Part of me is afraid to get close to people because I’m afraid that they’re going to leave.Marilyn Monroe
Going through life, how many of us would say that our relationships and the way we interact with others is something we hugely value and place significant importance on? Now correct me if I’m wrong, but my instinct is telling me that this area of life is massively crucial in maintaining good mental health and allowing us to feel fulfilled. After all, if we experience good and bad times (as most people do), it’s only natural that we’ll want other people to come along on that ride too. To celebrate and support us. Am I right?
When each and every one of us is born and brought in the world, it’s obviously impossible for us to fend for ourselves, therefore we become attached and forced to rely on our parents/caregivers to nurture us and aid our development. During the first few years of our life, most children will experience the feeling of being fed, being washed, being clothed, being walked and being protected- until the time comes that we can do this ourselves. While you would hope that EVERY child deserves and subsequently receives such an upbringing, the stark reality is that many children out there are not given a sufficient amount of love, care and support throughout their childhood. And when a child lacks these key elements, or possibly experiences a form of trauma or difficult life event, it’s common for them to express symptoms of attachment later on in life.
Although I’m by no means saying that love or strong human interaction isn’t necessary or beneficial, I believe that my own experiences of getting attached to others and feeling a strong sense of neediness have taught me that there are fine margins between having healthy relationships and relying too much on others to make us feel happy and content. From the moment I was born on 11th February 2000 to where I am now, I’d be lying if I said my family haven’t showed me consistent love and support, however that’s the strange thing about attachment. While it may be true that a lack of quality parenting (as I mentioned) sometimes contributes to major attachment issues in adulthood, my experiences have been caused by factors unbeknownst to me. Every person’s experience is obviously unique to them!
In recent years, I have been fortunate enough to meet plenty of inspirational people and make a number of great friends along the way, however that has coincided with me feeling often on edge and that I have to try almost too hard to maintain their interest and strengthen the friendship. The friends I now have may be kind, understanding and compassionate (more than I could wish for), yet it’s frustrating how my mind persistently convinces me that I simply HAVE to put in such an amount of effort that most people would consider overbearing and annoying. That I have to message somebody again when they ‘leave me on read’ because my anxiety and curiosity gets the better of me. That I have to check that I haven’t annoyed or upset them 57 million times. That I feel frustrated and pissed off at the world when certain interactions with people don’t go to plan. If I’m being brutally honest, it’s a cycle that regularly feels near impossible to break.
Although I must say that I know in the moment that I could make a situation worse, or push somebody away, I find it extremely difficult to refrain from acting impulsively and take a step back.To reflect and weigh up the best solution. I’m definitely a case of someone who wants to put situations to bed quickly- especially if they’re playing on my mind constantly and affecting my mood! Though this can be a good thing and allow a swift resolution to some situations, the big problem is that trying to ‘nip things in the bud’ early can lead to greater heartache and mental torture. And even if I do feel close to somebody in the moment, it’s undoubtedly a short-term fix to a long term, deep-rooted psychological problem.
I have often preached on my website and through my work campaigning the importance of working on ourselves, nevertheless I do know that I struggle to take my own advice sometimes. It’s brilliant that I have such supportive friends and areas of my life that I can be proud of, yet my own experiences, as well as many other people’s, have proved that we are in charge of our own happiness, our own destiny. It’s impossible for anybody else to magically create the dream life for me/you.
Attachment may be something that many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to rule over our lives or be something to feel ashamed of. As debilitating and difficult my experiences have been, and are still, I do want a life where I could express such emotions in an environment where I feel understood and heard. Where my mind doesn’t allow me to run away with itself to the point of self-destruction and no return. Where my I can manage my emotions in a healthy manner and wrestle back some sort of self-control. The last thing I want is to be a prisoner of my own mind.
With all the extra time we have now due to the COVID-19 lockdown, I do feel as though that I’ve ruminated too frequently and therefore latched onto other people often as means of providing myself with comfort, stability and support. That being said, as we move forward and restrictions ease, one of my biggest priorities will be to maintain a better routine in my life, work on challenging certain negative thoughts and be open about these experiences more often.
There’ll be so many others going through similar things to me, and I hope that by sharing this, it may give someone out there the encouragement they need to do the same. There should NEVER be any shame for talking about what’s going on in your mind! Attachment is a topic no where near discussed enough….
Thanks for reading,