Infant development (6-18 months) involves learning to trust, security and nurturance. The interaction between a baby and its primary caregiver during this period of infancy translates into an attachment style of individual which sticks with him throughout his lifetime in various relationships. If the primary caregiver responds to the distress of the baby by mirroring its emotion and then slowly comforting it and works on reducing the distress, the individual develops a secure attachment. If the baby’s distress is not responded to on time, it starts developing the feelings of hopelessness.
Attachment style as a child:
1.Secure –The baby is distressed when the mother leaves the room but is back to normal play quite soon as the mother returns.
2.Anxious-The baby is distressed when the mother leaves but once the mother is back the baby is still angry and takes a longer time to calm down.
3.Avoidant-The baby is distressed when the mother leaves the room but once the mother is back the baby remains indifferent. Even though the baby feels an increased heart rate, it doesn’t express its emotions.
Even though the attachment style has influence on various areas of life in general, for example, the securely attached individual chases high levels of achievement with little fear whereas the insecurely attached individual approaches life with a high sense of fear and anxiety.
Attachment style in Romantic relationships:
1.Secure-Individuals with a secure attachment style are naturally warm and loving in a relationship. They effectively communicate needs and feelings to partners and pick up cues easily without overly worrying about relationships.
2.Anxious-Anxious individuals constantly think about their relationships and need constant comforting. They often worry that the partner will leave them anytime especially if they start opening more or if the partner is away for a longer time.
3.Avoidant-Avoidant individuals prefer their independence and self-sufficiency to an intimate relationship. They look out for signs of control and infringement of the boundaries by the partner. Emotionally supporting their partner is difficult for them. They find it difficult to express their innermost feelings.
While your parents did their best in supporting you, the way you responded back then results in an insecure inner child which comes out during times of distress.
What is your attachment style? Check out your score on ECR scale of Attachment.
In a series of workshops on Attachment style, you will learn how to nurture the inner child and help restore a sense of trust, security and nurturance.
The first workshop in the series is on Avoidant Attachment style.
What does Avoidant Attachment style look like in daily life?
George is puzzled about why his new girlfriend Cherry left him in 2 months. It is just not this girl friend but the same pattern repeated in relationship after relationship. When Cherry was asked why she left George she said “George hadly opens up. He hardly responds to my emotional bids. Even if he does, he answers yes or no. He never participates in a conversation which adds up to not participating in my life. When I press him for an answer, he evades it. If at all he does it is in such a convoluted way that I can’t even understand what he is trying to say. He freaks out when I try to touch him. He hardly calls me and it is me who is always trying to get closer. I don’t understand why did he have to propose me in the first place if he had no plans to participate in the relationship and commit to a marriage”
Niveda often has sudden outbursts of anger and she can’t place why she overreacts for no significant cause. She also has been suffering from constant back pain and migraines which have temporary relief through physiotherapy. At work, she doesn’t trust her subordinates and micromanages them or redoes the work because she is not satisfied with the end product. To cope with the constant stress in her life, she keeps munching on junk food.
Kevin, a 8 year old, complains “My dad doesn’t play with me. If I ask him to spend time with me, he watches a cartoon with me.”
Can you identify yourself or someone you know with the above stories?
Some of the difficulties faced by Avoidant Attachment style people are
1.Knowing needs and Asking for help
After ages of considering yourself self-sufficient, it is difficult for you to know that you need help and then ask for help. Historically, you didn’t have anyone available to provide for you and the only way you could survive was by being there for yourself.
2.Left Brain domination
If you are too logical and consider yourself not creative, there is a good chance that you have divorced your right brain. The right hemisphere of the brain helps with intuition and understanding cues on interpersonal communication. If you remember incidents of your life with dates rather than emotions which you experienced on those dates, your right hemisphere is sleeping.
If you didn’t have enough people around you to teach how to express your feelings, as an adult you might still be using limited vocabulary and talking only when needed. You don’t describe your feelings with others. They might even find it difficult to even make a conversation with you. If you are talking to an anxious avoidant or securely attached person, you might even feel lost in the conversation.
If you had a difficult birth or you didn’t have enough face to face time with your caregiver, there is a good chance that you have a hard time using physical gesture, facial expressions to communicate or receive.
Why attend the workshop?
In the avoidant attachment style workshop, you will learn how to alleviate your everyday life difficulties because of the personality you developed through self exploratory and visualization exercises.
By the end of the workshop, you will learn why you have become the way you are now, have a strategy on how to deal with challenges of daily life head on and have improved relationships with important people in your life.
The first workshop was on conducted on 20th June.
Here is what participants said about the workshop,
“Amazing experience seeing our child self and comforting”
“Now that I know the reasons for some of my behavioral aspects, I am being conscious when I am exhibiting them. I am noting down what I can do better the next time in such a situation so that I can have better interpersonal relations. I am also continuing to spend some time on active hobbies so that I have a healthy outlet to my emotions. The workshop helped me realize that some of my typical traits can largely be explained with my attachment style.”
Register for the workshop if you want a notification on when it is conducted next.
Happy Secure Attachment Style!