Notes taken and adapted from How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich.
Do you know what your attachment style is? We ALL have one.
You might wonder why your marriage ended. Or why you have the same argument over and over with your girl/boyfriend. You might see a repeating pattern in your dating.
This “core” pattern is a dance that every couple does. A core pattern is the predictable way you and your partner react to each other that leaves each of you frustrated and dissatisfied.
These “imprints” didn’t start in marriage. They started in infancy and lasted all the years we lived with our parents. These imprints form our beliefs and expectations about love. These imprints determines our love or attachment style—how we interact with others when it comes to love.
Attachment theory has been around for 70 years. I believe EVERYONE needs to know about this because we ALL have an attachment style that we take into adult relationships. We react in subconscious ways and it’s important for you to know how to make this more conscious. Yes, you can read a book and learn about attachment styles. GREAT… do that… I’ll recommend a few at the end of this article. OR you could ALSO come to a class about it. I bought a video series from the experts that will walk us through attachment styles AND how to heal these so you can have an amazing relationship. I will discuss these further next month.
This has nothing to do with bad parenting. It has to do with how your parents or primary caregivers met your EMOTIONAL needs. If there were multiple kids in your family of origin, it’d be hard to meet ALL the emotional needs. If unaware and/or preoccupied, it would be hard to meet the emotional needs of just one child.
The way a parent handles a child’s fear, shame, anger, sadness, and jealousy is critical. Parents must help their children learn to label what they’re feeling and to manage the emotion in increasingly sophisticated ways. Many parents erroneously believe the goal is to quickly get rid of uncomfortable feelings (“Don’t be mad/sad”) rather than to teach the child to handle them. As children learn to feel and then deal with their emotions, they are learning one of life’s—and marriage’s—most important skills: to process emotions and manage stressful situations.
It’d take too long to fully explain each attachment style, but briefly, adults with avoidant attachment style learned early on to minimize their feelings, to be independent, and meet their own needs. Pleasers learned to be cautious and tried hard to be the good kids in order to avoid criticism and keep things peaceful. Vacillators found early on that connection was sometimes available and unpredictable and these kids were often left waiting, so by the time attention was offered, they were too angry to receive it. Controllers and victims learned to cover their fears by either fighting back or detaching and complying. Each style is characterized by a particular way of coping with pain, which unfortunately abounds in too many family situations.
Why learn about this as a single person? Because you will take this attachment style into your next relationship (dating, living together, or married) and have the same issues as before.
How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovish
Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt
Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson
By Elizabeth Lewis, Life Coach/Relationship Coach/Author – Learn more about her at loveandlaughterlifecoaching.com