How the Attachment Bond Shapes Adult Relationships

Have you ever been in love? We all have, at least once. The attachment bond is the term for your first interactive love relationship—the one you had with your primary caregiver as an infant, usually your mother. This mother-child attachment bond shapes an infant’s brain, profoundly influencing your self-esteem, your expectations of others, and your ability to attract and maintain successful adult relationships. By learning about attachment, you can build healthier, attuned relationships, and communicate more effectively.

You were born preprogrammed to bond with one very significant person—your primary caregiver, probably your mother. Like all infants, you were a bundle of emotions—intensely experiencing fear, anger, sadness, and joy. The emotional attachment that grew between you and your caregiver was the first interactive relationship of your life, and it depended upon nonverbal communication. The bonding you experienced determined how you would relate to other people throughout your life, because it established the foundation for all verbal and nonverbal communication in your future relationships.

Individuals who experience confusing, frightening, or broken emotional communications during their infancy often grow into adults who have difficulty understanding their own emotions and the feelings of others. This limits their ability to build or maintain successful relationships. Attachment—the relationship between infants and their primary caregivers—is responsible for:

  • shaping the success or failure of future intimate relationships
  • the ability to maintain emotional balance
  • the ability to enjoy being ourselves and to find satisfaction in being with others
  • the ability to rebound from disappointment, discouragement, and misfortune

Scientific study of the brain—and the role attachment plays in shaping it—has given us a new basis for understanding why vast numbers of people have great difficulty communicating with the most important individuals in their work and love lives. Once, we could only use guesswork to try and determine why important relationships never evolved, developed chronic problems, or fell apart. Now, thanks to new insights into brain development, we can understand what it takes to help build and nurture productive and meaningful relationships at home and at work.

There are a lot of references very useful should you like to go further into this subject:

A Brief Overview of Adult Attachment Theory and Research – A guide to the research on adult attachment. (Chris Fraley, University of Illinois)

How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship – Learn how to identify your attachment patterns and how they’re affecting your relationships. (Psychology Today)

Attachment Theory: Explaining Relationship Styles – An overview of attachment theory, attachment styles, and their impact on relationships. (Science of Relationships)

How to Stop Attachment Insecurity from Ruining Your Love Life – Tips for those with commitment, trust, and attachment issues. (The Greater Good Science Center)

Romantic Attachment Quiz – This short quiz helps you identify your romantic attachment style. (PsychCentral)

Women that love too much – Robin Norwood

A very good read would be Osho. He does provide a lot of valuable information on love, attachment, relationships.

Relationship is a structure, and love is unstructured. So love relates, certainly, but never becomes a relationship. Love is a moment-to-moment process. Remember it. Love is a state of your being, not a relationship. There are loving people and there are unloving people. Unloving people pretend to be loving through the relationship. Loving people need not have any relationship – love is enough.

Be a loving person rather than in a love relationship – because relationships happen one day and disappear another day. They are flowers; in the morning they bloom, by the evening they are gone.

You be a loving person, Mantra.

But people find it very difficult to be a loving person, so they create a relationship – and befool that way that “Now I am a loving person because I am in a relationship.” And the relationship may be just one of monopoly, possessiveness, exclusiveness.

Relationship may be just out of fear, may not have anything to do with love. Relationship may be just a kind of security – financial or something else. The relationship is needed only because love is not there. Relationship is a substitute.

Become alert! Relationship destroys love, destroys the very possibility of its birth.

Osho, Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Talk# 8

Attachment can destroy relationships. Possessing and obsessing over another human being can destroy the very life inside of it. Finding the thin line where love ends and attachment begins is the secret…

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