- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Sarah Bahbah is a visual artist known for her viral Instagram photo series.
Her latest, "Fool Me Twice," explores attachment styles, or how individuals relate to others based on their upbringings.
The series explains how childhood wounds can affect adult relationships and lead to misunderstandings.
Her latest dreamy, yet solemn, series "Fool Me Twice," delved into attachment styles, or the ways we form bonds with others based on our upbringings and childhood relationships, especially with our parents. The collection featured actors Noah Centineo and Alisha Boe.
Bahbah told Insider her art comes from her lived experiences with relationships, and "Fool Me Twice" was no different. It was born out of heartbreak, she said.
"[I was] trying to make sense of the end of a relationship that I was very hopeful about. I went into deep reflection for a few months," Bahbah told Insider.
During her post-breakup reflection period, Bahbah conceptualized "Fool Me Twice" around the theme of attachment styles. She released her first batch of photographs on Instagram on April 1.
When Bahbah releases a new project, she shares a small selection of photographs daily for an entire month, and leaves viewers waiting for a fresh batch to drop on her feed.
Each new post adds to the story she's created with visuals and brief captions.
By the end of the month, fans have a clear picture of the message the Palestinian-Australian artist wanted to convey.
In January 2020, Bahbah read the psychology book "Attached" by Amir Levine. It was then she realized she had an anxious attachment style.
Levine breaks down the four main attachment styles in "Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love."
People who have anxious attachment styles often worry about being too needy or overwhelming for their partner. They fear their partners or loved ones will leave them one day and therefore develop anxiety around their relationships, Insider previously reported. They also become attached to their partner's potential, instead of who they are in the present.
People can also have avoidant attachment, which means they steer clear of relationship conflict or closeness as a way to protect themselves from feeling unsafe, inadequate, or overwhelmed.
Secure attachment, which is the goal, is often gained through therapy and self-work. People with secure attachment styles meet their partners where they're at, communicate their needs, and also value independence in their relationships.
"I literally cried because I was in so much denial that I had an anxious attachment style. I was mortified that I wasted so much time chasing avoidants in my life," said Bahbah. "I feel like I could have saved myself from a lot of heartbreak."
With the realization that her attachment style influenced all of her romantic relationships, Bahbah decided to make the psychological concept the subject of her series.
She said that reading "Attached" helped her realize she often gravitates towards romantic partners with avoidant attachment styles.
When conflicts would arise, Bahbah and her lover would take different approaches to coping and that would create miscommunication.
That's often when captions for new photos series pop into her mind, she said.
"I essentially lean into my art to make sense of the chaos [in my relationships] and the dialogue that runs through my mind when I feel like the people that I'm attached to are withdrawing," Bahbah said.
Bahbah decided to keep the attachment styles of the two characters in "Fool Me Twice" hidden, so viewers had to use their own discretion to figure out who was the anxious attachment partner and who was the avoidant attachment partner.
"I don't really want to control the way people perceive it," Bahbah told Insider.
"I want to just keep it open. To me, it means what it means, but to everyone else it can mean whatever they want it to mean, you know?"
Bahbah witnessed fans quarreling in the comments section with each new photo drop, arguing over which character had which attachment style.
"I definitely feel like people are projecting based on their own experiences and relationships and where they are in terms of their internal reflection on their attachment style," said Bahbah.
She received lots of messages from fans, either saying they argued with their own partners over the characters' attachment styles, or that they deeply related to one of them.
Boe's character has an anxious attachment style, Bahbah said of her vision. At the same time, she understands why people were stumped.
People with an avoidant attachment style are often portrayed as cold-hearted or lacking emotion. Through Centineo's character, Bahbah wanted to show that avoidants also feel deeply, but express it differently.
"What I do end up portraying is that avoidants aren't bad people, and they still hurt," said Bahbah.
According to London therapist Seerut K. Chawla, people with avoidant attachment styles are often misunderstood and portrayed as narcissists.
"Avoidant attachment is not withholding to punish - it's avoidance to stay safe," Chawla wrote on Instagram. "Remember that avoidants are the babies who cried and no one came for. Or the babies that were hurt and abused. So, they learn to rely solely on themselves and avoid what doesn't feel safe."
According to Bahbah, her goal was never to paint either character as "bad." "They both still love each other. They just can't meet each other where they're at," she said.
"It doesn't mean that the people who withdraw from you are bad people, it just means they can't meet your non-negotiables," Bahbah said of her characters' complicated relationship.
Ultimately, Bahbah wants viewers to take away one message: "Rejection is never personal."
She also hopes the person who inspired her series, the one who broke her heart, sees and understands her message.
"But I highly doubt it," Bahbah said.
According to Bahbah, creating "Fool Me Twice" helped her heal
"[I realized] I had a huge fear around coming across as needy, so I would always act like I was unbothered, and I didn't care, and I didn't want commitment," she said.
Since reading "Attached" and making "Fool Me Twice," Bahbah said she's become better at weeding out potential partners who can't meet her needs or understand her anxious attachment style.
She's also learned to be more honest with partners about her needs. It's something she's currently working on in a new relationship.
"I need to be able to rely on my partner to some degree for a sense of stability and safety. I know I need to find that internally, and I am," said Bahbah.
"But it shouldn't be taboo to want to need your partner."
Read the original article on Insider