How Your Parents Can Influence Your Attachment Style and Personality

How Your Parents Can Influence Your Attachment Style and Personality

I had never really thought about this up until now but recently I decided to do some research to find out why I suffer from specific mental disorders, those being anxiety and OCD. Also to discover the type of attachment I try to form to those around me, and more importantly why.

I have become fully aware of why I am this way, it's all because of learnt behaviours, specifically those of my mum. Who I believe suffers from anxiety, and exhibits narcissistic tendencies.

I love my mum to pieces but I have noticed that her behaviour has very negatively impacted me, especially in my romantic relationships.

There are 2 types of behaviour, one is where you feel like you are constantly battling to get your mother's attention and therefore will do anything to try and succeed so that you feel loved.
The other is where you are controlled, you feel as if you can't make your own decisions, and always end up asking for other peoples guidance before making a decision.

Having a parent like this is difficult as you are constantly trying to live up to their expectations, knowing that no matter what you do you never will. She will project her insecurities onto you, you will be criticized for something which she feels she's lacking in. So for example, say she wishes that she had more hobbies, it's very likely your mother will then express to you that you should take up more hobbies despite the fact she doesn't have any or has very few herself.

How Your Parents Can Influence Your Attachment Style and Personality

There are 3 styles of attachment which a daughter can form as a result of either not being given enough freedom to make her own decisions, or feeling inadequate. All of these attachment styles are insecure, so in adulthood you're more likely to form relationships which are like that of you and your mothers, because that is what you're used to, and what you view as 'normal'.

The 3 styles are:
Anxious - you want a close connection, but are very wary due to the rejection you could potentially receive. This makes you feel very sensitive to any criticism.
Dismissive-avoidant - you don't want a connection with others, are fiercely independent and view people as barriers. People only get in your way, and you care more for your own needs than that of others.

Fearful-avoidant - you want a connection but as you have opened up before and had it used against you your fear prevents you from making the deeper connection which you so desire.

I'm the anxious type as I'm very sensitive to criticism, and never feel like I'm good enough.

Unfortunately this affects your ability to process emotions, have a clear sense of identity, a skewed idea of what love is, an inability to confidently make decisions without any doubt, see being treated in this way as 'normal', have problems connecting with others.

Emotions - If you have had a parent who's always criticising you and is unable to process their own emotions it's more likely that you will become overwhelmed with emotion, to the point you find it difficult to process and are unable to find a healthy way of releasing them.

On the flip side, if you shut down and avoid your emotions it's more likely that you fought for your mothers attention and strive for success. So emotions get in the way of that.

Identity - Your identity has been taken away from you in a sense, your mother made decisions and did everything for you so it's difficult to know your own mind. When you become reliant on someone else to think for you it's very difficult to then think independently.

Love - A mother who is narcissistic expresses that you don't receive something for nothing, so you can't receive love and not have to give something in return. Which in turn means that you're very likely to be attracted to narcissistic people. Those who only take, and who are not empathetic in the slightest. They will only care for themselves, and bleed you dry of all of your love.

Self-Doubt - Either you will be very successful because you feel you need to be in order to gain your mothers approval and love, or you will fall because you doubt yourself, so you see no point in trying when you know that you will only fail.

Control - You will often form relationships with people who are controlling because that's what you're familiar with, even if it makes you feel miserable.

How Your Parents Can Influence Your Attachment Style and Personality

You might not be aware that you are/have experienced this type of relationship with your mother, but when you do it makes so much sense. Everything is so much clearer! My whole life I've never felt good enough, my decisions are constantly criticized. If I workout I'll hurt myself, if I don't I'll become overweight. If I work more I won't be spending as much time at home, if I work less I'm lazy.

I was told when I was being manipulated by a very sadistic man that it was my fault I continued dating someone who hurt me physically when I was screaming out stop. That when I didn't want to go to see a theatre production because I'd already seen it that I was selfish because my parents hadn't seen that one.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Excellent take, one of the best I've seen on G@G.

    You really know your stuff about this, and it is, in my experience, very rare that people are able to step back, analyse their situation, and empower themselves in the way that you have.

    Far, far too many simply go through a miserable life, never thinking they are good enough, and never being able to understand where and why they are going wrong.

    There are a number of people who use this website, who would really benefit from your insights on this subject, believe me.

    Once again, congratulations on an insightful and highly useful Take!

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    • Wow, thank you so much! I really appreciate it 😊
      Most people don't come to this realisation until there becomes a pattern. When your parents is too involved and trying to control what you do as you get older that's when it all hits you.
      As well as the type of people which you attract as friends and partners. There's always some reason behind it.
      The hard part is trying to break away from it so that you don't end up replicating your parents behaviours.

