Change your attachment style
May 27, 2016 2:10 PM   Subscribe

I have an avoidance attachment style. I want to be secure. How do I do this?

I want to have a secure attachment style. I have an avoidant attachment style, with a bit of anxious thrown in there. Yup, I know what my parents did that caused this. They were doing their best, but pretty much did exactly what you shouldn't according to the parenting books/articles I've read.

I've been to therapy with multiple people and talked about all this. For multiple years. I don't feel anxious or depressed or other disturbing things. I am not angry at anyone or anything.

I just feel tired when dealing with people. I don't maintain deep relationships and chose bad romantic partners. Most of my recent relationships were with toxic people I've distanced myself from. I have a lot of aquatences. I do social things because I feel lonley otherwise. I don't care about other adults deeply. If the world were ending in a week, I'd like to drink beer and watch TV reruns the whole damn time and that really bothers me. However, I work hard and work out and cook and draw and hike.

How can I learn to make deep meaningful connections with people? I feel like the generic get a counselor is not going to help. If there is a certain type of counselor and I need x years, that might actually be helpful.
posted by Kalmya to Human Relations (7 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
My therapist and I just discussed this because my parents also messed me up. She told me that we can change attachment styles by having a really positive experience/ relationship with someone, whether a friend, lover or even therapist. So maybe seek out really positive relationships with people in your life and remove negative ones and go from there? Also therapy- maybe you just need to find the right therapist. Mine is super awesome with helping me with these kinds of issues.
posted by FireFountain at 2:19 PM on May 27, 2016

Reframe your story more positively when you tell it to yourself. Be the change you wish to see in yourself.
posted by aniola at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

I don't feel anxious or depressed or other disturbing things. I am not angry at anyone or anything.

Part of the avoidant style is being very good at deactivating unpleasant emotions, so this isn't surprising. On the one hand, it means that you're great at self-soothing, a skill that many anxiously-attached individuals don't have. On the other hand, it means you've mastered the art of automatically turning off emotions that are important in relationships.

That's not an answer, though, it's just insight (which you probably already have), and as a fellow avoidant, I'm curious to know if there are real answers.
posted by clawsoon at 2:56 PM on May 27, 2016 [15 favorites]

I would look for a psychodynamic therapist (not one who's super into CBT, though many therapists list CBT as a skill because so many people want it), and I would expect 6-24 months of therapy. As FireFountain said, having a strong, secure relationship with an important figure is a good way to begin healing attachment issues. (And a note, "Attachment therapy" is a thing, but it's not a think I would advise anyone to pursue.)
posted by lazuli at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are some great videos on YouTube about Internal Family Systems. I found that model helpful with attachment issues. (Sorry I can't link; look for Derek Scott).
And not everyone has to have the kind of deep relationship you are talking about in order to be happy. Make sure it's what YOU really want.
posted by SyraCarol at 4:46 PM on May 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Practice vulnerability? Both being vulnerable, and being OK when people "need" you. The best place to practice this is in actual relationship, so if you're not in a partnership or friendship where there's long-tern trust and intimacy, then yes, a therapist. Just practicing being a relationship with a therapist you like will help this, but finding someone who is attachment oriented or psycho dynamic is a really good start.
posted by Rocket26 at 6:45 AM on May 28, 2016 [5 favorites]

Look for a therapist who specifically deals with attachment issues. (Not in the "rebirthing" form, which can be dangerous, but overall attachment stuff.) They do exist, and they can be healing. Psychodynamic is a good option. Also ditto the idea to practice vulnerability, because this will help you learn that you don't have to have such thick walls with everyone.
posted by crunchy potato at 2:58 PM on May 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

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