Understanding the Attachment Styles
It is important to remember that all attachment styles are formed in childhood as children interact with their caregivers. It is then maintained as they experience other relationships in their teenage and adult years. These attachment styles and the behaviors connected to them are then played out in their adult intimate relationships.
Attachment styles can be changed, but it takes a lot of self-awareness and work.
The Secure Attachment Style
- Flexible in relationships
- Is comfortable with space or time apart from their partner
- The ability to have difficult conversations
- The ability for emotional closeness
- Has a team approach to solving relationship conflicts and does not feel the need to belittle their partner to feel good about themselves.
- Has the ability to compromise for the overall good of the relationship
- Prioritizes the relationship over individual gain
- Gets stressed when removed from their secure base which includes family, friends etc./when there is inconsistency and confusion relating to their partner’s behavior
- Needs stability, reliability and a high level of predictability from their partner’s behaviors. Needs clear communication and clear dialog
The Anxious Attachment Style
- Has a strong desire to connect and the need to feel a sense of belonging with their partner.
- Very intuitive to their partner’s emotional state and feels the need to fix it when things seem uncertain.
- Requires a lot of intimacy and connection
- Needs constant reminder that they are loved which comes across as being “clingy.”
- They are easily stressed by inconsistent behaviors, patterns, and routines, which leaves them feeling unsure, confused and unloved.
- Will respond to these behaviors by pulling away without explanation
- These stressors can be managed when their partners are clear about their feelings for them and their actions align with their words
- Stressors are minimized when partners provide regular reassurance that they are loved by spending quality time hugging and staying close to them.
The Dismissive Avoidant Style
- Displays an emotionally “flat” affect or appears disinterested in emotional connection.
- Pulls away when faced with emotional intimacy
- Needs a lot of “alone” time and will pick quarrels just so they can get away and be alone by themselves
- Unable to have emotionally charged conversations – so their response is usually to “stonewall” their partner, or leave the vicinity completely
- Does not allow themselves to display any type of vulnerability in any relationship – prefers to leave.
- Will shut down when confronted with a problem that requires a discussion to resolve
- Partner will need to understand this person needs regular time alone by themselves and will not be able to discuss or work through difficult conflicts since these are usually emotionally charged.
- There is usually underlying “fear” beneath this type of behavior and instead of facing the fear – this attachment style prefers to avoid it and hopes it goes away.
The Fearful Avoidant/Disorganized Style
- Desires emotional attachment but fear that this connection will be dangerous and harmful to them.
- They pull you close, because they desire intimacy – then when things get too close – they push you away because they are fearful of being hurt
- Very inconsistent in their behavior and is what you will hear described as “a roller coaster or hot and cold” type of relationship.
- They run “hot and cold” in their behaviors toward their partner. One minute they are all over you – the next, they want nothing to do with you.
- They require a partner who demonstrates they are consistent and will always be there for them since their behavior stems from fear of being abandoned and fear that they are not deserving of love.
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