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What is Ambivalent Attachment, and How Does it Impact Relationships?

What is ambivalent attachment?

Ambivalent attachment occurs in children when a mom is busy or preoccupied and creates an anxious connection with their child. The mother being unpredictable can cause a young person distress. The child often feels helpless, and the mother tends to infantilize them as they grow up. There are two types of ambivalent attachment. One is an angry type, and the other is a passive one. When a child has an angry ambivalent attachment, they actively seek out relationships with other people, but then become inflamed and push those individuals away. A passive ambivalent attachment means the young person will want to connect with others but will be socially anxious and not know how to do it. A child who has an ambivalent attachment may have a parent with a mental illness. They notice their mother father preoccupied with those mental health issues and feel anxious about what’s happening with their parents. Because of their anxiety, they have trouble connecting with their parents. It’s a form of attachment style that can severely impact the child into adulthood.

How does ambivalent attachment affect adult romantic relationships?

If you form an ambivalent attachment as a child, it will likely impact your romantic relationships as an adult. You may feel scared of developing close romantic connections because you don’t want to be rejected. You’re socially anxious or have difficulty sustaining long-term relationships because you’re afraid of being abandoned. Ambivalent attachment causes separation anxiety both in children and adults. It can also cause other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. There is cognitive dissonance surrounding attachment. You want to feel connected to your partner, but you are fearful about the consequences of forming a close bond.

Can you heal from ambivalent attachment?

The first step to understanding yourself and the ambivalent attachment issue is to acknowledge that you have these issues. You can heal from ambivalent attachment by talking about the problem in therapy. You can begin to understand where it stems from and how long it has affected you. Maybe you had trouble forming a bond with one or both of your parents. Perhaps you had separation anxiety as a child. Whatever the root cause, it’s essential to understand how it’s impacting your romantic relationship now. You have an opportunity to develop a strong bond with your partner. You can delve into your history and figure out how you developed an ambivalent attachment. Once you realize where the issue stems from, you can start figuring out how to address it. You won’t be able to heal the wounds of your past. However, you will work on coping skills to deal with your anxiety around attachment.

Couples therapy

One safe place to talk about attachment issues is couples therapy. If you have ambivalent attachment problems, talking to a certified couples therapist can help you understand how your attachment style affects your partner. Your partner could also have attachment issues. They may feel insecurely attached or have avoided attachment issues. Everyone has a different form of attachment. Couples counseling is a great place to talk about attachment issues and figure out the ways that they impact your relationship. Understanding attachment issues will help you connect with your partner on an intimate level. Just because you have ambivalent attachment doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy relationship. Talk about these issues in couples counseling, whether it’s online or in your local area, and learn how you can form healthy bonds

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