How to Get an Earned Secure Attachment Style After Divorce

In the last of our series on attachment styles, let’s take a look at the very specific traits of someone with a secure attachment style or an “earned secure.”

What is a Secure Attachment Style?

If you’re someone with a secure attachment style, you tend to feel comfortable expressing your needs and emotions, knowing that you’ll be heard and supported.

You’re securely attached when you feel comfortable and confident in your relationships. It nourishes healthy connections.

For women after divorce, a secure attachment style is what we want to reach for.

woman with short brown hair, black top and yoga outfit, sitting in front of a mirror and looking into it, How to Get an Earned Secure Attachment Style After Divorce

Six Secure Attachment Style Traits to Have in Your Life After Divorce

Positive Sense of Self

First things first, a secure attacher has a positive sense of self. Self-loathing is not the trait of someone with a secure attachment style.

Speaking kindly to ourselves, having a sense of esteem and worth, and understanding we have inherent value are very secure traits.

Typically, secure attachers have lower anxiety levels, and they are less prone to anger. 

Secure attachers, generally throughout their lifetime, have improved mental health.

Not zero mental health issues, but less chronic mental health issues.

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Ease with Boundaries

A secure attacher has an easier time knowing what their boundaries are and being able to articulate them to the people and then holding them and maintaining them.

Insecure attachers tend not to wanna set boundaries because they’re so afraid of rejection and loss, and avoidant attachers just ghost.

Secure attachers have an easier time saying what they need and kind of positively anticipating that it’s going to happen.

woman with long blond hair and green tank top, leaning on a man with short brown hair and beige t-shirt, holding his hand in front of his mouth with worry, Afraid of Rejection

Emotional Intelligence

Secure attachers typically are more comfortable with intimacy, meaning when someone discloses something deeply emotional or is talking about hard things, a secure attacher can support their emotional issues. They have an emotional IQ.

Not only can they identify their own emotions, but they can recognize what an emotion is in other people, and they can tolerate sitting with it so they can share emotionally themselves.

A secure attacher also can regulate their own emotions with relative consistency.

A secure attacher can be triggered or have painful experiences from time to time. But, generally speaking, they would have a higher emotional IQ and a higher capacity to tolerate other people’s emotions, which leads to a greater sense of empathy. Secure attachers can think, “I have a sense of empathy and compassion for what you’re experiencing, and I don’t need to shut it down or deny it. I don’t need to dissociate to be able to be around you while you’re sharing your pain.”

Less Emotionally Guarded

A man or woman with a secure attachment style has a greater sense of trust in the world, in society, in their partners, and in their loved ones.

In terms of how they see society, a secure attacher would probably have more faith that things will be okay in the end.

They don’t feel like they need to kind of obsess to protect themselves in advance. There’s just a greater trust.

beach and the ocean in pastel color lights, How to Get an Earned Secure Attachment Style After Divorce

OK to Be Alone

A secure attacher would have a greater sense of comfort when they’re alone. They would know that aloneness does not necessarily mean isolation or rejection or abandonment.

A secure attacher would experience less profound loneliness or less chronic loneliness.

Better Conflict Management

Secure attachers are also better at conflict management. A lot of the reasons we’re not great at conflict is because we feel threatened or unhappy about any perception of rejection or abandonment.

Avoidant attachments shut down, stonewall and ghost and anxious attachers get needy and clingy.

Secure attachers generally have a better capacity for conflict management without massive amounts of drama.

woman with blonde hair, pink lipstick and pink shirt, having the arms wrapped around herself and holding herself, How to Get an Earned Secure Attachment Style After Divorce

Let’s look at that list:

  • A positive sense of self
  • Ease with boundaries
  • High emotional IQ
  • Trusting
  • An easier time being alone
  • Effective conflict management

How does all that feel for you? Where do you see yourself on that list?

I can tell you in the first year of my post-divorce, I would have scored pretty low on that list. It’s been a journey to embody this earned secure attachment style.

The Three S’s of a Secure Attachment Style

Secure attachment happens either for babies or for those of us who have worked on our attachment style.

Dr. Dan Siegel does a beautiful job of talking about the “Ss” of a secure attachment style: Seen, soothed, and safe.

And I just love that.

parents laying in bed with their baby between them, Seen, soothed, and safe

What are the “Ss” of a Secure Attachment Style?

One of the key indicators of how infants develop their attachment style is that their caregivers treat them in a way where they feel seen, soothed, and safe.

Seen

This describes the consistency of the responsiveness of the caregiver and how the caregiver’s responsiveness is in tune with the needs of the baby.

Soothed

The soothed part is to be able to perceive what the baby needs and then provide it.

Safe

The caregiver then creates a sense of safety and maintains a safe environment to create adequate protection.

