The term attachment is widely used in psychology circles but not used as much or understood in the general public. I first learned of the concept of attachment around friends who had either adopted or were considering adoption. I thought it to be more associated with infants connecting to mothers and that was the extent of the idea.
What I have come to realize is that attachment speaks so much to our story and how that connects to relationship. Attachment speaks to the way we perceive, think, feel, and interact with others. Our attachment style directly affects how we control and engage ourselves with others. We either heighten, suppress, or accurately connect with others on an emotional basis. For better or for worse, we were given a template by our parents that literally instructed us in how to emotionally relate to them, ourselves, and others. How we got our primary caregiver to take care of us has directly affected how we currently relate to people in our inner circle.
If you are around a 3 to 4 year old child, watch how they relate. Most of them are still very open and use all their emotions while being fully willing to be "needy". They, in fact, are living out how they were created to "be". The struggle comes for us as parents in relating to these needy, dependent, and often times uncontrollable children. It is just plain hard at times.
It is in these difficult moments that often define and tell how we were taught to do feelings and needs. The truth is that we are all needy and we need others to help sooth and regulate us. I heard Kenny Sanderfer say that "we are made to co-regulate not self-regulate." So the emotions of a 4 year boy are really just signals to us that more is going on below the surface than just a tantrum. The same is true for us. The challenge comes with the attachment style of how we connect. Do we avoid, pursue, become disorganized, or a mixture of these?
So much of therapy is helping us reconnect with suppressed emotions as well as experience new ways of relating emotionally with others. This may sound simple but it is very hard and risky. It requires so much safety. It requires a belief that the other person will be able to not only sit with you but "be" with you in those moments. It requires each of us to go through our own pain.
I believe we will go through great capacities to connect. Our human capacity for love is astounding. It is in these relentless moments of "wanting to be wanted and understood" that really speak to the beauty of our humanity. But it can't just stop there for us. We need to be known. This means letting those closest to us in the darkest rooms of our soul. It is there that we get to be apart of a very spiritual like experience. The experience of another human being knowing the good, the bad, and all the in between and loving you for all of it. It is in those moments that you know you are home.