Transcript: What's up guys? I'm Justina Victoria. I am a psychosexual expert for men and couples. And today we're going to talk a bit about healing, completely healing from insecure attachment. What it is, what do you have to do, what it takes and what the process is. So stick around.
Right. So let's get into it. Welcome if you're new and welcome back if you've been here before. Today we're going to be talking about how to heal from insecure attachment. So if you're watching this video, you likely already know what insecure attachment is, but let's say you stumbled upon this video and you're...
You're not really sure what, what insecure attachment is. So let's start there. Insecure attachment is essentially that you had a relationship with your parents or caregivers as a child that did not fully meet your needs in a consistent way. And our needs are physical food, shelter, water, sleep, oxygen, light.
And then we have psychological vital needs, things like love, safety, belonging, freedom, authenticity, et cetera. These things are vital as far as the nervous system and the, and the brain are concerned. If your needs do not get met, we go into a stress response. And if you have chronic unmet needs from childhood, then you have chronic dysregulation in the nervous system.
Okay. So if you're an adult who, how, how do you know if you had insecure attachment as a child? Because a lot of people, like for me it was, it was covert neglect and abuse. It was unidentifiable for me. Some people have overt abuse and neglect, overt, you know, unmet needs. I would say for the majority of people, their experience as a child, their needs not getting met, their feelings not being validated, their boundaries not being respected was actually quite covert or invisible to them.
They didn't know any different and they just thought, this is the way the world works. I must be, there must be something different or wrong about me. So if you're an adult who struggles with anxiety or depression, nervous system dysregulation if you struggle with relationships and if you struggle with self care, then we know that you grew up with insecure attachment.
so, what we need to do in order to heal the underlying insecure attachment, right, so. Let's talk about the styles, right? So we have three subsets of insecure. We have the dismissive avoidant, we have the anxious preoccupied, and we have the fearful avoidant, okay? Dismissive avoidant is somebody who has a narrative, typically that relationships feel unsafe to them, they feel overwhelming, they feel like their sense of self is being obliterated, or they just grew up with parents who just We're not very emotional.
They did not bond emotionally and they were consistent in not bonding with them emotionally. So That person can feel like they don't really get relationship. They don't really get love. Their ceiling of intimacy is pretty low Etc. So then we have anxious preoccupied With them you know, the narrative is, I will be rejected, I will be abandoned, being alone is unsafe.
So they're the complete opposite of the dismissive avoidant. The dismissive avoidant essentially down regulates their stress response when they're on their own, and they feel quite stressed when they're in relationship. Anxious preoccupied is the opposite. Their stress response becomes very strong when they're on their own and their stress response comes down when they are in an attachment.
Then we have the fearful avoidant, and the fearful avoidant is, is the best of all of them. It's the one that I have been rehabilitating from myself. And that's where you have both attachment styles, but then we have our own subset as well. So we feel like relationships are unsafe for some reason.
We also feel like being alone is unsafe. And then we have our own subset narrative, which is, I will be betrayed. I will be taken advantage of each of these. Subset types has their own thinking, feeling, behaving based on that narrative. Okay. And I'll make a separate video going more deeply into these things and if you want to learn more about that.
But today we're just going to really focus on how do we heal if we already know we've already identified that we have an insecure attachment style. So if you have an insecure attachment style, then you have an impairment. In the system of feelings, needs, and boundaries. So, feelings, needs, and boundaries are one system, okay?
And they work together. You can't separate them. It's like you might hear somebody say, Oh, you know, I'm really working on my boundaries. This doesn't really make sense because boundary is a side effect of being connected to your feelings and needs. You can't, like, work on your boundaries separately from those things.
Or you might hear somebody say, Oh, I'm really trying to, like, connect to my feelings. Right? Again, it doesn't really make sense. And the reason it doesn't make sense is because each of these is an integral part of a very important system. And that system is getting needs met and feeling safe. Okay? So, first thing is feelings.
