Writing about first hand experiences is nerve wracking enough, let alone when it comes to openly admitting your flaws because of your attachment style.
People seem to think that we all have one kind of attachment style and until we own it and recognise what one we have, we aren’t able to change it and develop more meaningful relationships, but what about us strange and complicated individuals who’s attachment styles seem to be as fluid as the tea we’re spilling to our friends about our tragic relationship paths?
What if, some of us will experience different levels of attachment depending on how the person were with is making us feel within the relationship we’re developing with them?
Speaking as someone who always initially starts a relationship in a dismissive avoidant attachment style – which is basically a ‘I don’t need you or anyone else, all I need is my freedom to do what I want and when I want it so please don’t crowd my space and expect too much from me‘ kind of vibe, it’s hard to create an initial bond with someone. I know what you’re thinking … if you recognise this, then why not do something about it?
The key part to this story is that to me, if someone pushes through the emotionally shut down version of myself then when they get through to the caring side of me that would do anything in the world for them, then they really see what they’ve worked for.
Except this just isn’t ever the case, what tends to happen is when people eventually break through the ‘I don’t need you and can look after myself‘ attitude and are greeted with the ‘I want you in my life forever and will show you that in any way I can‘ well they don’t tend to want it anymore.
My experience with toxic narcissistic relationships has bought out a fearful dismissive attachment style in me that I never thought I’d have, but it’s the side of me that turns into a clingy mess when I don’t feel secure in my relationship (ugh god I hate my clingy phase more than anything!). I know that I crave stability and I look for that in my relationships, I want someone to come into my life with the intention to stay and when I’m not sure where I stand, a side of me comes out that I don’t even recognise.
I can see myself behaving in a weird clingy way that I would never do with someone new who I had no emotional attachment to. But this seems to be where the problem lies …. it takes me such a long time to realise I like someone that once I do, all the emotional attachment seems to hit me at once. What I need is for the person I’m dating to tell me that everything is ok and I immediately go back to being myself again and jump straight back into a secure attachment style. For me, when I hit my fearful dismissive phase all I need is some reassurance which generally tends to be the last thing someone wants to give you when you’re behaving weird and clingy!
But hey …. that’s past trauma rearing its ugly head for you!
When the person you’re dating starts acting even a little bit differently, you typically jump into a head space of thinking they don’t want you anymore and you get so badly triggered by your fear of rejection that its the only thing you can seem to concentrate on, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night (but meditation seriously helps me during this little phase by the way).
And instead of pushing that person anyway, you try to pull them closer and hold on for dear life, because we can’t stand the thought of them going anywhere, when in reality they might just need a little breathing room and that’s totally fine.
But if you’re dating someone with a fearful avoidant attachment style and you need some space, a simple ‘I know we’re going through a bit of a phase at the moment, but I want you to know I’m not going anywhere’ kind of text will save you both A LOT of stress, trust me!
So maybe we don’t have control over our attachment styles, but maybe if we can recognise what phase we’re in and try to understand why we feel the way that we do, we’ll be able to cope with our rollercoaster of emotions a lot better and we can advise the person we’re dating on how to help us deal with them too!