Archives for Attachment Theory
“Home is in the circle of your arms” In Part 1 of this post, we started looking at attachment theory and how it’s thought to shape the kind of relationships you have in your life – with others and with yourself. How the relationship patterns you learned as a child might now be shaping your relationships as an adult. How it can maybe even shape the kind of ‘home’ you build within the circle of your arms. First, we explored “secure attachment”, where you’re free to come and to go. Nurtured, and yet also still encouraged to leave and thrive. Where you have a “secure base” to return to and also to launch yourself from. Some other attachment possibilities include “ambivalent attachment,” where separation from the other person is upsetting or uncomfortable, but reunion isn’t reassuring… and a sense of worry can accompany you whether you’re together or apart. So it can become hard to want to be close to others (because it feels safer not to get attached in the first place). And then there’s “avoidant attachment,” where feeling connected in relationship is pretty much avoided. Where many relationships might seem almost interchangeable or of similar value. Where independence comes first. It’s thought that you learned all of this attachment stuff when you were young. That it was created in relationship with your primary caregivers. Your family. But then, over the years, it can become something you, yourself, can internalize and recreate. Something you might unwittingly play out again and again in the relationships you craft as an adult.
“Home is in the circle of your arms.” I have a feeling that this message, written along the side of a nearby house, is meant to be about someone else’s arms. (As in, home is in the arms of somebody else). Yet what struck me when I read it was how each of us are also our own homes – emotionally, intellectually, existentially. So, in a very real sense, home is in the circle of our arms… We are our own permanent address (while ever we’re – impermanently – on this planet). Almost snail-like, we carry these homes – our habitual thoughts, our reflex responses, our ways of seeing ourselves and the world – around with us. It reminds me of what Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote: “Wherever you go, there you are.” So what’s yours like, your internal ‘home’? How long is it since you’ve actually stood back and taken a real look at it? And how might it be influencing your experience of the rest of the world?