We know that many things in psychology begin to settle in the early years of childhood. At this point, the concept of attachment emerges as an action that begins in the womb before birth. Starting from the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy until 2 years after birth, the baby begins to perceive his environment slowly and this gradually becomes stronger. The main point of attachment begins with the baby’s distinguishing his mother (primary caregiver) from others.
At this stage, it is very important for the caregiver to understand the needs of the baby correctly and to have an attitude towards it. However, the presence of the father (secondary caregiver) enables the baby to learn that in situations where the mother is not enough, the baby can still be safe without fear of helplessness.
Thus, the 3 basic functions of attachment; While exploring the world, the chance to be a safe port to return to, to meet physical needs, to develop a sense of security for life is realized safely. However, it is not right to scapegoat caregivers as the cause of insecure attachments. Because people have an innate temperament. This can be understood as feeling insecure by the baby despite all the efforts of the caregiver. In other words, it is claimed that the temperament of the mother and the child is one of the determinants of the child’s attachment style.
The attachment style, which is largely clarified in the first childhood, undergoes changes that cannot be ignored in the first childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The reason for this is that man cannot avoid being a social being. During adolescence, the relationship between parents and children does not become less important, only the child becomes less dependent on his parents. Young people are trying to achieve their independence during these years, but they also want to be aware that their parents will be there for support when they need it. One way to seek independence from parents is to rely on friends as attachment figures. Transferring trust from parents to friends is an important process in young people’s lives because it is a struggle at first, but it supports them to fully develop their adult attachment style. In the first childhood, the person who gets away from the family and acquires a new environment discovers that he can establish closeness other than the basic caregivers, or starts to see other people as untrustworthy due to the peer problems he has experienced. Then, in adolescence, she experiences different shares with the opposite sex with her sexual impulses. At these stages, peer adjustment, positive-negative experiences can develop the established secure-insecure attachment style in the opposite or supportive way. Finally
Three features distinguish adult attachment from childhood attachment: 1. In adults, attachment relationships are typically between spouses, while in the other, it is between caregiver (infant) and caregiver (parent). 2. Adult attachment is not responsible for influencing other behavioral systems, such as childhood attachment. 3. Attachment in adulthood often involves sexual intercourse.
So far we have outlined how attachment occurs and what supports secure attachment and what can lead to insecure attachment. So what are secure and insecure attachment styles? Here, we will talk about Bowlby’s attachment theory, which brings a new perspective to attachment theory. Bowlby put forward a generally accepted theory by combining people’s positive/negative perceptions of themselves and their positive/negative perceptions of others. These;
· Secure Attachment : It often reinforces the feeling of being valued and lovable with expectations of other people’s acceptability and responsiveness. They can accept their difficulties and ask for help. He is comfortable in expressing difficult situations and emotions. When faced with a stressful situation, they respond more calmly and experience less stress than other attachment styles. They perceive anger/irritability and control it. They are prone to problem solving. They easily adapt to what current life brings.
· Avoidant/ Indifferent Attachment : It combines the feeling of being lovable and valued with negative expectations for other people. Such people protect themselves against disappointment without establishing close relationships. Thus, they maintain their independence and invulnerability. In general, they tend to avoid deep relationships, they may prefer short-term and only sexual relationships. Suppresses negative emotions and avoidance strategies become established as basic coping strategies.
· Obsessive Attachment : They combine a sense of worthlessness (not being loved) with a positive evaluation of others. Thus, they are individuals who have low self-confidence, perceive others as supportive, cannot benefit positively from this support, and have low levels of self-disclosure. They need others to love and appreciate them. They are extremely anxious and constantly exaggerate negative emotions. Thus, they think that they can attract the attention of their partners.
· Fearful Attachment : Feelings of unworthiness and unlovable combine with expectations of others being perceived as negative, untrustworthy, and rejecting. By avoiding close bonds with other people, these individuals guard against the rejection that is already expected from others. However, they have a very strong desire to have a close relationship, but when things get better, they fear getting hurt and end the relationship. These are people who are constantly changing partners or who want to leave and come back.
In this context, according to insecure attachment styles other than secure attachment, losing a partner causes great damage to the person or getting close to a partner can be perceived as a loss of freedom. But they don’t realize that these are distortions of thought that result from feeling like a failure. These people are always distant, find themselves a constant pursuit or become a workaholic. They hesitate to make decisions and do not make plans for the future. They are prone to cheating so they believe they are not getting close to a single person. They always have a feeling of emptiness and loneliness in them. Because they avoid their own emotions, they cannot perceive themselves or their partner’s emotions in a real way, and they have difficulty empathizing. They are in a constant state of self-defense.
What should we do if we have all these features or if most of them are suitable for us?
Choosing to focus on oneself, discovering pleasurable and relaxing activities that can be done without others. An excessive expectation of others means placing too much responsibility on them. Therefore, they may show avoidance behavior.
Researching and accepting your attachment style and being aware of your involuntary movements.
Being bold about new experiences and planning joint activities with your partner. If you don’t have a partner, talk to people close to you or take a step to meet new people.
Reshaping your negative perception of criticism and trying to get the message that is actually meant to be given.
Reading to help you recognize your feelings and communicate without hesitation to show your feelings to others.
If you have a partner, trying to get to know him better without comparing him to other relationships. Of course, you can explain to your partner that you are entering a new process and get support from him in this regard.
Get professional support.
Of course, in order to be able to do all of these and get rid of the feeling of not being able to connect, you need to be sure that you really want it. In addition, it should not be forgotten that it is necessary to take a step and take action for the desired change.