As I had mentioned in a previous post, 5 Books and Topics my Husband and I Read Before We Got Married, my husband and I made sure to look into our attachment styles before we got married. We knew that knowing our attachment style would affect how we communicated, interpreted and reacted in our relationship to different situations. I am not an expert in this area but I have found some research and information that I found helpful in better understanding the different attachments and how they can affect a relationship.
There are many factors that affect what attachment style someone grows up to have. Just because someone has one attachment style as they grow up does not mean that they will always have that attachment style. The insecure attachment styles are, anxious, avoidant, and anxious-avoidant. These different insecure attachment styles can go by different names but when it comes down to it someone with an insecure attachment will fall into one of these three insecure attachment styles. The secure attachment style is different from the insecure attachment style in the way they look at relationships. Understanding your attachment style is important to know whether or not you are in a relationship. Once you know your attachment style, you can become aware of the actions and thoughts that you have. Once you are aware of these different thoughts and actions, you can work to create those thoughts and actions into secure thoughts and actions. People’s attachment is a strong bond that is developed over time.
Roughly 50% of people have a secure attachment. This attachment style is considered to be the ideal balance of caring and not worrying too much based on Amir Levine M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller M.A findings. They have found that a secure person is able to comfortably share their feelings and are able to be intimate without having to constantly stress over their relationship. These individuals feel comfortable with intimacy. They are usually able to be warm and loving to others. These individuals are able to effectively communicate with others. They are able to express their needs and concerns with others. They are able to express themselves without assigning blame or dramatizing the situation. Many times people with secure attachments are extremely adaptable and are able to provide the support and reassurance that anxious and avoidant individuals would need. Having a secure attachment and being with someone with a secure attachment is the best case for a happy relationship with minimal problems.
Thais Gibson further explains specific traits that a person with a secure attachment would display.
They tend to be able to express their needs and feelings.
They are open communicators and believe that conflicts can be solved.
They have a strong ability to regulate their emotions.
They are empathetic toward others.
They are able to set boundaries naturally.
They are able to feel confident when expressing the truth.
They have a strong self-identity.
Roughly 20% of the population have an anxious attachment style. People with an anxious attachment based on Amir Levine M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller M.A findings are people that are usually preoccupied with their relationships. Anxiously attached individuals had learned to meet their needs without having a fully responsive caregiver. People with anxious attachments tend to worry about how their partner can love them back. This attachment style tends to spend a lot of time worrying about if their partner loves them back. They tend to worry about if they are spending enough time with their partner and why their partner isn’t as responsive sometimes as they are. Anxiously attached individuals need to be with their partner constantly or need to be able to access their partner at all times or they may take it personally.
Thais Gibson further explains specific traits that a person with an anxious attachment would display.
They would be extremely fearful of abandonment.
They dislike being alone.
They dislike being out of relationships for long periods of time.
They fear being disconnected from others.
They can appear needy.
They consistently crave to be closer in the relationship.
They often want to commit quickly in the relationship.
They are sensitive to rejection.
They are able to develop strong feelings easily.
Roughly 25% of the population have an avoidant attachment style. Amir Levine M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller M.A findings classify people with an avoidant attachment tend to correlate intimacy with a loss of independence. This attachment style is constantly trying to minimize the closeness in their relationships. Avoidant attached individuals value their independence more than they value the relationship. They struggle with sharing their feelings and tend to struggle with recognizing them in others. They are quick to assign the blame to others when something goes wrong. Avoidantly attachment people sometimes are holding out for the “right one” which they can use to find little things that their partner does that irritates them. Avoidantly attached individuals have a difficult time opening up and may not tell much about themselves.
Thais Gibson further explains specific traits that a person with an avoidant attachment would display.
They have a difficulty believing that their emotional needs can be met by others.
They are quick to suppress their emotions.
They are protective of their time and space.
They are fearful of commitment.
They dislike being open and vulnerable.
They can be blunt and harsh with their actions.
They are easily hurt by criticism.
They tend to withdraw to self-soothe when they have been hurt.
They can be slow to warm back up after being hurt.
This has recently been recognized as an attachment style. This attachment style takes different traits from the insecure attachment styles anxious and avoidant. Roughly 5% of the population is both anxious-avoidant
Thais Gibson further explains specific traits that a person with an anxious-avoidant attachment would display.
They tend to have fear of being vulnerable.
They struggle with expressing their needs and feelings.
They have difficulty with trusting and tend to be suspicious.
They experience guilt easily.
They have strong emotions that can come out in aggression and anger.
They have a great capacity for empathy but struggle with having empathy for themselves.
They are constantly assessing potential threats around them.
They tend to have poor boundaries unless they are angry.
They tend to be passionate people but are often emotionally volatile in relationships.
This was a quick rundown of some of the information that I found helpful when understanding the different attachment styles. Below are a couple of resources that I found helpful.
Checkout the book Attached by Amir Levine M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller M.A.
Your attachment style can change over time. This goes both ways for secure attachment styles and insecure attachment styles. Depending on your situation, experience and awareness can affect your attachment style.
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