Attachment Styles in Relationships

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Did you know that the emotional bond you form with your caregivers early in life will lay the foundation for your adult love relationships?  This is a profound statement that requires a journey backwards in time and reflection on some early relationships that many people chose to ignore.
How you attach to your caregivers will set the stage for your attachment styles in other relationships.  Was your caregiver warm and responsive? Did they respond to you when you needed them and gave you proper space to figure things out on your own? This fosters a secure attachment style in relationships; you don’t worry about needing someone else to much nor do you fear abandonment.  You experience the crucial components of happiness and trust and tend to be a part of enduring relationships.
Was your caregiver cold or rejecting? This means your caregiver pushed you away and was not responsive to your needs. This leads to an avoidant attachment; you may feel uncomfortable getting close to others or reject relationships all together so as to not jeopardize your independence. The emotional highs and lows of these relationships make it difficult for attachments to be long-lasting.
Was your caregiver inconsistent? Sometimes they were there for you, sometimes they were not. You know your caregiver definitely loved you but didn’t always show it in the best way. This leads to anxious attachment, sometimes you love the person you are with, sometimes you hate them. Attachments of this style are characterized by possessiveness and difficulty with trust. When the relationship is under distress, intense emotions and anger create tension in the attachment but an inability to let go.
All three attachment styles will indicate how comfortable you are with closeness in a relationship and the degree of anxiety you experience over abandonment. What is your attachment style? How has this style impacted your relationships?

Let’s Talk

What is your communication style? Are you having healthy, engaging conversations with your partner, friends, coworkers?  Everybody just wants to be heard. Unfortunately, in an effort to do this, many people utilize an unhealthy mode of communicating. You may end up heard but you leave the other person feeling hurt, pushed away or angry.

If you are an aggressive communicator you tend to be demanding, abrasive or hostile. You are intimidating and punish others when you do not get your way.  You tend to feel righteous or superior at the time and possibly guilty later. When you communicate in this manner you leave the other person feeling hurt, angry or humiliated. This makes it hard for others to trust you and possibly vengeful towards you.

If you are a passive communicator than you are likely unaware of your own thoughts and feelings. They get buried so deep inside that the other person would never know! ‘People pleaser’s’ tend to fall in this category because you feel guilty imposing on others and attempt to avoid this at all costs.  This style can lead to resentment later because you end up doing things you do not necessarily want to do. Communicating in this manner leaves the other person feeling superior and possibly irritated that they are not receiving a clear and direct response.

If you are a passive aggressive communicator you express angry and aggressive feelings in a covert fashion through passive resistance instead of openly confronting an issue. When you communicate in this manner you seldom get what you want because you never get it across.  You leave the other person feeling incredibly frustrated, angry or hopeless.

If you are an assertive communicator you are able to express your feelings, ask for what you want and say ‘no’ when needed. You communicate honestly and directly while maintaining respect and consideration for others. If you can stand up for yourself without feeling guilty than you are an assertive communicator!  Your confidence leaves the other person feeling valued and respected so they will respect you in return.

So take some time to think about your relationships. Are they working? If not, you may want to re-evaluate your communication style!

Welcome to FVI’s New Blog!

Welcome to the new blog, Relationship Experts, for Fox Valley Institute for Growth and Wellness. Each week we will be bringing to you multiple postings beneficial to your life and well-being.

Relationships are a mainstay to human existence. In fact, many of us find ourselves in multiple relationships simultaneously. Take a moment to think about this concept, are you a friend, spouse, sibling, coworker; the list may feel endless for some. Paramount to the many relationships of daily existence is our relationship with self.

Aristotle said “happiness depends on ourselves.”  As an individual you must find your own happiness. You alone are responsible for your own happiness. How do you achieve this difficult feat? We will explore the many different means to build a happy sense of self within this blog. In order for you to have a happy, successful relationship YOU must find your own individual happiness.  You will learn about a variety of concepts and “how to” skills such as self-esteem building, healthy communication skills, stress management, coping skills for anxiety and depression, healing from trauma, just to name a few.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is a reaction, both are transformed” Jung. The combination of your happiness and your partner’s happiness will create a healthy, loving and close relationship between you both. Again, how does one achieve genuine happiness within a relationship? We will explore the many avenues to healthy relationships.  Here you will also learn valuable skills and tools including techniques for a happy marriage from some of the leading theorists, boundaries, anger management or understanding abusive relationships.

The avenues we will travel in this blog are endless and limitless.  You have the unique opportunity to hear straight from a clinical perspective on topics, techniques, skill building and educational concepts.

Thank you for joining us on this journey of growth and self-exploration, we are happy to have you!