Attachment represents the strong emotional bond we forge with the people who care about us and provide us with security. This is of course very intense at the beginning of our lives. In those early stages, we are completely dependent on the protection of the people around us to survive. In this way, attachment naturally forms a guarantee or assurance of survival. But it also colors, and quite a bit, the character of our first relationships. Avoidant attachment style is an important concept that we will explore today.
When adults who care for us play their roles well, we are most likely to develop a secure attachment, independent of our temperament. We are dependent on the other person, but that does not cause feelings of fear or frustration. On the other hand, when we have been neglected or rejected , we are more likely to develop bonds of insecure attachment. This is a form of dependence that is full of fear and indifference.
The way these bonds are formed in our early years of life will have a lot of influence on the way we develop affective relationships with other people. Unless we make a conscious intervention in that area. So we can say that these tires leave a deep, almost permanent trace. In that way, we are able to observe a tendency in adult life to replicate the attachment style that a person has reinforced in childhood. Somehow, past relationships have already told us what to expect or not to expect from other people, whether it’s true or not.
The attachment theory
John Bowlby, a British psychoanalyst, became interested in the concept of attachment and developed a theory about it. Based on his observations, he summed up the idea that we have a phylogenetic predisposition to develop bonds. These tires are mainly aimed at people who offer us safety and protection. Whether the people who, whether they actually do it or not, should give it to us.
In more recent years, psychologist Mary Disnmore Ainsworth identified three types of attachment. These are as follows: secure attachment, indifferent or defensive attachment, and avoidant or rejecting attachment. According to her research, most people develop the first type of attachment. But there are also a lot of people who fall under the other two categories.
Secure attachment allows us to form strong and spontaneous affective bonds. Insecure attachment (ambivalent and avoidant) makes room for severe depression and makes it more difficult to create intimate bonds with other people.
Where the types of attachment come from
When parents have a good attitude and are there enough for their child(ren), they form strong bonds of safety. In this scenario, children behave in a predictable way. When their mother leaves, they cry and feel uncomfortable for a few seconds until they manage to settle down. When she returns, they show happiness and express affection and joy.
If the parents are visibly distant or even show any signs of rejection towards their child, or if they are overprotective , it is most likely that the baby/child will develop an insecure type of attachment . When this happens, the child sees that his needs are not being met or fears that they will not be met for a while. This then triggers fear or avoidance as a way of protecting himself from the abandonment or indifference he foretells.
Children may even learn that expressions of affection irritate the people who love them most: their parents. So the little ones begin to spare them their emotions. In these scenarios, when the mother leaves, children will barely react. And when their mother returns, they will remain distant and self-focused. That’s how they develop false dependency.
The Effects of Avoidant Attachment Style and How to Overcome It
The effects of avoidant attachment style follow you into adulthood. Children raised in such circumstances become adults who are virtually incapable of expressing their emotions. In fact, they have trouble not only expressing them, but also feeling and identifying them. They will try to distance themselves from everything and everyone. They may behave indifferently around others and ambivalent about their own emotions.
This situation is especially evident in the world of couples. They become anxious about possibly losing their loved ones. They think that by not showing or minimizing their emotions, they can protect themselves from any suffering. They run away from authentic dialogues and get anxious before they even happen. Instead of expressing their disapproval with words, they will make do with angry outbursts and fake conflicts. They suffer a lot because they cannot love quietly. Instead, they love as if there is a great threat hanging over their heads. A threat they can’t identify most of the time.
Even though bonding patterns tend to stay that way, it is always possible to refine and polish them. Sometimes an experience of losing one of those loved ones brings a reflection and changes the patterns. Sometimes people achieve it by seeing a psychotherapist. It is also possible to become aware of it and work on it individually to learn how to connect with the world in a more constructive way.
Overcoming an avoidant attachment style works by restoring the relationship between the person and their inner world. In many cases, it works by repairing a damaged, unidentifiable and painful lack of self-confidence. Only when this relationship is healthy is it possible for the person to think about the inner worlds of the people around him. So the possibility of empathy when thinking about other people’s emotions can only be achieved if he starts thinking about his own emotions.
So in this regard it is very important to change our communication patterns, to open them. In this way, we can learn the ability to express our emotions in a controlled way so that everyone has a chance to accept, validate and, in some cases, go along with them.
It sounds easy when we say it like that, but when it’s hard to learn, it’s even harder to unlearn. It is thought that what we learn as babies, or at least a lot of what we learn, is the foundation upon which we have built the rest of our knowledge and habits that characterize us today. Sometimes it is highly recommended to enlist the help of a professional. But the earthquake that may be caused by the shifting of one rock is just as important as the bonding style that can destroy us.