Updated: Jul 2
Understand How Your Attachment Styles Impacts Your Relationships
An attachment style is how one interacts and behaves in their romantic relationships. Have you ever wondered why some people are over-dependent on their partners, while some may push away the people they are closest to? Early experiences in childhood lead to the development and behavior later in life.
In this blogpost I will talk about the 4 different attachment Styles and how different types of parenting can lead to this behavior.
“A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable care-giver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships. Conversely, an insecurely attached child may view the world as a dangerous place in which other people are to be treated with great caution, and see himself as ineffective and unworthy of love. These assumptions are relatively stable and enduring: those built up in the early years of life are particularly persistent and unlikely to be modified by subsequent experience.”
― Jeremy Holmes, John Bowlby and Attachment Theory
Avoidant attachment style
Avoidant attachment style : If you know someone that has a hard time talking about their feelings, refuses help from others, and hates physical touch, they are most likely someone with an avoidant attachment style. The cause of this is typically due to a lack of care from one’s parents during childhood. The child’s parents are unwilling to meet the needs of their child. Instead they may respond by belittling their problems, or showing annoyance when they ask for something. The parents expect their child to deal with their hardships alone. In adulthood they would not rely on their partner, in fear that closeness would get them hurt.
Examples of TV characters with avoidant attachment style are Lorelai from Gilmore Girls or Jay from Modern Family.
Problems that may arise are: A lack of emotional closeness with others, a fear of intimacy, seeming distant or unloving, self-reliance bordering on isolation, and difficulty with trusting others.
However there are also strengths that may come with this attachment style. You are likely to become an independent person, and you become better at solving problems by yourself. It may not always be a bad thing in terms of work ethic.
Anxious-ambivalent Attachment: People with an anxious-ambivalent attachment style are people who feel insecure in their relationships. They are often wary and get easily jealous or suspicious of their partners. They always seek validation and constant reassurance from their partner. Anxious attachment style happens because of an inconsistent parenting pattern in childhood. Some days the parent would be supportive and responsive to their child, while on other days they would not. This inconsistency makes the child very confused on how they will respond in the future. It causes anxiety to build up. This behavior carries on to adulthood where one is constantly seeking assurance that their partner still loves them, and may constantly doubt and worry.
Examples of TV characters with this attachment style are Cam from Modern Family, and Ross from Friends.
I remember watching this scene and thinking: how can Cam do such a thing to his partner? It was really unfair to him. It goes to show much validation and support Cam needs, and the lack of trust that his relationship with Mitch can last long.
Problems that may arise in someone with an anxious attachment are: Fear of being underappreciated, sensitivity to rejection and abandonment, and a negative self-view.
However there are also some advantages. Such people are likely to be more cooperative and trust others easily, making them a great team member in the work force, or in school.
Disorganized Attachment : Someone with a disorganized attachment style has a self sabotage mindset. They end relationships quickly, believing that their partner are unable to love and support them unconditionally.
This type of behavior occurs because of childhood trauma or abuse. A child becomes fearful of their parents by witnessing or experiencing mistreatment from their parents. Such children seek closeness with their parents, yet push them away due to fear. This would carry on into adulthood where one finds difficulty staying committed to their partner due to fear and trauma.
Examples of TV characters with such attachment styles are Chandler and Phoebe from Friends.
Problems that may arise are: A negative view of self and others, a fear of emotional intimacy, and a higher risk of substance abuse and aggressive behavior.
Secure Attachment: Lastly, we have the secure attachment style. These people build meaningful and long lasting relationships with others.
This attachment style occurs due to good parenting. Parents care for the needs of the child and support them, making them feel valued and loved. This way, the child knows that they can trust their parents. This carries on to their adulthood where one knows how to navigate relationships and knows how to express their feelings with their partner, trusting them fully.
Examples of characters with this attachment style are Pam and Jim from The Office.
People with such attachment styles are selfless and generous, are able to set boundaries, and have a strong sense of personal values.
What about you? What attachment style do you identify the most with? If you’re not sure, you can try out this quiz: https://www.attachmentproject.com/attachmentstyle-quiz/.
The good news about attachment styles is that it is not permanent. After you take the conscious effort to work through your traumas and improve on yourself , you can work towards a secure attachment style.
Now here are some tips I'd like to share to help improve your relationships with your loved ones.
For the avoidants: Practice expressing your emotions. It can be difficult to open up to someone immediately. Try exploring different ways to express your thoughts. This could be through journaling, painting, or by talking to an old friend.
For the anxious: Try building up your self esteem. Know your strengths and practice thinking positively about yourself. Have relationships with people who know how to appreciate you as well.
For the disorganized: Practice managing your anger. Instead of repressing your emotions, practice being able to recognize that you're getting angry, and clearly communicate with your partner.
The best way to help yourself would be by getting therapy. Therapy is helpful in identifying your unhealthy habits and attachment triggers. A therapist would be able to help you healthily deal with your emotions that would not damage you or your relationships.
ihealonline.com provides affordable services such as therapy as well as couples' counselling. We can help you if you are facing attachment issues.
Take a look at our website for more info!