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Every Family Has Its Problems, This Is How Some Stick Together No Matter What

Every Family Has Its Problems, This Is How Some Stick Together No Matter What

Families are meant to be there with you through thick and thin. They are supposed to pick you up when you fall down, nudge you to the right direction when you are lost and misguided and correct you when you are mistaken and short-sighted but what happens when you are in a war with the ones you called family? Do you go your separate ways or do you make it work?

Before we make any hasty decisions and come to the conclusion, let’s analyze what a family conflict is.[1]

Family conflict is a struggle or discord among the members of a family, whether it is between the parents or parent and child or between siblings. It is caused due to many reasons. It might be caused by financial problems; when we can’t pay bills. The other reasons might be a rivalry between the siblings, due to different sets of beliefs and viewpoints and poor communication in the family.

Whatever the causes and reasons, family conflicts take away a sense of security and belongings from a person and if not resolved, it will result in breaking of the family or even criminal activities at worst.

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Let’s go in depth about the different types of family conflicts.[2]

1. Parental Conflict

It occurs when a husband and his wife are in constant disagreement with each other. This creates a hostile environment, which will ultimately harm socializing aspects of the child as a child coming from a high conflict background can’t socialize with his/her counterparts and is more prone to have a conflict with others. This usually results in the divorce of husband and wife.

2. Parent-child Conflict

It occurs when the parents don’t agree with the viewpoint of children or vice-versa. It is primarily caused due to generation gaps and controlling behavior of certain family members. It leads to the separation of a child from family.

3. Sibling Conflict

It occurs among the children of a family and may result in breaking of the family.

So, what shall we do when there is conflict between the family members? Shall we quit, give up on each other and stop being families? Or we work towards resolving whatever the issue that is causing the conflict?

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If you want to resolve a family conflict, then you should know about family counseling.

Family counseling falls under the Family Act, it helps families with relationship problems and manages the issues concerning the family and children during marriage, divorce, and separation. It may also be about the grave feelings, living arrangements, financial issues, and issues regarding children.

Family counselors are trained individuals, who help people solve emotional issues with their family and reach agreement in the case of disagreements.[3] He/she will listen to our problems and help us find effective solutions.

People should go to family counseling whenever there is a source of discontent and disharmony in family or whenever the family is faced with important issues as a unit. It can be after or before or during a marriage, separation, divorce, remarriage or death of a family member. The other scenario might be a case if any of the family members is suffering from physical or mental health problems.

Some of the signs to look for in case you need family counseling are listed below.

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  • Communication breakdown in a family
  • Withdrawal of family members from family events
  • Extreme reactions to little problems
  • Violence upon oneself or family members
  • Change of behavior
  • Substance abuse problems in family

These are telltale signs, if you find above signs, then it’s time to take family counseling.[4]

Even after a separation or divorce, family counseling is still necessary.

Whenever we separate with our partners with some irreconcilable differences, we shouldn’t forget that the separation doesn’t only affect us, they affect the children as well. Therefore, if we seek family counseling, it will help address the needs of children and provide children with the stability they need to flourish in life.

The divorce rate in USA is about 40 to 50 percent among the married couple, which is even more in their subsequent marriage. Homeless and runaway youth primarily identify family conflict as the main reason behind their decision to walk away from their family.[5] Most of these could be avoided if we were willing to see the family counsellors and work to mend our relationships.

For instance, take a case of Jacqueline Mary Ray and Tom Selleck.[6] They were the power couple of Hollywood, however, they split because Tom was obsessed with the role in the series Magnum P.I. This could have been avoided if the couple would have given family counseling a try. In many other notable cases, celebrity couple like Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West went to family counseling, which resolved their family conflict and helped them remain as a family even amidst the conflict.

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Remember when we have a conflict in the family next time that blood is thicker than the water and any conflict can be resolved with the help of family counseling.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

Reference

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on July 13, 2018

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

What is attachment theory?

Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

How attachment develops

Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

Different types of attachments

In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

  • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
  • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
  • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
  • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

What attachments mean to adults

So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

  • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
  • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
  • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
  • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

Here’s where it gets really interesting:

Move towards secure attachment

The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

How to restructure your thoughts

Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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For the Avoidant Style

As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

For the Anxious Style

For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

For the Secure Style

Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

Strive towards Secure Attachment

As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

  • Positive self esteem and self image
  • Close and well adjusted relationships
  • Sense of security in self and the world
  • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
  • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
  • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
  • Trust in self and others
  • Close, intimate relationships
  • Strong determination and problem solving skills

If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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