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Attachment versus Authenticity

5 April 2022

Why we abandon ourselves and how this shows up in our adult lives.

Humans are mammals. But we are unique in that we are the only mammals whose young are born so totally helpless and reliant on their primary caregivers.

We are designed this way so that our brain and nervous system develop through consistent, sustained and well-regulated attachment with our primary caregivers, usually our parents.

We are biologically wired for this connection, so what happens when we don’t receive this?

Aside from the physiological aspects that occur – babies with poor attachment who suffer extreme neglect show severe nervous system dysregulation and delayed brain development – we usually grow up to experience a deep lack of authenticity with ourselves; we don’t feel able to express and be our true authentic selves and ask for what we really need.

Both attachment and authenticity are basic human needs, but if we are raised in an environment where we have to choose, a child will ignore the truth of who they are in order to maintain any sense of connection with their parent.

We drop the authentic connection with ourselves and the internal sense of trust we need to stay attuned to our own needs.

As little ones we then create unhealthy beliefs as coping mechanisms, which we form about ourselves through the interpretations of how others treated us as children.

These beliefs might be:

+ I’m not worthy

+ It’s not safe to be me

+ I don’t deserve to be heard

+ I am hopeless

+ Nothing I do is good enough

Each unhealthy belief we have develops certain unhealthy behaviours. We then find it impossible to make healthy relationship choices and often end up in unhappy and possibly abusive situations.

If you recognise these patterns of behaviour and you keep choosing toxic relationships, or perhaps you feel you can’t be who you truly are because you fear that might mean losing your partner, please know that it is never too late to become conscious to these patterns and work with them to change.

It is possible to then realign your choices in life with what you really want, without abandoning yourself.

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