As many of you know, I have been an avid reader of Beth’s story in Mental Health about Sue who refused to have sex with her husband until she wanted to get pregnant. It turned out that Sue had been sexually abused as a child and was greatly affected by the experience.
Our history and background do indeed have a great deal of influence over how we respond to our mate and others around us. Knowing your partner’s childhood history may turn on a few lights for you about why he or she acts the way that he or she does.
In fact, the experiences that we have as a child with our caregivers can influence the relationship that we have later in life with our mates.
As a small infant we form an attachment to our primary caregivers. This attachment can be seen in different forms depending on the type of experience that the infant receives.
If a baby is consumed by caregivers who are always available and responsive to its needs, the infant forms a secure bond and attachment. The infant will feel less anxiety and fear about exploring and interacting with the world.
If the infant experiences caregivers who are inconsistent or who are even nervous and overprotective, the baby may feel anxious and insecure about the world. These children may keep a closer eye on their caregiver and feel less confident when not by the caregiver’s side.
Infants who experience a neglectful caregiver tend to form a dismissing attachment. They try to manage on their own and tend to occupy themselves. They are not needy or concerned about the whereabouts of the caregiver.
These attachments that were developed as infants tend to often roll over into the romantic attachments that we form as an adult. In the next articles, I will examine how each infant attachment carries out an active role in adults’ romantic attachments.