I recently did some reading about different forms of attachment styles in relationships. I'm fascinated to learn more about myself as part of my ongoing personal development journey, and determined to provide the healthiest version of myself to Annie, my son and the people I care most about. Basically, what I've learned is that there are 2 attachment styles: Secure and Insecure. I dug deeper to determine what my attachment style has been in past relationships, determined not to repeat the same pattern in my current relationship with Annie. Based on a checklist of the behaviors, I fell into the Anxious Attachment Style.
What happens when you feel stuck? I used to have every excuse in the book for my unhappiness. It was always someone else's fault, or how shitty my upbringing was. I wasn't loved enough, or no one gave me what I needed. My negative attitude led me to a path of depression, anxiety and anger, never able to sustain a healthy relationship with anyone because I would constantly look externally for validation. So that's how I lived my life for decades. I was holding everyone else accountable for my misfortunes, when the answers all came from within.
I'm starting to sweat. I can feel a tiny droplet - a moist, salty bead trickling down from my forehead, clinging onto the very tip of my nose, ready to fall. Anytime now. Truth is, I'm sort of nervous. I've not been one to take many chances in life. Mostly everything's been carefully calculated with the usual analytical questions: should I? How much will it cost? What's the worst that can happen?
Remember when we used to describe a person who was quiet and didn't show much emotion as the strong, silent type? I don't often hear that phrase anymore to describe a someone, and I'm glad. I mean, how strong is a person who is silent, especially when it comes to their mental health? Isn't that an oxymoron? For generations, it was seen as a positive trait, to be the strong, silent type. You're cool, collected and can withstand internalized pain. Movies stars portrayed this imagery very well, often looking cool and sexy in the movies if they were stoic.
Basketball has given my son an outlet for his depression and anxiety. It's given him a focal point to practice something he truly enjoys and provides him with entertainment that pulls him away from his negative thought patterns. I'll always love the sport because of what it has given my son.
If anyone is struggling in their relationships, family or work life, assess your history growing up and ask yourself how the environment may have shaped your present belief system. Did you grow up with a lot family violence, arguments and shaming? Were you violated as a child and put down often? Were there major transitions such as divorce of your parents, moving to a different region or the sudden loss of a loved one? Dig deep and learn more about how childhood events such as trauma and abuse impacted you.
We get thoughts that pop up in our head based on a memory. If your childhood was plagued by bad experiences of abuse, trauma, arguments and family violence, your brain became programmed to those negative experiences. The repetition and patterns of negative behaviors in a negative environment hard wired your brain to have recurring thoughts even as you get older. And since you get thousands of thoughts every day based on your experiences, you'll sometimes get these negative memories creep into your headspace, reminding you of those bad times. These reminders can make way for unhealthy behaviors. This is partly the reason behind depression and anxiety because we create these unhealthy thoughts from our past which creates the depression, and we respond with fear and anxiety.
Those who experienced childhood abuse will go through a different journey than those who didn't. It can be sometimes difficult to explain this journey to someone who's never experienced it before. At the end of the day, it's your journey and your life to own. And finding peace with your journey opens doors to so many great things that you didn't even realize before.
Choices are made based on the thoughts and feelings we have. These thoughts can sometimes be created by past woes, experiences and triggers. Tuning them out isn't as simple as saying you have a choice. People who experienced childhood abuse and trauma need to regain a sense of themselves before they can learn to make healthier choices consistently.
When people live with the pain of depression, anxiety and anger, it's even more critical to become more self-aware of the ups and downs of the powerful emotions and re-channel them through expressive words. This is especially true for men who struggle at home communicating their wounds to their wives and kids. Men who are unable to recognize the reasons behind their struggles, need to take a deeper dive and explore what could be triggering some of their unwanted feelings. And for men who don't, may fall into a deep abyss of their depression and anxiety. If improperly managed, it can lead to anger and in many cases emotional, verbal and physical abuse.