Your feelings tell you whether or not your needs are getting met. So, if you are experiencing an elevated emotion, right, love, joy, connection, happiness, peace, contentment, et cetera, we know that your stress response is downregulated and the ventral vagal part of your vagus nerve is activated. That means that the nervous system is neurocepting that your needs are being adequately met.
We only experience elevated emotion when our needs are being met. We only experience dysregulation. Right? Stress fear, anger, sadness, worry, depression, listlessness, apathy, numbness, et cetera. List goes on. When we don't have our needs met, okay? And the stronger the unmet need, the stronger the dysregulation.
So feelings are always telling you what the needs are. Okay? So, This is the thing is there's a lot of like work around feelings, right? And feelings can definitely get, because this is the relationship that we have to the feelings. Our relationship to the feelings can get really twisted. So for example the way that a secure attached person has a relationship with their feelings is very different than somebody who's insecurely attached.
So somebody who's securely attached had their feelings validated by their caregivers. They had their feelings validated, their needs met, and their boundaries respected, right? So their, their parents relationship to their feelings was very much like, Oh, okay, you're feeling sad. Like, let's honor that sadness.
Right? And let's get the need met that's associated with that sadness. But if you come from an insecure attachment style, right, or attachment type, you likely had a caregiver who had strained relationships with your feelings. So let's say as a child, every time you got angry, you were punished. Let's say every time as a child, you were every time you were sad as a child you were told little boys don't cry, right?
I had one client who told me that every time he cried, his father would, would say, don't talk to me until you're finished crying. Like, don't try to communicate to me what you need until you stop crying. You have to stop crying first, right? And so the thing is, is that whatever relationship our parents or caregivers had to our feelings, needs, and boundaries, Then becomes internalized, and that becomes the relationship that we have to our own feelings, needs, and boundaries.
So we perpetuate the unmet needs, the invalidation of our feelings, the, the unmet needs, and the disrespect of our own boundaries. Because it's all we know. That was all we were modeled as far as relationships. So we internalize that relationship, and that becomes the relationship to the self. And I really believe that the relationship we have to ourself is really just this system of feelings, needs, and boundaries.
If we can get this right, then we have a healthy internal relationship. So we have a feeling, the feeling is just telling us what unmet need is. It is, right? So if you go online, right, and you type in like lists of tertiary needs, right? You will find that there's like six or seven different types of needs that can be met.
And these are our psychological needs, right feelings that are like being seen or spontaneity or stability, safety, food, shelter, water, et cetera, right? We have lots of different needs. aNd essentially the way that we know, if you, if you have an impairment in your feelings, needs and boundaries, it's likely difficult for you to identify what the need is because you've always either.
You've always associated to the feeling itself as something wrong or bad, or you've repressed it. You've ignored it, right? So be very likely that you don't know what the need is. You just know that you have an uncomfortable feeling and you're trying to problem solve it. Like for me, my strategy with uncomfortable feelings was to.
Figure out why it was there. Journal on it. Go to therapy for it. Like try to get beyond it. Change my state. Get into a high vibe state or whatever, right? But the feeling never goes away until the need is met because that's the whole point of the feeling. So if you can... In the beginning, what I do with my clients is I give them a list of needs and I say to them, when you feel dysregulated, you're going to come to this list and you're going to look for the need that would neutralize the feeling that you're experiencing right now.
Okay? So if you're feeling sadness, for example, you scan the list and you look for the need on there that would neutralize that sadness. Then we know that that's the need that's, that needs to be met. So for example, if you felt lonely, right, and you were scanning this list and you saw a Companionship, and you, you felt that when you, when you observed that word, that if you had that, the loneliness would go away, then we know that the loneliness is telling you, Hey, you have an unmet need for companionship.
Okay. So and it can be different every time. Sometimes we feel lonely and it's not necessarily companionship that we need. It could be. Like some laughter or some spontaneity, right? It's not necessarily that every single feeling always points to the exact same need. That's why we get good at practicing looking at the list of needs.
