Do You Know Your Attachment Style?

Many of us in relationships of have heard of The Love Languages, lots that have done serious work in relationships are familiar with Gottman’s work and both books/theories offer the opportunity for couples to gain some insights on themselves and how they are in relationship with others. Both can act as the therapist on the arm of your couch with some really great advice for how to reconnect and strengthen your relationships.
When I do couples work in my practice however, and I do recommend a lot of Gottman’s work along with Sue Johnson, I notice a lot of people really disconnecting after the initial lusty brain channels have settled more because of different attachment style than actual incident or argument.
Outside of bigger issues or dealbreakers like addiction, infidelity, abuse, lots of couples have a sense of distance or insecurity from their partner because they have come into the relationship with different attachment styles. Our attachment styles are molded from birth through early years of development and are conditioned primarily from the response our mother’s had to us during those times. This creates a secure sense of attachment in a healthy individual when needs are responded to in a timely and appropriate way as an infant – but if they are not, it can create anxiety when it comes to our relationships with others.
Often becoming aware of your own attachment style and then that of your partner, if you are in a relationship, can be really valuable in identifying patterns of behaviour that are causing disconnect. Doing this work before you enter into a relationship is invaluable. Sue Johnson’s work in this area is brilliant in acknowledging that we are wired up for attachment, that healthy attachment is actually a good thing and allows us at the end of the day to provide the ultimate answer of YES  to the most important relationship question… will you be there for me?
It doesn’t have to be super complicated. You don’t need a library of self help books for this one. Check out your attachment style and learn about yourself and how you either create or dissolve healthy secure attachment in your relationships. This  is one area where you have to do your own work.
I’m not a supporter of needs-based or deficiency-based relationship advice… it’s not your partners job to fulfill all your needs and vice versa. Learn about yourself – become healthy and self sufficient – learn how to fill your own voids- from there you enter into relationships in a place where you can give  because you aren’t needy.
A healthy relationship can only happen when two healthy people (including their attachment styles) come together to give to one another not out of obligation to fill a deficiency in the other, but because of the room they have just to pour out in love, acceptance, and the ability to be there for one another. We make it too complicated and we put the responsibility on someone else to make us feel ok about ourselves. You have to do that for yourself.
Everything starts with you and a lot of my couples work really begins with recommendations for each person to work individually first. Often that work alone transforms their relationships.
Find out your own attachment style here.

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