Feb 20, 2023
03: Child Attachments as an Adult
Questions that circle around the topic of relationships, whether romantic, friendly or familial, overwhelm many people. They don’t know how to deal with the feelings that come with the relationships they’re in or getting into.
The reason for this is because of attachment. And in today’s episode, I’m going to give you a wider perspective on how your experiences as a child translate into adult behaviors.
What is it like being on the perfectly secure end of the spectrum?
I don’t think there’s anyone who’s on the perfect side of the spectrum because it’s difficult to do or have perfect parenting. This is not to say that no one achieves a secure attachment but being perfect 100% of the time.
Being perfectly secure and attached means you’re constantly given unconditional love. You’re constantly reassured about who you are. You’re always accepted and loved without any doubt or hesitation. Basically, 100% of the time, you are treated that way perfectly by perfect people.
Moreover, perfectly secure attachment is when you walk into the world with so much confidence as an adult. You trust that people have your best interests at heart. You will experience growth through conflict every single time but you will never feel bad about yourself.
You will never yell at someone and have surges of anger. You know yourself so intimately and you regard yourself so positively that you will never have any problems with any interpersonal conflict ever in your whole life.
The other end of the spectrum is insecurity.
Opposite to the perfectly secure attachment, being on the other end of the spectrum lies insecurity. It is sometimes considered as anxious and avoidant attachment styles.
The message that you are loved unconditionally, that you are a valued person on this earth, that your instincts about how to take care of yourself are heard, affirmed and listened to – none of that is happening. And so, you grow up with an anxious or avoidant attachment style, which is the opposite of secure.
Growing up with such an attachment style, you tend to not trust people easily which is why you end up avoiding relationships altogether. You don’t trust your own instincts because you don’t feel valuable or loved.
Why do we yell at our kids?
Yelling at our children is a common occurrence in many households, but it's important to ask why we do it. Sometimes, parents yell out of frustration or a lack of patience. Other times, it may be a learned behavior from our own upbringing or cultural norms. Regardless of the reason, it's important to recognize that yelling can have a negative impact on our children.
Studies have shown that yelling can lead to increased anxiety and depression in children, as well as lower self-esteem and behavioral issues. It can also damage the parent-child relationship, creating a sense of fear and resentment rather than love and trust.
Instead of resorting to yelling, it's important to identify the root cause of our frustration and address it in a calm and constructive manner. This can involve taking a break to calm down, speaking with our children in a gentle and respectful tone, and setting clear boundaries and consequences for their actions. By modeling healthy communication and conflict resolution, we can help our children develop the skills they need to navigate relationships and challenges in their own lives.
Ultimately, it's up to us as parents to create a safe and supportive environment for our children, one that fosters their growth and development. By recognizing the impact of yelling and choosing to respond with empathy and understanding, we can build stronger connections with our children and help them thrive.
How does this show up in a couple of different ways.
Most experiences in childhood, whether good or bad, have a significant impact on a person’s emotional, psychological, and even physical well-being in adulthood.
Bad experiences may later on show up in mental health issues. Trauma can increase the risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.
They can also affect one’s ability to form healthy relationships in adulthood. People may struggle with trust issues, have difficulty expressing themselves or connecting with others, and may be prone to conflict. They may also be involved in dysfunctional relationships.
With regard to emotions, your bad childhood experiences can lead to difficulties in regulating or processing emotions. It can manifest as mood swings, angry outbursts, or emotional numbness.
Unconditional positive regard is the cornerstone of the work.
We're meant to have empathy, support and acceptance towards a person sitting across from us, regardless of what they say or do. In order to help this person heal as a human is to have unconditional positive regard for them, regardless of what they think, say, do or how they behave.
My intention is to view them as a beautiful human that I am holding space for them. When we treat others with unconditional positive regard, we create a safe space for them – an environment of trust, understanding, and mutual respect. It helps us build positive relationships.
We create an environment where people feel safe to explore new ideas, take risks, and grow as individuals. It creates a sense of community which reduces feelings of isolation and loneliness, and creates a sense of belonging. This can be incredibly empowering and can help to build confidence and self-esteem.
Can you fix them if you think they are broken?
It is important to have a clear understanding of what your child is going through. Sometimes, our mind gets clouded and we tend to think that you’re in conflict with your child because you’re not really seeing the bigger perspective in such situations.
We may think that they’re broken but they may not even see themselves in the same way or may have different needs than what you think they need.
What we have to think of is, “Are you viewing them as the beautiful human that you love unconditionally? Or are you viewing them as some sort of demon?” Answering that question gives you a good idea of where your thoughts are coming from.
How do you know when you’re getting triggered?
Sometimes, no matter how much care we have for our children, we can’t help but to shout at them or feel angry. Perhaps your child may have done something that you feel is wrong, and this has triggered your anger.
You may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed by other things in your life, and your child’s behavior may be pushing you over the edge. When you’re already on edge, it’s understandable that you get easily triggered even by the simplest actions of your child.
Although sometimes, our own past experiences can trigger us. Maybe you were yelled at as a child that’s why your exhibiting a strong emotional response to your child’s behavior.
But we always have to keep in check our unconditional positive regard for each other. It’s when we have that that repairs can be made. And your kids get that unconditional positive regard because you've taught it to them. You have shown them that you love them no matter what.
Show them that your love is not conditional. Be the safe place your children love returning to. Show them that they can count on you. That's the message we're all trying to send our kids even though sometimes it gets muddled and twisted along the way.
If you can fight with your partner or argue with your child and both come into it assuming the very best of each other, growth happens.
It's natural for disagreements to arise in any relationship, whether it's with a partner or a child. However, how we approach these disagreements can make all the difference in our growth and development as individuals and as a family unit. When we come into a disagreement with the assumption that the other person has good intentions, we create an…