What is your Attachment Style? Posted by: Dr. Matt

Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationships

By: Giselle Armantrout

Have you have ever been in a relationship that has left you feeling unfulfilled or stressed? Was your partner often times, emotionally unavailable or emotionally exhausting?  If so, then it is time to consider your attachment style before self-doubt sets in and you think it is just “you” and you give up on finding love.

Attachment style derives from your earliest experiences with a primary caregiver, most commonly a parent.  These experiences create our expectation for how love should be. Knowing the effects these parenting styles have on us as children, helps us better understand the roots of potential relationship issues/patterns, and where to begin when addressing these issues—whether on your own, or with the help of a therapist.

There are two main types of attachment: secure and insecure.

What’s Secure Attachment?

According to attachment theory, a securely attached infant knows that his caregivers are involved and caring.  There is a healthy balance of safety, security, love, independence and exploration.  For example, a securely attached baby will play with an interesting toy, but then crawl back to the caregiver for comfort when he is tired.

Secure attachment is created by a caregiver who is confident in expressing love, and also equally confident in allowing their child to explore the environment, learning that the world is a safe and friendly place.

As an adult in an intimate relationship, a securely attached person will be trusting and open, able to allow their partner space because they are confident they will return to them. Securely attached partners are there for one another, and have each other’s back.

What is Insecure Attachment?

Within insecure attachment there are 3 subtypes: anxious, avoidant, and disorganized.

Anxious insecure attachment develops when a child had a caregiver who could not be counted upon to give love and comfort when it was needed.  They showed love but only when it was convenient for them.  At other times, they could act cold, distant or even abusive.

In adulthood, anxious attached partners act jealous and clingy with their significant others, they also struggle with trust.  As you can imagine, this often ends up pushing the partner away, which ultimately makes the anxiously attached person more anxious.

Avoidant insecure attachment develops when a caregiver was neglectful.  These are the children that play alone and have the belief that no one is there to meet their needs.

As adults, they typically label them selves as very “independent,” and have great difficulty expressing their needs or vulnerability. They avoid feeling dependent on one person, who they subconsciously fear will disappoint them as their caregiver did.

Disorganized attachment is a product of abuse, trauma and chaos in the home.  The child has no secure and safe place.

Changing your attachment style

If you recognize yourself or your partner in the above insecure attachment styles you may want to consider therapy.  The attachment can be changed with hard work. My suggestion is to find a good therapist that is trained in the model of, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).  This model helps partners work with their insecure attachment styles to create a more meaningful and secure relationship.

Want to meet with Giselle?  Click below to schedule an appointment.

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Recommended resources:

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by- Dr. Sue Johnson

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by- Amir Levine