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The way we attached to our caregivers as children affects the way we connect with others and can lead to poor adult relationships.

The dismissive avoidant was emotionally neglected by their caregivers during their childhood and learned that they must rely solely on themselves. Therefore, they can be withdrawn and easily get overwhelmed in relationships.

Someone who is fearful avoidant typically had a childhood that was highly tumultuous – often due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. However, they also typically had at least one caregiver that was emotionally available. Therefore, they tend to have an internal struggle between being vulnerable versus distant with their partners.

An anxious attachment stems from an inconsistent childhood. This means that one or both caregivers were emotionally available for their child, but on a highly variable basis. Therefore, someone with an anxious attachment has a subconscious fear of abandonment and tends to self-sacrifice to maintain their relationships.

A secure attachment stems from a healthy caregiver relationship. In adulthood, secure attachments tend to have supportive and communicative relationships.

Keep in mind that people are not always just one attachment style – they can be a mixture of attachment styles based on their childhood experiences.

1. Identify and Label the Pain You Feel in The Moment
Let us imagine you have a coffee date with someone who have just met or talked to much. Two days out they have not confirmed the time and location.

Ask yourself: what do you feel in this situation? It will most likely be anxiety, stress, fear of abandonment, or many other emotions along a similar spectrum. Begin by identifying your feelings so that you can then convert them.

2. Ask Yourself: What Meaning am I Giving to the Situation?
Ask yourself what stories you are telling yourself to elicit the emotional response you are having. The stories you are telling yourself may be that you are not good enough, not interesting enough, or a variety of other perceptions that will often be inaccurate.

Write these beliefs down to help clearly identify the meaning that you are assigning to the situation.

3. Question These Beliefs
Ask yourself: can you absolutely know these thoughts are true? This work is meant to undo the inaccurate perceptions that you may still be viewing your life through because of the experiences you had in childhood, and the subconscious programs that may still be running your life. Therefore, by questioning the validity of these beliefs, you can look at your reality through an updated lens.

4. Find Proof of The Opposite
You must find examples that contradict your negative beliefs to counter your negative beliefs. By finding proof of the opposite, you will be able to recognise that the stories you are telling yourself are inaccurate. For example, find a time where you were good enough or someone did care about you. By repeatedly proving to yourself that you truly are good enough and can be self-sufficient, you will help to undo the negative associations you are still carrying from your childhood.

5. If Things Don’t Work Out – Look for a Strategy
Occasionally, the negative things that we are telling ourselves come to fruition.
If we find we are faced with such a situation, look for a strategy. This is still part of your healing process. Look for a different strategy and invest your energy into a positive solution, this will prove that you can be strong and/or self-sufficient. This could be learning something new or becoming better at something.

Overall, regardless of the circumstances, you need to work towards first recognising and meeting their own needs. Once you have, you will be better equipped to love yourself and love others.

Which one are you?

About David Lawson

Finding the Light is a locally owned and operated counselling and life coaching business based in Bundaberg. We seek to empower our clients to find their way forward to a better life by using the approaches of counselling or coaching. If this blog article has raised more questions please contact us by email or call us on 0407 585 497 to arrange a time for us to discuss the article. Mention this blog and we will give you a FREE 30 minute session to discuss.

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