You unconsciously take the way in which you are attached as a young child and draw your later (partner) relationships. If you were attached safely in the past, that applies to about 70% of the people in the Netherlands, then chances are that you will have stable relationships later on.
If this bond was less secure or perhaps even unsafe, it can quickly lead to problems with safety and familiarity in a relationship. In this blog you will get an insight into the effect of bonding in your relationship (s).
What are the effects of the parenting style of your parents on you as a child?
What attachment styles are there?
What is the effect of bonding on relationships?
- Secure adhesion provides a feeling of warmth, support and accessibility.
- Unsafe fearful attachment can lead to angry, claiming, reproachful behavior in the present.
- In your current relationship, unsafe avoidance of attachment can lead to distant behavior in which you suppress emotions.
- Unsafe chaotic attachment or also called fear-avoiding (ambivalent) is a mixture of the two. One time it can provoke reproachful, the other time retiring, distant behavior.
The attachment theory
Attachment stages in adults
Bonding and abandonment anxiety
They both want to keep a certain distance; they don’t let the other person approach because it feels safer. They both don’t want to be hurt, abandoned or rejected. The person with separation anxiety wants to keep the distance as small as possible in order to get confirmation, while the person with fear of commitment wants to keep distance.
This tendency to keep away physically and psychologically only increases as the pressure of claiming increases. The focus is mainly on what is not good about the other and this justifies the increasing distance. Then there is a tipping point, because the person with separation anxiety does not want to be left and increases the distance himself. Now the person with fear of commitment realizes that he does not want to lose the other and now sees the positive sides of the other again. Fear of commitment can therefore turn into separation anxiety and vice versa.
Do you recognize this? This process resembles a magnet and then with the same poles facing each other. Whatever you do, you won’t get any closer … until you both figure out what’s going on and you go find help together.
Attachment patterns can change
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
The basis of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is the attachment theory of Bowlby. According to this theory, everyone has the primary need to bond with others: your parents, your partner, your children. This innate need for attachment, and the associated fear of separation and isolation, is a primary driver of our actions.
In adult partner relationships, therefore, the same kind of dynamic occurs as in the previous parent-child relationship. In this way, the attachment theory also provides direction and purpose for the therapy of and in partner relationships.
Because it is an existential basic need, EFT is suitable for couples of all ages and all cultures. There may, however, be differences in the way in which attachment needs are expressed. EFT is also suitable for couples where either partner is depressed. With anxiety disorders such as PTSD as a result of child abuse or abuse or as a result of acts of combat, EFT also improves the relationship. In case of trauma, the duration of therapy will often be longer than average.
The goal of EFT is to improve emotional availability (responsiveness) between partners. The attachment behavior of the partners is central to this: the need for security, trust and contact, and the obstacles they experience in this. Improved attachment is achieved by focusing on the emotional experience. After all, emotion organizes attachment behavior: emotion directs our attention, alerts us to danger, and motivates us to respond.
With EFT you can heal the pain of the old suture wounds and lovingly and safely connect with your partner. Which allows you to build in your relationship on a safe and responsive basis.
What can you expect from EFT therapy?
From EFT we start from the positive intentions of each person, whereby the partners become involved in destructive patterns, a dance. Both then feel inadequate and unsatisfied.
The therapy focuses on the interaction between the partners and on the mutual communication, and specifically on the emotional reactions. The framework for the therapy is that both have unmet attachment needs that put them on an emotional rollercoaster. Both partners are victims and makers of this relationship pattern.
The focus of the therapy will be on restructuring the emotional connection and not on changing the other. Sometimes, in addition to joint sessions, individual sessions are also desired. Information from individual sessions is confidential information.