“Attachment” in recovery and therapy refers to our ability to connect with others and form meaningful relationships. Our “attachment style” is influenced greatly by the environment in which we were raised. Attachment styles are categorized into secure versus insecure, with secure attachment styles being the ideal and the insecure styles being separated into different types. Most people have some form of an insecure attachment style since the “perfect” home does not exist.
While we cannot be “cured” of the feelings and behaviors present in our attachment style, we can work on them and improve. There is no pill or quick fix to change our attachment style instantly. However, we can work toward building secure attachments with those important to us in our lives. We can work through our emotions and practice new behaviors to build our relationship skills to foster deeper connections with others.
Generational Effects Can End With You
We may have grown up in a household where affection was never shown. Our parents learned this from their parents, and on and on. We may have had parents who were dealing with their own struggles and left us alone much of the time without a sense of security at home. We have the power to break this cycle! We can end the effects of generational insecure attachments by working on ourselves to give our children the security they need to thrive.
Let’s discuss the ideal to understand where we may have a deficit. Secure attachments would occur in a household where a child grows up with consistency. They know that they are loved and never need to question their value. They have supportive parents, who have taught them that seeking help from others is normal and healthy. They have efficient skills in resolving conflicts and connect with others easily. They feel secure both alone and with other people. Due to the consistency in being shown love and affection in the home, these children can grow up to be well-adjusted, confident adults.
When children grow up in neglectful environments, they do not value relationships or connections with others. They may avoid intimacy and struggle in their relationships as adults, as they may appear “cold,” “aloof,” or uninterested in their partners. People with this attachment style may have had parents who were not around much or were not “present” when they were around. Often, their parents may have only spent time with them when teaching a specific task, yet they did not show praise or affection unconditionally.
People with an ambivalent attachment style have grown up with inconsistent and unpredictable patterns of showing attention and affection. They may feel anxious and insecure in their relationships, as they are worried about losing affection. They grew up never knowing when to expect love or neglect. They may need more reassurance and consistency in their adult relationship than others to feel secure and less anxious.
When children grow up in fear of their parents or caregivers, they may develop a disorganized attachment style. They may also have experienced his amounts of confusion or distress when around their parents. These could be abusive parents or parents suffering from their own issues, like severe mental health concerns. When these children were growing up and needed something, they had nowhere to turn, as they were afraid of their parents. People with this attachment style may have mood swings, trouble regulating emotions, or they may “check-out” and disconnect.
What Can You Do To Change Your Attachment Style?
Do any of these styles sound familiar to you? You may have grown up in a dysfunctional household and have some of these tendencies yourself. Remember that you can change this and teach your children to connect with others. You may need to work on yourself to help your family and your troubled children. One of the common themes of all insecure attachments is consistency. Being consistent in your mood and your behavior toward your children can teach them to feel that the world is predictable and safe. We often build our expectations about the world in the home. When we grow up without feeling unconditional love and support, we can grow up feeling that the world will not recognize our value or accept us.
If you have endured a troubled childhood, you can also get help to learn the skills you need to form secure attachments with your loved ones. If your family has passed on this attachment style, you can break the cycle and start over. Remember that restoring the balance and health of our families involves more than treating our troubled child’s issues. We need to heal everyone within the home to be strong and build the supportive environments our kids need to thrive!
Understanding our own attachment style can help us repair some of our generational patterns in our families. If we were raised in dysfunctional environments, we can stop the cycle to help our children develop healthy coping skills and connect well with others. Attachment styles can be considered secure or insecure, although very few people grow up without any experience of an insecure attachment. No family is perfect, but we can try to teach our kids that the world is a safe and predictable place. When children grow up without feeling unconditional love and acceptance, they may not feel like they contribute value to the world at large. They may struggle to connect with others or avoid intimacy altogether. If you have a child dealing with severe behavioral issues and need help, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you. Call us today at (303) 443-3343 for more information. “We got your back!”