The attachment dance

I’m 37 and until the last 2-3 years of my life, I didn’t realize that some part of me always felt like I was missing something. Turns out, I was. It was a secure attachment. For the last 12 years, I’ve been really busy working hard to overcome many things. First it was an ulcer, dysfunctional relationships, addiction, codependency, depression and chronic pain. To say the least, it’s been exhausting.

I could write a book on the many different things I did to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally. Looking back now, it is interesting to realize all my feelings, emotions and physical pain stemmed from unresolved trauma and emotional pain. Unresolved trauma and pain stored deep inside my brain, body and psyche.  

I never thought I would discover the solution to all of it was as simple as a secure attachment but now I absolutely know 100% that is not just my solution but the world’s. Studies are now showing that a securely attached person shows less mental illness, makes more money and has less divorce in marriages.

Isn’t that just about everything? You feel better mentally, then you feel better emotionally. If you have that plus make enough money to live a nice life, there really nothing to fight about in your relationships. Done...

It’s something to think about. If there was a thing you could learn and attain that would give you mental stability, the ability to make more money and help you maintain healthy relationships, wouldn’t that be worth going after? For me, that’s a hell yes! Especially since that’s where literally all my suffering came from! 

Well, what’s pretty awesome is I can legitimately tell you we can change our attachment styles. Good news, right? There is literally a process you can go through to attain the best possible gift you can give yourself, a secure attachment.

It took me about two years in the process with my therapy. But it’s different for each person. Everyone has a different amount of trauma they are working with. My case was a bit severe but probably in the middle of a scale, if there is one, since I did a lot of work leading up to my therapy.

Now, I’ll explain what the insecure dance looks like. Have you ever experienced going towards your partner while it feels like they are pulling away? What about you, do you feel your partner pulling away and you try to pull them back toward you when you feel them distancing? This is the dance of the avoidant and anxious attachment styles.

It’s not always easy to spot when you’re in it, especially since you’re most likely used to the dance, grew up with it and experience it from most of your friends and family. But when and if you can, you may notice it feels uncomfortable. If that’s the case good. Keep noticing and get help. 

A good place to start is reading some literature about it. I recommend Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartnell. It is the most clearly succinct explanation written by experience with exercises you can do. 

A secure person is the only person that can help another person become secure. It’s something that you either get from a secure parent or it’s something that only a secure person can help you achieve.

What it feels like is, peace, serenity and no clinging to any one thing or person. It’s a belief of, I’m alright with the world, and the world is alright with me. Everything's okay. No big highs or lows, just an ability to meet life with a sense of peace, wonder and possibly. That feeling that stays with you all the time and tells you I’m a good person, doing my best in life. I make mistakes and life goes on.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have any negative feelings or emotions. No. It just means you know those feelings are par for the course and you don’t stay stuck in them too long. You are able to meet them with love, move through them and get back out there.

Good things and bad things happen.  You’re still okay and nothing rocks your boat too much. That is security, as I can explain. It feels like a new life when you achieve it. A new you, so to speak. It’s a thrill, exhilarating and at the same time like walking for the first time. Scary but totally worth it, because you can see life from a new vantage point and even reach out to get what you want more easily.

For me, secure attachment is how we create peace on earth. So my journey will be to support others to achieve it and I will continue to learn more about it. To me, it is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, our children and humanity.

Be well,

Laura Doctor