Previa Alliance Podcast

Exploring Attachment Styles

February 12, 2024 Previa Alliance Team Season 1 Episode 94
Previa Alliance Podcast
Exploring Attachment Styles
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you ever wonder how your childhood experiences impact your relationships today? After Sarah discovered her own attachment style through a quiz recommendation from Whitney, a conversation was sparked that they just had to share with you. Together, they unravel the subtle yet powerful ways our early interactions with caregivers shape the complex tapestry of our current relationships. Journey with them as they explore the nuances of different attachment styles, and how the echoes of inconsistent parenting can ripple through our lives in everything from romantic entanglements to colleague camaraderie.

Take the test to find out your Attachment Style(s) here: https://www.attachmentproject.com/

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Speaker 1:

Hey guys, welcome back to the Preview Alliance podcast. And it is Valentine's week. I am Sarah, hey, it's Whitney and we are here to kind of talk about something interesting, a little different, but I think it comes to play for everybody and it's new to me. Whitney's trying to teach me about it because I have sent some SOS texts to her about certain things and she was like do you know what the attachment styles are? And I was like what? And she was like take this quiz. She sent me this quiz and the questions that they ask you on the attachment style quiz had a lot of things to kind of like deal with, like your relationships with your parents and how you perceive certain things or felt in certain situations, and then it took maybe like what five, 10 minutes and it's a lot of bad quiz, but then you get your results and it tells you what kind of attachment style you have. So I was I believe I was secure attachment.

Speaker 3:

I believe so.

Speaker 1:

But I learned there's like four different types and you may be thinking, okay, that's great, why are you talking about this and why is it? You know a proper Valentine's Day and well, attachment styles are also going to influence how you are as a mom.

Speaker 3:

It impacts all of all areas of our lives so with our kids, with our spouse, with our friends, even with our coworkers and our jobs, with our parents. It's really across the board how our attachment style impacts our day to day lives and our day to day interactions with people Totally.

Speaker 1:

So, okay, all right, whitney, let's break them down. Okay, so attachment styles. From what I understand right, it is something that is formed based upon our early experiences in life. Is that correct?

Speaker 3:

It is. And I will say, you know, you may have really great parents who are not abusive, they're emotionally available. They really can help lay that foundation of what we call a secure attachment. However, especially during this preteen and teen years, depending on what our relationships are with our peers, depending on what our early dating relationships may look like or, you know, heaven forbid if you lose your parents at a younger age and then you've got either grandparents that step in and an uncle, godparents, foster care. Potentially that plays a role in our attachment style as well. And so, to start truly with the easiest one, the secure attachment style, and it is exactly what it sounds like it is. You can be in a relationship, a friendship, a working relationship and I will say, the majority of the time you feel pretty good in that relationship. There's nothing that really throws you for any big loops. You're able to kind of ground yourself in any moment of anxiousness, because no relationship is going to be sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time. That's not realistic and, honestly, conflict can actually be good for relationships because it can help us grow through those things. But with a securely attached person, they know, okay, we're going to work through this, we're going to communicate through this, we're going to use conflict resolution skills and we're going to be okay in the long run. So really you have quite a bit of assurance in that relationship and how you're going to handle conflict when it does come up. So that is what a secure relationship looks like. So if your parents or your main caregivers growing up were really there for you, they provided for all of your material necessities and I'm not saying like brand name things, I'm talking like food, water, shelter, you did have clothing, you were able to get to school, all of your needs were met and your parents were emotionally available. You could go to them and they didn't shut you down. You're often the knot. You're going to have a secure attachment style, right? So that's kind of starting again with the easiest one to go over and the quickest one, truly, because it is exactly as it Sounds like it is. So, moving into where, honestly, the majority of my clients kind of fall into this category and this one can feel a little bit tricky and I know we've talked about borderline personality disorder Just a little bit here on the podcast Anxious attachment style or anxious preoccupied attachment style looks very similar to borderline. Where are you getting this relationship and you're like, ooh, is it gonna last? Is it gonna last? Okay, I have to pull back a little bit. So it's like where are you? Yeah, we go in a little bit and then we're out, we're in and we're out. We can't really fully get into it because what if something bad happens? What if that person leaves me? I don't know that I can fully trust them, because you know what? Maybe your parents were not fully there for you. Maybe you felt like you were walking on eggshells around your parents Because you didn't know what version of your parent you were gonna get that day. And so you know it was one of those. You always felt like you had to be like, you know, dot your eyes, cross your teeth. You had to act a certain way. You really you couldn't be too happy. Couldn't be too happy because then they might get resentful of you. But you also couldn't cry because you would get chastised for it. So you had to be just a certain way To kind of play to your parent or your guardian, whatever you're growing up situation was. So you're used to being on those eggshells. You're used to being like, hmm, I can't, I can't be a hundred percent genuine, mm-hmm, I can't share my deep dark feelings. I can't share these deep dark secrets. I really kind of have to just be very careful and I have to tread lightly. So it's like you dip your toes in and then you back out, dip your toes in, back out, and so you never really feel like you can just Ah, breathe and just chill and relax in that relationship. You're always worried that something Even if it's little, like running five minutes behind for a movie date that that is kind of okay, well, it's over. It's kind of doom and gloom and that is where I can mirror borderline personality disorder. But I will tell you kind of a big differentiation there with borderline. People with borderline personality disorder can tend to burn bridges. It's a very all or nothing type of mentality and admittedly that is developed out of trauma. They can have a very similar upbringing to somebody with an anxious attachment style, but with borderline again, all or nothing, thinking like we're not gonna dip our toes in, back out and go back in. It's oh, I did my toes in, you did something wrong, I'm out, I'm out, I'm out, I can't do it, you're a horrible person, we're done. And it's gonna be across the board where anxious attachment, you know they may not necessarily feel so back and forthy with a friend. Yeah, that one is gonna be very much parental Relationships and romantic relationships. We may see it summon a friendship, but maybe not as pronounced as we would have like a borderline personality disorder.

