You love your partner.
Deep down inside, your partner is the only one for you, and both of you know it.
Yet, there are times when speed bumps get in the way.
It seems a mystery to you why these problems come up. But you do know that they impact the quality of your relationships. In the past, they actually caused relationships you cared about to collapse.
What we are talking about here is the basic foundation with how you form relationships in the first place. It’s called attachment style. And whether you realize it or not, your attachment style does influence your relationships.
But what are attachment styles? And how do they cause this effect?
Let’s consider these three primary types of relationship attachment styles and how they impact your interpersonal connections.
It helps to think of secure attachment by focusing on the word “secure.” What does that word mean to you?
Perhaps it means:
Consider using these words to describe your own relationships. A secure relationship is one in which nothing can cause it to be off-balanced.
Now, this doesn’t mean that conflict or disagreements don’t occur in secure relationships. However, couples who are in secure relationships are particularly adept at resolving these issues. Those moments don’t dramatically impact the relationship. They are merely small bumps along the way.
Children who exhibit anxious attachment react strongly when stressed and stay close to their adult/parent. If the adult tries to separate themselves from the child, the child will get angry and reactive. However, if the adult stays or returns then the child is soothed.
Research has learned the reason for this is due to inconsistencies in parenting styles. Also, the parents themselves most likely struggled with anxious attachment when they were children.
If you have grown up with this attachment style, you may have the following traits:
- Struggle with your inner self-critic
- Be filled with self-doubt
- Exhibit insecurity
- Have an overabundant tendency to rely on your partner
- Look to your partner for validation
Conversely, if your partner does not respond well to these traits, then you will likely have a negative reaction. In turn, this feeds the destruction of your relationship.
With avoidant attachment, the scenario described above is just slightly different. If the parent tries to separate themselves from their child, the child still gets angry. However, when they return, instead of being soothed, the child refuses to have any kind of interaction with their parent.
In adults, avoidant attachment may look like:
- Constant feelings of relationship anxiety
- Fear of abandonment by their partner
- Mood swings
- Fear of intimacy
People with avoidant attachment are not recluses. Rather, they struggle with fear.
There is the fear of being “dumped” by the partner or seeing the relationship end. Yet, there is also a fear of getting too close. This phenomenon causes people with an avoidant attachment style to have really rocky and unstable relationships.
What to Do About Relationship Attachment Styles
Whether you realize it or not, the baggage that you carry in life significantly influences your relationships. Often these are things that you learned through interactions with your own parents.
If you are encountering significant speed bumps or even a few brick walls with your partner, the issue may be the attachment style you developed when you were young. The best way to determine and understand your personal attachment style is to get professional help from a relationship counselor.
An experienced counselor understands relationships, how they form, and what you bring into a relationship. You might not even be aware of all these factors yourself. Together, you can explore your relationship attachment style and begin having healthier and more secure relationships.
If you have been struggling with relationship problems and wondering if it’s your attachment style getting in the way, please contact me. I’d be delighted to help you understand what is happening and find healthier ways to handle your issues.
To find out more about couples counseling click here.