I’ve been digging into attachment theory a lot lately. And I really don’t like what I’m finding, if I’m to tell the truth.
If you’ve never looked at attachment theory, it is a psychological concept that tries to describe how we behave in our relationships. The basic idea is that our relationships (or lack thereof) with our primary caregivers lays the foundation for how we will relate to other people, particularly when we feel threatened.
I am thinking about writing my own little series on these types. There is a lot of information out on the web, but no one person seems to have a ton to say about any of them. That means it can take a while to really piece together an understanding, or at least it has for me.
For now, I’ll just say that I’m coming to the conclusion that I’ve got the shittiest one of the bunch that you can have. Basically, there is one that is good (Secure) and two that are bad/insecure (Avoidant and Preoccupied). Then there is a pretty rare third one that is wacked combination of the two bad ones called Fearful-Avoidant. Even the name of that one leaves a lot to be desired.
The more I look at them, the more convinced I am that I’m more in line with that uber-shitty combo. What’s weird, though, is that it doesn’t upset me like I would expect. Normally, the idea that there could be something really wrong with me would be pretty… I don’t know… not okay. In truth, it doesn’t bother me that much. I’ve been working so hard on healing, even without necessarily understanding the depth or breadth of what needs to be healed. So, to me, I’ve already come so far down the path. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I also can’t see where I started from either. I’ve come a long, long way.
It’s also a little comforting, as crazy as that might sound. I’ve known for a long time that it seemed that there was something in me that didn’t make sense, as though there were competing beliefs inside me at the same time. I’ve felt as though I’ve believed some contradictory things at the same time. For example, I’ve believed that I don’t need relationships, but I’ve been lonely. I’ve prided myself on the fact that I don’t need anyone, but I can be hypersensitive to rejection. In a lot of ways, I’ve been at war with myself. I am one part fiercely independent and one part desperately needy. Understanding attachment theory is the closest I’ve come to being able to make peace between those two poles of my existence.
There is so much more I want to say about this. I’m not certain yet that this is the case. I’m not sure that I’m right, but there is so much about it that makes sense, even as I don’t want it to. More than anything, I’ve realized that none of the others fit better than this one fits. Although, this one isn’t a complete fit, either. I don’t really expect them to. Nothing is a perfect categorization. Personality typing doesn’t work that way. Nothing in psychology does, actually.
Still, it’s hard to get away from the fact that it offers some compelling explanations. But that’s the thing about truth, isn’t it? The fact that you don’t like something doesn’t make it not true.