Did you know that your current relationship patterns often thread back to your earliest childhood years and your bond with your parents? We often refer to this bonding as attachment, which begins at birth.
Secure attachment is the ideal attachment style needed to enjoy healthy boundaries, relationships, and social engagement. This is developed by the child having caregivers who are positively attuned to the child, provide a safe haven with consistency and “good enough” care, attention and affection. Feeling secure with their primary and other relationships, these people believe, “I am okay, and you are okay.”
However, when we grow up feeling insecure in our relationships to primary caregivers, siblings, peers, friends and others, then we are tentative, uncertain, and mistrusting. Curiously, we may or may not be aware of this.
However, there are certain behavioral styles that provide clues to our ability to attach securely or not.
In insecure attachment, the individual may have grown up believing, "I am not okay and you are not okay." There relationships were so unpredictable and insecure they now have issues with self-trust and trust of others is very difficult. Depending on their early years, adults can also have insecurities around, "I am not okay, but you are okay." These people tend to please and placate others due to their lack of self-confidence.
Finally, there is the person who believe, "I am okay but you are not okay." In this situation the individual tends to have a high need for control, as they do no trust others will say or do things to their standards. The individual who “suffers” from insecure attachment, regardless of which type, is likely to have low self-esteem. As a result, they will always feel anxious in their relationships and have a high need for external validation from others.
Additional characteristics of an individual with insecure attachment include:
Highly critical of those around.
Mind-games in order to draw the attention of the partner.
Afraid of commitment.
The idealization of other relationships.
“Come here-Go away” attitude in the relationship.
Personal desires are more important than the partner’s wishes.
Poor communication skills.
Avoid displaying emotions.
Passive roles in relationships.
Internalization of issues
In families where the attachments to parents or authority figures are insecure, children will often adapt different coping styles: the 'good' child;' the rebel; the comic who over uses humor; the one who disappears or avoids. We often take these styles into our adulthood and they form the basis of our relationships
The problem is these styles are defense mechanisms to keep use safe and secure. They do not allow for authenticity, which is an embrace and openness to both our strengths and vulnerabilities, our connection to our emotions and both the consciousness and acceptance of what we are feeling without any self-judgment; without punishing ourselves for past mistakes; or believing we are powerless.
When we are self-aware we can offer ourselves the choice of accepting our entire self, the parts we like and the parts we don't like; our fears and our strengths; our anxiety and our certainty. We can dump false conclusions born out of insecure attachments that cause us to believe: 'we are not good enough; love able enough; not smart enough, etc.'
As adults we can re-connect to our internal self; we can remind ourselves our souls are perfection; we can choose new beliefs and give and bring to ourselves that which makes us 'whole and authentic.' We can release our insecurities and create secure, healthy attachments based on who we really are and need.