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Decoding Love: the Mystery of Attachment Styles in Adult Relationships

What we saw at home as we were growing up modelled by our parents and the way we connected with them have a lot to do with how we behave in a romantic relationship as an adult.

We tend to pick up ways to connect and employ them automatically. But bringing awareness to our patterns allows us to stop before we react and to create space for choice.

Understanding the Impact of Childhood on Adult Relationships

The foundation of our adult relationships is often laid in childhood. The dynamics with our parents serve as a blueprint, shaping our attachment styles. These early experiences influence how we connect, communicate, and navigate love in our adult lives.

Moreover, understanding the link between childhood and adult relationships provides a profound insight into our emotional landscape, paving the way for intentional growth and transformation.

There are four types of attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganised.

The Power of Awareness: Breaking Free from Automatic Patterns

Breaking free from automatic patterns begins with self-awareness. Recognizing the influence of our upbringing empowers us to pause before reacting and introduces the possibility of intentional choices in our relationships. Awareness is the first step towards building healthier and more fulfilling connections.

Moreover, cultivating mindfulness allows us to observe our automatic responses, providing a valuable opportunity to reshape our reactions and foster healthier relationship dynamics.

Let’s look at each of these attachment styles.

1/ Secure attachment style

Adults with a secure attachment style were seen and heard as children. They learned that they mattered and they were given support when they needed it.

  • They know who they are and can understand their emotions
  • They can deal with emotions on the whole spectrum
  • They feel and can respond to their partner’s emotions, rather than try to avoid them or become anxious
  • They hold a positive self-image and positive image of others
  • They can ask for and give emotional support
  • They can be themselves in a relationship
  • They have the capacity to trust

2/ Anxious attachment style

Children who weren’t provided reliable support and care, learned that the other person might not always be present or available, so their relationships are forever tainted by doubt and fear.

  • They often feel unworthy and struggle with self-love or self-acceptance and they try to get that void filled in their romantic relationships
  • They hold a negative self-image and a positive image of others
  • Can easily confuse fiction with reality, as anxiety can lead to unrealistic expectations of the other or ruminations about their behaviour
  • They tend to take things personally, and feel easily rejected
  • Their self-esteem is heavily influenced or tied to external approval

3/ Avoidant attachment style

The patterns of a child with this attachment style are avoiding their parents and showing no distress at separation from them. In adulthood it’s characterised by fierce independence and keeping relationships casual.

  • They hold a positive self-image and a negative image of others.
  • They can’t express or prefer not to speak about their emotions
  • They seek independence and any relationship seems to be a threat to it.
  • They feel uncomfortable with intimacy, so they tend to maintain an emotional distance
  • They are unlikely to show up authentically in a relationship.

4/ Disorganised attachment style

This attachment style is often a result of childhood trauma, neglect, or abuse. Their capacity of trust has been severely compromised and that comes up in their romantic relationship as being both anxious and avoidant.

  • They have low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Tending towards extremes: either extreme closeness, or extreme rejection. The in-between doesn’t seem to exist.
  • They feel afraid of commitment and of abandonment, both of which constantly pray on their mind
  • Feel more comfortable with inconsistent partners than those with a secure attachment style

Navigating the Path to Secure Attachment: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Your attachment style doesn’t have to define you, nor does it mean you cannot have a secure, loving relationship. Understanding your default way of navigating relationships allows you to choose a partner more wisely, and to relate to them mindfully, thereby learning a more secure attachment style.

Embarking on the path to secure attachment involves self-discovery. Building self-awareness, understanding our attachment style, and working towards a more secure base requires introspection and a commitment to personal growth. This journey is an investment in creating healthier connections and a more fulfilling love life.

Furthermore, the journey of self-discovery is a dynamic process that unfolds with each intentional step, leading towards a deeper understanding of oneself and the creation of a solid foundation for secure and lasting relationships.

If you’re interested in honing your embodied relational intelligence skills to build a loving, mature, and enduring romantic relationship either with your current partner or the one you commit to next, reach out or simply buy one of my coaching and or hypnotherapy services and I’ll meet you on Zoom. xx Noémi