Affective Security – Looking for emotional security

Affective Security Looking for emotional security

Affective and emotional security.

Affective and emotional security.

It is totally normal to try to find affective and emotional security. But in some people or in some couples, this search can become obsessive leading to dependency, tension and rigidity in their relationships.

Affective security is essential for the development of personality. This security is closely related to the type of bonds we establish with parents in the first months of life.

John Browly.

The English psychoanalyst John Bowly developed at the end of the Second World War the foundations of a theory of infantile behavior. This theory has been very successful, and is known as attachment theory .

In 1945 the end of the second world war left the planet strewn with shattered families and orphans. The UN commissioned a study on the impact that the disappearance of parents had on children.

Browly, who had specialized in the study of misfit children, orphans and juvenile delinquents, was commissioned to develop this work. He wrote an article entitled “Maternal Deprivation” that was the origin of what would later become the attachment theory.

Attachment theory.

In a very summarized way, we can consider that during the first months of life the baby establishes a series of affective relationships with its parents or caregivers. These relationships can be stable and secure or on the contrary fragile and insecure .

The child who has not been able to establish a secure relationship with his parents will cry when he is surrounded by other people without the presence of his parents. Crying reveals the feeling of discomfort and only disappears when the parents appear next to him again.

On the contrary, the child who has developed secure relationships, in the absence of parents and the presence of other people, does not feel uncomfortable, does not cry and does not consider those around him strangers.

The nature of these relationships or links will be decisive in the later evolutionary stages. The security of these bonds is of decisive importance in fundamental aspects of the personality such as self-esteem and emotional security .

The attitude of parents and caregivers to attachment situations is vitally important. This attitude can condition the emotional future of the child and his emotional security.

Achieving the emotional security of the child is vitally important

Looking for emotional security.

Looking for emotional security.

The search for safety begins from the moment we are born. It is a normal step in all individuals.

In an unstable and disturbing universe, in an increasingly depersonalized world, we all need to feel a climate of security around us in order to develop. Even the strongest and most balanced people experience moments of insecurity.

However, this search for material and emotional security can be dangerous within the couple.

In its most extreme forms, it can degenerate into an obsessive neurosis (regarding money, for example), unhealthy jealousy, or excessive dependence on the other person. The more time passes, the more rigid the relationships between the spouses become, and the union can often be jeopardized.

All these pitfalls can be avoided when we get to know ourselves, we manage to dominate ourselves and, above all, we are able to communicate what we feel.

Searching the partner for support, understanding and even complicity is logical and is what can be expected, but without falling into a search for protection.

The child defends his safety.

The child defends his safety.

From the moment he leaves his mother’s womb, the child discovers his insecurity. You are in a changing and uncertain world. He experiences noises unknown to him, the feeling of cold, hunger and the frustration of waiting.

Most parents know how to create a climate of trust that stabilizes the baby’s anxiety. The child realizes that less or more quickly he receives everything he needs. Learn to trust your surroundings and feel safe.

This feeling of security is very important for the development of the personality. Thanks to him the child will later be able to expand his relationships of trust to everything he finds. You will be able to face problems without fear and without anguish. In short, you will be better prepared to begin adult life.

Child insecurity.

Despite what has been said, even the person who has lived an ideal childhood cannot definitively rid himself of this primal feeling of insecurity. Indeed, it reappears in periods of great change. On the other hand, certain childhood injuries can weigh on in adult life.

It can happen, for example, that a child has been separated too soon from his mother, that he has lost one of his parents or that he has had to frequently change his address and environment.

As a consequence, each time a new and unsafe situation presents itself, the child feels distressed and disoriented. In fact, you need a relatively stable and familiar environment to feel safe.

This childhood insecurity translates into different ways in adult life: adults may lack, for example, trust in their relationships with others, may be afraid of losing their job or refuse to change jobs.

You can become obsessed with money and seek all kinds of insurance to prevent any type of misfortune.

This last attitude is not necessarily found in all people who have suffered deprivation during their childhood. Rather, it is the symbol of deep insecurity, whatever the cause.

Affective insecurity in childhood can lead to pathologies.

The refuge marriage.

In affective life, this insecurity can engender two types of extreme attitudes. There are those who refuse to establish a loving relationship. They reject the partner to protect themselves from any sentimental disappointment.

Others, on the contrary, rush into marriage or a relationship. They desperately seek a miraculous refuge where insecurity cannot reach.

Life as a couple can, indeed, provide some balance. We all need an accomplice who listens to us, understands us, helps us face problems and gives us security only with his presence when we do not feel like being alone.

It is not, however, by deciding to live as a couple that all our personal problems will disappear as if by magic. Too many romantic books and movies make people believe that great love is a miracle cure. The reality is very different.

Some people also experience great disappointment when they realize that the “protective wing” of life as a couple does not immediately provide emotional and material security.

Unconsciously they can become panicky when they discover that nothing is definitively acquired, that it is necessary to fight non-stop for safety and that each person must, by himself, be balanced and secure enough to face life without the need for someone.

Assuming the role of martyr.

Obviously, this disappointment is not always fatal to the life of the couple. There are many who adapt without problems to the demands of everyday life. However, it is the most insecure people who encounter the most difficulties. Their reactions can be diverse.

When disappointments pile up, there are people who tend to take on the role of martyrs. They feel sorry for themselves and you have to continually give them security for everything. Although they do not demand anything in particular, they are always, for one reason or another, dissatisfied.

Sometimes they try to blame the other. His attitude can be summed up like this:

“I do anything for you, I give you everything and you don’t give me anything in return.” The other becomes responsible for their own insecurity.

If these people were to distance themselves a little and analyze their attitude, they would quickly realize that their expectations are inordinate and that their need for security makes them too demanding.

