In a previous blog about relationships issues, I explained that how you behave in your relationships, particularly with intimate partners and close friends, is shaped by your very early, preverbal relationship to parents or significant carers.
Basically, these formative relationships are either based on a feeling of security or a sense of insecurity. Your choice of intimate partner in the present echos and replicates the patterns and dynamics of your relationship to your parents.
If you are generally happy in your relationships, there is no need to read any further. BUT, if you feel like a total relationship disaster zone, working out your relationship style will give you real insight into the root cause of your struggles.
THE MAIN INSECURE RELATIONSHIP STYLES...
The failed fledgling or ‘Anxious Resistant Avoidant’
The anxiety of not feeling a consistent, unconditional connection in early childhood can manifest in adulthood as a continued over dependence on your parents. A failed fledgling will struggle to make decisions for themselves, they will always seek the approval, opinions or advice of their parents. They may resist leaving the family home or insist on living very close to their parents. Often the failed fledgling will not desire a long-term relationship but if they do embark upon a relationship their partner simply becomes a substitute parent. They can be over dependant and codependent in relationships.
The commitment phobe or ‘Compulsive Self-Reliant’
This type of insecure attachment manifests in adulthood as a fear of any sort of intimate relationship. The commitment phobe has great difficulty accepting love and affection from others. They protect themselves and have learnt to survive by being fiercely independent. This can be a positive attribute but the downside is an inability to trust others. The commitment phobe will often not accept or seek help even when desperately needed and even when not doing so is detrimental.
The martyr or ‘Compulsive Caregiver’
The martyr’s unconscious mind has discovered an illusory way to secure the love and affection they did not get in infancy. Their unconscious mind worked out that the awful, lonely, anxious pain can be numbed by people pleasing, putting others needs before their own, caring for and rescuing others. It's a high price to pay for security. This isn't to say everyone helping others is always motivated by insecurity - although it's hard to believe at times - humans do have an inbuilt biological desire to be caring but not to excess or to their own detriment. When a behaviour is neurotically driven and based on fear it will nearly always end in tears.
Rabbit in the headlights or ‘Disorganised Disoriented’
Like frightened rabbits, these individuals react to the inconsistent care of parents or caregivers by being dazed, confused and disorientated. This is often the result of the parent/caregiver threatening the child, offering only conditional love and or offering and then withholding love. As an adult they find relationships totally confusing and freeze which means they often avoid commitment and intimacy all together.
The easily wounded or ‘Anxious Resistant Attachment’
The easily wounded respond to the inconsistent care from their parent/caregiver with confusion and crippling low self-esteem. The love and hate nature of this early relationship experience results in a state of confusion and overwhelm. In relationships as adult the easily wounded feels highly anxious and insecure with any amount of separation, rejection or betrayal. They are highly sensitive and literary crumble in the face of any negative interactions with their partner. Despite frequently experiencing their relationship as difficult and painful they are driven to be with a partner by their unconscious need to secure love and affection.
If you recognise yourself in some of these descriptions and would like to change the dynamic of your relationship style, start by simply booking a FREE confidential consultation with Kirsty here
And if you find all of this fascinating and would love to immerse yourself in the experiential study of all things psychological, hypnotic and analytical - check out the Analytical Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma here