Securely attached people don’t fear relationships and vulnerability, they are not scared of abandonment.
And why is that? Losing someone we love is painful for everybody, so how come securely attached adults don’t live with this anxiety?
The consistency they have experienced in their childhood allows them to unconsciously predict a good outcome, and if failure happens, it’s not interiorised as something caused by them.
If I think I deserve love, and I am genuinely embracing my better and worse parts, I won’t feel abandonment says something about me or that I deserve it.
So, securely attached people are not the ones who don’t need connection, support, love and protection.
They are simply the ones who can understand there exists an intermediate dimension between their emotional experience, which they can live with tranquillity and acceptance, and someone else’s behaviour.
Some things can be very helpful to develop a better and more secure attachment style, and therapy is sometimes necessary if these schemes become too dysfunctional and painful.
- Developing emotional regulation helps not resorting to someone else for support.
- Nourishing self-love can strengthen a positive and realistic image of ourselves, stable enough to counteract our perceptions of what others think about us.
- Taking safe risks to get outside the comfort zone can show us we can handle more than we thought, and build self-reliance.
- Increasing insight can decrease our tendency to mind-reading and interpretation (often based on past experiences and not on reality) and guide us toward understanding that messages we receive from others might not depend on them not loving us anymore.
- Understanding the line between “you do this” and “I feel this” can help us to start being true to ourselves and our emotions without making the other responsible for them.
- Being authentic (“You know, I am feeling jealous”) can create room to talk about issues without them becoming problematic in some other way.
The ‘intermediate dimension’ is like looking ourselves from the outside. It doesn’t prevent us from feeling what we are feeling, but adds a context, a narrative, a reason, some perspective.
Our past doesn’t have to be our future.