They would realize that the other cannot give him the impossible. They would begin to count on themselves to meet their own needs.

Emotional insecurity can lead to a “refuge marriage”

Expect everything from the other.

The feeling of insecurity and anxiety is, at times, so strong that it prevents the individual from analyzing their behavior objectively. People who have this problem then tend to depend entirely on the other.

Thus, for example, some married women expect their husband to make all the decisions for them. With this they hope to be able to escape a danger that frightens them enormously: assuming responsibilities, deciding and running the risk of being wrong.

This easy and comfortable attitude, however, presents serious dangers. By adopting such an attitude, one feels less and less responsible for his own life and, therefore, for his happiness.

It is enough that the other disappears, so that the anguish seizes one when having to face problems that he has never solved on his own and that he did not expect to have to face.

Also, it will tend to demand that the other be present as often as possible. He will oppose, for example, any major change that leads to the absence of the partner more often.

When these absences occur they can cause states of anxiety or jealousy.

The psychologists tend to associate this attitude with a lack of maturity and self confidence. It is, then, a true inability to leave the state of dependency, in relation to the parents first and, later, in relation to the spouse.

Some people try to make their spouse more autonomous because they “drown” within the couple. Others, on the contrary, adapt very well to the situation, since the insecurity of their partner affirms them and makes them feel more powerful.

Control the other to feel safe.

Insecurity encourages, effectively, to control and limit the behavior of the other in order to avoid having a bad time. Existence, without that supposed security, is totally unimaginable.

Quite often, it is men who create this affirming dependency. It seems to them that their virility is reaffirmed by the submissive and passive attitude of their partner. If the latter wishes to achieve some independence, he will oppose it by invoking all kinds of reasoning.

In reality, what happens is that they fear losing a certain control and power: the power of the weak.

For these same reasons, some are downright accepting of their partner having her own distractions and returning home later than they do. In fact, they feed a deep doubt about the sincerity of your spouse’s love or affection.

This permanent doubt gives way to true crises of jealousy, exaggerated and without foundation, which end up pushing the other away and breaking the relationship .

Sometimes, then, the search for security has the consequence that an individual never comes to trust anyone, not even their spouse. Now, in a couple, it is necessary that both have the certainty that they can count on the other.

Insecurity in the couple can lead to pathological jealousy.

Rigid customs.

In general, people who lack security are hostile to any change and have very rigid attitudes.

Now, the couple is not something static, each one evolves and changes throughout life.

Therefore, it is necessary to show oneself capable of accepting the evolution of the needs of the other and adapting to them. So how to recognize your own.

This stiffness is sometimes hidden under the armor of a well-established routine. There are those who lock themselves up for their whole lives in habits that, seen from the outside, seem totally ridiculous.

For example, if one day they cannot follow the itinerary that they usually follow to go to work, because there are construction sites, they will feel disturbed and fear that any accident will happen to them.

If your spouse or children deviate from your previously outlined course of action, they will become angry or upset, even over the smallest details.

Any unforeseen event, for example a minor accident or an unscheduled expense, greatly disturbs them.

Taken to the extreme, this feeling of insecurity can lead to an obsessive neurosis .

Conflicts in the couple.

Conflicts in the couple.

Within a couple, the more rigid the spouses, the more focused they will be on their personal needs and the less they will try to solve their problems through dialogue and collaboration.

Three main types of crisis can be feared then. In the first, conflicts multiply and become increasingly serious. Each of them clings to their position and tries to convince the other.

Obviously, this leads to the opposite result. The only thing that is achieved is to further enlarge the distance that separates them.

In the second type of crisis, conflicts are denied. Spouses carefully avoid addressing potential issues of contention. They shut up rather than get bogged down in an argument. The conflicts have disappeared, but the problems are still there.

This attitude has two quite dangerous consequences for the life of the couple: on the one hand, exchanges become increasingly rare. On the other hand, the spouses are frustrated, because they have not been able to express their ideas or their points of view.

Why try to maintain such a rigid and repressive situation? Spouses may want to portray a united and happy couple. But most likely it is about taking care of your own security and inner peace.

Conflicts are feared to threaten the safety of the couple. You don’t want to risk exposing them.

The rigidity in the couple can end in serious conflicts.

The fear of losing the other.

There is a third type of crisis in which the fear of losing the other, another form of insecurity, plays a primary role: these are falsely resolved conflicts in which one spouse pretends to approve of what the other is saying.

Many people sacrifice their desires, their needs or their personality to make the other believe that the agreement is perfect. They want, above all, not to disappoint. They imagine that they have to play that role to be worthy of esteem and love.

Most often these people are trying to fool themselves. They try to deny what they actually see as major flaws. They prefer to override their personality rather than assume it. Little by little they become more and more dependent on the other.

This is where the most serious problems arise. Not only do they count on their spouse to make any decisions, but they also blindly accept their advice and opinions without the slightest criticism.

This “comedy” is exhausting. In such a situation, the subject consumes all his energy to control his behavior, instead of being carried away by his inclinations.

This game can last a lifetime, but it is not worth condemning yourself to always have poor or frustrating relationships because of the fear (often imaginary) of losing the other and with it our security.

Learn to feel safe.

The best way to satisfy the need for security is undoubtedly to strive to live according to your own personality.

In a couple it is necessary to maintain a balance between what can be expected from the other and what one should not count on other than oneself. When we expect everything from the other, we invariably expose ourselves to a dependency comparable to that of a child in relation to its parents.

On the contrary, when you have only yourself for everything, you run the risk of drowning and crushing your partner’s environment with self-sufficiency.

The most difficult thing, without a doubt, is to accept and control your own anguish. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to change relationships that have lasted for many years.

The easiest solution is to never question anything, and yet it is necessary to do so so that life together contributes to both happiness and personal satisfaction.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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