Discovering new things about myself can be emotionally complicated. On one hand, it can be really discouraging to realize how badly I’ve been managing a personality interaction type that I was unaware I had. On the other hand, it’s encouraging because it means now that I understand myself more accurately, I can avoid my triggers better and work on addressing my weak areas. Knowledge is power. Ignorance leaves us unprepared to handle life in a healthy way.
Recently someone pointed out that they thought I was an anxious attachment type. Not knowing what that meant, I looked it up. And man… it hit the nail right on the head.
It was like someone stepped inside my head and wrote out exactly how I think and feel when I’m in a relationship. It resulted in several thoughts.
- I had no idea that this was not how everyone mentally handled relationships. I mean it makes sense, but it’s not something I ever consciously thought about.
- That explains a lot.
- Fuck. That REALLY explains a lot.
- Shit, I’m a really anxious needy person! How is anybody ever going to want to put up with a partner who is so needy and clingy? Maybe I’m doomed to be alone forever.
- Man. A lot of people I know are either Anxious/Attachment types or Avoidant/Dismissive. That’s very interesting.
(After some contemplation and discussing this with people who are more objective than me)
Ok. This is not about my relationship style (or anyone else’s) being good or bad. It’s just how we are and what our personal needs and coping methods are. What’s important is for me to be aware of my own relationship/personality style and needs, to work on my triggers and expectations and communication, and to be with people who are also aware of this and willing to work with me on it. And the same goes for people close to me. If they have a relationship style that contrasts mine or that also requires extra effort, I need to work with them on theirs too so we’re not triggering each other’s negative responses or leaving needs unmet. Relationships are work, and certain personality combinations require some extra attention and conscious thought that others.
Here are descriptions of the three main relationship types. Do you know which one you are?
It’s been so interesting reading about these. A friend suggested that I write out specifically what my needs are, and then also write out how I can address each one. I’ve started doing it. While many needs cannot be met through our own efforts alone and we really just need partners who can meet them, a few can be met through self growth and conscious effort, and others can be lessened in importance or compromises can be found to get around them if enough other needs are being sufficiently met.
I’m sharing this partly because this is how I process things I discover about myself, but also because this was a huge revelation for me and I’m hoping that others might find this helpful as well. If you understand how you and your partners think and what their needs and interaction styles are, it’s a lot easier to navigate differences and problems when they arise.