Speaker 1:

Right, okay, got it.

Speaker 3:

So that's gonna be a little bit of that seesaw, that yo-yo of a man I'm out. A man I'm out can't really make my mind up.

Speaker 1:

I'm seeing X is in my mind as we're talking about certain things like oh, that's why he was Understandable. Also, you know, didn't ever work through. That is why he isn't X yet.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. Yeah, it's almost like the hokey pokey you put your foot in, you take your foot out, you put it in and then you shake it. All about that. It is the anxious attachment style. Okay, perfect, you know a dance to help us shake it out and ground ourselves a little bit while we're dealing with it.

Speaker 1:

Look at you, give me therapy tools right here.

Speaker 3:

Exactly, you know, never hurts to the hokey pokey and just shake it all about take a little break.

Speaker 1:

Shake it off, as Taylor Swift says. Just get there, we're gonna shake it off.

Speaker 3:

That's right, all right. So the next one to touch on is going to be avoidant, and this one is exactly as it sounds. Someone gets into a relationship. This one is gonna be a little more across the board. So we're gonna see it in friendships, we're gonna see in romantic relationships. We're gonna see an apparent child type dynamic too. We are similar to anxious, where they kind of get into it a little bit and then that fear of abandonment Kind of flares up or that fear of rejection flares up, and then all said, okay, we're done. Like they just back out. And the thing is they don't burn a bridge like borderline, they just truly get scared and they don't feel like they're worth it and so they just back out completely. Because who would want them? So we have a very significant low self-esteem Kind of root going on. These are going to be the people whose parents were not physically or emotionally available. It could be that parents were on really hard times and so they had to work two jobs and so they couldn't be there as much as maybe they even wanted to be, and that's the really sad part of it is that they very much probably wanted to be there, but they had to pay bills and so they just were not a very present parent, physically or emotionally. We can see that with parents who have substance abuse problems whether it's alcohol or drugs prescriptions there's that self-medication and then the parent is just not there. Or it could be that we have almost what we call the angry drunk or the violent user, so to speak. And so someone who has this avoidance is like, well, if I just stay away, I can't take the brunt of that. It's really sad when you think about it, because this person kind of retreats to childhood quite a bit. They revert to like five-year-old them. That's like well, if I just go hide in the closet, they can't get mad at me for doing that. These people tend to be very shy, very introverted, very self-spoken. They don't want to rock the boat. They do not want to rock the boat. These could be people who they were products of divorce, and I'm not saying that all children who have divorced parents end up being avoided. You can still be very securely attached and your parents be divorced. It depends on how the divorce really was dealt with and how your parents were with you post-divorce Right. So you know that avoidance is exactly what it sounds like, where you try to have that relationship but then something happens that makes you feel like it's rocky and you're like you know what. They don't want to be with me. Anyway, I might as well just go on. So it's a very self-isolating, whereas borderline is very chaotic, is very dramatic. Where the avoidant is an isolation, we're going to withdraw, right, and I will say it would not be surprising for someone with avoidant attachment style to struggle with depression. Yeah Now, and I should have said this from the beginning, an attachment style is not a diagnosis. Let me make that super, super clear. Your attachment style is not a diagnosis. It is something that can get worked through. It is there, it is fixable oh, it's extremely fixable and it's something that you can work through. It is there to give us insight. Just to name it, to tame it Absolutely because I have worked with so many people and I've worked with some couples before and you know, one of them is like well, you're a narcissist, well, you're a borderline, and you know, we're throwing around these diagnoses and I'm not saying that those diagnoses don't exist, because they do, but sometimes our attachment style can mirror that personality disorder. Right, okay, so we've done secure, we've done secure, we've done anxious, we've done avoidant, and now we have disorganized, oh okay. So what is that one. So I hate to say it. This one is probably the most challenging of attachment styles, because this usually is something that does stem from quite a bit of trauma in childhood and this is where it really can overlap with a personality disorder. This is something where you could almost even though attachment style is not a diagnosis it almost looks like a dual diagnosis if we have both of these things at play and they're just kind of fueling the fire for the other one. Yeah, disorganized can be stemming from physical, verbal, sexual abuse and emotional and mental abuse. So we think