Attachment creates an expectation that absolves you from taking action in your life. It sounds like a radical statement – and in some ways it is… Because when you break it down and look at what attachment is in from an objective point of view, it really is the epitome of giving your power away. Attaching yourself in whatever capacity it may be, whether it’s to a person, object, event, you’re identifying with these external factors to the extent that there is the assumption, or in this case belief that somehow, in some way, it’s going to solve all your problems. It’s the classic case of the ‘I’ll be happy when narrative…’ I’ll be happy when I get a car, when I go to this festival, as long as this person or that continue to fulfill my emotional needs. It’s not healthy. In fact, it’s objectively unhealthy. And it can be pretty toxic if left unchecked. Attachment styles that are centred on us profiting from other’s energy are the antithesis of growth. Your relationship might seem like it’s all sweetness and love. But if the energy exchange is a one-way street that inevitably leads back to you and your needs, does that really represent a relationship? It belies something deeper… The belief that someone else can fix all your problems for you.
The Trap of Codependency
The reason why codependency is often labelled as such is that it quite simply doesn’t add anything to your life. It short circuits your process of growth and journey of self-discovery because you don’t need to go through any of the hardships, rites of passage, or dark nights of the soul. There’s no imperative to change. There’s no journey of discovery and no self-inquiry, and so there’s no growth. Just a steady flat line of existing. Out-sourcing all your decisions to someone who you’ve identified as being more able and better qualified to direct the operation that you’re supposed to be in charge of.
And yes, it does work to an extent, you can survive by doing this. And in many ways, it serves as something of a survival mechanism in attaching yourself so strongly to someone else. But in venturing down this path to whatever degree of intensity you do, you’ll never truly thrive because it’s a form of escapism by deferring your self responsibility. You can only get away with doing this for so long, as it will only be a viable option as long as you can get someone to agree to the emotional terms and conditions of this relational dynamic. In essence, it’s a short-term fix. Like a country that bails out its banks time and time again. Yes, it will work. But it’s not a sustainable way of running things, indefinitely. And it’s exactly the same within romantic and interpersonal attachments.
By placing your responsibilities with someone other than yourself, you’re essentially forcing them into a contract to fulfil your needs. This mechanism can take place equally on the conscious and subconscious level. And so, when framed in this light, this particular form of negative attachment style could be thought of as a somewhat predatory expression. One that’s based on seeking out people who are highly functioning on the emotional level, so you can make these continued requests of them to fulfil the needs you’re unable or unwilling to fulfil for yourself.
What this does is place patterns of obligation and expectation on their other people, which, in turn, can lead to a toxic and suppressive narrative in relationships that are built on such neediness. And this, of course, then leads to resentment and outright dysfunction both within the dynamic of the relationship and yourself if you’re rooted in this form of attachment style. You can’t get your needs fulfilled and so it leads to the ‘poor me’ victimhood narrative because attachment inevitably leads to misery. And the more we engage with it, the more we give our power away.
The Case for Self Empowerment
However, the more we self-empower, the more we take responsibility for regulating our emotional state, the more self-sufficient we become, the more able to chart our own path through life. As a result, the more we become a beacon of integrity, which will naturally draw the right connections to us, which all starts with the choice to take responsibility. And of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t co-regulate with others and receive support in a constructive way. That’s to miss the point of what’s being offered, here. True co-creative and interdependent partnerships are the ultimate aim. But it’s only by each person standing in the sovereign expression of their own power and contributing to the whole that it can be fully realised. And when you’re able to do that on a consistent basis, that’s when you start to truly embody a conscious relating style and work with your partner in a truly conscious relationship. One that might result in your surfacing each other’s traumas and trigger one another as you each work through your own respective mental and emotional baggage. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing – if you can recognise what’s happening and put the proper boundaries and communication strategies in place in safeguarding against any ill feelings when the inevitable surfacing does happen.
Letting Go of Attachment
So in the multi-layered expression of attachment, you’re not only trying to let go of the attachment to others and the co-dependency that it brings about. Yes, we are trying to do that, but what that leads us to is a space in our relationships where we’ve taken full accountability for ourselves. And by doing that we can turn our gaze inwards and start letting go of some of those attachments that are rooted deeply within us with the help of our partner(s) who’re holding the space for us to surface everything that’s still being repressed and suppressed.. That’s the letting go of our beliefs that we’re trying to achieve because it’s those that most inform our decision-making process, which then informs how we view the world and our place within it at large.