Where does jealousy, insecurity, and relational fear come from within us? What causes many to never feel safe in a relationship with the ones they love the most? Why do some need ongoing relational reassurances of commitment, to the point where the unheard partners feel defeated, frustrated and alone? This constant anxious fear state of rejection, abandonment and loneliness creates intense feelings of never being good enough or never measuring up.
Although this is noticed as being an outward condition where an individual can never feel safe within relationships of intimacy in the world around them, it truly is rooted in natures earliest evolutionary structures where safety and security were formed. Relational attachments of security are formed through the first relationship we experienced, our parents. What is the means to a safe connection and bond to others? LOVE.
It can be no surprise that where a parent forms a loving, nurturing and safe attachment to their children, and when this is positively experienced by the child, these children grow up with a more inner secure sense of self and outwardly to the world around them. The experience of LOVE needs to be felt by the child for these bonds and inner securities to be developed.
When a child feels that their primary relationship with a parent is threatened and the bonds of love, acceptance and security are ruptured, then inner safety and security for that child becomes compromised. The world around them is no longer safe. The relationship with their parents becomes insecure creating the earliest form of fear, insecurity and anxiety. Attachment becomes ruptured.
The social construction of these inner insecurities through the breakdown of the bonds of attachment become integrated internally and mentally, and continue to operate from this place in future relationships. As these fears, insecurities and anxiety develop over time, as adults, when one experiences a similar intense anxiety or sadness in their current primary partner relationship, then the love those partners offer feels threatened.
Children who have come from relationships where the attachment bond of a parent has been compromised get upset easily and have significant difficulties to sooth these emotional fears because the parent was absent or unavailable for this nurturing component. As these children grow up to be adults, they find themselves unable to self sooth their fears, insecurities and anxieties in their romantic relationships where a lack of safety always seems to be present.
Seeking out relational partners that are believed to provide a safe attachment and reassurances seems to be the goal for everyone. For these adult individuals, once their partner demonstrates being available, reliable, and can respond to their concerns effectively and empathically, then the heighten attachment system turns off, and calmness and security is reclaimed. However, for people who have a history of an insecure attachment from childhood are not able to fully or consistently find comfort in their partners or in others close in their lives, their attachment compasses is malfunctioned and implicated.
Bartholomew and Horowitz, 1991 identified that secure or insecure attachment styles are fundamentally based on two concepts – “Working model of self” and “Working model of others.”
The “Working model off self” is meter to determine how worthy or unworthy you feel of being loved. When you feel unworthy of love, you will fear rejection and will struggle with “attachment-related anxiety.” This will lead to distressing emotions, thoughts and ideas. You might experience sadness, loneliness or even anger. People who struggle with this constantly are searching for reassurance from an attachment figure and chronically feel alone, rejected, or in FEAR of rejection. A lesser condition of this are people struggling with feeling somewhat inadequate.
The “Working model of others” relates to expectation of whether or not others will be emotionally available to them. An underlying belief, that was formed earlier in life is that people will not be available to them in times of need, fear, insecurity or other anxious states, so they feel uncomfortable with getting close to anyone, and in some cases, they may even avoid altogether being vulnerable to engage in relationships. This creates the “attachment – related avoidance” style of relationship. These individuals focus on not needing anyone to depend on.
Here’s a question for you, how much anxiety or avoidance do you feel or experience in your relationships?
Future blogs will explore attachment related issues even deeper, with also means to address how to live a life beyond relational anxiety or avoidance with those you love the most in you life
Be well Ian