about people who they had a parent who did partake in substances alcohol, drugs, what have you and that child got beat or they were extremely chastised. These are going to be those parents who they expect their child to hang the moon and stars and when they make a 95 instead of 100, it's not good enough. It is not good enough. They're never going to amount to anything. We have that berating, that belittling. That child feels incredibly insignificant. But the next day that parent, when they sober up, they can be like oh, you're just the best kid ever. So you don't know where you stand, you don't have a clue where you stand with that parent or and I don't fault families for this, but honestly this is just another, I guess, form of trauma for a child is what if you have multiple people helping take care of the child because the parents have to work so much? So it could be dad does bedtime one night, it's mom the next night. Well, now we have an aunt. Well, now we have a babysitter. And there's never a consistent pattern to it. Yeah, you know cause, like my husband and I, like we split bedtime with our kids. So, like I put the three year old to bed, he puts the six year old to bed. Well, guess what? That's consistent. And both parents are in the house. This is part of the routine, so they know. Okay, well, mom and dad kind of divide and conquer they don't use those words, but it's this whole. Okay, well, dad puts me to bed and mom puts sister to bed. It's just how we do things. And again, I don't fault these families who you have? Parents that have to work multiple jobs just to pay your bills, but it's the inconsistency that really plays such a big role in that disorganized attachment style. And then you also wanna look at again you have no predictability in that parents temperament. So we actually do wanna think about. Could that parent have had borderline personality disorder, where your mood is really all over the place, what most people think of like a bipolar disorder of man. Their mood changes 20 times a day. Well, that's not really bipolar. Borderline is gonna be more of that rapid mood change of I'm happy. 20 minutes later I'm angry. Well now I'm sad, all the things. And it's consistently like that. Cause you know, you think about it. If you have a death in your family, well, grief is that wild cycle where you have that mixture of anger and sadness, maybe gratefulness that that person isn't suffering anymore. But I can't lash out and put that on my child, yeah right, and so you know they may see me kind of feeling all over the place, but it can't get projected onto them, whereas these parents, their moods, do get projected onto the child.

Speaker 1:

So someone saying okay, whitney, I think I'm hitting one or more, which I do so once, just curious. They're like, okay, this sounds like there could be something behind it for myself, my partner, my so-and-so. And they want to get more curious, they want to get worked on. What steps here?

Speaker 3:

First off, you know, if you are already in with a therapist, I would bring up how to do attachment style work with your therapist. If you are not in with a therapist and you're just curious, well what is my attachment style? How do I even figure that out? You can go to attachmentprojectcom and do their free attachment quiz. From there it will give you the results of whatever your attachment style is. From there you can do that deep dive into Google of what disorganized attachment style look like for me, or what does anxious look like? Or what if I feel like I'm anxious and secure, because that can happen, because things do come up in life where we may not feel 100% secure in our marriage but it's also not like we're ready to bolt, kind of thing, you know. So we have this 50-50 anxious versus secure and it kind of coexist a little bit there. So you know, taking that deep dive into figuring out what is your attachment style. And again, it's attachmentprojectcom. You can do their free attachment style quiz. That is what I refer my clients to do. It's very helpful. And again, attachment style is not a diagnosis. I cannot say that enough. It is not a diagnosis, it is a tool to help you understand, kind of how you operate, how you connect to others. It's there to give you insight but also help you to be like okay. Well, even if I'm a secure attachment, what can I do to help my children have a secure attachment? How can I be there for them? So, even if you get secure, you may look into these other attachment styles. Well, what causes these attachment styles? Okay, I need to make sure that I avoid those things.

Speaker 1:

I love that because you may be saying you know, I know things happen to my childhood and yes, maybe this is the way I am, and you may be thinking I don't want that for my kid, or I just want my kid to be able to have healthy relationships, or, you know, I don't want them to be that person, Like you said, that does the tiptoe in and out, or you know I guess, if you're finding yourself and let's say you are one attachment style and your partner is the other attachment style, what is the biggest like common conflict there of the styles that usually you see that you're going, okay, this is why we're seeing this conflict or this is why they see it this way and they see it that way?

