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Navigating Relationships: Attachment Styles

Updated: Jan 9

How we show up in a relationship of any kind, has so much to do with the phase, segment, or chapter we are in in our lives at any given moment. Often, we are not this way or that way, we are more, the reflection of the experiences we have had along the way. The lessons we have learned (or not learned) and the actions we then take to make up our character. With each relationship we share, no matter how long or short, they mold our identity and how we see and relate to the world around us. We are constantly taking in new information that can alter or curve our beliefs and patterns of thinking.

Recently I began an intensive 7-week course with daily lessons that, in the first 3 chapters, took me though a deep dive of exploring my patterns, negative core beliefs, and attachment style. What I learned in these challenging exercises is that so much of my belief systems and ways of showing up, were just reactive patterns to old fears, wounds and protective walls that had gotten formed as early as I can remember, one daunting memory being just 5 years old! I have done a lot of inner child work and shadow self-healing in the past. In this most recent act of vulnerability, I so clearly and was able to connect the dots of my thoughts, feelings and actions and how they formed my way of being. I even found that some of them, I had fooled myself into believing that they were helpful, empowering and was proud of them! I had never even considered how the persona of being a "strong, independent woman" was formed out of the deep fear that I could only rely on myself and that it wasn't safe to trust and believe in others because they will inevitably let you down, or that I couldn't bear the thought of being stuck in a relationship that no longer served me because I couldn't support myself or survive without them. I can now see how my attachment style was behind this and have begun to let go of the armor I have worn for so long and allow vulnerability to be my new superpower. I do still see myself as such, and yet now, it is no longer from a place of protection, but from a softer place of self-love and appreciation for all I have been through and the skills those challenges helped me develop. Gratitude is now at the seat of all my battle scars.



How we internalize experiences as a child is so different than how we process as an adult. The concept called attachment theory can give some great insights. It's like a blueprint for how you connect with others, whether it's your friends, co-workers, family or significant other. Understanding how these patterns show up in your relationship with yourself and the people you share your life with, can be a game-changer. It's the key to personal growth, forming real connections, and building intimate, supportive relationships. Here I broke down a snapshot of the 4 attachment styles.


Attachment Styles


Secure (Autonomous):

  • Easy connection: Adults often find it effortless to form close bonds with others, leading to low anxiety in relationships.

  • Emotional resilience: They have the ability to tolerate their emotions and communicate effectively with others.

  • Stability and trust: Adults typically enjoy stable and trusting relationships, allowing them to be vulnerable and feel secure.

  • Comfortable independence: They can balance connectedness with partners while maintaining a sense of comfort with independence.

Avoidant (Dismissive):

  • Emotional distance: Adults often feel discomfort being close to others, leading them to emotionally distance themselves in relationships and stressful situations.

  • Trust challenges: Building trust can be challenging for adults, as they may prioritize independence over intimacy, resulting in a tendency to pull away from closeness.

  • Conflict avoidance: Adults are likely to avoid conflict, preferring to sidestep difficult conversations or disagreements in relationships.

Anxious (Preoccupied):

  • Relationship anxiety: Adults often experience heightened anxiety in their relationships, seeking safety and security in others and becoming fearful when closeness is lacking.

  • Distrust and dependence: They may exhibit traits of distrust, sensitivity, and dependence, requiring frequent reassurance to feel secure.

  • Behaviors stemming from fear: Fears may lead to demanding or possessive behaviors, inadvertently pushing partners further away in the process.

Disorganized (Unresolved):

  • Ambivalence in relationships: Adults often experience fear of either being too close or too distant from others, resulting in confusing and inconsistent relationships characterized by ups and downs.

  • Unresolved emotions: They may grapple with unresolved emotions, contributing to the challenges of maintaining stable and balanced connections.

  • Emotional regulation struggles: Adults often find it challenging to regulate their emotions, further impacting the stability of their relationships.


Beginning the process of unearthing all the dirt our subconscious worked so hard to burry, is such a daunting endeavor, and yet one of the most liberating and rewarding journeys we could take. Our hands will likely get dirty, but we need to pull the weeds out, so the seeds of love have room to grow and flourish. Knowing how we are and why we have come to the opinions we have in life, can be the first step in taking our power back. Finding the faith and strength to know that there are better options and then choosing differently, opens us up endless possibilities. When we know and honor ourselves better, we can gracefully hold space for, and allow the light and love that has been waiting for us, in with open arms and heart.


-What if the next time we felt fear or an impulse to react to someone we are in a relationship with, we took a moment to pause, take a deep breath and tried to understand where that fear or impulse came from? Was it our wounded, shadow self we have abandoned?

-What if when we felt fear or anxiety creep up and try to sabotage a relationship or situation, we thanked it for showing us where we need to grow and allowed the softness and grace of vulnerability to guide our next choice of word or action.

-What if the moment something seems or feels so upsetting, disruptive, unbearable, we realized that our thoughts and feelings are just one perspective formed from our unique experiences and that it is just as possible to have a completely different outlook on the same subject, topic, or situation? It all comes down to choice. Even when we feel so validated in our opinion, we always have the freedom to choose different.



Remember, we are the creators of the life we live. A pattern is nothing more than that, something we have repeated over and over. So, by simply disrupting a pattern and choosing differently, we have the power to completely transform our lives! All it takes is one pause, one breathe, one moment to think differently. Allow a different emotion to surface and then choose a different action, to begin living a more authentic version of yourself.


I have faith that each and every one of us are on our path to unveiling our most authentic self, and each day we are gifted with the opportunity to move closer to or further away from the rich and fulfilling life that is waiting for us. It all begins with a choice. What do you choose today?


My wish for you today is to enjoy your own personal experience of a higher octave of love, intimacy, and vulnerability.


All the love,

Pamela



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