Do you feel like you are frequently clashing with your spouse and feel unsure why you react the way you do at times? Can you relate to the feeling of being unsure why you are responding to your child in a particular way in his or her time of “testing the waters”? It may be time to start building secure attachments.
If you have been noticing that you feel stressed in relationships, such as your marriage, parenting, or other family relationships or friendships, it can be very insightful to look at your own responses and family background. We typically develop a certain set of coping skills and stress responses, both either good or bad, from what we have seen modeled from our parents growing up.
Dr. Tim Clinton finds that how one answers the questions about him/herself, “Am I worthy of being loved?” and “Am I competent of getting the love I need?” forms one’s sense of self and how one views him or herself. He also finds that how one views others and the world is formed by how one answers the questions “Are others reliable and trust worthy?” “Are others willing to respond when I need them?” Based on these questions, one learns whether the world is a safe or a scary place and whether others can be trusted.
The way that a person forms core beliefs to these questions about him/herself and others significantly influence how one interacts with others in the context of marriage, parenting, family, and friends. These beliefs also particularly impact how one approaches others in times of stress. These reactions may range from feeling “muddled” in relationships, with rapidly shifting emotions; fearing others’ reactions such as rejection or not being accepted; or withdrawing from others to avoid conflict. Maybe you can relate!
You can’t change other people or what other people are doing, but you CAN change your own responses.
You will find that it can be very insight building and transformative to take a look at how you approach others and the world and to evaluate what is working well and what can be improved. A trained professional can also assist you in identifying unhealthy patterns that affect your marriage and family relationships and provide techniques to change these patterns into healthy communication.
You can read more about how building secure attachments as it pertains to marriage and parenting, and general tips for improving the way that you relate to others in Clinton’s book Attachments: Why You Love, Feel, and Act The Way You Do.
All content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.