Who would have guessed that depending on how your parents loved you would form how we crave love and attention? According to John Bowlby, a psychiatrist who pioneered attachment theory, a person’s relationship with their parents during their upbringing influences their platonic, intimate, and work-related relationships. He figured there are four adult attachment styles; anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. Just know that no person fits into a single attachment style category 100%. But knowing the different attachment styles and which one you generally are will give you a good idea of how you form relationships as an adult.
Anxious Attachment Style
Also sometimes known as preoccupied attachment style, anxious attachment style usually consists of adults who view their partner as “the better half.” You don’t want to be alone or without your partner; otherwise, it causes high anxiety levels. People with this attachment style usually have a low/negative self-image while having an overall positive view of others. Adults with an anxious attachment style often seek approval and support from their significant others. People with an anxious attachment style often feel anxious that their significant others are not as invested in the relationship as they are, which leads to a fear of abandonment. That fear leads to a need to feel safe when anxieties arise, which presents as clinginess and neediness.
Avoidant Attachment Style
Also sometimes known as the dismissive attachment style, avoidant attachment style people are usually strong, self-sufficient, independent people who don’t need to rely on anyone for support. We (yes, this is my attachment style) avoid emotional closeness and intimacy. We suppress our feelings when we have to face emotionally heavy situations, and if we push things down far enough, then they aren’t real. Avoidant people tend to put up personal walls or boundaries to avoid any chance of intimacy with potential partners. We tend to look for petty/shallow reasons to end relationships. (Annoying habits or small appearance-related things). To be blunt, we seem aloof and may pull away if someone tries to get emotionally close to us.
Disorganized Attachment Style
Also known as fearful-avoidant attachment style, disorganized attachment style people are super ambiguous with how they act towards potential partners. For those with this attachment style, a relationship is something they desire and fear. They want intimacy but fear the potential of getting hurt. They have difficulty trusting others because of the fear of getting hurt, which sometimes dictates how they react. Disorganized attachment styles have difficulty regulating emotions and avoid strong emotional attachments because of that fear.
Secure Attachment Style
So far, the other three attachment styles are insecure attachment styles. They usually entail having a hard time maintaining or cultivating relationships rooted in fear (abandonment or getting hurt). Secure attachment relationships mean that you rely on your partner, and your partner can rely on you. They are based on honesty, intimacy, and patience. Attachment style people thrive in their relationships but don’t have any of the big fears attached to them. They don’t seek approval from their significant other. They have a positive view of themselves and others and are perfectly okay with being alone.
What Style Are You?
Many free “find out what attachment style you are” quizzes are riddled across the internet, and I suggest taking a few to see what you get. I’m not a huge fan of someone putting me in a labeled box and telling me what’s wrong with me, but knowing your attachment style can help you understand yourself better. I’ll write more comprehensive breakdowns for each attachment style in the future, but figuring out where you stand is the starting point.