Our childhood is a time when we learn about how life works. But not all of it is good for us as adults. As children, we depend on our caregivers to teach us about what is “normal” in life. So, we accept the dominant behaviours, beliefs and values of our childhood as what is “normal” for us. We start to expect it. For some of us, this means developing attachment issues in relationships.
Our current relationships often mirror the one we had with our caregivers. And the stress of living in a huge city like London may have made it difficult for your caregivers to give you what you needed. How our parents treated us when we were little sets the foundation of how we expect we’ll be treated today. Such expectations are often rooted in our subconscious, so we’re rarely aware of them. But once we recognise they exist in our minds, we can change them. We can heal our inner child and transform our relationships by working on our attachment issues.
If you have a history of bad relationships, read on to learn more.
The 4 Attachment Styles
First things first.
What is attachment?
It is the ability to form emotional bonds with others. Our relationship with our caregivers is the first real relationship in our life. It serves as a blueprint for how we approach our adult relationships. If our parents didn’t meet our emotional needs when we were little, it’s easy for us to develop attachment issues. This could be why you struggle with your relationships.
Here are some general signs of attachment issues to watch for:
- Difficulty trusting others
- Craving love and affection which leads to risky behaviour
- Rarely feeling safe in relationships
- Uncontrolled jealousy
- Relationship anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Emotional numbness
If some of this sounds familiar, it could be useful to learn more. There are 4 attachment styles that have been scientifically observed. Each has different characteristics and different consequences.
So let’s get into more detail!
1. Anxious attachment
If you don’t feel secure in your relationships, you might have an anxious attachment style. You crave love and attention – you can’t get enough! People call you needy; you feel anxious and struggle with low self-esteem. You’re afraid of rejection and losing people. That’s why you tend to put so much effort into relationships but get little back.
Sounds familiar? If so, your parents’ behaviour was probably unpredictable. Sometimes you’d get love and praise, and sometimes you felt like you were invisible. Your caregivers were sometimes there but other times they weren’t (physically or emotionally). You were never sure how they’d react nor what you should or shouldn’t do to get what you needed.
2. Avoidant/dismissive attachment
People with this type of attachment issues in relationships are at the opposite end of the spectrum. You crave freedom and independence, and you often feel like others weigh you down. You avoid forming close connections, and emotions are challenging to you. Closeness makes you uncomfortable. You don’t want to get “tied down” and have difficulty in advancing your relationships to a more “serious” level.
Your caregivers were unavailable to you. Even if they weren’t absent, they were cold and unaffectionate. Maybe they even rejected your needs and emotions. Maybe you were shamed if you cried. Or you couldn’t express yourself and had to follow the rules regardless of how you felt or what you thought. So, you learned to withdraw and self-soothe. You learned that it was a bad idea to ask for closeness and that it’s best if you avoid it as much as you can.
3. Disorganised attachment
If your relationships are chaotic or very intense, you might have disorganised attachment. This one is a mix of the anxious and avoidant. You may seek intense closeness, and then you disappear. Hot’n’cold is your game. You feel an intense connection with someone, but then you push them away just when it gets really good. You can’t wrap your head around why you do it.
The truth is that people with this attachment style feel that they don’t deserve love. They’re paralysed by fear. This often comes from childhood trauma. Your caregivers either outright ignored your needs and/or behaved unpredictably in a way that terrified you. Sadly, violence and abuse might be too familiar to you.
4. Secure attachment
People with a secure attachment style usually develop healthy relationships. They feel stable and secure in them. They’re happy and comfortable with people they’ve bonded with and have empathy for others. Still, they have no trouble setting boundaries when necessary. They rarely struggle with relationship anxiety or jealousy. It’s easy for them to trust others.
If this sounds like you then you’ve formed a positive emotional bond with your caregivers. Your needs were met, and your emotions were validated. As a result, you’re aware of your self-worth, and you don’t take every rejection to heart. You have no trouble asking for help and sharing your emotions and thoughts with others.
Is It Possible to Move Back to Secure Attachment?Photo by Jonathan Borba – Pexels
Yes! Yes, it is.
So don’t worry if you recognise yourself in any of the three insecure attachment styles. It might take some work, but there is a way out. Understanding the problem is the first step. So, by reading this article, you’ve already started your way to healing!
Hypnotherapy in London can help you get to the root cause. You can revisit core memories that shaped your attachment style and learn about what was missing. It can also help you develop empathy and compassion for yourself. That’s an important step towards building your self-worth and accepting that you are worthy of love. Regardless of how your caregivers treated you. A certified hypnotherapist can also help you set boundaries and work on your fears.
Transforming your attachment style means working on your beliefs and behaviours. NLP can empower you to take control of both. A healthy relationship requires us to work on our communication. How can the other person know what’s bothering you if you yourself can’t put it into words? How can we nurture our relationships if we jump to conclusions and never give our partner room to speak up? This is why effective communication is so important in healing attachment issues. An NLP coach can teach you all the principles that will help you achieve that.
Both approaches rely on creating a safe space. One where you feel comfortable expressing your feelings and needs. That’s why going to hypnotherapy in London is especially useful. A good therapist or coach can show you what a healthy relationship looks like. They can help you navigate through these new waters. Just bear in mind that healing is a process and that things can’t change overnight. But as long as you keep putting in the effort, the results will come.