I was inspired to write this piece about love from a Youtube video that I watched on the grapevine. Down below
Most of this discussion is based around the attachment theory, which explains why most men or women don’t know how to react or behave emotionally in romantic relationships or just don’t know how to love people in relationships in general.
The attachment theory from psychology centers around the individual and how they form physical attachments to another person. The attachment theory in itself is very broad with lots of subheadings that fall underneath this theory.
John Bowlby first coined the term, and Mary Ainsworth expanded on the term, which looks at childhood development and temperament in regards to one’s personal development.
There are four main styles of attachment which I will explain briefly.
The first is a secure attachment, which is the type to feel understood and protected. The secured type has been understood emotionally from their parents or caregivers from birth. Adults who are securely attached tend to have long term relationships with their partners and demonstrate good self- esteem. These types find it easy to express themselves emotionally.
The anxious attachment type. These preoccupied ones find it hard to maintain a healthy relationship. At childhood, these people had parents who were preoccupied and couldn’t meet their children’s needs emotionally. These types were abandoned as a child. As adults, these types are thirsty for intimacy and love, The anxious types grow up with feelings of anxiousness and insecurity, these types are starving for attention and can be considered clingy.
The dismissive-avoidant attachment type is those who tend to run away from love. They enjoy the idea of love in the first few stages of romance but tend to run away when things become a bit too much for them. These types enjoy their alone time and find it difficult to attach themselves to others. As children, the parent was there physically but did not give their child all that they needed emotionally. This can carry on into adulthood and the grownup dismisses closeness. They are uncomfortable with deep feelings and intimate situations, they set boundaries and they may hide information from their partners. These types are dangerous because they desire relationships deep down but they just don’t know how to handle the emotional aspect of a relationship.
The last one is of disorganized attachment that neglect or fear intimacy. These types have dealt with trauma from a young age such as abuse, pain or loss.
These types blow hot and cold when it comes to a relationship, their behavior is antisocial, they tend to be selfish, controlling and lack personal responsibility.
These four attachments are indeed existing in our world today.
I want to focus on the dismissive-avoidant attachment type because that is how most children in African families were brought up, these types don’t know how to love because when they were little they weren’t shown that type of love from their parent/ guardian.
African parents rarely show their children any love or affection, and they rarely show any affection to each other, so an African child has not seen the love within the household, therefore Africans grow up not understanding what it is to love another person.
African parents know how to discipline their children very well but to spend time with their children, is rarely heard of.
In those rare cases, some African parents show affection toward their children, but again this is unheard of.
This has affected many relationships today, including my own. Men or women can be seen as the dismissive-avoidant type and women as a secure or anxious type.
Most women crave and thirst for intimacy or marriage, and men tend to run away from it.
The way children are being brought up is so important because adults can mould how a child will turn out later on in life. Children are being raised lacking in basic communication, nobody knows how to communicate and men don’t want to settle down or fear that intimacy because they were never shown that love when they were younger.
Relationships and marriages are not being valued anymore because most are clueless about love. In my opinion.
The traditional nuclear family that was prevalent in the 50s no longer exists, what we’re seeing now is men who are being brought up by single parents or parents who are not together anymore, a child can grow up to have a distorted view of love in some way because of this.
Women are conditioned from birth to love. Women are brought up being encouraged to express their feelings and are being taught how to be that nurturing type.
Men, on the other hand, are taught that it’s wrong if they cry and that sharing feelings is a womans thing. Men are being brought up to suppress their emotions. Suppressing emotions can have an impact on a man’s mentality and this forces him to store up a lot of emotion that cannot be good for overall well being.
I’m not saying men are bad and that women are good, what I’m saying here is that we need to learn how to show love and it starts in the home. We are all broken, it’s not just men.
Although the attachment theory can be used here to explain human emotion, our peers and our friends can also have a huge influence on how we show love. These theories I believe are about 30% of our human emotion but we all have to take into accountability our actions and learn how to build strong, healthy relationships that will last.
Read: Attachment Theory According to John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.