Our childhood, how we were brought up and our relationships with our caregivers play a big impact on our love style. Whether you are the pleaser, the victim or the controller, your upbringing is largely responsible for that.
Although we have a choice in becoming the people we strive to be, it is without a doubt that our childhoods shape us to a certain extent. From how we choose to react to different situations and the way we express ourselves. To our behavioural patterns that are formed starting at a very young age. When we first begin to learn how to make sense of our immediate environment.
Marriage and family counsellors Dr. Milan and Kay Yerkovich discovered that everyone has a certain love style based on their upbringing. A love style is comprised of our tendencies and inclinations of how we respond to our romantic partners. By understanding how we love, we can learn how our love styles impact our relationships.
The Five Love Styles
The vacillator often grows up with an unpredictable parent. Vacillators learned that their needs aren’t their parents top priority. Without consistent affection from their parents, vacillators develop a deep fear of abandonment. When the parent finally feels like giving their time and attention to them, vacillators are usually too angry and tired to receive it.
As vacillators enter adulthood they try to find the consistent love they were deprived of as children. Vacillators have a tendency to idealise new relationships, but once they feel let down or disappointed, they grow dejected and doubtful.
They often feel misunderstood and experience a lot of internal conflict and emotional stress within their relationships. They can be extremely sensitive and perceptive, which allows them to detect even the slightest change in others and know when people are pulling away.
In order for vacillators to cultivate healthy stable relationships, they need to learn how to pace themselves and get to know someone before committing too soon and getting hurt by their own expectations.
The pleaser often grows up in a home with an overly protective, angry and critical parent. As children, pleasers do everything they can to be good and to be on their best behaviour. So as to not provoke a negative response from their parent.
Pleaser children don’t receive comfort. Instead they spend their time and energy giving comfort to their reactive parent. Pleasers are uncomfortable with conflict and deal with disagreements by often giving in or making up for them quickly.
They usually have a hard time saying no and because they don’t want conflict, they may not be truthful and lie to avoid difficult confrontations. As pleaser children grow into adults. They learn to read the moods of others around them to make sure they can keep everyone happy.
However, when pleasers feel stressed or believe that they are continuously letting someone down, they can have a breakdown and flee from relationships. Pleasers often spread themselves thin, trying to be everything to everyone when it’s not realistic. Instead of forming healthy boundaries for themselves, they focus more on the needs and desires of others.
In order for pleasers to cultivate stable relationships, they have to be honest about their own feelings, rather than trying to do what is expected of them.
The controller usually grows up in a home where there wasn’t a lot of protection. so they learn to toughen up and take care of themselves.
They need to feel in control at all times to prevent the vulnerability they experienced in their childhood, from being exposed in their adulthood. People with this love style believe that they’re in control when they can avoid experiencing negative feelings of fear, humiliation, and helplessness.
Controllers, however, don’t associate anger as vulnerability. So they use it as a weapon to remain in power. Controllers have rigid tendencies, but may also be sporadic and unpredictable. They don’t like stepping out of their comfort zones because it makes them feel weak and unprotected.
Controllers prefer to solve problems on their own, and like getting things done in a certain manner, otherwise they get angry.
In order for controllers to form stable long lasting relationships, they need to learn how to let go, trust others, and keep their anger at bay.
The avoider often grows up in a less affectionate home that values independence and self-reliance. As children, avoiders learn to take care of themselves starting at a very young age. They put their feelings on hold to deal with their anxieties of having little to no comfort from their parents.
Avoiders tend to like their space. They usually rely on logic and detachment more than their emotions. They can get uncomfortable when people around them experience intense mood swings.
In order for avoiders to cultivate healthy long-lasting relationships. They need to learn how to open up and express their emotions honestly.
The victim often grows up in a chaotic home. Victims learn to be compliant in order to survive. They do this by drawing less attention to themselves so they can stay under the radar. To deal with their angry violent parents, victim children learn at a very young age to hide and stay quiet.
Because being fully present is painful for them. Victim children often build an imaginary world in their heads to cope with the dangers they face on a daily basis.
Victims have low self-esteem and usually struggle with anxiety and depression. They may end up marrying controllers who mirror the same behaviours as their parents.
Victims learn to cope by being adaptable, and going with the flow. They are so used to chaos in stressful situations that when they do experience calmness, it actually makes them feel uneasy because they anticipate the next blow up.
In order for victims to cultivate healthy stable relationships, they have to learn self-love and stand up for themselves when a situation calls for it, instead of letting their partner walk all over them.
Which love style do you identify with? Please share your thoughts with us below.