Love, the greatest elixir, sent as the ultimate gift to every person on this planet. Everything stems from Love when you think about it. Lack of it however often breeds many a complicated emotion filled situation, but when we genuinely feel it, we are the best person to be around.
But one thing that appears common among us is that with loving someone, comes attachment and attachment causes pain more than pleasure.
This article is simply inviting you to inspire exploration of your own attachment to the people in your life, particularly your partner.
Before I explore this phenomena with you, my overriding message is this.
Give yourself a break in thinking you can love and NOT be attached in some form. The human race (well 99%!) is not evolved enough yet to love and not be attached. That is, in my humble opinion, unconditional love.
Loving in a non-attached way may just be a future Nirvana but we can however apply a few principles to help us suffer less when we part from partners or indeed anyone else we love.
Why do we feel attached to our partner?
A fascinating theory I picked up a few years ago : “When we become physically detached at birth from our mother, we experience separateness for the first time in our existence and from then on we find ourselves pursuing a lifetime of trying to sense and feel that completeness through the RE-attachment to another.”
This struck me as some kind of tangible explanation (because the mind loves explanations!), as to why we feel the need to attach, but it doesn’t fix anything.
Attachment is heavily linked to safety and security for our happiness and survival with another person. It stems from way back when we first arrived in this world.
Imago Relationship theory, often written about in precious articles, describes the attachment stage from 0 to 18 months as one of the most important stages in our development, if not the most important.
Babies require a healthy attachment with their caretakers, mainly mum, at this stage because emotional and physical safety is of primary important. Feeling safe is of life giving importance for babies. Lack of physical and emotional safety sends signals to babies brains that signify death could be imminent. Without mum, dad or guardian they would die. The reliance on them is of 100% importance for their survival.
That would be cool if we all had a healthy attachment stage with mum and dad, but most of us experience some form of attachment rupture and we don’t know about it until we start forming our own relationships.
Intimate relationships highlight attachment problems more than any other kind of relationship you will have. The “in love” bit opens Pandora’s box on those inner tender places.
Why does attachment cause pain?
Primarily because we fear losing love so try to secure to our beloved, who we think love is coming from and attach ourselves to them to guarantee love and safety’s never ending supply. That would be fine if we were happy bunnies all of the time, but we somehow designate our honey responsible for making sure we feel safe and secure and loved and approved of and and and. But our partners are not our parents and we are not babies anymore and that pressure to supply us is going to cause problems.
Heavy duty attachment can lead some people to live their lives “through” others in order to experience being loved, inspired, motivated and self worthy. No wonder then if that person leaves or dies we feel raw, like a piece of us has been ripped away.
Often without consciously knowing it we watch for demonstrations that love is still there from our honey. This can be daily or even hourly depending on our fear of loss. Attachment and it’s fearful driving force, sucks the freedom from the relationship. Lack from freedom slowly suffocates both people and what we fear we actually create as the relationship breaks down over time. Love is the oxygen, attachment the depleter.
Our suffering is because we think love only comes from another person. This is fraught with limitation. The associated pain is your opportunity for inner freedom.
How can I tell if I am too attached?
Simply by ascertaining to what degree you suffer regularly in your relationship. Are you happy or constantly on edge? If your relationship occupies your thoughts all day long all the time and you feel anxious about whether your partner loves you or not and they keep having to demonstrate that they love you, then it’s time to act. Do you:
• Act needily and find your partner backing off and spending less time around you?
• Behave jealously if other people find your partner attractive?
• Control your partner with expectations of how they should behave and give them rules to live by?
• Find yourself constantly picking holes in your partner and being moody and miserable when they won’t do as you say?
What can I do?
Many spiritual texts and books say that we are love, it is the very fabric of who we are and if we know this deep down then we would not suffer from attachmentitis. But how do you love and not attach?
Easy answer is, you can’t completely. It’s not your relationship to love that causes you pain but your relationship with attachment to others. A good point to start exploring. Two things are highly recommended.
1) Be willing to look at yourself inside and out and commit to change. Self growth is a massive industry now, because people are seeking freedom through exploration and release of past inner hurts and baggage. Byron Katie, one of the self growth biggies today, teaches The Work and is a global pioneer. Your mind stories keep you chained to your pain. Go explore, read, forgive, release and find more inner love. It can only come from you. Never expect your partner to change. It’s a fruitless path 100% of the time.
2) Read up about attachment and stages of childhood development and you may find some AHA! moments in your own history.
3) Mostly importantly of all, if you are in a relationship, ask your partner to help you. Explain how you feel and what you need to help you feel safe but also ask them how it feels to be with you and how you can help yourself and them, to create more freedom. Your TRUE healing comes in working together in a relationship, to create first a safe relational environment and then in becoming separately connected rather than needily attached. Call me if you want guidance and support.
I will leave you with this. We are all “hard wired” for connection and cannot NOT be connected to love. Everything is just perception of what we think we have and don’t have. The past is alive in all of us but in every moment we always have the opportunity to change our perception and attachment is just that, a perception.
Love and blessings