Is your behavioral attachment style preventing love?

When we struggle to find love, we usually end up blaming things outside ourselves – statistics, lack of opportunity, and even the kind of place we live in. While these things may play a role, this doesn’t remove us from the equation. It could also be we’re struggling to find love that we truly deserve because of our attachment style.

Our attachment style refers to a particular way of relating to other people.[1] This attachment style is formed very early in life specifically during the first two years. This is why it’s very important for parents to be aware of their responsiveness to the needs of their child during the first two years. How they respond in times of their distress will have a strong impact on the attachment pattern they will have later in life.

The Different Attachment Patterns

Starting at the age of six months, a child forms an emotional attachment to an adult. The level of responsiveness of this adult to a child will build the foundation of the child’s attachment pattern.

Secure Attachment

When the child’s primary caregiver is sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs, he/she will see this adult as a secure base from which he/she can explore the world and become more independent.[2]  

A child with secure attachment will show some distress when the caregiver leaves but will be able to compose himself/herself, knowing that his/her caregiver will return. He/she feels protected by the caregiver and know that he/she can depend on him/her.

The Effect: An adult who establishes a secure form of attachment while growing up will have a strong sense of self and has that desire to establish close relationship with others. Adults who are able to establish a secure attachment live a life of balance and would have that positive view of themselves, of their partners, and their relationships.

Avoidant Attachment

Children who grow up with insensitive and emotionally unavailable adults may develop an avoidant attachment style. It’s because they grow up being discouraged when they express distress like crying and are not soothed or not responded to when being hurt or when in distress.

The Effect: Kids who grow up developing an avoidant attachment style will most likely have an avoidant attachment style as adults. The person may be avoidant-dismissing. People who have this type of attachment style will see intimacy as dangerous and would perceive other people as unreliable.[3]

The avoidant-dismissing person is uncomfortable with intimacy. He/she thinks that he/she doesn’t need others to be happy or complete. Since this person is trained not to rely on the caregiver, he/she tends to be cold in relationships.

Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment

Consistency is vital especially when kids are still forming their attachment style. Caregivers who end up being inconsistent with their responses to children (i.e. they can be nurturing at times and insensitive in others), may raise children who are confused and insecure. They feel distrustful but at the same time, clingy to their parent.

The Effect: Children who grow up with the ambivalent/anxious attachment may turn to be insecure as adults. They can develop this preoccupied attachment pattern. They depend greatly on other people, seeking for their approval although this never relieves their self-doubt. They can become too dependent and clingy to their partner.

Disorganized Attachment

When a child grows up with an abusive adult, he/she may dissociate from himself/herself as the adult/primary caregiver is the source of his/her distress and at the same time, of his/her safety.

The Effect: A child who has formed disorganized attachment may grow up developing fearful-avoidant personality as an adult. He/she desires social contact but inhibited by his/her fear of rejection.[4] He/she lives out of balance because he/she has a clear idea of self but doesn’t really develop true connection with others.

Our Fear Can Keep Us From Finding Love

It is not just our attachment style that keep us from finding and forming love that we truly deserve. We also have these fears that may keep us from doing so, be it fear of rejection, intimacy, trust, or of love itself. Sometimes, these fears lead us to defending or sabotaging ourselves when it comes to love.

While many of these fears develop as a result of past experiences, whether it’s a traumatic childhood experience or of past hurt, it’s very important to realize that part of the solution is recognizing that these fears occur.[5]

Once we recognize that these problems occur, we can start to delve in the different ways we keep love from blossoming. We can start by looking at certain patterns we have in our past or current relationship. We may realize that we have these certain defenses that systematically ward off love.

It’s only when we start noticing these patterns that we can begin to trace their roots. Have we been rejected by our parent or caregiver as a kid? Or did we grow up observing these destructive interactions between our parents?

Oftentimes, the behavior we’ve witnessed and experienced as kids subconsciously shape the way we think as adults.

Developing Earned Secure Attachment

We may not have control of things that have happened in our childhood years but this doesn’t mean that we can’t develop secure attachment style as adults. One way of doing that is talking to a therapist.

A therapist can help us make sense of our life experiences and make us understand how those experiences are affecting us now. He/she can help us create a coherent narrative of our lives and help us build a more secure and healthier attachment.

I’m a certified hypnotherapist in London and through hypnosis techniques, I can help you find out the underlying cause of your attachment style that’s keeping love from blossoming in your life. Through hypnosis,  I can help you form a stronger sense of self and a better outlook on relationships. If you wanted to know more about my practice, you can contact me here.

Each of us have unique childhood experiences that helped form who we are right now. Having a tough childhood doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful in relationships. Yes, it may take time to get where we want to be but it’s highly doable especially when we seek out for help.


Published by Hypnosis in London on 27 March 2017, written by Malminder Gill.

Image: Bhavishya Goel
References:
[1], [2] “What Is Your Attachment Style?”. PsychAlive. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
[3] Editor, -Flow. “Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Disorder Style | Flow Psychology”. Flowpsychology.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
[4] “Are We Doomed To Repeat Our Relationship Patterns?”. Psychology Today. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
[5] “5 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Love”. Psychology Today. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.