4 Attachment Styles Explained -- Healing the Rejected Child
by Lisa A. Romano
As a Life Coach for wounded adult children, wishing to find their authentic voice, I work with clients who feel stuck in toxic relationships, as well as their minds. My clients tend to be those who grew up feeling rejected, abandoned, and scarred by emotional neglect.
I understand my clients, because I grew up feeling invisible, not good enough, and unworthy of love. These core issues led to a life of subjugation, suppressing my emotions, and finding as many ways to avoid rejection as my shame-based mind could think of.
As a child, I grew up feeling unwanted by the mother I craved, and invisible to the father I wished could see how hungry I was for my mother's love. I learned to suppress my needs, and emotions to avoid being criticized, yelled at, or ostracized by the family I loved. These early childhood experiences led to problems in my adult relationships. Feeling unwanted as a child, caused me to seek connection from others, however, due to deep shame, I needed to hide my true self and try and figure out how to become what I thought others wanted me to be, so as to avoid rejection.
Living with emotional hunger was the result of never gaining the love of my mother, which caused me to believe, I was unlovable. By the time I was seven years old, I was codependent, insecure, seeking approval, and deeply afraid of abandonment. These fears led to an insecure anxious attachment style, that manifested as codependency in my adult life.
Understanding attachment styles can help shed light on why we develop these patterns and how to heal from them.
There are four attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant.
1) Secure attachment is characterized by feeling safe and secure in relationships, having trust in others, and being able to express emotions openly.
You are fortunate if you have this attachment style. You are able to depend on others and others are able to depend on you without much angst, fear, worry, or strife. Your relationships are honest, stable, forgiving, and tolerant. Your happiness does not depend on your partner's approval, responsiveness, or mood.
Your caregivers consistently and predictably met your emotional, physical, and medical needs. Your home was warm, and authentic, and allowed for the freedom of emotional expression. You felt safe, and as if your parents were attuned to who you were on an emotional level. You are happy with your life whether you are in or out of a relationship.
2) Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment is marked by a fear of abandonment and a need for constant reassurance from others.
This attachment style implies you feel less than your partners, you seek their approval, focus on their needs, you caretake, people-please, and have a low sense of self.
Subconsciously or consciously, you need to feel safe, and if your partner does anything that remotely causes you to doubt you can trust they love you, you can become preoccupied with needing them to reassure you. You can become clingy, demanding, or shut down in response to feeling as if something is amiss in your relationship.
Your early childhood experiences with your caregiver may have been unstable, chaotic, inconsistent, and unpredictable. This is considered one of the saddest attachment styles. In early childhood, your brain and subconscious mind learned to believe you could not trust that those you loved could or would meet your needs. As an adult, you hide your true self, in fear of others leaving you once they discover what you perceive are unlovable traits, which is how your emotional trauma speaks to you through negative self-talk.
3) Avoidant Dismissive- Attachment involves a tendency to avoid emotional intimacy and a belief that one doesn't need others.
If this is your attachment style, you can take love or leave it. You prefer others do not rely or depend on you, nor do you want to depend on others. You prefer not to become too close emotionally, and avoid true intimacy. You don't care about gaining others' approval and you are cool with being different. Rather than share your authentic emotions, you'll hide them. When situations become too intense, you retreat or suppress what you are really feeling.
You may have had a parent that was intolerant of your feelings as a child and who praised your independence, or who resented your needing them.
4) Disorganized Fearful-Avoidant Attachment is a combination of anxious and dismissive styles, resulting in a fear of both abandonment and intimacy. If this is your attachment style, you have a hard time trusting others.
This attachment style shows up as a conflict between wanting closeness yet fearing it at the same time, due to distrusting others are capable of not running away in times of need. Craving and fearing closeness at the same time leads to unreliable relationships, that are often confusing for all involved. You're conflicted, and your behavior may be confusing to you and to others. You want love but need physical and emotional distance too.
As a child, you never learned to trust that love was reliable, and worse, you learned it was unsafe to love.
Your childhood was rooted in fear. You learned you could not trust those who were meant to care for you. You no longer trust love, closeness, intimacy, or relationships. Your early childhood experiences taught you that your caregivers were untrustworthy and a source of fear. As a consequence, no one ever taught you how to regulate your emotions. It was impossible to do, considering you needed to be on high alert all the time, considering your home was so unpredictable.
From Insecure to Secure Attachments
Growing up feeling rejected as a child can lead to developing a need to hide the true self and relying on ways to avoid becoming rejected as adults.
What we are really looking to run from, are the 'feelings' of rejection stored in the emotional body, our young minds were unable to process in childhood.
This can manifest in codependent behaviors such as people-pleasing, caretaking, and sacrificing one's own needs for others. However, it is also possible to develop avoidant tendencies as well.
The good news is, you can heal from rejection and abandonment trauma!
Our Subconscious Quest for Love and Acceptance
These behaviors are attempts to gain love and approval from others, but they ultimately lead to a loss of self and a cycle of unfulfilling relationships.
Growing up feeling rejected as a child, causes one to assume and then believe they are unlovable. Until this stinking thinking is addressed, many of us remain living below the veil of consciousness, attracting energy beings into our adult experiences that mirror the energies of the parent or parent we feel we could never please enough to love us.
Healing from codependency and abandonment trauma involves recognizing and challenging these patterns, learning to set boundaries, and developing a sense of self-worth that isn't dependent on others' approval. It's important to remember that healing is a process. By understanding our attachment styles and working to heal from past wounds, we can create healthier, more fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others.
Dear Ones, today, remember, you are enough. You are not your past, nor are you the consequences of less-than-ideal parenting.
As adults, we can work through our abandonment and rejection traumas, correct our behaviors, change our beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds, which all help us to go from insecure to secure attachment styles.
We can break free of the chains of the past and manifest the love, peace, and contentment we seek.
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Lisa A. Romano is a Certified Life Coach, bestselling author, and YouTube Vlogger specializing in codependency recovery and mental toughness training. She is also one of the most listened to meditation teachers on the world’s largest meditation app Insight Timer. Lisa was voted the #1 Most Influential Person of 2020 by Digital Journal and one of the top ten most influential women of 2021. Lisa creates real-life tools to help people evolve past their traumas so they can live in peace, achieve success, and create harmony in their lives regardless of painful past events. Her 12 Week Breakthrough Codependency Program has helped thousands of people learn to regulate their emotions, heal from painful pasts, including negative self-talk, and limiting beliefs. Adult children of alcoholics and those raised by narcissistic parents are learning to find their way back to the love they were denied as children through Lisa’s transformational work.
To learn more about working with Lisa, visit