My name is Kathy and I’m an Avoidant-Attachment.
Recently I was asked to write a poem on the theme: A Brief History Of Belonging.
I’m always up for a challenging prompt, but this one I particularly struggled with. Obviously, the prompt was open to interpretation and could have been steered in a myriad of different directions, except, I kept getting stuck on my own history of belonging — or more to the point, lack thereof.
Belonging, to me, is a warm word—one I associate with connection and bonding and nurturing and being grounded in love. It is a word I have grieved as long as I can recall—a word I have wanted to own for myself but one which I did not experience in an upbringing rooted in dysfunction.
As I thought more about the prompt, I considered the foundation of belonging, which led me to attachment theory — the theory that humans are born with a need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver. How the caregiver responds to the infant’s need for emotional connection in their formative years will determine their attachment style later in life.
In other words, those of us who formed no emotional connection with a caregiver as children are going to have a f*cking hard time forming emotional connections in our relationships as adults.
According to psychology, there are four main categories of attachment styles: secure, anxious, fearful, and avoidant.
Secure attachments are more likely to have stable and harmonious relationships, anxious attachments are likely to be worried and preoccupied about their relationships, Avoidant-Attachments are likely to need a lot of space and independence, while fearful attachments are a combination of anxious and avoidants — insecure in relationships but also able to distance themselves easily if they feel threatened or uncertain.
It makes sense that I’m an Avoidant-Attachment. Whatever close emotional bonds are supposed to happen in those early years of life did not happen for me. I learned quickly to not have needs, not have emotions, to not trust or depend on anyone but myself. And though a significant amount of un-learning of these things has occurred (thanks to an even more significant amount of therapy), I have come to accept I will likely always carry some characteristics of an Avoidant-Attachment.
As the attachment style cast in the most negative light, it’s not an easy one to own. We are the commitment phobes. The ice queens. The ones who play it cool. The treat-em-mean-and-keep-em-keen’ers. Yet most people don’t realise Avoidant-Attachments desire love, affection, and relationship as much as anybody. We actually make fantastic partners, if we have a partner who is willing to understand, honour, and respect our needs and meet us where we’re at.
If you are struggling in relationship with this attachment style, I’ve written a list of things that may help you better understand and love the Avoidant-Attachment in your life, read more over at Elephant Journal and don’t forget to give the article a heart if you like it x