May 12, 2022
To understand what your attachment style is, you first have to have a better understanding of them in general. What is attachment style? Many have been studying attachment theory for decades. It’s typically relevant when further understanding development psychology.
Humans are born with an inherent need to connect with others which continues well into adulthood. Attachment is most commonly observed in the bonds between infants and their parents. However, it can also be used to understand our relationships as adults further. How attachment styles form during childhood will affect the connections we make throughout our lives.
What Is Attachment Theory?
Developed by child psychiatrist John Bowlby in the 1900s, attachment theory indicates that in the first six months of life, emotional bonds form between a child and caregiver. It theorizes that these early bonds impact the relationships we continue to make into adulthood. Four specific patterns or styles of attachment have been discovered. The four types of attachment include secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and disorganized attachment.
What Causes Attachment Styles?
Our childhood experiences increase the chances of developing one attachment style over another. That’s not to say that these experiences will influence every aspect of your adult relationships. There are, however, certain patterns you may begin to recognize that can be explained by these attachment styles.
Typically, your developed attachment style will affect your response to conflict and ability to communicate emotional needs. Most commonly, those who experienced excessive seperation during childhood, neglect, or traumatic events develop more insecure attachment styles than those with close and secure bonds to a caregiver. By exploring your attachment style, you can develop healthier patterns that can ultimately improve your relationships overall.
What Are the Different Styles of Attachment?
There are four main types of attachment styles, but what do they all mean?
Secure attachment is categorized by health patterns of communication. Individuals with a secure attachment style are more comfortable communicating their needs, asking for help, and managing emotions more successfully. Secure attachment is often seen in healthier relationships and may indicate close caregiver bonds early on and throughout childhood.
Anxious attachment is indicated through patterns of fear or reassurance. Individuals with this type of attachment style commonly fear being abandoned, and as a result, their behavior may seem clingy or needy to others. However, this style can also cause individuals to have difficulty trusting others, leading to more independence and appearing “standoffish” in adulthood.
Avoidant attachment can be recognizable by the inability to communicate emotions. Those with an avoidant attachment style are often unwilling to ask for help, are fearful of closeness with others, and prioritize independence over relationships.
Disorganized attachment is best described as a combination of anxious and avoidant attachment. This style causes the most conflict among people due to contradicting feelings. Individuals may fear rejection but struggle with intimacy as well.
Recognizing Your Attachment Style
You may be wondering which attachment style best resonates with you. In truth, it’s not entirely uncommon to recognize patterns in your life of multiple different attachment styles. However, you are more likely to experience traits of a specific attachment style over others. Being able to identify your style of attachment allows you to take the steps needed to improve your current and future relationships.
Improving Patterns of Attachment
Those with secure attachment typically experience healthier relationships because they can effectively communicate their emotions and needs with their partner. The other attachment styles often indicate insecure feelings, which can cause problems within a relationship. People may have difficulty feeling secure in their relationships, find the relationship stressful, and become overly fearful of abandonment.
While we may not be able to change our developed attachment style, there are steps we can take to feel more secure in our relationships and within ourselves in general. It’s first important to be mindful of our patterns of attachment. Many seek therapy along with other forms of professional help to help them understand and work through their patterns of attachment.
For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in assisting with improving patterns of attachment in addition to other methods of mindfulness. Meditation, spirituality, and prioritizing physical wellness can improve your self-esteem and attachment patterns overall.
The Road to Wellness
Most of what we experience during childhood and in our development stages affects us into adulthood. Some of those experiences may be good, and some may be bad. Thankfully, more people have the resources to further understand these effects and improve themselves. If your attachment style is hindering your personal relationships, you can make the necessary changes to improve.
The theory of attachment has been studied for decades. What we’ve learned is that our experiences through childhood can affect our relationships throughout development and into adulthood. There are four main attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. These styles are present in our ability or inability to communicate emotions and needs to our partners, feel secure or insecure in relationships, our fear of abandonment, or difficulties with intimacy and trust. While we may not be able to change our attachment style, by seeking therapy and practicing mindfulness, we can recognize these patterns and improve ourselves and our relationships. Self-care and the path to wellness can be difficult for us to take on our own. Luckily, SokyaHealth can help you on the path to wellness. Call us today at (877) 840-6956 or visit our website to learn more about our services today.