When someone grows up seen, soothed, and safe, they will have a greater sense of trust in the world around them because that would have been their lived experience.

If you didn’t come up in a seen, soothed, and safe environment, it becomes your job to step into the role of parent for yourself and treat yourself in a manner where you can feel seen, soothed, and safe for yourself.

How to Be a Secure Attachment Style

There is a period early in the divorce recovery healing journey where we feel a lot of resentment about having to become that provider for ourselves.

We feel like our parents or partner should have provided us with certain things, and the fact that they didn’t lead us to have such resentment that we cut off our noses to spite our faces.

The speed at which you heal your divorce trauma is directly related to how quickly you can cultivate some acceptance that, yes, this did not happen for you in key relationships, but you are now willing to provide it for yourself.

Start working with that inner child to allow her to feel seen, soothed, and safe. Call upon your higher self to become a present parent inside of you so that you can tap into internal resources to reparent that young child.

When you’re feeling anxious, when you’re having a difficult time trusting, when you’re feeling lonely or closed off, or like you don’t feel good about yourself, you can say,

“What does God say about me? What would a wise parent say about me? What would I say to my children? What do I need to say to my inner child? And how can I start tapping into that part of me?”

The Self, which was unaffected by any of these childhood or divorce traumas, is always available, but we have not strengthened the mind-muscle connection between our insecurities and our strong Self. I want you to start practicing with yourself.

woman with red fingernails on pink background with light and dark pink stars holds a piece of paper 'Self love club'

The children who grow up with the greatest sense of security and a positive sense of Self were not punished for their icky traits. They were taught about how to choose different traits. They were supported and loved well, even when they screwed things up. Maybe they experienced some consequences, but these punishments weren’t overly harsh – there wasn’t any shaming.

We have to be able to embrace ourselves even when we do the icky stuff, and that is something that wouldn’t come naturally to someone with an anxious attachment style, avoidant attachment style or an disorganized attachment style.

Self Love and Secure Attachment Style

We have to be willing to love ourselves and see ourselves through the lens of someone with a secure attachment style.

That is tricky to do when you weren’t parented with a secure attachment style.

shadow of a group of women on top of a mountain, with the sunset behind them, developing a security attachment style within a group

Developing a Security Attachment Style Within a Group

You have to start cultivating a secure attachment – with a higher power, a skilled therapist, a spiritual leader, or a group of people who are healing.

This is where you start to learn how to relate to yourself as a secure attachment figure. This is where you first place your trust in other people.

By placing my trust in a skilled therapist, by placing my trust in a healing group, and by placing my trust in a spiritual leader, I was able to start practicing a sense of security and well-being. I was able to start loving myself in the way that they loved me, rather than the way that I had historically experienced love, which was all twisted up with shame, blame, and other codependent behaviors.

Blame is a common codependent behavior that keeps us in the victim drama triangle.

It’s such a toxic shaming thing that we have to learn to break to have a sense of secure attachment.

The Connecting Between Setting Boundaries And Developing a Secure Attachment Style

For those of us who don’t have a secure attachment style, setting and maintaining boundaries feels nearly impossible. I want you to start thinking about how there is a direct relationship between healthy boundary setting and becoming a secure attacher.

When you start forming attachments with healthy attachers, you will be able to practice boundary setting because they will respect your boundaries and can have open communication back and forth with you about them.

vintage street sign in pink with dark pink letters 'BOUNDARY', Setting Boundaries With Ease

Setting Boundaries With Ease

When you have been in a relationship with people who have not respected your boundaries, they have just been trampled over and over and over again. It’s very hard to vibrationally feel resolved and confident that you can set your boundaries and maintain them. You can get there.

woman with light top holding her baby's head in her hands

I want you to notice places in your life after divorce where you can set boundaries with resolve. I noticed that when my daughter was born, I began to set healthy boundaries with other family members.

It was easier for me to set boundaries to protect her than it was for me to protect myself.

I felt she was deserving of safety, so these were great practice grounds for me to start cultivating a positive sense of self where I could set healthy boundaries.

woman with dark long hair, dark long sleeve top and dark jeans, sitting on the floor and holding her hands in front of her face

How Do I Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a process, and it’s going to come with vibrational resolve on your part. It takes time and practice for us to have these positive experiences and believe that we can claim them for ourselves.

tree blossoms next to glass with homeopathy balls

All those negative experiences that you’ve internalized – that there’s something wrong with you, you’re not worth it, you should have done better, you can’t trust or you’re helpless—they aren’t true.

The more you desensitize those negative beliefs, reprocess them, and internalize positive beliefs, the faster you will intentionally manifest a secure attachment style in your life after divorce.

You’ve got this. I believe in you. I love you.

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.

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