Love and relationships may seem like an unpredictable force, but the reality is that we can unlock the science behind these powerful emotions we called love. From understanding attachment styles to learning how our past experiences or trauma shape our present mindset, there's a fascinating and nuanced approach to learning how love works that you shouldn't miss out on.
In this blog post, I'll dive into the unique role of attachment styles in our relationships, exploring both the lasting impact they have and practical tips for improving them. Whether you're looking for answers about yourself or your partner's behavior - or just curious about how human connection works, understanding more about attachment styles can make all the difference.
What Is Attachment Theory and How It Relates to LOVE
Attachment theory is an area of psychology that attempts to explain what lies at the core of our need for love and connection. It encompasses the ideas of developing an emotional bond with parents or caretakers in childhood, known as "attachment styles," and how those bonding styles influence anti or prosocial behaviors later in life when it comes to romantic relationships. This theory resonates with my hypnotherapy practice because I especially focus on childhood trauma (the limiting beliefs - a child's way to understand what his/her emotional experiences mean to them with his/her undeveloped brain and nervous system) in order to improve both the relationship with themselves and others. Childhood experiences play a key role in what kind of attachments people form and can often trace back to any unresolved trauma or neglect. How a person is able to handle such trauma - or lack thereof - will determine the success or failure of adult relationships. If someone has difficulty expressing affection, forming trust and opening up due to negative childhood experiences, the results can be heartbreaking but understanding attachment theory and childhood trauma can give us insight into why this happens and helps us to maximize our chances of developing lasting, meaningful connections with others.
Identifying Your Attachment Style
Understanding our attachment styles can help us identify how we may form relationships with others and how we process certain emotions. Attachment styles refer to the way we bond and connect with those close to us, including parents, partners, friends, and family. There are four key attachment styles, discovered by a former professor at Rutgers University, Chief Scientific Advisor of an online dating service, Match .com, Helen Fisher who studied and researched the human brain and love for the last 25 years. According to Fisher, those attachment styles are based on the amount of security and trust you felt in earlier bonding experiences in your life - Secure, Anxious-Preoccupied, Dismissive-Avoidant, and Fearful-Avoidant. Knowing your attachment style can be beneficial in helping you understand why you may react the way you do to certain situations in relationships or even how this impacts the relationship with themselves. With this knowledge comes greater appreciation for yourself and how your attachment style affects yourself and others over time as well as improve overall well-being.
Understanding the Different Types of Attachment Styles
Understanding the different types of attachment styles can help people become the healthiest version of themselves. Each type is connected to how someone perceives and responds to love and intimacy. The attachment style typically develops as a result of their childhood experiences with their parents or caregivers. It is essential to explore attachment styles in order to fully comprehend how one's physiology interacts with love and relationships. This understanding can be liberating for individuals who want to understand why they act or feel certain way around someone they are about. Knowing your attachment style can open up the possibilities for healing trauma and developing healthier coping mechanisms for feeling more secure in the relationship with themselves as well as in romantic relationships.
By utilizing hypnosis, you can discover and explore why you developed a certain attachment style, and whether it is still relevant information and/or belief to hold on to; it creates a safe environment to review and evaluate your childhood beliefs around fear, safety, belonging/connectivity, and love is supporting your life or holding you back, so you can make a healthier and more supportive decisions for yourself.
a. Secure attachment style
Secure attachment styles provide us with the tools to create lasting, rewarding relationships and navigate life's highs and lows. Through deep emotional connection and understanding, secure attachment styles help us to decipher tough situations and develop trust between individuals. With such a foundation in place, people are better equipped to express themselves and find comfort when life throws obstacles in their path. Secure attachment styles can teach us resilience and compassion, as well as how to love not only partner or others but themselves.
b. Anxious-avoidant attachment style
The science of love has uncovered fascinating clues about how attachment styles can shape both our romantic and platonic relationships. Anxious-avoidant attachment style refers to individuals who have difficulty trusting others and get overwhelmed when experiencing closeness and loyalty.
These individuals may also engage in behaviors like distancing or even ghosting to avoid any emotional built up, ultimately leaving them with a sense of unease or insecurity in their relationships. While an anxious-avoidant attachment style can create challenges in connection and interpersonal relationships, there are ways to manage feelings and build healthier relationships through self-reflection, communication and vulnerability.
c. Anxious-preoccupied attachment style
Love is complicated, and research has shown that different attachment styles can inform how we interact with our partners. The Anxious-preoccupied attachment style involves wanting to be close to your loved one while being unable to trust them fully due to feeling insecure in the relationship. People with this attachment style often worry obsessively about their partners and may even accuse their partners of not caring enough. It's important for these individuals to recognize their behavior and focus on developing self-love so that they can have a healthier relationship with themselves so they can build healthier relationships with others.
d. Fearful-avoidant attachment style
Children develop their attachment styles from an early age as early as infancy through their parents or caregivers. The fearful-avoidant attachment style applies to the individuals who desire bonding but unable to connect deeply due to their feeling of fear around bonding. Often times they seek for romantic partners but as soon as they feel that their partners want more intimacy or deeper bonding, individuals with this attachment style tend to withdraw from the relationship.
Pros and Cons of Each Attachment Style in Relationships
Now we can see that, at least from the scientific stand point, when it comes to romantic relationships, a person's attachment style has a huge impact on their love experience.
It can have both positive and negative effects that can shape a relationship's dynamics significantly. Secure attachment involves feelings of trust and comfort in the relationship, allowing partners to express emotions openly without fear of judgement. On the flip side, an anxious-preoccupied attachment style can cause one person to become overly dependent on their partner, leading to jealousy and territorial behaviors. Individuals with anxious-avoidant attachment style often results in distance as one or both parties shut themselves off from their partner emotionally. Although all styles come with intergenerational inherent pros and cons for relationships, understanding and working through these issues could lead to much healthier outcomes for those involved.
Understanding the science behind love and attachment styles gives us tools to nurture healthy relationships including the relationship with ourselves. Also, when we understand the root emotion or original imprint in our subconscious mind around safety and love (trauma), we can improve not only relationships but the quality of our life and the level of happiness. Various researchers in psychology, biology, neuroscience, epigenetic science have proven the link between childhood experience around safety and the development of mental health, ability to cope with stressful events, and relationships patterns are deeply connected. Understanding both our attachment styles and childhood trauma around safety, we can make more informed decisions when constructing any types of relationships so we can build healthy, lasting and meaningful relationships with ourselves, and those around us.
If you're interested in learning more about your attachment style and limiting beliefs may have been affecting your relationships, sign up for a 25 min. online consultation below.