Writing an article for a client on introverted behavior, I stumbled across a page about Attachment styles, a few days ago, I was hooked from the very beginning, because I needed to know what Attachment style, I belonged to?
Reading that I got to know that this term, Attachment Styles, has been used a lot on the internet. And, I was the only one living in a cave.
Well, if you also live in a cave and like me, you don’t know, what Attachment Style is, let’s go through that first.
Attachment Theory is an area of psychology that tells the nature of human emotional attachment between humans.
It basically begins while we are children and it entirely depends on how we were treated as children by our parents. How we were cared for as children largely impact how we behave with our romantic partners.
Since the 19’s there’s been a lot of research on Attachment Theory.
According to the two researchers named Bowlby and Ainsworth, the way infants get their needs met by their parents especially contributes to their “attachment strategy” throughout their lives
Your attachment doesn’t define everything about your relationship.
But it tells a great deal about: why your relationships fail/succeed, why are you attracted to people you’re attracted to, and the nature of the relationship, the problems in it, that keep coming up again and again for you and how it ends.
It is important to recognize our attachment patterns. It will help us understand our strengths and vulnerabilities in a relationship.
Let’s know the four attachment styles given by psychologists.
THE ATTACHMENT STYLES
There are four attachment styles in attachment theory, secure, anxious, avoidant and anxious-avoidant.
SECURE ATTACHMENT STYLE
Securely attached adults are likely to be more satisfied in their relationships. A securely attached type of adult feels secure and connected with their romantic partner while allowing themselves and their partner to move freely.
- People having a secure attachment style feel confident in showing interest and affection.
- They also feel okay being independent and alone.
- People with Secure Attachment style are able to handle their relationships with prioritizing them correctly and they are likely to draw clear boundaries within their relationships and stick to them.
- People with Secure Attachment Style make the best romantic partners, friends, and family members.
- They are able to accept rejection and move on, but they are also loyal and sacrifice when necessary.
- Have a little to no issue trusting people they’re close to
- And they’re trustworthy themselves.
For example, a child who was loved and cared for in his childhood, he’d expect others to be there for them when even he is an adult.
These expectations help him build his personality on stronger ground.
This way, it is possible that the child who is secure in his childhood will grow up to be secure in his romantic relationships.
Likewise, people with a secure bond as adults in their relationships with their parents will tend to forge secure relationships with romantic partners.
ANXIOUS ATTACHMENT STYLE
- Anxiously attached types are nervous and stressed about their relationships.
- People with anxious style need constant reassurance and affection from their partner.
- They have trouble being alone or single.
- These people will often succumb to unhealthy or abusive relationships.
- Anxious types can’t trust people, even if they’re close to them.
- Their behavior can be irrational, sporadic, and overly-emotional.
- These people complain that every one of the opposite sex is cold and heartless.
- Women tend to be anxious types than men.
Example: The girl who calls you fifty times in one night wondering why you didn’t call her back is anxiously attached.
The boyfriend who follows his girlfriend to make sure she’s not flirting with other men.
AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT STYLE
Avoidantly attached people appear not to care too much about close relationships. Avoidant types prefer not to be too dependent upon others or to have others be too dependent upon them.
- Avoidantly attached people are extremely independent, self-directed, and uncomfortable with intimacy.
- They fear commitment and are experts at explaining away their way out of any intimate situation.
- Avoidants often complain about feeling “crowded” or “suffocated” when people get close to them.
- They always have an exit strategy prepared in every relationship.
- and they mostly live a lifestyle that makes it easy for them to avoid commitment or too much intimate contact.
- Men tend to be avoidant types than women.
Example: The workaholic who works 80 hours a week gets annoyed when the woman he is dating wants to see him more than once on the weekend.
Or the playboy who dates dozens of guys but tells them all she doesn’t want anything serious. And, she ends up ditching them when she gets tired of them.
ANXIOUS-AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT STYLE
This style is also known as the Anxious-resistant or ‘fearful type’.
- People with Anxious avoidant attachment worry that others may not love them.
- They get easily frustrated or angered when their attachment needs go unmet.
- Anxious-avoidants are afraid of intimacy and commitment.
- These people distrust and lash out emotionally at anyone who tries to get close to them.
- Anxious-avoidants mostly spend time alone and miserable, or in an abusive or dysfunctional relationship.
50% of the population is a secure style and very little percentage of people are anxious-avoidant.
Two researchers, Hazan and Shavan, asked research subjects to read the three paragraphs listed below. And, tell which paragraph best characterized the way they think, feel, and behave in close relationships:
A. I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others, I find it difficult to trust them completely. Difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close. Often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being.
B. I find it relatively easy to get close to others. I am comfortable depending on them, having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.
C. I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner, and this sometimes scares people away.
About 60% of research subjects classified themselves as secure types (paragraph B).
20% of people described themselves as avoidant types (paragraph A).
And, about 20% described themselves as anxious-resistant (paragraph C).
ATTACHMENT STYLE AND RELATIONSHIP CONFIGURATIONS
Secure types are ideal for avoidant types and anxious types because they can give avoidant type space they need and they can give anxious types the reassurance they need.
One the other hand, anxious and avoidant mostly end up in relationships, which is crazy but there is an order behind it.
An avoidant man would try to avoid opening up and intimacy but the anxious woman would keep chasing and nagging him until he opens up to her and commits.
This gives the avoidant types man reassurance that he can behave independently and the anxious woman will always come after him or wait around for him.
These kind of relationships produces dysfunctional balance because they fall into a pattern of chaser and chasee.
These are both roles that the anxious and avoidant types need in order to feel comfortable with intimacy.
And, anxious-avoidants usually date each other or the most insecure avoidants and anxious-avoidants. These relationships are messy and abusive for obvious reasons.
According to Mark Mason, in his book Models, say, “In relationships, insecurity finds insecurity and security finds security, even if those insecurities don’t always look the same.”
So, yes, you’re likely to fall for someone who is like you, but in some other way.
The point to be noted: You can have more than one attachment style.
I, on Your Personality website scored for Anxious and Anxious-avoidant style, which means my personality is a blend of these two styles.
It’s not like relationships work only on the styles, I mean if we want, we can make our relationships take turns with the right steps.
Personality patterns change all of the time. You can always challenge yourself by choosing a partner with a secure attachment style.
You need to work on developing yourself in that relationship.
Therapy is an effective way of changing maladaptive attachment patterns.
By knowing what attachment style you belong to, you and your partner can challenge the insecurities and fears in your relationship and develop new styles of attachment for having a satisfying, loving relationship.