It is painful to feel lonely and yearn for connection while at the same time feeling anxious, embarrassed and awkward in social situations. If you are shy, entering into relationships feels hazardous, full of vulnerability and ripe with the potential for feeling guilt and shame.

Attachment styles are formed in early childhood and can affect everything we do, how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to others throughout our lives. This is an area of special interest to me. If, as a child, your needs were met with neglect, dismissal, mis-attunement or outright invalidation, you could have grown up “counter dependent” or pseudo-independent (“I don’t need anyone. I can manage on my own, thank you.”) because as a child you had no other choice. The result is that you may feel numb to your emotions and needs, habitually suppressing your feelings. You may even have a disdain for vulnerability as “weak” (“we don’t show our feelings”) so that your healthy dependency needs and wishes are denied.

In another scenario, if your caretakers were unpredictable in their attention and emotional availability, perhaps even addicted, highly stressed or depressed, you may have grown up anxious and preoccupied with what other people feel about you, locating your self esteem in the other person, and losing track of yourself.

There is much more to be said about attachment. But whatever the attachment style or pattern you have, you can heal in the context of an ongoing, consistent, secure therapy relationship where you can feel safe, develop trust, reveal vulnerability, and experience he strong comfort that comes with positive regard and closeness, feeling free to be your natural self. This is not the dependency that comes from anxious attachment. What I foster is a secure relationship where you can be curious, self reliant, self sufficient, human and vulnerable, allowing yourself to receive connection, while experiencing your authentic self at the same time.

If you are ready to finally overcome your shyness and fear of attachment, click here.