How Childhood Trauma and Attachment Styles Show Up In Marriage?

Being married means making an attachment commitment to one or more people you feel secure and connected to. The way a person arranges their relationships is determined by their attachment style. Individuals form their attachment patterns during childhood and frequently carry them over into relationships.

In an experiment dubbed Strange Situation, American-Canadian developmental psychologist Mary Ainseworth (1969) noted attachment bonds with kids and their caretakers. She identified four types of attachment styles: disorganized/disoriented, anxious/ambivalent, anxious/avoidant, and secure. Babies realize deep down that they are dependent on their caregivers to survive. Infants who experience nurturing and safety as little ones will grow up to feel safe in the outside world and in their devoted partnerships. In the experiment, mothers and their infants played together in a room for a short while before the mother left. The newborns reacted differently when their mothers returned.

Despite crying and searching for their mothers when they left the room, the apprehensive and evasive newborns played as if nothing had happened. This behavior is thought to be a response to the caregivers’ persistent disregard for the baby’s demands. The clutching and crying of the anxious and ambivalent newborns was a response to the mothers’ uneven attention to their needs. The disoriented baby would tense up their bodies, not cry, and move toward or away from their mother; they want connection but were afraid of it; it was discovered that some of these newborns had been molested.

Why is this important?

Understanding your attachment type might help you better understand how you handle pressure. Individuals with a history of childhood trauma frequently lack a stable attachment type. These individuals overcome their traumas, but many are unaware of how their anxiety of being safe manifests itself in day-to-day interactions with others. You trust and adore the person you are with. You find yourself behaving differently when you’re upset. Your partner is simply witnessing your actions and not the underlying fear that is causing you to react to your feelings.

You might disengage in various ways, or you might shut down and stop talking. After a fight, you could overcompensate by repeatedly checking in with your partner to make sure everything is alright. The good news is that caring, safe connections can help anyone develop a healthy attachment. Gaining awareness of your behaviors, pausing, and monitoring your conduct and surfacing emotions can help you identify what you might require in times of stress. Do you need to feel safe, for instance? Do you think you deserve to be loved?

What does my attachment style have to do with trauma?

Trauma is an event that causes extreme anguish in the victim. This is a result of the individual’s mind-body connection to the incident. According to neuroscience research, trauma survivors’ autonomic reaction center has been reset, making their perception of the environment far more threatening. Similar to an insecure attachment style, the traumatic experiences have created new neural pathways that signal them the world is terrifying.

Physiology of trauma

Our perception of the world is based on the physiological transmission of sensory and motor impulses through the human body’s central nervous system (CNS), which connects the brain and spinal cord. The sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is what pulls you out of a tight spot, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which make up the CNS, are what keep you alive. Traumatized individuals spend little to no time in the PNS because their bodies are primed for combat.

Likewise, when an individual with an insecure attachment style experiences distress, they are residing in the social network and responding to find refuge. Feeling secure in your body is taken away by trauma. You might not even be aware that you are reopening old wounds when you argue with your partner. The brain, body, and mind must all be persuaded that you are safe in order for you to heal from the experience.

Now what do I do?

Slow down: 
Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly to reset your central nervous system. In a relaxed body, trauma cannot be felt.

Learn your body: 
Exercises like yoga, tai chi, meditation, therapy, etc. can help you become more conscious of your body and mind.

Pay attention to the need 
It is not being satisfied, and let your partner know about it. You can better comprehend each other if you look behind the conduct.

Talk to someone:
Talk about your triggers for melancholy, rage, and other emotions with your partner. When you experience an emotion, pinpoint the events that led up to that emotion.

Take a break: 
When you find yourself in a pointless dispute, take a five to twenty minute break before continuing the conversation.

Count backwards from 20,
Your mind will become more balanced if you use the logical part of it instead of the emotional one.