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  • Writer's pictureLona

Becoming Secure: My Journey Through Attachment Styles


Becoming secure, a story of transforming attachment style

You aren't stuck in your attachment style! I think a lot of people find out they're avoidant, or anxious and hope to just manage the symptoms. But attachment styles are changeable! And you should also understand that attachment style isn't the only piece of the puzzle. This got TikTok popular in recent years with a lot of amazing research and buzz around it, but you should know they aren't concrete, they are more fluid, and there are many factors that go into them! So, how did I go from avoidant, to secure, to anxious, to secure again? Let's find out!


First, what the fuck are attachment styles. For my loves who have not seen this theory it's rather straightforward. Based on many external factors that begin the day you're born you develop an attachment style, or a combination of them based on how your caregivers treated you when you were crying. If you cried and they were attuned to you then gave you what you needed physically, emotionally, and energetically, then you probably grew up secure. And the majority of people are secure, likely over 50%. But if your parents weren't attuned to your needs, for many vastly varying reasons, you either developed an anxious, avoidant, or anxious/avoidant relationship style. This affected how you related to all other people, not just your caregivers.


I won't get super detailed here about identifying which one you are but there are a couple books I'll suggest at the end to learn so much more! Essentially anyone who isn't securely attached has a deep desire to be attached. They just go about getting that need met differently. Anxiously attached (sometimes called ambivalent attached) people cling in relationships, always questioning if they are attached and doing whatever it takes so they know they are attached. This can look like constant texts, large declarations of love, constant reassurance of the relationship, overanalyzing the relationship, hyper fixation on the relationship, and intense emotional responses. These people need constant reminders that the attachment is still intact. This typically stems from a heightened sensitivity to perceived threats of abandonment or rejection from their early caregivers.


Avoidant people still have a deep desire to be attached. But they are also avoiding feeling too attached, vulnerable, or intimate to protect themselves. What they want most is that attachment, but when it comes too close they often turn away from it because of the discomfort of losing it. This can look like an inability to commit, distrust, hyper independence, and avoidance of intimacy. This often stems from caregivers who didn't give them consistent, stable care in childhood, so they learned not to trust it.


We aren't born with an attachment style, this is a part of the brain that is entirely learned, so the biggest indicators of your attachment style are in your relationship to your early childhood caregivers. If you had a secure, attuned parent, you likely have a secure attachment style. If you had narcissistic, alcoholic, mentally troubled, or absent parents, you may not be secure. Now, all parents make mistakes, so just because you got lost at the grocery store once, or forgot at school a few times, doesn't mean you aren't secure. Those memories stick with us, but attachment styles are developed over a prolonged time of consistent unattuned parental behavior. And they aren't concrete. Some people are a little secure, mostly avoidant, and somewhat anxious. You can be any combination of these. However, most people will be a majority one or the other.


Since this is a learned behavior, it can also be re-learned! Yay! This of course takes time, effort, and possibly a relationship with a secure partner, but you can learn new tricks! No matter how old you are. Here's my story.


I was abandoned by my drug addicted, mentally troubled father when I was 7. My mother did as best a job as she could, but had to work a lot as a single mother. I also didn't have a great relationship with my brother, who was only 13 months older than me and also dealing with his own issues from all this. I was a mostly alone child growing up. We lived next to my mother's family, but that I think made it worse, since it only seemed like they were close, when they really weren't. I grew up not trusting everyone around me and developed a hyper independence. I especially didn't trust men. But oh did I crave attachment. I wanted to be the center of someone's world, I wanted to be important to at least one other person. I wanted someone to care about me and protect me and fuck me and love me so much.


My hyper independence pushed people away. After an abusive, controlling first real boyfriend in high school, I vowed to only trust myself. I was avoidant. In college, I was blessed to find a secure boyfriend. He trusted me, he was quick to love and care. He wanted to protect me. He wanted to be with only me. I remember at first pushing him away. But he persisted. I remember expecting it to end in fiery explosive finale, but it didn't. I remember getting jealous and going through his phone, and while he was upset by the invasion of privacy, he didn't leave, and he understood and worked to be more transparent. I remember being very resistant to snuggling in the beginning and he just kept trying until I broke down and started loving the closeness. I remember him trusting me to go out drinking with friends and not get controlling or judgmental or jealous. All these things over years helped me break down my relationship style and start to transform into a secure partner.


I had no idea what a relationship style was back then, but seeing him and his trust and security made me want to be better. A combination of being in a secure relationship and wanting to be like that was what helped me change. For years I was securely attached. I was the safe space for him and he for me. Dave was an integral part of my life for so long.


Then I fell in love with an anxiously attached person. And just like being with a secure person helped me be secure, being with an anxious person for years lead me to be more anxious. She was needy, and afraid of losing me. We became obsessed with each other like a drug. And she needed constant reassurance. She had intense emotional responses, and was threatened by my other relationships. And there were almost no boundaries. Her emotions became my emotions, and I slowly started to become like that.


And something strange happened as well. I started to become anxious, but also avoidant again. It was hectic, and chaos sometimes. And she was especially good at hiding it from other people. I started needing constant reassurance as well. We became codependent. And it wasn't healthy for either of us. Then the pandemic hit and it was just us and it all got so much worse. I had become a combination of secure sometimes, anxious, and increasingly avoidant. When I ended the relationship I felt a wave of calm come over me that I hadn't experienced in a long time. It definitely was like a drug. Attachment can be like that sometimes.


I was already dating my current partner, Sweet Potato, when I broke up with her. He is a recovery avoidant, not yet fully secure at the time. He had spent years in therapy because after several failed relationships he thought he was a psychopath. Turns out he was extremely avoidant. He had already worked for a few years on these things. And something amazing happened. I could see the patterns in myself of repeating the relationship style of my partner, for better or for worse. And I didn't want to go back to being avoidant. I chose myself. I chose secure. When I saw intimacy, I leaned in. I had learned that abandonment could be around every corner if you want it to be. I chose that even if this ended in abandonment or rejection, I was going to choose closeness. I learned to spot the symptoms of my attachment and soothe my needs first.


And I became more securely attached than ever. Now, I enjoy the fruits of this labor by creating the environment for Sweet Potato to be securely attached as well. And like Dave did for me, I'm doing for him. So, you were indeed dealt a certain hand in childhood when it comes to your attachment style, but that doesn't have to define you your whole life!


How can you transform? The first step is learning more. Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin and Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller are two books I highly recommend! Attached can help you identify your style, and Wired for Love can help you understand and start to change your pattern. But all too often reading alone cannot transform you. My coaching can help you dive deep on a somatic level to transform from the inside out! Using the tools of Tantra and somatic psychology I can help you find whole-life liberation and become the secure partner you've always dreamed of. Check out the details at www.lonateachesbliss.com/coaching


INSPIRED ACTION: Learn all you can about attachment! Even though you are a multifaceted person with a complex background, learning your attachment style can help guide your growth and help you understand your choices!

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