In this day and age, we’re all trying to learn more about ourselves, and how we relate to others. You might have walked down the path of self development and done an enneagram test or explored what your MBTI type is. The attachment theory focuses on exploring how the relationship between a child and their parents, sets the tone for future romantic and platonic relationships ahead.
Okay, but how does attachment theory affect me?
Attachment styles reflect the way we grew up and can determine how we move through the world as adults. Thus, our childhood plays a major part in how we relate to others and sometimes, our overall mental health. The attachment theory gives insight through distinct attachment types.
So what are the attachment styles?
There are four main attachment styles and they differ slightly depending on what test you take. It’s highly likely that you’ll fit into more than one type and be able to recognize traits from each category.
Most people who take the attachment style test, fall into the secure attachment category. So what does this mean? You’re able to form relationships relatively easily and make healthy affirming connections. This is the attachment style we all want to eventually fall into and while it takes some work, it’s definitely possible.
The definition explains it all, this attachment style is about anxiety around relationships and a high level of insecurity. Anxious attachment often manifests as “clingy” behaviour and needing reassurance from partners or loved ones. Does this sound familiar? This behaviour can be toxic and exhausting - and turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can end up in partnerships ending because of insecurity and a lack of space.
And then you get the other end of the spectrum - dismissive avoidant. This attachment style is focused on being independent, “not needing others” and essentially pushing away potential partners in romantic relationships. Dismissive attachment types might resort to independence as they’ve been let down before and don’t know how to rely on anyone or let people in.
Fearful - Avoidant
The last attachment style can be an unpredictable one. Fearful avoidant types are prone to mood changes and can act defensively resulting in dramatic relationships. Sounds chaotic? That’s because it is. It’s a push/pull dynamic that can stem from enduring trauma as a child or adult that results in wanting intimate connections but also being afraid of what happens when someone gets too close.