self assessment (part 1) – attachment
(Please note that I am not a psychologist and have no formal training. I do not claim any expertise in any area of psychology. Nor would I ever advise anyone else in any matters of a psychological nature. Anything written, while based on existing psychological theory, are purely my personal opinions and thoughts.)
I have my own many issues with attachment and intimacy and trust. I will never claim that I’ve got my shit together and I’m completely emotionally balanced.
I suppose that the first area I’ll dive into is attachment styles and attachment theory. I’ve taken attachment style quizzes and can anyone guess which I came out as between Secure, Anxious, or Avoidant? If you guessed Anxious, ding ding ding, you are a winner! Yeah, go me. I’m an anxious ball of fun. I was actually very surprised that I scored as Anxious. I thought I was typical Avoidant.
There are countless articles out there that go on and on about how our attachment styles are developed and forged when we are infants. How our mothers interact with us in our first year of life pave the way to how we will interact with others as adults. Well hell, I’m screwed. I didn’t have a mother for the first (critically formative) year of my life. I was in an orphanage, probably left alone without much communication and personal interaction for most of the time. I don’t harbor resentment for this. That is simply how my story began. Back at a time when I had no control over it. Now it’s up to me to figure out how my story will continue and evolve and eventually end.
I know that I wound up being adopted into a wonderful family. I know how fortunate I am. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to grow up in a different family. Don’t get me wrong, I faced some really tough shit by being a member of this family, but those trying times that might have broken most people ultimately made me stronger.
I grew up always knowing that I was wanted by my family. Always knew that the members whom I hold closest to my heart would never abandon me. But maybe there is some underlying feeling and fear of being abandoned. I mean, after all, wasn’t it the ones who should have loved me so completely and unconditionally – my biological parents – who let me go? Who didn’t love me enough so they left me? Who abandoned me? Now I know the reason that I was given up for adoption. Or rather, I know what I was told. I don’t know for sure if it’s the truth. Without going into the details, I was told that I was given up so that my life would be saved. Take that as you want. I’ve reconciled being given up for adoption a long time ago and wouldn’t want my family to be anyone other than who they are.
But there is and has always been a fear of feeling unloved and unwanted. Remember way back when, about a year ago, that I posted about how I felt like I was not wife material or girlfriend material? And I included a quote, “Because if this theory is wrong, men don’t leave all women, Eddie. They leave me.” I still feel that way. More than one year later, that feeling hasn’t changed. And I actually do believe it stems from the fear of having someone stop loving me and leaving me. My history with men has been that anyone that I have ever fallen for has been the one to leave me. Yes, I have walked away from men, but they were never men I deeply cared for. But, every single man whom I have ever loved (and said they loved me) has walked out of my life. You’re damned right that I am going to feel unwanted and abandoned. And apparently very bitter.
I do believe that fear has me clinging to dear life (beyond what is reasonable) any relationship. Especially a romantic relationship. I am terrified of being left behind, so I will try to persuade and reason and plead and basically give up any self dignity to keep the relationship going. That seems to be very typical anxious attachment style behavior. Anxious people are generally insecure, needy, clingy. Now I wouldn’t describe myself as needy and clingy, but I am most definitely insecure in relationships. I always feel like the guy is going to bolt at the next turn, hence the fear of abandonment.
I don’t think I’m afraid of being alone. I’ve spent most of my life alone. And really, any fear of spending my life truly, honestly alone doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. While my immediate family are 1000’s of miles away, I do have a lot of friends and my ‘other families’ nearby. At any given moment, there are people I can call if I need someone to be by my side. I would never end up truly alone. That fortune does not go unnoticed by me. But there is still the need for someone to connect with on a deeper level. Someone to turn to in the middle of the night when I need a hug. Someone to wake up next to in the morning. All of the intimate moments that come from a romantic relationship.
I know a lot of this is at the surface because I just went through a break-up in which I was the person left. My “woe is me” ranting will subside with time as I heal and move on. And surely *when I meet someone new. (*when is the big $64 million question).
Thank you all for indulging me this crazy talk. I appreciate it.