Unhealthy Attachments
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Unhealthy Attachments

How to understand and manage yours and your friends' unhealthy relationships

Unhealthy Attachments

So odds are, if you are a young college student like I am or have ever been in contact with any young people at all, you have been in close proximity to people who have different “attachment styles” as you do. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, the kind of person who is always comfortable in relationships because you have healthy expectations for the people in your life. At some point in your life, you learned that at least some people are trustworthy and you can count on them to be available when you need them. Or maybe you didn’t glean that kind of message from your childhood and surroundings as you grew up. Maybe you don’t want to get attached to people because you’re afraid they will leave or maybe you cling on to people as though they would if you let them. It could even be that you’re somewhere in the middle. You can explore the various attachment styles at mindfulnessmuse.com. There are people who fall under the category of dismissive/avoidance attachment style where they refuse to become emotionally involved with others because they refuse to appear vulnerable. The Preoccupied/anxious attachment style shows itself in individuals who are overly concerned with their current or past relationships, constantly obsessing over the most minute details because they are afraid of losing the people closest to them. Some people have the Fearful attachment style, never fully believing that they could enjoy positive relationships because of their own personal flaws. These styles are prevalent in people throughout various walks of life and it is easy to tell when someone is not able to securely attach to another person.

However, there are many young people who have no sign of attachment issues at all. They have close friends that they don’t feel the need to speak to every day, they have positive relationships with members of their family, and then when it comes to a certain person within a romantic relationship context, they seem to lose all God-given sanity.

These are your multiple texters. These are the people who call for absolutely no reason after months of silence. These are the people who share details they shouldn’t. Expecting the care and concern that comes from long-term boyfriends and girlfriends without the commitment. Addicted to their on-again-off-again connection.

As a friend, it’s heartbreaking to watch someone be emotionally obliterated by the same unreliable person time and time again. On more than one occasion, I have to bite my tongue and keep myself from sending a list of my own angry messages to heartbreakers such as these. No matter how I try to wrap my head around this long-term fling phenomenon, it is not my battle to fight.

But I can’t judge. Because I know that if I were in a particular friend’s situation, I’d behave the same way. There are some things I can’t control just as there are some factors my friend can’t control. Such as the science of love and attraction. According to bbc.co.uk, multiple chemicals are to blame for the individual’s attraction to another. Oxytocin and Vasopressin are among them, the latter being the culprit for a phenomenon called the “prairie vole.” Once scientists repressed the effects of vasopressin in certain prairie dogs after mating, “The bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.” Unfortunately, sometimes even attraction isn’t decided for us. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are other hormones that leave us close to powerless in regards to our perceptions of others.

For those who remain in a constant on-again-off-again relationships, there are places you can go that will give you advice that is far above and beyond what I would be able to advise. For example, you could go to psychologytoday.com and be told to examine the nature of your relationship and why it is that you want to go back. Hopefully, you’ll follow this advice, but knowing what I do about relationships like yours, I know that you might feel like you have no control over whether you get over this person you’re attached to or not.

But for those who are only witnessing other people’s failed relationships, take heart. There are scientific reasons behind your friends’ crazy actions. The science of “attachment” is complex in many circumstances. But what you should remember is not to judge. Your friends have relationships like they do and you don’t know what they’re feeling or what is contributing to these feelings. So take a deep breath, let it go, and try to hide their phones when worse comes to worst.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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