Our relationship patterns are often survival patterns we learned in childhood.

Attachment Wounds - Jenn PinkertonOur nervous system is meant to keep us safe and uses the experiences we had in childhood to decipher what might have been dangerous for us for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, many of our nervous systems learned that chaos is love or that emotions are unsafe to feel. That manifests in adulthood as being attracted to unhealthy relationship dynamics because we are operating from what feels familiar to our body, rather than from a conscious space.

We show up in relationships in the way we learned to give and receive love as children. This presents in many ways. If our parents met our big emotions with shut down or frustration, we began to learn that emotions are unsafe or bad. If we are told to stop crying, or threatened that if we don’t stop crying, we would be punished, we are being taught that we should not feel. We may begin to shut down to stay safe and avoid feeling rejection from our parents. From a young age this establishes the concept that love is hard, or love should be painful. Because of that instilled belief as adults we may choose relationships that perpetuate that idea that love is hard. If our parents or primary care givers demonstrated to us rejection or abandonment, we learn that feeling is what love is. We may be attracted to partners who will not commit, or we stay in a relationship where we feel mistreated or abandoned because it is what we learned in childhood. This childhood conditioning becomes our roadmap and guides us how to show up in relationships. If we constantly felt unsafe in our bodies or environments as children, then as adults we are pushed into a need to control things to feel safe. If we were in the position to be a caretaker as a child or managing the emotional state of parents, then we learned our worth lies in what we can do for everyone else. This may look like people pleasing and codependency. This causes our level of tolerance in unhealthy relationships to be higher than it should be.

Attachment/inner child work can help to unlearn what we were taught as children and shift our functioning patterns as an adult. Processing feelings from childhood and understanding how to regulate our nervous system to avoid being triggered, can assist in shifting patterns of who we attract and how we function. Regardless of which attachment wound affects you, until you heal from it you could continue to be attracted to what feels familiar. You can do the emotional work to lead you to attracting abundance and love.

If you have a question you would like to ask or a topic to be addressed in next month’s article, please email jenn@pinkertonpsychotherapy.com. If you would like to schedule an individual appointment, please contact us at 713.800.6999 or www.pinkertonpsychotherapy.com.

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