And then over time you just start to have a new relationship with your feelings. Your relationship with your feelings becomes very matter of fact. It's the same type of, of relationship that you have with other feelings like hunger and thirst, right? If you feel hungry, it's just very black and white.
I have, I have the feeling of hunger. This tells me I need to eat food. I go eat the food. The hunger goes away. Right? It's the same thing with the other feelings. It's just that we didn't, we weren't taught that. So there was an impairment in our relationship to the feeling. We have this, you know, some people are taught that like sadness or grief is like never going to go away.
Like it'll swallow them. Right? If you had parents who had twisted relationship to. Their own feelings, they're gonna pass that down to you. So we wanna start to look at feelings as just a messaging system. It's saying, Hey, your needs are being met or your needs are not being met. And if they're not being met, let's identify the need and get it met.
And then the feeling will neutralize, right? Boundaries are a side effect of that, right? So let's say that you are, I use this example a lot. So it's like you had a really long day at work and you didn't meet your needs very well. And the feeling that you're feeling on your way home from work is like complete exhaustion.
That's an easy one. We know that when we feel exhausted, we need rest, right? Lots of people will ignore this, right? That's why we have so many people who are stressed and burnt out. They don't, they don't connect with the feeling like they know, like somewhere in the background that they're tired, they're exhausted.
But they just keep going. They'll come home and do more work, or they'll skip eating, or they'll, you know, go for a run, or, and it's like, you're trying to do this to do list instead of connecting with the feeling and meeting the need that the feeling is asking to be met. The body is highly intelligent. It knows what it needs.
We just need to get better at listening to it, right? So, you're feeling exhausted, you come home. You know that you need rest, so you lay down on the couch, you start to get some rest, right? Start to, to meet that need and somebody knocks on your door, you go to the door and it's your friend. And he's like, Oh my gosh, like I have to move tonight.
I really need your help. Like he's just springing this on you. Like I need you to come with me right now, but we know what the boundary is because the boundary protects the need getting met. So you see how you can't like just work on boundaries. Well, how do you know what your boundaries are if you haven't connected to your feelings and needs?
You can't, you don't know what's a no, you don't know what need is meant to be insulated at that time so it can get met, right? So boundaries are actually quite simple. Most people are like, I gotta figure out my boundaries, I gotta figure out my boundaries. And it's just like, you have to figure out what you feel first, identify what you feel, then identify what the need is that's going unmet.
I meet the need, and if something gets in the way of you and meeting that need, then that's the boundary. It's pretty simple. So we change the most important thing in healing. Insecure attachment isn't even going and getting the need met. It's the relationship, right? It's changing the relationship that we have with our feelings, needs, and boundaries.
Okay? We have to get to a place where our feelings and needs are black and white. Like I use this example a lot as well. If you're in a car, and you have to take the biggest piss of your life, right? You're not gonna be like, Well, it's not, it's not a good time for like, the person driving. It's just it'd be inconvenient for them.
So, yeah, I'm just gonna repress that feeling. No, you have to take a piss. I mean, it's black and white. You, you go too long without eating. You need to eat food. If you're thirsty, you just need to drink water. It's very matter of fact, it's very black and white. But for some reason, when it comes to these other feelings, right?
And I say for some reason, it's because of what we were, what was modeled to us, right? But. When we feel sadness, when we feel anger, when we feel fear, when we feel stress, when we feel exhaustion, when we feel like all of these other things, numbness, you know, depression, we're just like, I don't know, you know, and it's like, yeah, like this is the work.
So we have to see this very black and white. If I'm dysregulated, I need to identify the feeling, identify the need, and absolutely just do my best 100 percent to just go out and meet that need. Right now, going back to some of these more, they feel a little bit more vague in the way of getting them met, right?
The idea of like being lonely, for example, what if you're like, Oh, well I can just like go out and make a friend. I don't have any friends. Right? Well, we start with 1%. We don't just go zero to a hundred. We have to start by saying, wow, I am feeling really lonely. Most of the time people feel lonely, they just sort of stuff it down.
