Attachment plays a prominent role in the way we as individuals form relationships throughout life. This especially affects the way we perceive conflict and get our needs met. There are four styles of attachment, each unique in many ways: secure, anxious, avoidant, and fearful. Discovering your own style of attachment is a useful way to develop and strengthen relationships.
Unsure what attachment style you possess? These descriptions may help you identify and learn about your own attachment style.
Those with secure attachment styles, for starters, are both comfortable with being alone and affectionate at different times (Manson). This is the most common type and is beneficial for family, friends, and significant others.
Those who are anxiously attached, however, tend to seek out emotional bonds and cling to their partner. Their fears are often affirmed by their partner’s independent actions, such as spending extra time with friends (Firestone).
Avoidant individuals, however, are far more comfortable with independence and display noncommittal patterns (Firestone). People with this style of attachment may avoid showing emotional reactions when confronted.
Lastly, the fearful type (otherwise known as “anxious-avoidant”) is closely linked to the latter two types. Individuals with this type of attachment are apprehensive toward intimacy and do not easily trust people who attempt to bond with them (Manson).
Although these attachment styles form at a very young age, they are still capable of changing. While the initial base is formed by one’s relationship with their parents and their home situation as a child, the function or lack of function in future relationships influence attachment styles considerably.
Avoidant attachment types are formed when only partial care is given at a young age (e.g. being fed often, but not held often) and anxious attachment types are formed by uncertain levels of love and care (Manson). Fearful types can arise from a complete lack of care during infancy (Firestone).
When the negative aspects of these types are not properly addressed, toxic relationships easily form. However, an avoidant or anxiously attached person may find themselves feeling more secure when presented with a long-term healthy relationship (Manson). The opposite can happen for a securely attached person when faced with severely difficult obstacles in life, such as death or divorce.
While maintaining healthy relationships may prove challenging for those who have struggled in the past, positive bonds are absolutely possible when proper care is given to those who need it.
With increased awareness of one’s own attachment style, can come the ability to identify what needs to stay or change in a relationship to enhance the well-being of each partner. However pained one’s past may be, there are always patient and caring people willing to help their companion bond. Relationships are an essential piece of one’s wellness.
“Laughter Therapy as Stress Relief.” SkillsYouNeed, SkillsYouNeed.com, 2019, http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/therapeutic-laughter.html.