Journey from Insecure to Secure Attachment: Part 4 of 5
How I healed my insecurity emotionally in adulthood
I still had a “hole” in my heart. I had incessant thoughts about being unworthy of my parents’ love and simultaneously, a deep need for them to accept me as I am, flaws and all. I would frequently cry while thinking of how unloved and alone I felt.
I knew they loved me, but I didn’t feel it consistently, and that’s what triggered me the most. It caused me to look to them for love and support, but I couldn’t fully rely on it. My mind was trying to create stability in my life and that’s why I tried to push my parents’ love away – because at least that would be consistent.
In the midst of all this, my mind became fixated on my failed marriage. I felt guilty for bringing my unresolved childhood wounds into the marriage. I was judging my old self through my newfound understanding of attachment science, and falsely believing that I could have somehow saved the marriage. My friends reminded me that it takes two to tango and that the end result would have still been the same.
Mahara confirmed my understanding. She said yes, you’ve done the work to understand how your mind works, what happened in your childhood, and how it connects to your marriage and divorce. That was a relief.
Mahara also confirmed my friends’ perspective that the marriage wouldn’t have worked because he needed to undergo the same healing process, and that this is a journey each person must undertake for him/herself.
For each three-hour session, we started with a long discussion of how I was feeling and what I was thinking. Mahara is adept at recognizing where each person is on their journey of self-discovery and self-healing.
Then I followed her into the breathwork room, lay down comfortably, covered myself with warm blankets, closed my eyes, and we started the deep, holotropic breathing. I’m a shallow breather, so the deep breathing technique was difficult at first.
Once the holotropic breathing was rhythmic, Mahara asked me to tell her who I was visualizing, and I immediately started to cry. The first two sessions were mostly focused on forgiving my ex-husband and myself for the failed marriage. I had no idea that I was holding on to so much from that time period in my life.
During the third session, I saw my mom holding me as an infant. Then I saw me comfortably sitting on her lap, feeling loved and protected. I was probably 5 or 6 years old.
Mahara asked me what my mom would say if she could talk to me right now. The tears came rushing down, I reached for more tissues, and I repeated the words my mom has said to me on so many occasions: You’re my angel. You know that. You are so special to me. I love you so much.
Next, Mahara guided me to talk to my inner child and so I spoke from my heart: You were loved, valued, and cherished. You always have been. I’m so sorry for all that you had to go through, all that you had to endure. You are free now, free from all of that. I will always be here with you and for you. I will never let you be alone.
Lastly, Mahara guided me to speak to my mom and tell her what I was feeling: Mom, I’m sorry I doubted your love. I’m so sorry for hurting you. I didn’t mean to do that to you. Thank you for being my mom. I love you. It feels good to be back home.
Then I cried more deeply than I have ever before. Crying releases emotions from our bodies and is deeply restorative. Mahara advised me to take a nap and then join her for herbal tea upon waking.
While I was napping, I recalled an image from the vision board I created in September 2010. The vision board used to hang on a wall in my room at my parents’ house in Chicago. The image was of a mother and daughter:
Something inexplicable had shifted inside of me. This experience permanently removed all doubts I had about being loved by my mom.
Once I recovered my lost self, I effortlessly forgave my mom, and this solidified and secured our mother-daughter bond.
The rebirthing sessions transformed the cognitive inputs into emotional healing for my entire body. My mind and body were finally in sync.
How did I get to this point?
- I first observed how my mind works and detected patterns i.e. how negative thoughts about myself create negative feelings. This is the behavioral scientist inside of me – inquisitive about how our minds create our realities.
- I habitually questioned thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and beliefs. I fired my inner critic (the super-ego) and replaced it with a chief curiosity officer.
- I consciously faced my feelings and fears, past and present, regardless of how scary it was. I actively uncovered and healed my insecurities by paying close attention to the things that triggered me.
- I prioritized my health – physical, mental, emotional, and relational. I spent thousands of dollars on therapy, books, workshops, classes, retreats, nutritional supplements, and experiences to repattern my thoughts and beliefs.
- I committed to meeting my own needs and loving myself even if no one else did. Everything was “allowed” now including not talking to my parents for nine months.
My journey matches the anticipated stages of attachment wound healing according to modern science. I became securely attached at the age of 33 and it’s been the most worthwhile accomplishment of my life. Let me tell you how this changes the game…