We are doing a crash course of attachment theory in this episode. We all have an inherent need for connection and an inherent need for authenticity, but sometimes the two are in opposition to each other. Understanding this can help you have empathy and compassion for those around you, and for yourself.

Full Show Notes

In this episode we are going to discuss the basics of attachment theory. I want to give credit to Shyla Cash, my mentor and coach, and Aimee Apigian who came in and gave us a guest presentation about attachment.

Attachment Theory Crash Course

First year of life

In the first year of life, the infant is focused on the biological survival drive to connect, in order to get their needs met.

The baby goes through a cycle to create trust and connection between them and their primary caregiver.

  1. Baby has a need,
  2. Which pushes them out of regulation,
  3. Mama comes to regulate (take care of their need). Mama saves baby all day long.
  4. They trust Mama.

Trust is opening ourselves to someone who has previously met a need. If the trust is not consistent, the attachment won’t be secure.

Second Year of Life

In the second year of life the baby, now toddler, seeks authenticity. Authenticity is the biological drive to know and be ourselves. What do I like? Who do I want to be? What is my purpose?

There is inherent tension between attachment and connection. Sometimes we will have to forgo one to get the other.

In the second year of life, the cycle is:

  1. Toddler has a desire
  2. The caregiver sets a boundary or limit, “no”
  3. The toddler accepts tge limit (because they trust)
  4. The toddler gains freedom or autonomy, i.e. authenticity (line upon line, slowly growing our capacity)

Types of Attachment

But what happens when the attachment is not secure?

  1. If the attachment is too much for the baby, they may want to push away. We call this avoidant attachment.
  2. If the attachment is not enough they may want to hold on tighter to get more. We call this anxious attachment.
  3. If the infant is confused? They will do both depending on the situation. “Best to be by myself because I hurt people.” We call this ambivalent or disorganized attachment.

If the attachment is not secure in the first year, then the boundary or limit turns into “who are you to tell me no? I think of this as the terrible twos. 

Please don’t be tempted to blame yourself if you see a non-secure attachment in yourself or your children. There are two nervous systems at play and we each have a different capacity. It is not the end of the world if attachment is not secure; we can learn to create secure attachment within ourselves.

How This Helps You

All behaviors come back to the attachment in some form, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. So when your kids don’t act how you want them to, remember that it’s not about you. It’s about them either wanting to connect or wanting to be themselves.

Journal Questions:

  1. Reflect and write a list of things you’ve done that were based in a need for connection.
  2. Reflect and write a list of things you’ve done that were based in a need for authenticity.
  3. Where do you notice “friction” in these lists?

How to Work with Me

I have 2 private coaching spots available. If you are interested in one of them, schedule a totally free call. On this call, you learn what it’s like to coach with me, but also if you feel safe with me, which is really important. You may not feel safe, and that’s ok. 

I am also starting a group coaching experience called Presence. We will come together in a safe and courageous space to hold one another in complete acceptance. We will also learn about the nervous system. I’ll use modalities such as meditation, somatic practice, mindset coaching, and space holding to help you love and accept yourself more fully. If you are interested in learning more, click here.