As we continue to investigate the attachment styles, we arrive at the ambivalent attachment style. But what does ambivalent mean and what does this attachment style look like? According to “The Power of Attachment”, by Diane Poole Heller, PhD, she describes that ambivalents rely heavily on others to regulate their feelings as they cannot self soothe. Those that have an ambivalent attachment style can often be described as, “needy,” “clingy,” “oversensitive,” “controlling,” “high-maintenance,” and “high strung.” This is due to the fact that when these people were children, they did not receive predictable care from their caregivers, therefore, affecting their ability to navigate their internal emotional terrain as it wasn’t met with their parent’s presence or consistent receptivity.
See below for an exercise on how to add a self soothing tool into your mindfulness toolbox.
Physical grounding: Proprioceptive awareness is the internal sense of how our body is positioned and moved. When we move our joints with awareness we can simply foster a stronger sense of our self. Try a body scan and focus on each joint, starting from your toes and ending at the head, and focus on the sensations of each joint as you move it. The best part about this exercise is that it activates the hippocampus, a structure in your brain, and lets you know you are right here, right now so you cannot get lost in your feelings when something (such as a relationship) triggers early attachment patterning.
The main component of healing for ambivalent people involves reconnecting to themselves. Continually provide inclusion from others, however remember to focus on yourself before you gradually include other people into your life.
Reach out to Safe and Sound Therapeutics for more exercises on self soothing or mindfulness.