I want to tell you about something called attachment.
This is vital to your relationship. Let me tell you a little bit about what attachment is and when it happens; when it begins.
Where it Begins
Attachment is something that happens between a child and its primary caregiver. When we are first born, when we are children and little babies; we have our mamas that take care of us. They cuddle us and serve our every need. There is something that happens in that relationship — that is — we learn to trust the world based on how our mother treats us.
As a little baby we are 100% vulnerable and it’s really, really important that we feel secure and that we feel 100% trusted with our caregiver. We want to know that when I’m hungry, I will be fed and when I’m thirsty know I will be given what I need. When I am sleepy, I will be able to rest. These are the basic needs that we have.
What’s amazing is that in these very basic needs and the interaction that we have with our mom (or any other primary giver); we build with mom a sense of trust for the world. If we know that mom will show up most of the time when we need her, then we will trust the world — that the world will give us what we need.
However, many of us grow up in an environment that is not very secure or not very comforting. It was either constantly chaotic or maybe very, very barren.
What I mean by that is, if we don’t get our needs met we are going to have a hard time trusting the world right from the beginning. We are going to grow up with a mental model in our mind that the world is not trustworthy. That is one really, really important thing that we learn in early childhood. This can result in something called an “insecure attachment.”
There are many reasons (sometimes unintentionally) that we might build an insecure attachment. An insecure attachment is where we don’t get all our needs met and we end up mistrusting the world as a result of that.
I am simplifying a lot. However, I want to just take one little piece of information so you can use it in your relationships. One of the reasons that you may be struggling in your relationship is because you might have had either an insecure relationship growing up or it could be that you had some experiences later in life that changed up your secure attachment, for example, a traumatic experience like sexual abuse.
We will discuss intentional trauma another time.
Examples of Insecure Attachment
Insecure attachment can occur from very loving parents. One example of a loving mother who is doing the best that she can and sometimes the child gets mixed signals would be loving parents that have a lot of stress going on in their life. Stress can come in many forms; there’s financial stress early on in life. If there’s financial stress that’s going to affect the relationship with the child as well.
If for example, a new mother experiences postpartum depression, well this is something beyond her and even though she’s doing the best she can, there may be times that the child is also receiving some of the sadness that she is going through.
Coming back to the current relationship
How can you use this information in your relationship?
When you are feeling angry or really, really upset at your partner, I want you to slow down and think about the fact that you and or your partner might both be reacting to some things that are beyond what you each have control over. I want you to bring in a little bit of self compassion, and I want you to have a curious mind and say to yourself, where is this coming from? Is this coming from somewhere else? Am I really angry at my partner or is there something else going on underneath here that’s making me upset?
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