Being the emotional person that I am, I have already spent a lot of time soulsearching. Where are all these emotions coming from? Why do I react the way I do? Is this normal? Like I believe in the Enneagram, I also believe in attachment styles.
As a baby/toddler you were completely dependent on your parents. The way they reacted in distressful situations for you, formed your attachment style. For example, if you put a mother and her baby in a room together, give the baby some toys to play with and then the mother would leave the room, how would the baby react?
A child with a secure attachment stops playing, starts crying and crawls towards the door where the mom went through. When the mom comes back and soothes the child, it calms down again and continues playing, feeling secure again.
However, children with an unsafe attachment will respond differently.
An overly anxious child will get upset, stop playing, start crying and even continues to cry when the mom comes back and soothes him/her. It will be clingy and need more attention, or – in the other case – will be mad at the mom for leaving and hit her, or turn its head away. this is an anxious-preoccupied attachment.
Or, a different situation can also be that the child does notice the mom leaving, but just continues playing. When the mom returns, it will also notice this but won’t ask to be picked up. This is the dismissive-avoidant attachment.
The last time is a bit of a combination of the last 2: the child will notice the mom leaving, will notice her returning and will run towards her for comfort, but they stop along the way, like they are hesitant, and then just go back to playing. They are ambivalent in the way how they respond. This is the fearful-avoidant attachment.
When the child grows up, the way it’s parents react to certain situations or conflicts determine the further development of his/her attachment. This is something we take along with us, as we grow up to be adults. And this is where it gets interesting: how does a mix of 2 completely different attachment styles work?
I’ll discuss my attachment type in a next post!