Meaghan Nolte (Psychology)
As many as 50% of the US population operate with an insecure attachment style, associated with a plethora of physical, psychological, and socio-emotional issues. These styles of insecure relating (anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attached) are acquired in infancy, becoming ingrained during brain development. This results in adverse internal working models outside of conscious awareness. Literature presents strong evidence that the first years of life set the stage for socio-emotional development. Without an environment that promotes the awareness of and language to describe emotions, alexithymia, difficulty identifying and communicating one’s feelings and needs, may emerge. Both alexithymia and insecure attachment styles have significant effects on later life socio-emotional well-being, because of difficulty building and maintaining close, healthy relationships. Without such close, secure relationships, a person is prone to feel emotional loneliness. Indeed, lack (or loss) of a secure attachment figure is one underlying predictor of emotional loneliness; further, emotional loneliness is a major repercussion of alexithymia. This study hypothesizes that emotional loneliness and alexithymia can be consequences of, and indicators of, an insecure attachment. This presentation focuses on a review of the research around these three topics (insecure attachment, alexithymia, and emotional loneliness) with the goal of building awareness. While an insecure attachment is generally found to remain over a lifetime, consciousness can be fostered and tools can be learned to improve socio-emotional-relational well-being.
Keywords: Insecure Attachment, Alexithymia, and Emotional Loneliness