part 1 of 5
Hi, Happy Lovers!
Thank you to all of you that provided feedback about the direction of this newsletter!
I heard from many of you that you’d like to know more about “attachment theory,” so here’s the start of a 5-part series.
Today, I’ll be discussing the theory as a whole, and starting next week, I’ll get more into each type (there are 4).
Parts 2-5 of this series will only go to paying newsletter subscribers. If you want to make sure to get the rest of the parts, sign up to be a subscriber today! Paying subscribers get access to special content and one 15-minute phone/zoom consultation or e-mail a week!
Let’s get started!
Attachment Theory was developed first by John Bowlby and later expanded on by several researchers and psychologists. Bowlby described attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” ((1969). Attachment and loss. (OKS Print.) New York: Basic Books.).
Attachment Theory basically surmises that how you were raised, how your parents loved and cared for you (or how they didn’t), has a profound and lasting impact on your ability to form relationships (be it romantic or friendly) overall.
As children, our survival is dependent on our caregivers, so it’s hardwired into us to connect to them.
If those caregivers were consistently available and sensitive to our needs, we’d develop secure attachment. Because our primary and foundational relationship was secure, we would feel comfortable going and exploring the world because we’d feel that our caregivers would always be there for us.
But if we’d had sucky caregivers for any reason, we’d develop one of the other insecure attachment styles and its resulting problems.
If your parent was abusive or neglectful (physically present, but emotionally absent), the child would be likely to develop dismissive or fearful avoidant attachment. This would express itself through avoidance of an intimate or close relationship with their parent or others and choosing to hang out mostly by themselves.
If your parent wasn’t always available, you would be likely to develop ambivalent attachment. This would express itself through extreme separation anxiety, poor boundaries, and regular emotional fits and rages.
If your parent was unpredictable (sometimes available, sometimes not; sometimes abusive, sometimes not), the child would be likely to develop preoccupied/disorganized attachment. This would express itself through a fear of closeness to the parent, avoiding the parent outright or being aggressive to the parent, and lack of trust in relationships.
So what does this mean for you?
While it may seem ridiculous that how your parents cared for you when you were less than a year old would still impact you as a grown ass human in grown ass relationships, there’s a lot of research that backs that this is true.
This is partly because of what your attachment style influences.
Your attachment styles influence you and your relationships in three major ways:
who you pick as a partner,
how secure you are with that partner,
and your strategies for dealing with your relationship with that partner.
During my certification process to become a Relationship Coach, one of my instructors talked about how there’s so much truth to certain adages like, “We marry our parents.”
Our brains are wired to recognize patterns. This merely means that if something seems similar or familiar, we’re wired to see it positively. If your brain is used to unhealthy, disordered, dysfunctional relating patterns and you encounter a new person with which you can act out the same unhealthy, disordered, dysfunctional relating patterns, you’ll be all over it! Hence, why you might marry your father or mother, even though you’re really seeking something completely different.
What can I do about it?
Here’s the hope piece: you’re not stuck. Our brains are plastic.
They can grow and change. We can begin to see new healthy and functional patterns as normal and seek those out instead.
It just takes some work.
Step 1 in that process? Becoming aware.
Hopefully this newsletter series will help you with that.
Next week, I’ll be delving into dismissive or fearful avoidant attachment.
**Not sure which attachment style you have? Fill out this quiz to find out!**
Interested in learning more about attachment theory? Here are some books to check out. All links are affiliate.
My book, Stop Wasting Your Time on Women Who Don’t Want You, is still on sale for $2.99!
articles I wrote (on my new fancy website!):
Got any of your questions, concerns, stories, hacks, anything?? Send them my way!