Stop for a moment and reflect on the various relationships you have in your life. Think about your friendships. Think about the family members you interact with regularly (or don't interact with). Think about your dating history and/or your significant other you are currently with. Think about your professional relationships at work or school.
What do all these relationships have in common?
Your attachment style! (aka You!)
An attachment style is defined as specific patterns or behaviors relating to how you connect with other people in your life.
"According to attachment theory, first developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychiatrist John Bowlby in the 1950s, a person's attachment style is shaped and developed in early childhood in response to their relationships with their earliest caregivers. Essentially, our adult attachment style is thought to mirror the dynamics we had with our caregivers as infants and children." (Kelly Gonsalves)
There are four adult attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and fearful-avoidant attachment.
Before we jump in to describe what each attachment style means, I want to put your mind at ease. You are more than capable of unlearning your current attachment style and relearning new social techniques to develop a secure attachment style that can help you cultivate healthier relationships in your life. Rewiring our brains to develop a secure attachment style can be challenging. It is highly recommended to seek professional help, such as through therapy or a life coach, to guide you through this process of self-reflection and personal growth.
Here are the four attachment styles:
Has the ability to develop secure and healthy relationships with others
Can trust others and can be trusted by others
Easily give and receive love unconditionally
Can become close to others with relative ease
Not afraid of intimacy
Respects boundaries and creates healthy boundaries
Healthy conflict resolution skills
Good listening skills
Always looking to grow as an individual and with their partner
They're able to depend on others without becoming totally dependent
Has deep fear of abandonment
Tend to be very insecure
Always seeking validation from others or their partner
Intensely desires closeness to the point of "merging" in their romantic relationships
Lack of boundaries or respecting other peoples boundaries
Needing constant reassurance
Rely on their external relationships to fulfill their inner self-worth
Individual is filled with anxiety about the possibility of rejection and abandonment, so they become preoccupied with seeking out and maintaining relationships to feel safe
Fear of intimacy
Tend to have trouble getting close to others or trusting others in relationships
Don't believe their needs can get met in a relationship
Typically maintain some distance from their partners
Prefer to be independent and rely on themselves
A combination of both the anxious and avoidant attachment styles
Both desperately crave affection and want to avoid it at all costs
Reluctant to develop a close romantic relationship
Emotionally inconsistent between the extremes of avoidance and anxiousness
Difficulty regulating emotions
Heightened sexual behavior
Increased risk for violence and verbal or emotional abuse in their relationships
Discover your attachment style by taking this simple, five minute quiz!
"Attachment is our biggest strength and our biggest weakness." ~ Shahid Kapoor