Hey guys, welcome back to Partnership Aligned Podcast! So, I’ve noticed on social media that there are quite a few buzz words out there regarding relationships. The one that drives me the craziest is narcissist. I can’t tell you how many enrollment calls I’ve gotten on with potential clients who tell me their partner is a narcissist.
Statistically speaking, almost no one is a narcissist. Narcissism is a personality disorder which is a very rare diagnosis. I think what people mean is, my partner is acting like a selfish douche and it helps me to label them.
So if that seems to resonate with you, check out episode 27 titled What To Do When Your Partner’s Being an Ass. I’ll link that in the show notes for you.
Other buzz words I’ve seen are self-sabotage, trauma response, and stonewalling. Those don’t bother me because they are so much more common, just a bit misunderstood. But today I want to talk to you about a very popular topic on social media regarding relationships – and that’s secure attachment.
I am not going to go into the whole attachment theory because I like to keep my podcasts short and you can read about it pretty much anywhere. Besides underneath all of it lies this question, How Can I Feel More Securely in My Relationship? And that’s what I want to answer today. Because it really does change your experience within your relationship.
So let’s start with talking about what it even means to feel secure. According to good old Dr. Google, security is a state of being free from danger or threat. Ah, this is interesting! Because most people aren’t actually in danger in their relationship. They’re just uncomfortable. So why do we use the word security in attachment theory?
I’ve mentioned this on another episode, I can’t remember which one, but the science behind this question is as follows. Our brains cannot tell the difference between physical danger and emotional danger. Back in the day, not being a secure member of the tribe meant possibly being kicked out which meant probable death. So our brains are wired to be looking out for danger to keep us alive. Thanks brain!
But now we don’t need to worry about tribal rejection. But our primal brain doesn’t know that. So it does what it does best, it scans for danger. And when it can’t find physical danger, it focuses on the emotional danger in the same way. That’s why when you are about to send a vulnerable text to your partner, your stomach starts to flip, and you get very nervous because what if you’re rejected?
Ok so I say all that to illustrate that the word security is appropriate here. When we feel securely attached, we feel safe.
So how do we get there? Well, there is definitely work that can be done within the relationship such as having clear communication – that’s pretty much what’s going to make or break you in hard times. I have lots of content on communication. In fact, I interweave communication into almost all episodes. A good place to start would be episode 29, titled My Top 5 Communication Tips.
But just like any other relationship issue, the answer is to work on yourself. You see, feeling secure in your relationship comes from feeling secure within yourself and in the world. My personal definition of feeling secure in my relationships is: I know that if I lost this relationship, I would be ok. So I can be myself and give it my all. I don’t need to protect myself because I will always have my own back. Now, I can spend more time enjoying the relationship as opposed to worrying about it. That is the narrative I strive for.
So, how do you work on feeling more secure within yourself? The answer lies in self-trust and self-reliability. A great way to work on this is to establish a solid daily routine. Something that really anchors you and takes care of your mental health needs.
I’ll use mine as an example. I wake up 45 mins early every day to pray, meditate, and read a couple daily readers. And if I’m struggling I might journal for a few minutes. That time in the morning is a gift I give myself. It is my way of saying, ok Elana I’ve got your back. I am going to create time and space for you to be still, spend time with God, and reflect. I also eat right, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and call good friends who nourish my soul almost daily.
So what does all this have to do with security? Well, because I have a solid independent life that tends to my needs and anchors me, connecting me to me, losing a relationship isn’t as scary. And more importantly, losing myself within a relationship doesn’t happen. My routine and my mental health habits are non-negotiable. Once I take care of myself in that way, I can then look at my relationships through the lens of security and calm.
Another way of building self-trust and self-reliability is to work on the characteristic of being true to your word. I worked on this intensely a few years back and now it’s just part of me. I was very intentional about always following through on my word. Which meant I had to be intentional about my word. I wasn’t going to commit to anything I couldn’t follow through on. I wasn’t going to say anything I didn’t mean. And I wasn’t going to bullshit you just to keep the peace.
This is a life changing characteristic. I encourage you to make the decision to work on that. Now, I know that I am going to follow through on my word – to others and to myself. I know that if I tell myself I’m going to get something done, I will. If I commit to myself that I will be honest and authentic in a difficult conversation, I will. Because the discomfort of not being reliable to myself far outweighs the discomfort of saying that thing I feel insecure about.
It’s basically just trying to be the best friend you can be to yourself. A real friend is someone who shows up, tells the truth, challenges your bullshit, but also gives love and compassion. When I provide those things for myself, I feel secure in the world because I can rely on myself. And I am always with myself so that works for me!
Now, I want you to really observe yourself within your relationship. In what area do you feel secure and in what area do you feel insecure? Look for patterns. I have a client who is in a relationship where her partner does not text when he says he will. This bothers her immensely.
I’ve guided her to communicate this to him and she has. He responds well to this communication but then it seems to happen again. So, I am now helping her look inward. Because she can’t change him. And she really wants to be with him. So, she can continue to make requests and communicate how she’s feeling (which I strongly encourage) but simultaneously, I am having her explore the core fear that is being triggered by him not texting when he says he will.
After doing some digging, she was able to identify that her core fear is being forgotten about. This comes from her experience as a child. This makes so much sense because attachment theory is actually about the parent-child relationship. But there is a lot of focus now on how it affects the child later on in life during adult relationships.
Having the awareness that her strong reaction is coming from a wound has been very powerful for my client. She has been able to step back and look at his behavior more objectively. She doesn’t like it, but she understands that the anxiety and visceral reaction she has comes from somewhere else – not from him.
Working through this fear will help her become more secure in her relationship. Once she is able to see that his actions are about him, and not because he has forgotten about her, she will be able to relax. And then from that more relaxed energy, she can step back and decide whether she wants to accept this part of her partner or whether it’s a deal breaker. It’s a process but so worth the reward.
Ok so what I talked about today is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is soooo much to attachment theory and how it affects our adult relationships. Each person has a story. Each of you has memories, experiences, complicated relationships with your parents, and deep desires mixed with self limiting beliefs. In my opinion, this is all perfect. I think it’s a jigsaw puzzle that we learn how to plug into the right places when we decide to go on a self-growth journey.
So if you’ve made that decision – if you’re ready to start taking ownership for your own experience but you just don’t have a process for doing that, that’s where I come in. I am educated and trained to take you through that process with love and accountability. Plus I’ve gone through it myself, which gave me more education than all of my years in school combined.
So if you’re serious about becoming a healthier version of yourself, a more secure version of yourself… if you’re ready to stop getting so defensive and anxious about what your partner says or does, let’s have a free call. Scroll down to the show notes and click on the link to schedule. I’ll take some time to get to know your story and I’ll tell you how I can help.
Ok guys, that’s all I have for today… have an amazing week!