longs for closeness but fears the risks associated with intimacy- like rejection and abandonment. Anxiously attached individuals tend to rely on their partner for emotional reassurance and safety in a way that’s counterproductive to their relationship. The anxiously attached partner may act in ways that exacerbate their own fears and may unintentionally push their partners away (potentially by being demanding, possessive, “needy”, or clingy). Anxious partners also may interpret independence of their partner as a threat to the relationship. These partners may find themselves in relationships where they have to “save” their partners or be emotionally rescued themselves. Anxiously attached adults also tend to form “fantasy bonds” with their partners.

The fantasy bond is a primitive defense mechanism that we developed in early childhood as a way of maintaining an illusion of safety and security at those times when we experienced overwhelming frustration, hurt, or even terror. Infants have a natural ability to comfort themselves by using images and memories of past feeding experiences to ward off the anxiety of being temporarily separated from their mothers. Fantasy helps reduce feelings of hunger and frustration. The child’s illusion of connection compensates or substitutes for inadequacies in the early environment. In an attempt to cope with the emotional pain and restore a feeling of comfort, infants merge with their primary caretaker (often the mother) in their imagination, magically believing they are one with that person — feeling like the all powerful parent and the helpless infant, all in one. This fantasy of being connected to another can give a child an illusion of safety, even immortality, which later helps him or her cope with existential realizations and fears. (Firestone, 2017).

(Learn more about Fantasy Bonds)

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