What we believe about ourselves influence what we attract. As a matter of fact, our beliefs create a filter in which we see the world. If we believe that we aren’t worthy, our brains will seek out information or “evidence” to push through the filter that validates and confirms what we believe about ourselves. Our brains will purposely seek out people who confirm the negative (or positive) beliefs we have about ourselves.
For those of us who struggle with seeing our own worth, we often will seek constant reassurance from our partner. But ironically, we typically select a partner who has more of an avoidant attachment style.
Think of “attachment style” as a way of relating to others. It’s kind of like a blueprint we develop in early childhood on how to relate to other people, based on how what our relationship was like with our primary caregivers. We carry this blueprint along with us as adults.
There are four attachment styles:
1.) Secure: Feels confident in both their relationships and being alone and independent. Correctly prioritizes their needs and relationships and can draw clear boundaries and can stick to them.
2.) Anxious – Preoccupied: Feels a constant need for reassurance and affection from their partner. Being alone is intolerable and fears abandonment.
3.) Dismissive – Avoidant: Feels afraid of and incapable of tolerating true intimacy. Usually deprioritizes romantic relationships.
4.) Fearful – Avoidant: Feels afraid of being close to others, but also is afraid of being too distant. They try to suppress their feelings, but their anxiety is so high that they often experience intense emotional responses.
Psychology Today does a fantastic job of breaking down how your attachment style can impact your relationship. You can read it here.
The good news is that it is never too late to create a secure attachment style. How we love people as adults can be healthier than how we learned to attach to others as children. Once you understand your attachment style, you can start to challenge and dismantle faulty beliefs that you may have about yourself and others. You can learn how you may be avoiding closeness with people and overcome it. Or you can develop a healthier interdependence on your relationship, that is mutual and balanced, rather than a unhealthy dependence.
If you feel like you fall into an anxious attachment style, below are some tips on how you can start to break some of the patterns:
- Identify your own vulnerabilities in your relationships.
- Work with a therapist who is educated about attachment theory in adult relationships. This will help you heal and work through the insecurities you are having.
- Get to really know yourself and what kinds of things soothe you when you feel distressed.
- Practice communicating your feelings clearly.
- Learn how to identify your boundaries and express them clearly.
- Be realistic and know that one person cannot possible met every need that you have all of the time.
- Be mindful of jumping to conclusions about your partner or over-reacting. Learn to discern when your insecurities are influencing what has happened and try to stick to the facts rather than just going off your feelings.
- Try to find a partner with a secure attachment style. Experts say that 50% of us have secure attachment styles. It is much easier to confront your own attachment style issues when in a relationship if you are with someone more neutral in their attachment style. There is more intensity and drama with people who are together when one is anxious and one is avoidant.