In my search for self-awareness and better understanding of our human psyche, I have read and listened (thank you, dear podcasts creators!) about the attachment theory and the four attachment styles. I found this subject really intriguing and explaining many of my current and past behaviours.
Attachment theory suggests that people develop different attachment styles based on their early experiences with caregivers, and these styles can shape their relationships throughout their lives.
There are four main attachment styles:
- Secure attachment: People with a secure attachment style are comfortable with intimacy and feel confident in their relationships. They trust their partners and have a positive view of themselves and others.
- Anxious-preoccupied attachment: People with an anxious attachment style worry about their partner’s love and commitment. They may become overly dependent on their partners and experience anxiety when they are apart.
- Avoidant-dismissive attachment: People with an avoidant attachment style may be uncomfortable with intimacy and may have difficulty trusting others. They may appear emotionally distant and may avoid close relationships.
- Fearful-avoidant (or disorganised) attachment: People with a fearful-avoidant/disorganised attachment style may have conflicting feelings about relationships. They may want to be close to others but fear rejection and may have a negative view of themselves and others.
It’s important to note that attachment styles are not set in stone and can change over time with experience and personal growth.
What childhood experiences led to a person having one style or another?
Attachment styles are believed to be influenced by childhood experiences, especially by the quality of the attachment relationship between a child and their primary caregiver(s). Here are some examples of childhood experiences that may contribute to the development of different attachment styles:
- Secure attachment: Children who experience consistent and responsive care from their caregivers are more likely to develop a secure attachment style. They learn that their caregivers are dependable and trustworthy, and that their needs will be met in a timely and appropriate manner. This allows them to develop a positive view of themselves and others, and to feel confident and secure in their relationships.
- Anxious-preoccupied attachment: Children who experience inconsistent or unpredictable care from their caregivers may develop an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. They may learn that their needs will not always be met, and may develop a sense of hypervigilance or heightened sensitivity to signs of rejection or abandonment. They may also become overly dependent on their caregivers for reassurance and validation, as they do not trust that they will receive it consistently.
- Avoidant-dismissive attachment: Children who experience neglect or rejection from their caregivers may develop an avoidant-dismissive attachment style. They may learn that their needs will not be met, and may develop a sense of self-sufficiency and emotional detachment as a way of coping with this. They may also struggle to form close emotional bonds with others, as they do not trust that they will be reciprocated.
- Fearful-avoidant (or disorganised) attachment: Children who experience both inconsistent and frightening care from their caregivers may develop a fearful-avoidant (disorganised) attachment style. They may learn that their caregivers are both unreliable and dangerous, and may develop a sense of confusion or ambivalence about close relationships. They may also struggle with regulating their emotions, as they have learned that both seeking and avoiding closeness can lead to negative outcomes.
It’s important to note that these are general patterns, and that the development of attachment styles is complex and multifaceted. Children’s temperament, genetic factors, and broader social and cultural contexts can also play a role in shaping attachment-related behaviours and beliefs.
After this short introduction into attachment styles, in the second part of this article we’ll look in more details into how people with the different attachment styles behave in relationships and if we can exhibit a combination of these attachment styles.
I hope you found this as useful as I did when I first read about it 😊.
You can find PART 2 of this article HERE.
Credit: Photo by Anastasiya Vragova on Pexels
Sign up for my newsletter!
Please check your Spam folder or Promotions Tab for a sign-up confirmation email. You will only be subscribed after you click the confirmation link in that email message. Thank you!