Attachment Styles & Wellness
Have you heard of attachment theory? Basically it describes how our past experiences with primary attachment figures effect how we will bond in the present. It can be very helpful to learn more about the nuanced intricacies of this psychological theory in order to better navigate friendships, our careers, our family and close romantic relationships. 👌
There are four main attachment styles developed during childhood, which can also be altered through subsequent primary relationships (more or less secure) or therapy. They are as follows:
1. Secure Attachment: healthy boundaries but low fears over vulnerability and connection. Craves open discussion and shared experience with room for individuality. Overall these individuals had their needs met consistently during childhood.
Can be attracted to others who are emotionally available and communicate needs and boundaries.
2. Anxious Attachment: a lack of boundaries and more relational fears. May often fear being abandoned or feel not good enough in relationships. Craves reassurance in relationships. May activate or play games to obtain this reassurance. May come across as eager. Overall these individuals had one or more primary caregivers who would inconsistently be unavailable in some way.
Can be attracted to mystery, independence and assertiveness in others.
3. Avoidant Attachment: may have rigid boundaries and fears around connection and vulnerability. May come across as cold or private. Often deactivate when they feel intruded upon. Craves reliability, support and consistency in relationships. Generally enjoy familiarity and spending time alone. There was consistent emotional neglect and/or enmeshment in childhood.
Can be attracted to warmth, openness and vulnerability in others.
4. Fearful Avoidant: has fears over both too much closeness and too much distance. Often feel unsafe and are hyper-vigilant as a coping mechanism. May come across as secretive or private. Often deactivate when they feel rejected or disconnected. Craves congruency, over-transparency and consistency in relationships. There could have been a one-way emotional connection with the caregiver. Most likely, one or more of the caregivers of the fearful avoidant were unpredictable. There also may have been outside influences that caused trauma in childhood.
Can be attracted to assertiveness, directness/openness and self-centeredness.
The above is simply a brief overview. A lot of people have one main style of connecting but then lean a little bit towards another style. For example, a man may be a Secure Style overall but then to a lesser extent identify with the Anxious Style.
Attachment Style has an effect on all aspects of life because it’s a manifestation of our internal subconscious filter through which we view the world. Our reticular activating system is constantly on alert for information that will confirm our beliefs about ourselves and the world while trying to filter out and ignore what it deems to be “superfluous” information. For this reason it is so important to take a close look at the stories we are telling ourselves when it comes to ourselves and our relationships.
Lastly, attachment styles can easily be changed! Either through good (or bad) relationships or through personal work or therapy. The most important quality in a potential partner is the willingness and humbleness to be open to becoming happier and more healthily connected. In my mind, running a marathon with a wooden leg is far more impressive. Or perhaps writing a book with dyslexia is even more impressive. Don’t you agree?
Please let me know your thoughts and what type of attachment style you have in the comments!
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