And this is the thing about. If you feel lonely in your childhood, right, you're going to feel lonely as an adult. And the problem with the insecure attachment is that because that was all that was modeled to us, like this feeling of our needs not getting met, we have this idea that the need is impossible to get met.
So when we become an adult, we don't go, wow, I'm an adult now, I'm just going to go meet all the needs that I didn't get as a child. Because that wasn't modeled to you. You don't even know that's available to you. You don't even know that you can do that, right? So we actually just perpetuate the unmet need.
We make up reasons why we can't get it mad or why it's impossible or whatever. Like lots of different stories and narratives. But we have to just make it very black and white. We don't go, well, I'm hungry, but I just, I don't know. I don't know if there's food in the fridge. I don't know. So I'm just going to like repress that and hope it goes away.
No, you're going to get more hungry. It's the same thing for loneliness. It's the same thing for sadness. It's the same thing for anger. We have to identify that need, and we have to get that need met, follow through with the need, and be very diligent about meeting that need. You may not get it met 100 percent on day one.
That's fine. We're looking to fill the cup. You can put a couple drops in that cup today instead of it being bone dry. That's a huge win. That's a huge success. This is how we rebuild the relationship to the self. Okay, so that's number one. Number two is the creation of these destructive narratives, right?
So as I said before, dismissive avoidant has a narrative that there may be defective or they're not capable of relationships because that wasn't modeled to them like the lovey dovey stuff like doesn't compute to them. Maybe there's something wrong with them, they're inadequate. Or relationships are a threat to them.
Like they feel like they're going to obliterate their sense of self. And so. thAt story will play itself out over and over and over. Like we will collect evidence for the things that we believe and assume and the things that the, these narratives that were created through our experience as children.
Now here's the thing about the narrative, right? The narrative literally is only created to deal with the chronic pain of unmet needs. If you have chronic unmet needs. As a child, you will have chronic pain, you will have chronic dysregulation, it's very painful as a child. And if you can't get the need met, the pain doesn't go away.
What do we do with pain that we can't make go away? We try to numb it, right? So we come up with these stories. This is the maladaptive strategy, right? Is we come up with a story to sort of numb the pain. And for the dismissive avoidant, the story is... I'm just going to stay away from relationships. I'm going to, I'm going to meet my own needs.
I'm never going to rely on anyone else. And that way I will be safe and I won't have to experience that very intense pain from childhood. But then they go on experiencing that pain anyway, right? It's, it's chronic, it's less, it's more mild. It's not as extreme as what they experienced as a child. So they feel that they can survive that, but that's not health.
That's not wellbeing, right? That's not healing. We haven't healed anything. Same thing with the anxious preoccupied. I can't be alone. Be alone is unsafe. I'm going to be rejected. I'm going to be abandoned. I have to avoid all of that. I can never be abandoned by anybody because it's unsafe, et cetera. And so these stories are what create our maladaptive strategies.
So when we're healing from insecure attachment, we're doing two things. We are changing the relationship to our feelings, needs, and boundaries, and we're getting our needs met. Okay. And, and we're just seeing the, we're seeing that system, we're, first of all, seeing it as a system and we're seeing it as very black and white matter of fact.
I have needs. You're going to have needs all day, every day until the day you die. They have to be met. Period. If they're not met, you will experience chronic pain and dysregulation. That's all it is. Okay. And then we have this other piece of it, which is the destructive narrative that was created in an attempt to mitigate.
The chronic dysregulation and pain that you experience as a child has to be upgraded. It has to be rewired. So, instead of seeing relationships as this person's gonna abandon me, this person's gonna reject me, this person is going to take advantage of me, this person's gonna betray me, this person is going to obliterate my sense of self.
