Maybe you never really observed your behavior or introspected on why you get stuck in the same cycles in your relationships. If you looked back on your experiences, do you identify any repetitive patterns? Maybe –
You keep feeling like no matter how hard you try you always get hurt and people abandon you?
You feel like you want to be in a relationship but once you find yourself in one, you want it to end?
You find yourself in love-hate relationships over and over?
If you can relate to any of these, you might benefit from knowing about your attachment style. Did you know that the way you get attached to people influences your behavior and attitude towards them?
Let’s try to identify your Adult Attachment style
There are four attachment styles:
Before we dive in, it is important to know that you might find yourself relating to multiple traits of different attachment styles. But you’ll probably incline towards one attachment style a little more than the rest – that’s most likely your attachment style! (You can take a formal Attachment assessment with a therapist to be sure) Please note that there are no right or wrong attachment styles since they are formed based on the environments people grew up in.
Let’s get right to it!
A secure attachment style has a positive internal self-view of themselves and a positive world view of others. People with this attachment style are able to express their genuine feelings, wants and needs without holding any doubts or grudges against their partner. They are empathetic with good self-esteem and are able to form close and stable relationships.
In short, if you belong to this attachment style, CONGRATULATIONS!!! This means that communicating your needs and distress to your partner comes to you pretty naturally and you don’t usually struggle with searching for, choosing, and staying with a partner.
A dismissive-avoidant attachment style has a positive internal self-view of themselves but they have a negative outlook on others. People with this attachment style are independent and self-reliant that they don’t feel the need share their space with anyone else. They tend to lose interest easily and are reluctant to move forward in relationships. They stray away from communicating how they feel and often use sarcasm and humor to avoid talking the serious conversations.
People with dismissive-avoidant attachment style may display narcissistic tendencies. They struggle to form romantic relations and interpersonal relationships and are often categorized as “emotionally unavailable”.
If you belong to this attachment style, you can benefit from practicing to discern whether you need a bit of space, or if something is triggering a deeper issue. You can learn to communicate your feelings and allow yourself to be loved and reciprocate love without it meaning that you are going to lose parts of yourself.
An anxious-preoccupied attachment style has a negative inner self-view and a positive world view of others. People with this attachment style tend to please their partner while neglecting their own needs. They fear being abandoned and hence keep seeking reassurance in the relationship which can be off-putting for their partner at times.
Their low self-esteem leads to them acting irrationally and can often come across as clingy. They tend to become jealous easily and resort to possessive behaviours as a means of ensuring that they are not abandoned by their partner. They are deeply affected by their partner’s feelings and actions.
If you belong to this attachment style, you can learn to stop reacting and start responding to how you feel. You can benefit from honest communication of what you need and how you feel. Instead of focusing on whether you are a good fit for others you can learn to choose people who are a good fit for you.
A fearful-avoidant attachment style has a negative self-view of themselves and a negative world view of others. People with this attachment style can have serious vulnerabilities which usually result in emotional and social conflicts. They tend to crave close relationship but will obsessively push away their partners at the same time. Their affection can be hot and cold.
If you belong to this attachment style, you can learn what your patterns of behaviour look like and what they mean. You can correct your tendency to behave in the extremes by learning to effectively communicate how you feel and what you want. You have had difficult childhood experiences and can change things around with the perspective therapy can provide for you.
Now that you’re self-aware and have some idea as to your attachment style, it is time to make intentional effort so that you can get your lifestyle to match up your real desires.
To do that, it is important to know how did you form these attachments to begin with.
How do Attachment Styles develop in early life?
The behavior of the primary caregivers plays a huge rule on the development of the child and the way they form close relations in their life.
As a child you are completely dependent on your caregiver. You don’t have a say on what behaviour you are subjected to. Thus, the environment you were subjected to while growing up is what decides which attachment style you develop.
1. Secure Attachment (50%)
Majority of the population is estimated to fall into this category. Caregivers of securely attached children tend to pay more attention to their children. They are more responsive to their child needs. These children seek comfort from their parents but are also independent to explore the surroundings. They feel safe since they have a secure base with them always to take care of them.
2. Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment (25%)
Caregivers of dismissive-avoidant attachment style are mostly unavailable or unreliable during infancy and the child grows up feeling rejected and neglected. As a result, these children prefer not to seek much contact from their parents and tend to avoid them. They resort to being self-reliant instead.
3. Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment (20%)
Caregivers of anxious-preoccupied attachment children are inconsistent with their parenting style, sometimes absent/neglectful and sometimes responsive to the child’s needs. Children in this attachment style do not feel secure in their relationship with their caregiver. As a result of the fear that arises from this insecurity, they can behave in overly dependent and clingy ways as a means of ensuring that the caregiver doesn’t abandon them.
4. Disorganized Attachment/ Fearful-Avoidant (5%)
Caregivers of disorganized attached children have extremely inconsistent behavior – often arising due to their own mental instability. They deal with unresolved emotions or trauma themselves which results in a very disorganized manner of parenting – sometimes affectionate, sometimes cold. Because of this the child becomes confused about what kind of behaviour they can expect from the parent. These children find themselves taking on the role of parent for a parent or a sibling and in many ways have to be the parent in certain situations.
Now that you know the source and the journey of your in-built attachment, you can absolutely work on it.
If you’re experiencing obstructions in your relationships because of your attachment style, you’ll be glad to know that your attachment style can be changed. Life experiences and conscious effort are shown shift people’s attachment styles gradually. While there is no wrong attachment style, several of these types come with experiencing a lot of distress and struggle in relationships as a result of not being able to accept one’s needs, communicate effectively with others, and pick a compatible partner.
Every human has the ability to change. If you’re looking to learn what it means to have your attachment style and how you can navigate life with the challenges it brings you, our counsellors at Lostalittle are just the ones to talk to. You can avail your first session only for Rs. 99/-.