Everyone wants to have a secure attachment style, especially after a divorce. But how can you create one?
If you’ve followed me for a little while, you know that I wanted to become a therapist in the sixth grade because of my parents’ shit marriage. As a very undersupported child in a pretty intense home, I had the idea that I would become a therapist and make a difference in the world.
What is a Secure Attachment Style?
Secure attachment style is a term used to describe a healthy and balanced way of forming emotional connections and relationships.
Individuals with a secure attachment style typically have positive and stable approaches to relationships with friends, family, and partners, which all stem from early experiences with consistent and responsive caregivers.
Attachment and connection are among our deepest, most primal needs. We are neurobiologically wired for love and belonging.
When our need for attachment, connection, and attunement gets disrupted early on, we end up substituting something that can become an addiction or pattern of behavior, for example, overthinking or overanalyzing, or a codependency addiction.
We develop replacement behaviors in the place where the secure attachment and connection are needed. Some replacement behaviors include anxious, avoidant-dismissive, or disorganized attachment styles. Our attachment to those replacement behaviors is so fiercely strong that very little can come between them until we introduce a stronger force, AKA a healthy connection.
What is Attachment Trauma
Attachment trauma refers to the emotional wounds and disruptions in early relationships that can significantly impact an individual’s psychological and emotional well-being.
Attachment trauma is often created from experiences like neglect, abandonment, or inconsistent caregiving during the formative years of life.
To break the cycle of divorce, you have to heal attachment styles in both of the people who are breaking up. If you get married again and haven’t healed your attachment style, the same problems will arise, and this cycle will fundamentally impact any children. If you’re growing up in a family where you are constantly going between houses, where there’s high conflict, addiction, or there’s infidelity, your secure attachment has been disrupted because your family unit is disrupted. This is an attachment breach.
If we women don’t help repair those attachment breaches for kids, then they’re going to go on to get divorced, and the cycle continues.
What is a Nervous System
The nervous system is a network of interconnected nerves and cells that transmit information between the brain and the rest of the body. The nervous system plays a pivotal role in emotional regulation, how you respond to experiences and events, and ultimately influences your emotional wellness.
When there’s an attachment breach, let’s say your parents fight or you had a parent who was chronically ill, a child’s sense of security and well-being gets disrupted, which leads to feelings of anxiety and panic, as well as the three trauma responses: fight, flight or fawn.
Your nervous system is constantly assessing the environment to determine whether or not it’s safe. When you’re very little, and you experience an attachment breach, the immediate understanding in the body and the mind is, “I am not safe.” And when that becomes chronic or habitual, the nervous system is in a chronically heightened state of fight, flight, or fawn.
Dealing with a Dysregulated Nervous System in Your Divorce Trauma
The parents who created the breach probably didn’t know how or try to teach you how to get back into a sense of nervous system security, feeling safety and rest. This leads to dysregulation of the nervous system.
It takes time to heal the attachment style and retrain your nervous system. But there are tools out there.
Yoga is an excellent nervous system regulating tool, whereas cardio further activates the nervous system because you’re pushing the heart to race.
With yoga, you’re experiencing exercise with deep, regular, consistent breathwork. Yoga is all about the breath. Every movement in yoga is intentionally paired with an inhale or an exhale.
When you pair breathwork with a somatic process, such as hip openers and shoulder flexibility, it helps process emotion out of the body and will retrain your nervous system.
Creating a Safe Place to Develop a Secure Attachment Style
If you’ve established that the underpinning of your divorce was an attachment breach in your childhood, your therapist can create a safe space for you to acknowledge that your parents were not perfectly attuned partners and the person you just divorced isn’t the person to help repair your attachment style. Who else in your life after divorce will show up to help you repair your attachment style by providing you with a safe place to be vulnerable?
This healing occurs in group therapy, churches, or other spiritual places where we women can access that connection with each other and with a higher power.
It’s not the whole picture, but it’s a big part of it because, eventually, you want to attract a partner who can help further heal your attachment style by being that safe place.
Using Homeopathy for Divorce Trauma Healing
Homeopathy is a tool that has tackled all of my attachment trauma mess from my pre-verbal, pre-picture memory. It’s so hard to work on this type of trauma in talk therapy, journaling, or spiritual study because you cannot remember or access it. Yes, somatic work and nervous system training go far, but constitutional homeopathy can get back there in the timeline. That’s why it’s such a game-changer for attachment healing.
Toxic Relationships Between Couples Affect Children
I was born into a toxic relationship. My parents loved me so much, but they couldn’t love each other well, and they couldn’t love me that well either because of their attachment wounds and their addictions. A lot of people tend to feel very protective and defensive of their parents, and that’s normal. It is not helpful for us to blame parents but it is important to understand the mechanics of how attachment breaches happen to a young, dependent child; we’re not talking about 13-year-olds, we’re talking about early brain development, pre-age 7.
Before we’re 7, the top brain hasn’t come online and the prefrontal cortex has limited involvement, so the part of the brain that handles executive function and advanced thinking processes is not yet developed. Anything that leads a child to feel profoundly unsafe for extended periods will cause an attachment breach.
Disorganized Attachment Style
What is a disorganized attachment style?
A disorganized attachment style means that a person might act in confusing ways in relationships. This can happen if they had difficult or inconsistent experiences in their early years, like not feeling safe or not getting reliable care.
People with this attachment style may want closeness but also feel scared or uneasy in relationships, making it hard for them to form stable connections.
It can affect how they handle emotions and create challenges in building trust. Therapy often focuses on building a safe relationship, exploring past experiences, and developing strategies for managing emotions.
Anxious and Avoidant Attachment Styles
What is an Anxious Attachment Style?
An anxious attachment style is where a person seeks a lot of reassurance and closeness in relationships.
Individuals with this style may worry about being abandoned or unloved, leading to a fear of rejection. They often seek constant validation and may be overly sensitive to changes in their relationships.
What is an Avoidant Attachment Style?
An avoidant attachment style is when people tend to keep emotional distance in relationships.
They may value independence and self-sufficiency, often avoiding emotional intimacy. People with an avoidant style may struggle with commitment and find it challenging to open up emotionally.
It’s important to note that neither anxious nor avoidant attachment styles can tolerate intimacy. People tend to think of narcissistic men as avoidant attaches, but anxious codependent attachers are not available for intimacy either; they cannot tolerate feedback, and they cannot tolerate true vulnerability or honesty with themselves or others.
Everything is about presenting a certain picture and perfectionism and service to others.
Tools to Create a Secure Attachment Style
Unless you’ve done a good amount of attachment style repair, you will keep attracting anxious avoidant, or disorganized attachers.
You subconsciously attract an attachment style that echoes your parents’ attachment style from your pre-picture, pre-verbal memory.
Until there’s a level of awareness where you’ve connected the dots and you can catch it happening in real-time, and you could spot it in yourself and other people, you will repeat the past.
You’ve got this. Work on yourself. I believe in you, love. Peace
Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins
...helps people crack open. Challenging the status quo, she integrates multiple modalities from EMDR to EFT tapping, journaling, homeopathy, and movement, embracing remedies that heal both the mind and body. Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins is on a mission to deliver life-changing therapy in an accessible, scalable, affordable way and make waves in the world of mental health with the same enlightenment that happens in her office. Part science, part essential oils, pure magic.