It's too much pressure. I don't get it. I'm a defective. All these crazy stories, right? The only reason we're experiencing that as an adult is because we have an impaired relationship to the system of feelings, needs, and boundaries. So think about it this way. If you're a dismissive avoidant, right? And one of your needs is space um, or one of your needs is your partner to be responsible for meeting certain needs, right?
Like not. Not putting it all on you. There's a, there's a balance that's necessary in the relationship. A lot of the time with dismissive avoidance, they experience like really strong parentification as children. Like their parents sort of force them to take on an adult role before they were developed and ready for that.
Which is why we're children. We're not, we're not made for that at that time. So they can feel really suffocated by relationship and fearful of relationship. So, what happens is, we have this story, and then we go out and we reenact that story. Because it's all, it's, it's all that's programmed, that's all there is up there.
We don't go like, oh, relationships are safe and wonderful, and then we go out and prove that right. We keep proving right what we already have installed on our hardware, okay? And the way that we start to rewire that is to realize that the feelings, needs, and boundaries system is our vetting system. So we go on a date with somebody, for example, right?
We're, we're getting very clear what we feel, what we need, what our boundaries are, and we are very clearly and tangibly communicating that to somebody, okay? And if that person is capable and or willing to meet your needs, then we know that they're a healthy match. So this is the vetting system. This is not only, this, this whole system of feelings, needs, and boundaries is not only what makes up the relationship you have with yourself, it makes up the relationship you have with others, right?
So the relationship that you create, the attachment that you create, if you think about it this way, attachment, the only point of attachment is to get your connection needs met. If you're in an attachment and your connection needs are not being met, it doesn't make sense because that's the whole point of the attachment.
So we need to create a healthy relationship to our feelings and needs and boundaries internally first. And then we have to practice expressing that externally when we're dating somebody or in a relationship. And we have to follow through with that. If the person is incapable or unwilling to meet our needs, then we know that it's not possible to be in a relationship with that person.
And we go on and we look for somebody who is in alignment with that, okay? So this essentially dissolves, you know, in my opinion, it dissolves the narrative altogether. It doesn't even matter what what insecure subset you are. You know, if you're, if you are anxious, preoccupied, and you are obsessed with somebody leaving you or abandoning you, right?
Well, we're We're getting those needs met up, up front. We're vetting somebody with our feelings, needs, and boundaries, right? So, if we need to spend time with somebody, right, we have certain needs that need to be met, we're vocalizing them. Most of the time, anxious, preoccupied will throw their needs totally out of the way.
Like, they'll focus on somebody else's needs in order to keep them around. But, what we want is to vet somebody through our needs. I'm going to be really honest and vulnerable with what we need and then we prove that somebody will stick around for us, right? If you have an impairment in the system, you're going to have an impairment in your relationship and in your, your dating experiences for sure.
So how to heal insecure attachment, we are correcting the impairment. In the system of feelings, needs, and boundaries, which is the relationship that we have with ourself, we're identifying our feelings, we're identifying the need that is coming through from the feeling, and we're, we're sticking to the, you know, this, again, the boundary is a side effect, but the boundary, protecting the need, getting met, getting that need met, following through for ourselves with that.
It doesn't matter what the need is. If it's companionship, or it's to be seen, or it's to be acknowledged, or it's to have some spontaneity, or to be authentic, we need to go out and get that need met, even if it's a couple drops at a time. It has to be done. We have to prove to our nervous system that these needs are matter of fact, as matter of fact as eating food and drinking water, and they just have to be met.
Period. End of story. Black and white. And then we have to be very clear and aware of how our destructive narrative from the attachment style that we have is playing out in the relationship or in our dating life. And we have to correct that. We have to start seeing it as, no, actually I just had that experience as a child, right?
And that was what was modeled to me. So I just assumed that all relationships are like this, they will all end in this way. But actually, that's caused by an impairment in feelings, needs, and boundaries. Feelings, needs, and boundaries will vet my relationship before I get really attached to that person. It causes us to work through everything and be really healthy.
So, I hope this makes sense. I hope this is helpful. and I will see you in the next one.