Does your style of connecting affect how you feel in a relationship?
Have you ever noticed how you feel when you are with others?
People you love and the relationships you share with them are, without doubt, vital to your well being. No matter how much you appreciate your own space or how independent you are, to connect with others is a feeling like no other. Your nearest and dearest fill your life with much love, laughter and create special memories for your to treasure.
Look at the history of your relationships
But what if some relationships leave you feeling lousy, drained, unloved, inadequate or on edge? Yes, we know who these people are. We may even be that person to somebody else!
Are you repeating a pattern and still not getting what you want or need? Look at the history of your relationships and see if you can identify a pattern – a type of person that you are drawn to.
It is your way of feeling loved; what feels like love to you
I believe that one contributory factor to the success of our relationships is largely influenced by our particular style of bonding. From working with children, I’ve observed that their earliest experience of forming significant relationships creates a blueprint as to how they go on to form relationships in their adult life. Even if their blueprint is unhealthy and hurts them. It is their way of feeling loved; what feels like love to them.
There are three major attachment styles: anxious, avoidant and secure
Around 20% of people are anxiously attached. Anxious people need to be close; they love to be intimate. They are very preoccupied with relationships, and very sensitive to small cues of threat in a relationship. Let’s say their partner has not replied to a text message or answered their mobile phone— it’s anxiety provoking for the relationship. They would start to worry if they didn’t hear from their partner soon.
Anxious people are often classified as clingy and needy and desperate. It really isn’t that. You are only as needy and clingy as your unmet needs. If your needs are met, you can just relax. If children feel safe, they don’t cling to their mothers, they play with their toys. It’s the same with adults.
About 25% of people are avoidant. Avoidant people want to connect because we’re all programmed to get attached to other people, but something strange happens when they get close to a person. They are uncomfortable with too much closeness. They keep their partners at arm’s length and constantly try to negotiate intimacy and closeness. They see it as something that interferes with their independence.
Securely attached people make up 54%, the majority, of the population. These people are warm and loving and love to be close, but they don’t get anxious when separated from their partner. They are not preoccupied with the relationship; they don’t mind things so much.
Imagine what happens when an anxious person gets together with an avoidant one?
The avoidant person brings out their anxiousness so it feels familiar but it’s not necessarily healthy. They will be locked into a power dance of to and fro forever.
Are all of your relationships really nourishing you?
It’s a bit like a comfy old pair of slippers – they have holes in so they don’t keep your feet warm, however they are ‘oh so comfortable and familiar’ so you keep wearing them. You could of course, nip to Harrods and get yourself a swanky new pair but they just wouldn’t feel the same. Sound crazy? Well that’s how crazy it can be.
It’s also true to say that the type of people we attract into our lives will be a mirror of what was going on inside of us at the very moment we met them. So, if for example, you meet somebody who treats you badly, it maybe because you have a deep seated belief that you are not good enough.
Lucky for me (and it is with complete gratitude that I write) as these people showed up in my little world, they reaffirmed to me where there was work to be done or to simply reaffirm a belief I had about myself. They may have caused me great pain along the way but they gave me a gift. They gave me clarity about who I was. You can read more about thorny people here
When we let go of the negative beliefs about ourselves and clean up our acts, we no longer attract these types of people. We vibrate on a different frequency. We play ‘Radio 4’ and they still bang out tunes on Kiss FM. The journey doesn’t end there though, as ‘Radio 4’ attracts a whole new set of characters that also bear gifts for us to cherish.
Which one are you?
If your life is full of unsatisfactory relationships, check out your relationship pattern, your attachment style and your self beliefs. There maybe something in there that’s keeping you hanging on. But what are you hanging on to exactly?