Speaker 3:

I have to say anxious and avoid it. For some reason tend to find each other. I don't know why. That tends to be the pattern, but that's just what I have seen more often than not. So you have these people who are anxious, who are like, okay, I'm in, I'm out, I'm in, I'm out, and then avoid, and that is kind of like I don't know that I can actually jump in. Well, we can see where both of them feel uneasy. They bolt, yeah, or in an argument they both feel like they've never been heard. So then it escalates, escalates, escalates. Well, then it's this big argument and then boom, they're angry at each other for weeks. Yeah, and so that's. I mean, it can be really challenging to kind of mesh or interact to different attachment styles, but the truth of the matter is we're all most likely going to have different attachment styles More often than not.

Speaker 1:

But our combos right, like you could have, like you could you know you can have all four.

Speaker 3:

You got anxious, anxious, you could have disorganized, disorganized, avoidant, avoidant. You could even have the same attachment style, which I mean. Think of it like when we were kids and we were in science class and we did the magnets. What happens when you put two negatives or two positives together? They were pale, right, right. Yeah, the same thing with attachment style is that if you've got a disorganized and a disorganized, that's going to be pretty volatile, yeah. And so when we do attachment style, it's there for insight. It's not there to be accusatory, it is not a character flaw, but it's there to give insight for both parties so that they can start to work through these things and, honestly, again, disorganized more than the others, but the others are not excluded from traumas to work through.

Speaker 1:

And that's the thing is because you can look back and think it makes a safe place just for conversation to be started, and it doesn't feel as accusatory if it's like, well, you're wrong because X, y and Z versus, why is this your response and how is that tied to? Or I can see why they respond this way. If this is how it was when they were a child or they never had someone show them this is you know, true love, or show them like structure, or show them that like, yes, you do get into a fight, but like you, that's not like because you get a fight you're done forever right. Like or a disagreement does not mean the end of a relationship. A lot of people do think that right, or they can never be seen or heard. I think it is. Again, it goes back to just being a parent and becoming a mom or being a mom. We get back into our childhood and it brings it up and then in our relationships children, they will, you know, fire, gasoline explode together. So like you're having these kind of bomb in the dumpster fire. You got to figure out, okay. So how can we work towards it? How do we want together for our children, or what do I want for my child? So it's just all tools. Like Whitney said this, is not a diagnosis. You know, we're all about digging deep and seeing like, well, why? Or get curious, and instead of blaming or accusing or labeling, we're getting curious and we're seeing what we can do. You don't have to always be this way if you're going, oh my gosh. it's why 99% of my relationships didn't work out. Okay, so we're going to take this and we'll leave the attachment style quiz for you guys on our show notes that you can do it. And you know what took us honestly five, 10 minutes. I have myself do it, I have my husband do it and it does. It leads to really good conversation, and always tag in a therapist, or if you want to say, hey, I just want to do my research first and then see if we need help.

Speaker 3:

That's perfectly fine, but you know and the good thing is it's not accusatory, especially if you're both doing it. It's a tool.

Speaker 1:

Now did I go huh, that's why you're that way sometimes. And he probably went huh, that's why she's that way sometimes, of course.

Speaker 3:

I guess we're allowed to have that insight.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but it also gave me more understanding and, honestly, grace and kindness towards certain things. So it's we say get curious here and this is a fun Valentine's Day episode. We are a lot of them, but you're at your attachment style. We love that. But we are sending you love from us. You guys, we appreciate you. We appreciate you being part of our community and listening to us every week and keep sending us what you want us to talk about and we will address it and we're in this with you guys for the long call. So we're not going anywhere. So have a great Valentine's Day for the moms. We hope you get that hot shower, that alone time, whatever TV you want, if you want chocolate, if you want that glass of wine, you do you, mama. I better get my pen and M&Ms is all I gotta say. That's what Whitney's, we're putting it out in the universe. And Michael and Tim and I will get that. Even if I have to drawer dash that to you, I would get you that. All right, guys, till next time, See ya.

Speaker 2:

Maternal mental health is as important as physical health. The previous podcast was created for and by moms dealing with postpartum depression and all its variables, like anxiety, anger and even apathy. Hosted by CEO founder Sarah Parkhurst and licensed clinical social worker Whitney Gaye, each episode focused on specific issues relevant to pregnancy and postpartum. Join us and hear how other moms have overcome mental health challenges, as well as access to tips and suggestions on dealing with your own challenges as moms. You can also browse our podcast library and listen to previous episodes at any time. Please know you're not alone on this journey. We're here to help.

Understanding Attachment Styles
Attachment Styles, Healthy Relationships
Prioritizing Maternal Mental Health