Attachment Is Not Love
Kris Gage
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My work along this continuum is finding a tricky balance, as it has been validating for me to hear from respected clinicians working in the area of attachment theory that the seeking of secure attachment that comes at first from a trusted caregiver, then from trusted close partners/friends is normal and natural. As I developed insecure attachment styles of being in relationship due to early life experiences, I have grappled with anxiety that is triggered by dynamics that seem to mimic these early life experiences. I then move toward patterns of grasping, attaining periods of relief/safety that comes with sense of secure attachment, then losing that once again, which elicits feelings of survival level terror. At times I have found myself in relationships where this takes on an addictive flavor, which of course is unhealthy, but I think is just another way we tend to gravitate toward what we know, way deep down. Those of us who suffered attachment wounds as children have much work to do to get to the point where we can attain the type of non-attachment you describe on any consistent basis. I feel I am getting there; and a milestone occurred recently at a retreat where a whole circle of people serenaded me with a welcoming song and I was vulnerable enough to really take it in, as it was something I had never felt as a young child. Now I have more of that sense of connectedness with the universe, though still somewhat tenuous. For me, self-compassion is critical, for the little girl inside me who is scared, feels too needy, not good enough, etc. I am becoming a better parent to her through the work I am doing.