When we talk about the base from which our affections work, we can easily think that the experiences that a person has lived can determine the glasses through which he/she perceives life and the interpersonal relationships that he/she has built. But how important are the early experiences we live in our childhood that they could affect the process of developing insecurity in love?
Let us start from the concept of attachment style of Jhon Bowlby. What is attachment? It is the behaviors that result in a person obtaining or retaining the proximity of another differentiated and preferred individual. The importance of early relationships with parents or primary caregivers is highlighted; that is, with attachment figures, as a crucial element in the formation of dependent personality traits.
In some cases, people do not establish an adequate secure attachment style and can establish dependent relationships with others. Such relationships would create a feeling of insecurity in the person, since their family of origin and their home do not constitute the secure base of love, care and attention that they needed during their formation and growth. It is here where the basis of a secure or insecure attachment is determined, and the way of perceiving and developing an individual’s interpersonal relationships will depend on it.
When an infant receives affection, spoken with love and with words of encouragement, while the infant is in his/her mother’s womb, the infant can enjoy the loving touches from the parents after the infant is born. The infant’s cares and needs can be met when he/she is comforted in the moments of anxiety or sadness and when the parents are available whenever they are needed.
When affective needs are met, the infant will build a secure attachment towards his/her primary caregivers and will have a solid foundation to build future interpersonal relationships. This happens when concepts of love and what it means to interact with other people are clear and later, in adult life, the person will be able to enjoy healthy interpersonal relationships, in which he/she can feel happy, fulfilled and loved.
When the opposite happens: when, from his/her life in the womb, the baby feels rejected, feels neither loved nor expected; when he/she is born and does not receive enough love, words of affection, caresses; when he/she cries and is not comforted, his/her needs are not met; when he/she experiences difficulties due to having poor communication and/or relationship with the parents or primary caregivers, the attachment formed will be an insecure one; experiencing insecurity in love.
That baby will not feel loved, supported, he/she will feel that his/her needs are not important, that the demands for affection are illogical and have no foundation, that he/she must seek his/her own value in other people, because it has not been given to them, he/she will feel that he/she must seek to increase his/her self-esteem through the approval and admiration of others, he/she will not know how to establish a healthy interpersonal relationship; He/she will not know how to face and solve the problems that arise effectively; His/her concepts and guidelines for a life as a couple or family will be distorted due to that reality of which he/she was a victim in his/her early childhood.
As we can see, they are two totally different scenarios, in which a person who has formed a secure attachment since childhood will be able to establish healthy interpersonal relationships from a base of emotional intelligence, love, happiness, understanding, high self-esteem and self-worth; and the other scenario in which the person has a base of insecurity, fear, anxiety, fear of abandonment, that the needs are not met, not being understood, in which the person will function thanks to manipulation, emotional dependence and search of the approval of other people in order to achieve that value that has not received, the level of self-esteem that is so needed, the love that is longed for, but the person does not know how to achieve it.
When a person is based on insecure attachment, he/she feels empty or with his/her emotional needs unmet, he/she will try to fill that inner emptiness through a relationship with another person, he/she will not know how to be alone in his/her internal world; That person will seek that the interpersonal relationship he/she has established – with a friend, counselor, church pastor, family member, boyfriend (girlfriend), spouse – makes him/her feel the love and security that past experiences have not provided. The problem arises when the fear of rejection, of not being accepted by others, of not being loved, dominates the person’s behavior and distorts the fundamental concepts of healthy human interactions.
It is not an easy task to analyze our own interpersonal relationships from an “outside” perspective, or being able to be objective, because for this we would need to deepen and visit internal spaces of our memory that store painful memories about past experiences that scarred us and that determined our perception of friendship, love, attachment and all the foundations of a healthy relationship. But, in order to overcome the effects and consequences of insecure attachment, you must first understand what love is from God’s point of view. In 1 John 4:18 we read: “In love there is no fear, but perfect love casts out the fear; because fear carries with it punishment. Whence he who fears has not been perfected in love”.
In true love, there is no room for fear. You must accept and understand that you must love yourself as God loves you: with infinite, constant, unconditional love. Love yourself as you are, love your essence so that you can fully see who you are and who others really are. Value yourself so that you do not seek your value in the other person. Work on the emotional deficiencies that you can identify: if you have resentment or hate towards someone from your past, ask God to help you forgive that person and overcome what he/she made you live and understand that you must not seek to solve the things of the past seeking approval in the present.
If you feel abandoned, understand that God has always been with you and always will be, He accepts you as you are and will help you value yourself for who you are; love without expecting to be loved the same way, not all of us love with the same love language; Do not seek other people for the qualities that you do not find in yourself, work to improve and give the best of you, not looking for them to approve of everything you do.
Get some alone time, do not become careless or lose yourself in trying to meet other people’s expectations, do not disappear into who you are trying to please your friends, your partner, husband or wife, co-workers, church brothers or sisters, pastors … nobody; have a sincere and true relationship with God. This way, you will be able to fill the emptiness you feel inside, and you will be able to love and be loved as God has wanted you to be from the moment He created you.
Pray to God and ask him to transform your heart, to break your schemes and preconceptions based on fear. Love without expecting to receive something in return, strengthen your love and self-worth so that you can establish interpersonal relationships of full happiness and love.