What role does attachment play in our way of relating? Is an insecure type of attachment an insurmountable condition to maintain a relationship that can be healthy for both? In this article we analyze it!
Almost 40 percent of the population (including children and adolescents) have attachment problems or disorders. In a society like the current one, in which mental health and emotional development are more visible, it is logical that dysfunctional attachment styles seem more evident. What yesterday were “defects” of the person, today are problems to be solved with the help of therapy. So how do you love someone with attachment problems?
You can have someone with a lot of potential by your side, but with a speech and a way of acting that are the reflection of a series of experiences from the past. And you want to love him, but it’s not easy. How to take a burst of anger after months avoiding a conflict that you wanted to resolve? How many times does it take to say “I love you” for him to believe it?
Therefore, to build a healthy relationship that makes you grow, we bring you some tips for each type of unhealthy attachment. Don’t miss out on anything, because everyone has the right to be loved and, above all, to love others without causing pain.
Attachment styles determine behaviors and ways of acting in relationships.
What types of attachment exist?
Surely you have already heard of attachment, as it is a topic that is increasingly present in popular language. Attachment, according to John Bowlby’s theory, is the emotional bond established between the mother and the baby, whose function is to ensure the care and psychological development of the latter.
Therefore, what attachment style is established in childhood will determine certain personality traits and behaviors in adult life. Let’s see what attachment styles have been described to date:
secure attachment: It is typical of people who have grown up in environments with close, predictable and consistent reference figures. With them they learned that social environments are not threatening and that others tend to respond to the trust we place in them. They also learned that what each of us does influences how others feel, so not all forms of communication are valid, no matter how much they carry the same message.
anxious attachment: In this case, the caregivers are inconsistent and therefore somewhat unpredictable. The idea that we usually have of social environments growing up in a care ecosystem of this type is that our actions are totally unrelated to what will happen to us.
avoidant attachment: the caregivers have not met the needs of the infant, so he has learned that he cannot expect anything from others, even in the most critical moments. People with this type of attachment have internalized the idea that they are alone in the face of obstacles or difficulties they encounter, and that they do well not to count on anyone. They are usually very autonomous and prudent, but at the same time it is very difficult to connect with them on an emotional level.
disorganized attachment: It is a mix between the two previous types of attachment. Unlike people with an avoidant attachment pattern, they suffer deeply when they fail to create intimacy with their people of interest. We recognize them because they often employ a very characteristic modus operandi: that of moving away, and then throwing in the face of the other who has not been around when they needed their help -a person with an avoidant attachment would move away just the same, but he would not do it to provoke that the other did something so that the distance between the two would not increase. The predominant emotion in their lives when it comes to social contact is usually frustration.
There is another type of attachment that seems to be restricted to childhood. Its about reactive attachmentwhich is characterized by inhibited and emotionally withdrawn behaviors towards caregivers, along with other social and emotional disorders.
Loving someone with attachment issues
Now that we have reviewed the types of attachment, we are going to put ourselves in the place of the companion, of that person who accepts a relationship with someone who has problems of this type. How does attachment style influence? What to do to love them without being hurt?
Loving someone with anxious attachment
Whether it’s your partner, your friend, or your family member, loving someone with anxious attachment issues can be exhausting. No word of love is ever enough commitment; the relationship absorbs or is conflictive, stability is almost impossible.
In this case, it is best to always be clear about the unconditionality of the love that is professed and about the commitment. It’s important to accentuate positive interactions and gently handle negative ones, but never forget boundaries. It is a long road, but it is possible that the person ends up feeling safe.
How to relate to someone with avoidant attachment?
As the term implies, people with avoidant attachment tend to avoid conflict and withdraw when it comes to expressing their emotions. Exercising your right to your own space can become a technique to avoid dealing with everyday problems.
Even so, it is very valuable to respect autonomy and make it clear that you are a person you can trust. Other techniques are downplaying the problems they magnify, as well as acknowledging the sacrifices and efforts they make. All this aims to reduce the levels of anger and the distance they put with others automatically.
People with avoidant attachment need their spaces and sometimes their escapes to be respected.
Loving someone who has a disorganized attachment style
This is probably the attachment that causes the most problems in relationships. The ambivalence between the wishes of the person and their way of establishing links is very wide, so the problems are many. These are people with volatile humor, who quickly withdraw and in whom anger and anxiety dominate their communication style.
Keep in mind that these people have had a development plagued with serious problems related to their caregivers.
For this reason, although in all three cases it is convenient to have the support of a psychologist, in the case of disorganized attachment it is practically a requirement for the relationship to be functional. Still, any relationship requires effort on both sides, so don’t be afraid to love someone with attachment issues: we all have things to work out.
Source: The Mind is Wonderful