Episode #15: What’s Your Attachment Style and let’s talk about Valentine’s Day
by Samantha Leith | Feb 8, 2022 |
Hi, welcome to this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith show with yours truly Samantha Leith. Now February is all about love Amor Libre Amore. It’s universal, it’s part of all of our lives every single day from self-love to the unrequited navigation. It can be a really rocky road so let’s take a deeper look.
Attachment Styles Part 1
A popular topic at the moment is attachment styles, because it’s so very important. It’s a great tool for understanding why we love the way we love. Learning about this was truly enlightening for me. So whilst I’m giving you a taste in this episode, I encourage you, if you find it interesting, to delve deeper into it when you get a chance.
When I first heard the term “attachment theory,” I thought, “Oh, it must be some new way of bonding with your baby.” And because I no longer had a baby, and thought my daughter and I had a great bond, I didn’t pay any much attention. Then I started hearing more and more about it. Oh, it’s about so much more. It can help explain why we do what we do in relationships in our adult life. “Now it’s getting interesting,” I thought, so in I went.
Attachment theory focuses on the relationships and the bonds between people, particularly long term relationships, including those between a parent and a child, and between romantic partners. John Bowlby, the psychoanalyst who first described attachment theory as “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings,” researched the effects of separation between infants and their mothers. He noted the behaviors that occurred, and then he categorized them into three types of attachment: secure, anxious and avoidant. There’s been a plethora of work done on this topic since, and you’re going to have a Google and do a test to work out your attachment style.
So why so much work? Because it’s so important to helping you understand yourself and others within all of your relationships. We all need attachment, that bond with someone. It’s genetic. Remember those cave men needing to rely on each other? It impacts us physically and emotionally. Yes, when we have a healthy bond, our blood pressure can actually drop in a stressful situation, simply because they came into a room. These attachment styles are nature and nurture, influenced by our upbringing, our genetic predisposition, and our later life experiences.
Can’t talk about love without talking about Valentine’s Day, now, can we? So the poet, Chaucer, was one of the first to write about it, and if you have a look, there are many things associated with it. From Roman festivals, Pagan fertility, Catholic feast days, executions of people called Valentine. Regardless of the beginnings, or where you read about it, marketing took over at some point. I remember being in the U.S.A. and on Boxing Day, there was Valentine’s Day stuff in the stores. Now I have to say, that’s not quite as bad as hot cross buns in store here in Australia on Boxing Day. I digress.
Valentine’s Day can be magnificent if you don’t believe the marketing hype and you do something that’s special for you. Last year I was dating someone, and his love language, which we’ll talk about in the next episode, was gifts. So on Valentine’s Day, I was bombarded with the most incredible gifts. Some of them were really practical, like socks that don’t fall down when I run. But I got those because he remembered a conversation we’d had about my sore feet because my socks had fallen down that morning as I was running. Every single gift was targeted to a memory of something we’d discussed. Now that is speaking to someone’s love language and showing you care. So if you are going to do something for Valentine’s Day this year, don’t believe the marketing hype. Do something special for you and your loved ones, or take yourself on a date.
Attachment Styles Part 2
For the purposes of this episode, I’m looking at these attachment styles in adults, and I’m going to give you some of the basic traits. Okay? Avoidant. I know I’ve dated this a lot. In fact, as a self confessed “anxious style,” this is usually the type of person that’s like a garden light and a moth for me. I promise I’m working on it. Very independent. They send lots of mixed signals. They’re a boundary boss. They often see the negative in a partner. They’ll end a relationship really quickly, and they’ll devalue you or a previous partner. They can be physically distant at times and they’re mistrustful. They don’t want to discuss emotions, and they strive for rules within their relationship.
Anxious. Sad to say, there is no way to get back the hours and hours wasted by awfulizing in situations. Yep. Dysregulated nervous system, with fear of abandonment. Even the smallest things. May ruin a relationship. Afraid to speak up, make excuses for others’ behavior. Often overwhelmed or overly emotional. Don’t like being single. Not true for me. They let you determine the path of the relationship and they’re always working hard to keep it all okay. Find it hard to express their needs and their wants. And they tend to make things about themselves in their heads.
Now, secure people. They’re actually the most common. Crazy, I know. Because if you’re in the dating world, it’s really hard to find them, because guess what? They’re in relationships. They’re great communicators. They believe closeness creates greater closeness. They can be in a relationship or be single. They manage their emotions. They don’t play games. They’re confident in themselves and their thoughts and their feelings. They’re reliable and consistent. They sound like legends. They can compromise and make decisions with you. And they’re empathetic and comfortable with deep intimacy. They’re not afraid of commitment or dependency.
Now, before you go a bit mad thinking about your attachment style, remember this is a snapshot, okay? You may and often will have traits of all three. Some of which you exhibit more at different times. And yes, it’s possible to change style. I know I am. And with dedicated work on myself and healing past trauma, I’m learning how to regulate my nervous system better and being honest about my needs and wants to myself and to other people. What do you think your attachment style is?
A relationship audit
Now that you know a little bit more about styles, how about doing a relationship inventory? Sounds scary, but it’s a brilliant exercise in the book Attached by Dr. Am Emil Levine and Rachel SF Heller, MA. I did it and I suggest you do it too. There’ll be a link in the notes for you. Right now, though, I think it’s really helpful to look at some situations, the triggers and the outcomes. This can arm us really quickly with alternatives to all of our reactions.
I want you to take a piece of paper and mark five columns, or download the worksheet. I want you to think about your past and your present relationships, romantic and non-romantic. List some situations that really triggered you, then write out what your reaction to that situation was, how you felt, including if you can where you felt it in your body, what you were thinking, and what you did or didn’t do. What were the benefits of you acting this way? Maybe you got more attention. Maybe you had an adrenaline rush or it opened up a conversation that really needed to happen.
Then can you think of a downside to the situation and the following action that happened? Remember, most things have a flip. The positive and the negative. Perhaps in your heart, you didn’t want to break up, but your reaction showed you proof that it was all wrong. So even though you’re still together, your self-esteem took a battering. Lastly, I want you to go all Penelope Positive and write out what the perfect scenario would’ve been for that situation. If that scene had been in a romantic film with a glorious ending, how would they have written it?
Now, next time, something similar happens, you’re armed with some knowledge to help you react in a better way. Remember, you have control of your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. Nobody else’s.
Thank you so much for watching this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith show. I hope you loved it. Please head on over to Samantha Leith.com/freebies to get the worksheets for this month and don’t forget to spread the love by subscribing, commenting, and sharing this video. Until next time don’t forget to love yourself because you are extraordinary, you.
🎶 The Rose Songwriters: Amanda Mc Broom
© Warner-tamerlane Publishing Corp., Third Story Music, Inc.
🎙️ Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Allen Vocals by Samantha Leith