When you grow up in an environment full of love and connection, it sets you up for a lifetime of healthy, nurturing relationships.
In a previous blog post, “Healing Attachment Wounds With Psychotherapy For A More Fulfilling Life,” we explored how your early relational experiences leave a long term imprint. When caregivers are able to attune to your emotional needs, you develop what’s called a “healthy attachment style.”
But what happens when you didn’t grow up with healthy relationships or with emotionally attuned experiences?
What if the people who were supposed to be your safe, emotional source of comfort and unconditional love were also the ones who caused you pain? For whatever reason, they didn’t see you, understand you, or hear you. Maybe they criticized you or punished you when you needed guidance, protection, and wisdom. Or, you might have felt alone in moments when you needed play, soothing, or a smile, simply for being there, simply for being you.
These early experiences of emotional misattunement left you in a state of confused longing. You wanted to reach out for love, but you were scared at the same time to do so.
Such experiences in your distant past can cause you to perpetually seek out authentic love, approval, and validation now in your present life. Stuck in an emotional space of fear, insecurities, and self-doubt, you don’t know your value. You don’t feel you have the right to take up space or to assert and embody who you are. You easily lose yourself in relationships and find that you chase after people or seek to control them, all in a desperate hope to be seen and accepted.
Early Insecure Attachment Wounds Influence Your Creativity and Professional Success, As Well As Your Relationships
These challenges aren’t just related to romantic relationships and friendships. You long to express your imagination and creativity, but you get trapped in doubts and insecurities. Your fears take over and end up controlling you. You find it hard to be in touch with your feelings, and you cannot tap into your emotional intelligence to connect with others, do your creative work, or accomplish your goals.
Unable to fully access your talents and skills because you cannot access your emotions, you don’t trust your creativity. You’re afraid your ideas will be judged or rejected and you constantly worry that your work will not make an impact or reach an audience.
You tend to be a “people pleaser” because you’re always hoping to In all aspects of life, you want to please people, in hopes you’ll receive appreciation and love. While all of us need a sense of acceptance and belonging, your early attachment wounds cause you to be particularly dependent on outside validation.
You can see this in yourself, and you often feel desperate, clingy, dependent on others to open the doors for you. You spend a great deal of time hoping people will “discover you.” Magical thinking replaces hard work.
Feelings of shame are particularly hard on you and can make you want to run away and hide. Instead of facing and creating your life, you oscillate between craving love and approval and hiding from people and opportunities.
As a person with an “anxious attachment style,” you long for intimate connections but you’re afraid you’ll not be loved in return. You dream of success, but you’re scared you’ll never get to live up to your potential.
Signs that Your Anxious Attachment Style is Holding You Back as an Adult
When you didn’t experience emotional attunement often enough as a child, you cannot connect to your as an adult you lose the connection to your true self as an adult. This loss of connection to yourself manifests in dependency on others. You’re in a state of constant longing:
- To feel loved
- To feel your self worth
- To give you permission to be you
- To feel safe and secure
- To be discovered
- To be chosen
Underneath all these emotional experiences, there’s a strong fear of not being unloved and therefore abandoned. And when that fear is triggered, you may:
- try to control others so they will be what you think you need
- obsess over others’ success or accomplishments
- struggle to communicate your needs or desires
- be hypervigilant or sensitive to others’ emotional unavailability
- afraid others will leave you, cheat on you, or betray you
- need a great deal of reassurance
- efeel extremely jealous
- end act out by ending relationships prematurely and then feel consumed with wallow in regrets
As much as you crave fulfilling relationships, career, or accomplishments, fears and insecurities control are leading your actions. When you are still caught in childhood wounds You’re not creating your life – relationships and creative endeavors – from an emotionally grounded place in your true worth, talents, and skills. Your fear of abandonment leads you to the ultimate abandonment: the abandonment of your true self.
It’s challenging to navigate adult life if you have a history of childhood attachment wounds, but there is hope.
You can heal the emotional wounds that are at the root of anxious attachment. You can shift into a more emotionally secure attachment style and experience more fulfilling relationships, a more successful career, and more satisfying creative endeavors.
Let’s see how:
To effectively heal early relational trauma, you need a therapist who knows how to shift anxious attachment from the inside out. A skilled psychotherapist can address the sources of your early attachment trauma while also helping you create changes in the present. Through the careful weaving of the past into the present, it’s possible to create healing at the emotional intersection of the two and help you create a healthier future.
With one foot in the past and one foot in the present, you can unpack layers of misattuned experiences while being held in an emotionally contained and attuned therapy space. When these hurt parts of yourself can safely show up in the present and be recognized and received by someone with a healthy emotional presence, healing unfolds organically.
This feels like deep inner-shifting work and it is rooted in the neuroscience of psychotherapy. In my Beverly Hills, California based psychotherapy practice, I weave together several relational healing psychotherapy approaches including psychodynamics, the neurobiology of relationships, attachment theory, and EMDR. A skillful therapist can be present with you, step by step on your way back to make a reconnection with your true self.
Over the course of therapy, you will experience a deep, lasting transformation. You’ll start to naturally respond from a different emotional space. More and more grounded in your authentic self, aware of your feelings, connected to your emotional experiences, you’ll be able to trust yourself and will know how to use your inner-world to create more genuine connections and further your creative dreams.
I offer psychotherapy to clients across the state of California in person and through a telehealth model. My practice specializes in the needs of artists and creatives who wish to heal and return their emotional instruments in order to build healthy relationships, reconnect to their creativity, and pursue their personal and professional dreams.
Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creatives face and shift emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks, and addictions – to be and live their own best version. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.