An attachment issue is a condition that makes it difficult for a person to bond with others and form or maintain healthy, stable relationships. Attachment issues typically develop in early childhood. Their effects can last a lifetime unless steps are taken to overcome them.
Attachment theory deals with how people form emotional bonds. It was developed in the 1950s by British psychoanalyst John Bowlby to explore the connection between the emotional bond formed by babies with their first caregivers and their ability to form secure, loving relationships later in life.
The central theme of attachment theory is that children whose primary caregivers are dependable, available, and responsive to their needs develop a sense of security and strong self-worth. This enables them to develop healthy, stable relationships as adults.
On the other hand, children whose caregivers were unreliable, ignored their needs, or did not meet them consistently are likely to have trouble forming emotional attachments. Because of their inability to bond with their caregivers, they tend to have a poor sense of self-worth and develop troubled, insecure relationships that cause anxiety, distress, and/or emotional pain.
Common signs of attachment issues.
Difficulty maintaining eye contact.
Being able to maintain eye contact is a sign of trust and security. Lack of eye contact may be an indication of discomfort with self or others.
People with attachment issues may want to be close to someone and be quick to try and bond with them. But if they start to get close, they push others away out of fear of being hurt or abandoned.
People with attachment issues often have low self-esteem and a poor sense of self-worth.
People with attachment issues tend to have a hard time feeling close to loved ones, opening up about their feelings, and/or having a sense of trust or security in their relationships.
People with attachment issues often lack self-confidence or self-esteem and have difficulty seeing the best in themselves. They tend to believe the lie that no one would ever want to love or truly care for them.
Needing frequent reassurance.
People with attachment issues worry that their friends or loved ones will leave them, even if they’ve never shown any sign of doing so, and seek constant reassurance that their loved ones care for them.
Difficulty handling criticism.
Any perceived sign of criticism triggers a fear of being abandoned.
Jumping to conclusions.
People with attachment issues tend to constantly jump to negative conclusions about their friends or loved ones even when there is no evidence to suggest it.
People with attachment issues find it hard to trust anyone or create any lasting connection based on mutual trust.
Tips for overcoming attachment issues.
Learn about them.
Understanding what attachment issues are and what they look like can help you recognize and acknowledge your problem.
Keeping a journal of your feelings can increase your awareness of them and help you identify patterns and triggers.
Share your feelings with loved ones.
Opening up to loved ones about your feelings and fears can help you build deeper bonds and work through trust issues.
Join a support group.
Support groups provide a safe space to share your feelings with others experiencing similar issues.
A trained mental health professional can help you address your attachment issues; get to the root of your concerns; learn how to change your thoughts, behaviors, and reactions; and equip you to form and maintain healthy relationships.
If you would like to set up an appointment to meet with one of the faith-based counselors in our online directory, please give us a call today.
Amy Morin. “Signs and Causes of Attachment Issues.” Verywell Mind. Updated May 3, 2023. verywellmind.com/what-is-an-attachment-disorder-4580038.
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