Healing Loneliness: Moving out of Avoidant Attachment
The hallmark of having been raised by left hemisphere parents is avoidant attachment, which often manifests as a deep, lifelong loneliness, a tendency to push others away and a struggle to find life’s meaning.
What is attachment?
Attachment isn’t simply a code word for how we show up in romantic partnerships.
Attachment is the way our brains and bodies understand and predict relationships, and how we expect that we need to behave in order to be in relationship with our important others.
This means that attachment styles are based on learned behavior and experiences that have led us to create mostly unconscious decisions about how to keep ourselves safe in relationships, including our relationship with self.
This ALSO means that our primary attachment style is not static, but can change over time once we come to understand that we’ve learned strategies to self-regulate that may not be in our best interests.
What is Avoidant Attachment?
Avoidant attachment has become a kind of code-word for partners who are stand-offish, cold or reluctant with their affection. A quick google search leads to check-lists of what to watch out for on first dates, lest you end up with a terrible, unavailable mate…
Not only are these generalizations misleading, they are not hopeful or helpful!
The fact is: we all come into the world with a longing to give and receive love, and yet our culture teaches us that we should be self-reliant, and often learn from our care-givers that we cannot be held fully in our emotional experience.
It is possible to heal from avoidant attachment. This article includes an overview of what avoidant attachment is, with new findings about the connections between loneliness, lack of meaning and purpose, sexuality and more.
What do the hemispheres have to do with avoidant attachment?
- The hallmark of having been raised by left hemisphere parents is a deep, lifelong loneliness, a tendency to push others away and a struggle to find life’s meaning.
- This is a natural aftereffect of the contracts children who are left to “cry it out” make with themselves, among other lived experiences.
What are the symptoms of avoidant attachment?
Despite living in a culture that encourages us toward extreme self-sufficiency, avoidant attachment affects our health in profoundly costly ways:.
- Parents with more avoidant attachment styles experience greater stress after the birth of their child and perceive parenting as less satisfying and personally meaningful.
- In avoidant attachment, we learn that we are the only people we can rely on
- Avoidant moms tend to minimize their baby’s joy, which often leads to the little one growing up with compromised ability to experience pleasure.
- Avoidant attachment is associated with all forms of dysregulation, including impulsive behaviors, low self-esteem, fears of abandonment and more.
What unconscious contracts and false beliefs are underneath avoidant attachment behaviors?
Do any of these self-agreements/unconscious vows sound familiar?
- I swear to myself that I will never trust anyone/relax into anyone/let anyone close…
- I will not be a burden…
- I will not let others rely on me…
- I will keep my mother away…
- I will take care of myself/do it all myself…
- I will not notice emotions…
- that when pain/emotions are forced on me, I will fix them…
- I will not reveal my feelings…