People often underestimate how often they consciously or otherwise allow other people significant to them or otherwise to control their emotions, happiness and their inner state of peacefulness. Attachment to people is considered a normal aspect in any relationship. But, is often mistaken by many that unhealthy attachment issues are suffered only in a relationship between a couple. The fact is any relationship shared between two individuals or more can lead to unhealthy emotional attachment to the person/s and towards the relationship that is shared. Scenarios could be anything from a friendship shared between friends, relationship dependence between parents and children and vice versa, relationships shared between co-workers and even interactions with people insignificant.
Thoughtlessness of action from them or displeasure or criticism expressed by them, destroys such a person’s sense of self- worth momentarily or for longer. Being too enmeshed with the thoughts of what others think, or allowing people the power to affect your happiness are some of the symptoms that indicate that you could be too emotionally attached to people, situations, or objects.
Some of the serious kind unhealthy attachment issues, are the following scenarios:
- Any individual who exhibits any form of clinginess & neediness towards their relationship, anxiousness towards criticism and negative opinion from people; Trying excessively to please a parent, spouse, child or others, or giving no space in a relationship are all patterns of excessive attachment issues.
- Individuals who lack self-worth often exhibit behaviours such as threatening to cutting themselves or attempt to suicide, stalking physically or on social media, substance abuse & addictions to Drinking/smoking/drugs/porn/; Eating/sleeping disorders, risky behaviours that could harm themselves or others; are all actions to seeking attention.
- Individuals that have attachment issues, generally get overly attached to their people/partners/friends/family for love. They exhibit low boundaries, allow people to treat them like doormats, “parent” every relationship, put the needs of others (spouse/friends/co-workers/children) first over theirs. Such people begin to love too soon, and exhibit clingy & needy behaviour towards any kind relationships nascent and old.
- Over-identifying with strangers, such individuals often find themselves attached to people who show them the slightest amount of attention (a smile, a caring gesture, offering them help, etc.) Often such individuals are starving for powerful emotional connections, that could put them in the position of a “child” and the other person in the position of “a parent.”
Other signs are:
- High levels of anxiety exhibited when separated from a relationship.
- Excessive dependence on people and excessive need to constantly be in the company of people.
- Quick to react or overreact over a situation. Quick to exhibit emotions like anger, nervousness, and restlessness over a situation, or in the event when a negative opinion or criticism is directed at such people.
- Being overly-sensitive. Thinking and playing out the negative scenarios often in their mind.
- Allowing people or situations to affect their behaviour and moods.
Knowing and most importantly admitting to your level of attachment issues is the first step to addressing your attachment issues.
For the ones suffering serious attachment issues need the help of a counsellor to help them battle their issues, because such individuals have faced traumas that lie somewhere in the history of their growing up years and from the interactions with their source of love and security in their days of childhood. For the others whose issues can be solved with self-help, following are a few simple yet strong techniques that could help you achieve a state of emotional de-attachment from people and situations:
- Commit yourself to your “Personal recovery”. Do things that you love, and give you a sense of peacefulness all by yourself.
- Establish “emotional boundaries” between you and people. Stop yourself in your tracks every time you feel the need to be dependent on people for love, companionship, & time. Develop a sense of independence in yourself. Give yourself and people the gift of “space”.
- Understand that there is always going to be someone out there who is going to dislike you, criticise you, back bite about you, crack jokes at your expense etc. Accept it and allow yourself to move on. Repeat to yourself constantly that, “You are not put on this earth to please anyone”, tell yourself “You can’t allow the opinions of others to put you down, that you know yourself and your self-worth”. Progress and let your work and your prosperity do the talk.
- Give up the need to control people, fix things for people, feelings of guilt, irrational beliefs or the need to blame others for your unhappiness. Practice the art of “Letting Go” and taking charge for your own life.
- Understand, that there is only one person that has the power to change and that is you. Allow yourself the gift of that power.
Sherene Aftab, is a Mumbai based Writer, Lecturer and Trainer. She Lectures in various management and media colleges, features regularly in offline & online publications and conducts workshops in soft skills, personality development, communication skills and career counselling.