What’s the difference between an attachment and a healthy relationship? And, why does it matter? Well, it’s only been in the past year, really, that I can really make this distinction. What does that mean?
Well, I hold a degree, actually two of them, that stipulate that I know about this distinction. Yep. And, while those pieces of paper are in frames, and the person writing this article does have intellectual information about the theoretical differences between attachment and healthy relationships, that is not knowing.
Alright, you are doing very well, stay with me. One more distinction.
Holding intellectual information means that you have a grasp, even expertise, in understanding a particular topic or subject. This is a true statement. Does it then follow that because you have intellectual information about a subject or topic that you also know about that topic or subject? No. Why?
Because to know something, really know it, in your head and your heart, you must have lived through it. It is the only way. It must be experienced.
While many people can theorize about the difference between attachment and healthy relationships, they only really know the difference if they have lived through something that has shown them that difference. Which is why I have only recently learned, and now know, about this distinction. And, it is an important one.
Here is a good example.
The adjective intellectual describes something related to or using the mind or intellect. Your creative pursuit of singing in a rock band is different from your intellectual interest in 16th-century drama.
In the above example, singing in the rock bank is known because it is being done, lived, it is real. While the intellectual interest in 16-century drama is purely theoretical, made up of ideas. The person that has intellectual information of 16-century drama can never know what being in a 16-century drama is like. Phew. Okay, I think that covers it.
Now let’s create the distinction between attachment and healthy relationships. The distinction between the two is important because many people believe they are in a healthy relationship with someone, when they are actually only attached. They are not really in a healthy relationship.
Attachment and Healthy Relationships
It is important to understand that we are all attached to people, things, and objects. Attachment is a deep feeling we have for someone or something. These attachments will correspondingly drive our behavior, whether we are aware of it or not.
Because our attachments will drive our behavior and reciprocally our emotional state, they can often be destructive, especially in adulthood.
And, especially in relationships that don’t work so well. Why?
Because when we have a deep emotional attachment to someone, we will continue to stay close to that person even when it is unhealthy for us to do so. Think about the relationships you’ve had, or may have right now.
Do you have any that don’t work so well, yet you continue to stay in relationship with that person? We’ve all been there. That is attachment at work.
Of course, you can love someone, also be attached, and still not be in a healthy relationship. Also important to understand. Often people also confound love, and the attachment that comes with that love, with a healthy relationship.
It is particularly difficult the longer you are with the person; and, can be extremely painful when you finally make the choice to leave the relationship.
In effect, attachment can cloud our decision and choice-making process on leaving relationships that we are better off leaving. Difficult.
What Can We Do?
You can notice how you feel, how you think. Do you have an inner knowing that your relationship is not working, yet you stay?
Remember, if your inner-knowing acknowledges the relationship as not working, it is not a demerit. It happens to everyone at some point in their life.
When you know, you have a choice. You can stay, and continue to feel and think one way, yet act in a different way. However, know that when we feel and think one way, and act out of accordance with this knowing, we will be out of balance. Leading us to have more anxiety and frustration.
And, of course, when we have more anxiety and frustration, we are not being healthy to ourselves, or our partner. Really.
Know also that you can love someone completely, and still know that leaving is needed.