The shadow of attachments – El Sol de México

Twitter: @Mik3_Sosa

The first years of life deeply mark our way of relating, since that is when we establish our first bonds through attachment figures, generally parents. Psychology has thoroughly studied how these initial attachments shape our personality and ability to trust others. Knowing a little more about this theory can help us better understand ourselves and, incidentally, the people around us.

Babies seek proximity and contact with their primary caregivers, usually through signals such as crying or looking. The way these figures respond to your needs will shape the type of attachment they develop. If their needs are met appropriately and consistently, they will develop a secure attachment. They will be able to explore their environment from a secure base that gives them confidence.

If the caregivers’ response is inconsistent and unpredictable, the baby may develop an anxious-ambivalent attachment. These children can be very insecure and have difficulty exploring on their own. There are also avoidant attachments, in cases where caregivers constantly reject the baby’s signals.

These attachment styles are formed in early childhood, but tend to last into adulthood. They influence how we bond emotionally. A secure attachment facilitates healthy relationships, while an insecure one can generate dysfunctional patterns such as emotional dependence or fear of commitment.

Fortunately, these first connections do not completely determine our ability to relate. It is always possible to break dysfunctional patterns through self-knowledge, therapy or other healthy experiences in adulthood.

A fundamental aspect is to keep in mind how our first attachments affected us to avoid unconsciously repeating harmful behaviors in our own relationships. At the same time, it is important to understand that others also have their own emotional history.

A healthy attachment is characterized by providing security, but also by promoting independence gradually and adapted to each age. Parents or primary caregivers should be a safe harbor to which children can return when they need it.

Learning about the Attachment Theory, whose authorship falls on the shoulders of psychoanalyst John Bowlby, reminds us of the importance of our first bonds and the impact they have over time. But he also conveys a hopeful message: as long as we are aware of how they affected us, it is always possible to heal dysfunctional patterns and build healthy relationships.

Now we know about the power of our first bonds, but also that as human beings we have a great capacity for transformation. Therefore, with openness to learning and personal growth, we can break old emotional chains and heal constructively.

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