The Past’s Impact on the Present Marriage: Attachment Podcast

Marital distress happens. Pain will occur. And when it does, our attachment styles will kick into full gear. Soon we will be behaving according to a script that was written a long time ago. However, these powerful scripts can be rewritten.  In this episode of Breaking Bread, Kaleb Beyer explains what attachment styles are, how they are written, how they can be rewritten and the difference it makes in the marriage relationship.

Four Attachment Styles:

  1. Secure Attachment – when distress occurs, pain shared in relationship and soothed through the relationship. This attachment style is healthy.

The Past: Often a secure attachment is constructed when caretakers have not dismissed emotions from children nor have they catastrophized matters.

  1. Avoiding Attachment – when distress occurs, the avoider turns down its volume by moving away from relationship and does not seek soothing for the distress from spouse. This attachment style is unhealthy.

The Past: When in distress, a child seeks soothing from caretaker but does not find it. The caretaker is not present, or is overwhelmed. The child learns independence and internalizes the struggle.

  1. Pleaser Attachment – when distress occurs, the pleaser turns up its volume and pursues the relationship in an anxious and hypervigilant way. Distress is only soothed when the spouse is pleased. This attachment style is unhealthy.

The Past: When a child was in distress, it intensified distress in caretaker. Child learned that they were responsible for the pain in others.

  1. Vacillator/chaotic attachment – when distress occurs, responses are very unpredictable. Matters can be exaggerated or underappreciated. This attachment style is unhealthy.

The Past: When distress occurred in childhood, confusion played out. Addiction or abuse may have been present.

When distress in your relationship turns unhealthy, seek to do the following.

  1. Recognize what happens internally when you are distressed. Do you pursue? Avoid? Vacillate?
  2. Seek to make space for the distress you feel and slowing down the automatic script.
  3. Understand your spouse engages with distress according to an attachment style also.
  4. Seek to share with your spouse the automatic script that plays out when you are in distress and acknowledge how this can be unhelpful for your spouse. Express your desire to learn a new and nonreactive way to relate to your spouse that soothes distress through relationship.
  5. Accept that this process of rewriting scripts takes time.

 


Further Information:

The Love Style Quiz
One easy and quick way to identify your attachment style is to take the following quiz – The Love Style Quiz. This quiz takes about 15 – 20 minutes to complete and is designed to help you discover your primary attachment style.

How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage amazon.com
Authors: Milan & Kay Yerkovich
This book seeks to show how early life experiences create an underlying blueprint that shapes your beliefs, behavior, and expectations in your marriage. The authors identify four styles or blueprints and provide principles to help you break free of negative patterns and enhance intimacy.