In relationship, we can only build a good life if we feel secure. Feeling insecure while with our long-term partners can seriously affect our mental and physical health.
Our childhood experiences of attachment to our caregivers forms the way in which we feel secure with our adult partners. As children, the extent to which our caregivers touched, spoke or were there for us (or not) shaped the pathways in our brains, forming our security needs. Although we may be strong and independent adults, our childlike secure and insecure feelings spring into life again in relation to our adult partners.
Each person’s pattern of security needs is unique; there is no wrong or right. Sometimes particular kinds of touch or sex make us feel secure; at other times the guaranteed presence of our partner, our partner’s spoken reassurance or specific kinds of behaviour. It may be all, or a combination of these that make up our own special pattern for security. When enough needs are met we have a relaxed feeling of confidence and openness.
Problems with feeling secure will arise in long-term relationship. Sometimes this happens because we form a fixed version of our partner with which we feel secure. Inevitably they change and our needs change, so we suddenly get triggered: ‘I am not loved anymore’, ‘My relationship is under threat’’ or ‘We are not safe’ etc. Our security can be triggered by the smallest thing – a particular look, a shrug, a tone of voice. Whether the threat is subtle in this way or obvious, it touches us in our own unique way, and immediately insecurity rushes in.
It is easy to build up resentment if you are frequently triggered into your own insecurity with your partner. Yet, in the long run, focusing on your partner blamefully prevents the very security you seek.
Do something different. Describe your unique security needs by making a list: What kind of touch makes me feel secure? What kind of statement from my partner? What actions? What is the most important kind of connection I need that makes me feel secure? Think of more yourself. Now arrange a special conversation with your partner about security. DO NOT talk about the things s/he does that trigger your insecurity. Tell him or her about the list of things you like.
With thanks to:
Getting the Love you Want by H Hendrix,
Connection Disconnection, and Mutual Regulation in Couple Therapy. M Soloman & S Talkin.
Mating in Captivity by E Perel,
The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds by J Bowlby,
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