My attachment style has always been anxiously preoccupied, for as long as I can remember — from childhood to my teenage years and the first year of my twenties. Only since meeting J, has it changed to (about 51%) leaning more on the secure side.

Though, after that, I fall somewhere around 24.2% anxiously attached, and then it is the remaining two styles. But these first two are the primary, stronger type of attachments i hold when it comes to relationships. I never used to care so much about which attachment style I was, but since getting into a new relationship filled with a deeper level of intimacy and closeness, I realised I needed to care. If only to try and become better.

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One main thing I am working on, and have always struggled with, is communication.

Whether that be because I have never felt safe nor secure or even encouraged to speak exactly about how I feel or what I think, with my family (and this includes the extended family too, of whom are all so close-knit together they may as well be blended into what is the immediate), I don’t know. Maybe it’s the abuse I endured as a child and the comments and taunts from school. Honestly, it could be the amalgamation of everything I went through.

The fact is, however, my communicating skills, when it came to my personal relationships, were an utter disaster, a mess of words incoherently strung together. They spilled out of my mouth as if one word got snagged on a jagged edge of the table, and everything unravelled. Messily. Jumbled and mumbled, followed by an apology echoed two hundred times.

I hated confrontations and I hated fights. I hated arguing. Yet a small part of me always assumed everything was personal, another thing I’ve managed to rummage through and sort out — neatly folding it up and colouring it in an array of pastel hues. It’s not always personal. Because honestly, nobody gives that much of a shit.

And why should they, really?

I’ve been trying, for some time now, to sink into the past me, the fifteen year old me and the eighteen year old me and the nineteen year old me — all submerged in the charcoal colours of lingering sadness and the darkest heartbreaks, to figure out how to be . . . a better version, what needed to change from then to now. Back then, I’d avoid arguing back, explaining how I felt, what I thought, agreeing to end the fight, apologising.

Now, it’s like . . . it takes time to talk, whether in a platonic relationship or in a romantic relationship, but when I do, I explain myself and what it is that’s bothering me. The incessant apologising is still, unfortunately, a habit I am trying to break, a ghost of a trauma building and building and building until it chipped away at my confidence and made me feel as if everything I did or said or was or am was (is?) wrong.

I’m sorry for making you angry. I’m sorry for thinking that. I’m sorry for saying this. I’m sorry for being me. I’m sorry for annoying you. I’m sorry for existing. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

It needs to stop but I don’t know how to make it stop.

Barbie Vlogs actually made a whole video about the “Sorry Reflex” which I found super insightful and feel like it’s something I need to actually take on board. Because like she said, saying sorry is a learned reflex and “every time we do it, we take away from our self confidence.” I guess, as women maybe we’re taught to put this superfluous word in front of questions and requests and demands and even for things we never did do, or shouldn’t even be apologising for, to avoid offence and arguments.

Credit: “Sorry Reflex” | Barbie Vlogs, June 2018

The communication I am working on but it’s like, it’s not where I want it to be with anyone, and while it’s miles ahead of where it used to be, where I used to be with this whole thing, it’s not enough. It’s not easy, I can’t swiftly move through the sea green tides of this ocean and feel the warm glow of the sun, and just communicate openly without thinking what if I say this wrong or what if it just pisses them off, or feeling awkward. I can’t talk about my feelings, I can’t verbalise it without feeling as if I am being choked.

But I know that communication is the most vital part of any kind of relationship — without it, any form of communication, expressing your feelings and what bothers you, what you don’t like, any concerns, whatever it is, the relationship is bound to fail. Fear is dangerous, the way it can grab you and slam you to the ground, rubble grating your skin and grazing your hands, elbows and knees like you’re seven years old again, crying over skinned knees instead of stupid guys.

It’s never easy, nothing is — but it takes one small step to get there, and every time gets just that tiny bit easier. To breathe, to think, to say it. To look at them and listen to their response. Wondering what their reaction will be is scary, but what in life isn’t?

It’s a flame that flickers stronger with every moment you try again, against the harshest winds in a blizzard. I feel like this is where the attachment styles I mentioned above come into play, because communicating comes easier for some than others. This is a pretty great site to find out what your attachment style is — though there are multiple places you can do it. I feel like knowing what your attachment style is really helps you to focus and narrow down the shit to work on and what to improve, much like the benefits of knowing your and your partner’s love languages. Everything helps to ultimately become better and learning to love yourself, and know where the problems, I guess, stem from.

It’s easy to think “I’m not deserving of this love and he’s going to realise and leave me if i mention xyz”, but it’s better to open up and talk about what’s on your mind than hold it all inside you. Bubbling away like a volcano, dormant for now, but it will boil over, destroying not just you and your inner peace, but the relationship. Think of it like this: is it better to talk about the problem now than wait months down the line?

The answer is yes. It’s always better to talk now. If only for your own sanity.

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Things I’ve written lately:

I stopped wearing my hijab because I was scared for my life
Times Two: a short story
Why I still listen to Taylor Swift
The Brown Girl Guide to Moving Out
Why my sexuality is none of your business
Dating in a pandemic
Brown Boy Privilege

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a student, poet and freelance features journalist, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light. She is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Poised.

One thought on “Communication matters

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