    • Thanks for MHO :)

Most Helpful Girl

  • Honestly I so agree with this, I have Asian parents so they're strict, I mean they're caring but we don't communicate and say "I love you" and some of my problems stem from them even though I know they are thinking of me and just want me to have a good future.

    I'd say some of the ways they messed me up is like you, anxiety. Growing up, if I get a B grade then it's something like I should've gotten a A and tried harder, it's because I play video games that i only got a B. If I get a A then no congratulations, I still get told that I'm failing because I'm playing video games but I'm only on my computer, i don't play games much at all. They want me to be constantly reading a literary book or watching a YouTube video on a court case or something. Again I know they want me to succeed so I won't have to work in a hard job in the future but it puts a lot of pressure at me at times and brings me down. Even more if I don't brush my teeth, if I don't dress well (I like to be comfy so I wear ugly clothing at times), I get told how disgusting it is or how bad I look. I'm also really skinny and I'm constantly told how I'm like a skeleton, it makes me self conscious of my body. The thing is the way they raise me is traditional but somewhere in time, the traditional way changed and in the new way, at times you can't feel the love while being raised strictly. So now I'm always anxious and I don't feel as comfortable or confident in myself or my body.
    I have more to add too, I was never allowed to go out with friends, doesn't seem like a big deal right? But when I didn't have a phone either a few years ago, it was a big deal, it was hard to communicate with friends outside of school, it felt like everyone was bffs and it felt like I wasn't included. Then because I never got to go out in town much, I don't even know where to hang out at when I'm now allowed to go out a bit. I feel like my life was very controlled and now that they loosened a bit, I'm so lost. I have no idea what to do, how I should do things. Even now I still rely on my family a lot, I'm afraid to leave home for college, other kids are starting to drive but I don't even know where or how I should begin. I literally had a great opportunity for me which was to spend a month in a college dorm during summer and it would not only give me opportunities but help me be prepared for college. Yet I turned it down because I was afraid of leaving home for a month.

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    • Maybe it's how I was raised but I also feel a sense of wanting to please others, I want to be kind. I also seem to either consciously or subconsciously seek praise and approval from others. It's really how I was raised that affected me. I know they care for me, they have times where they care and love but it's just that they also put me down so many times without knowing how much they're hurting me. I have low confidence in myself but it's only recently 2 years ago where I started to force myself to change. I tried to be more friendly and smile more so I could get along with friends better. I try to have more confidence in my actions and how I act, I try to to care as much about how others think of me. Online I can come off confident but the real me isn't. I feel like at this point even in real life I don't think my friends even know how low my confidence is. I'm currently trying to get past the barrier of restricting myself and being reserved in public.

    • Oh by the way I'm also very sensitive to certain criticism, if I feel like the other person is treating me as a stupid person or making fun of me, hate just bubbles inside me.

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What Guys Said 8

  • OP, you're good enough, you really are. Your heart just hasn't learned that yet. :)

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  • My parents fucked me up big-time.. messed with my head and at the same time never taught me anything useful... I was raised by the will of God and harsh realities... I only had myself to hurt with and live with..

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  • Very interesting Take, even if the conclusions are not so positive in most instances.

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  • Meh i screwed my self up not my parents and the only influnce i got was from my dad for me liking video games like him.

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  • Attachment style? Whu?
    Where did you come up with this drivel?

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  • Interesting MyTake

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  • interesting. dont think I fit in any

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  • I am not a daughter... and I am fearful-avoidant.

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    • It sounds like a song lyric.

      I would add myself to that group too.

    • @ABoyNamedSue I probably should have made it less gender biased haha! I'll remember that for future reference 😊
      It can apply to men too! It's based on how one or both of your parents have treated you. Sometimes they aren't even aware that they're doing it.

    • Upon finishing your in depth and aptly researched text: I found myself reflecting and seeing many parallels. S given me a lot to think about and I’ll reply when I have had a chance to reconcile my experience with the meaning. Until now I’ve just called them memories and that is it. I have never delved into things. Funnily enough it’s something I started confronting a few weeks ago but I haven’t considered the topic of parents.

      The question of gender is irrelevant in the sense that, although it’s a variable, I’m sure people read the text with the understanding it is an expression of point of view. I took your points and applied them to my point of view.

What Girls Said 7

  • The way your parents love you has a huge impact on the way you will act in your relationships and it doesn't matter if you recognize it or not. You can choose to be treated by a psychotherapist or learn some religious principals.

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  • So informative take. I could relate to some things in it.

    Looking forward to more like these!

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  • Nice take

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  • Good take

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  • Anxious I guess. But tbh it sounds weird

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  • Interesting

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  • Probably genetic

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