Attachment: a short introduction

By Susanne Hazen and Josianne Zwart (Hey Joos! Virtual assistant & projectmanager)
Photo: Ioann Mark Kuznietsov, published on Unsplash

In an earlier published blog, you read about power in relationships and the fact that every relationship finds itself in a cross-cultural war: two people who come together in a relationship leave their family norms and values behind so they can ‘walk a new path’ together. That process quite often comes with fights. Not only because both partners leave the ‘rules’ of their family of origin behind, but also because one partner wants something from the other that he or she couldn’t get from his/her parents.

Fill the emptiness

In this previous blog you have read that everyone has an empty jar of needs that they want to be filled by something or someone else. This is why we have subconscious expectations towards a partner: you try to get something that you didn’t get from your parents. But that is not how it works.

To build on a strong partner relationship, both have to heal, be aware, grow up and act as adults. If we want something from the other person that we didn’t get from our parents, we keep hanging on to a parent-child relationship: we keep asking for something that the other person can never give us. This is an important source of frustration, irritation and aggression. A source that may lead to you pushing away your partner.

The influence on partner relationships

So there are many factors influencing your relationship. The attachment you have with your parents is of great influence as well. The attachment style as we experienced it together with our parents, determines how we see relationships. Think of it as a lens through which we see and experience relationships. The attachment style you have determines how safe you think relationships are.

There are four styles to which I give you a short introduction.

Secure attachment

These people are in touch with their feelings, are competent and have successful relationships in general. Besides that, they are trustworthy and consistent and they take decisions together with their partner. They are flexible, communicate clearly and are not afraid of commitment.

Avoidant attachment

To protect themselves, these people have learned to push other people away. Feelings are locked away and they count on nobody except for themselves. To them, a relationship equals a loss of freedom. Besides that, they have unrealistic beliefs about what a romantic relationship should look like.

Ambivalent attachment

These people are the opposite: they want to be in a relationship and are constantly worried that people won’t like them or even that they will leave them. They desperately want to be close to the other person. They are unhappy when they’re not in a relationship, are afraid of rejection and communicate poorly.


These adults feel the need to connect to others. But: being close to someone and working on intimacy feels too overwhelming and threatening. It can even lead to them ignoring intimacy at all.

How to work with attachment disorders

Regular psychology has done tons of research on attachment disorders and interventions. A family constellation can be very useful when you want to look at hidden identifications and entanglements. Other types of therapy can be helpful as well when you want to help someone with an attachment disorder and help couples with their communication. However, it is advised to do a family constellation additionally to other therapy and not as a stand-alone intervention when an attachment disorder is clear.

A Systemic Ritual can help make you strong and give back your confidence. We do exercises to make the love flow after a traumatic break of trust – think of hospitalization shortly after birth or premature birth – and to give back safety and basic trust.

During the online workshops, you can get to know Systemic Ritual at an entry-level. I’ll tell you more about systemic constellations and rituals, but we will mainly do some constellations or practices so you can experience how it works and what it can do for you. Do you want more and live? Click here for the workshop series ‘Hidden Dynamics’.


Delfos, M.F: Ontwikkeling in vogelvlucht. Ontwikkeling van kinderen en adolescenten. (development at a glance. Development of children and adolescents)

Published by Susanne Hazen

Drs. Susanne Hazen is in 1988 afgestudeerd aan de Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht in Psychologie . Na deze opleiding is ze gaan werken in het welzijnswerk. In 2001 is ze eveneens afgestudeerd aan de toenmalige Academie voor Natuurgeneeskunde Hilversum. In 2002 is ze gestart met haar eigen praktijk. Ze doceert sinds 2002 Psychologie / Therapeutische Vorming aan de diverse opleidingen in CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine). In de jaren 2004 en 2005 volgde ze de opleiding Familieopstellingen bij Harrie de Kruijff en ontving in juni 2005 het diploma. Sinds 2003 verdiept ze zich in het Sjamanistisch werk en heeft diverse trainingen gevolgd bij Daan van Kampenhout in Nederland en Zwitserland. In 2011 heeft ze de tweejarige training “Systemic Ritual®” afgerond. Wenst u meer informatie – zie haar profiel op LinkedIn.

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