Insecure Attachment: 3 Major Facts About Your Relationship Style7 min read
If you are wondering why you can’t seem to form healthy relationships, whether something is wrong with the way you approach communication or from the reactions you receive, it’s one that can be fixed. In order to begin working on it, you need to figure out where exactly the problem comes from. Learning the basic principles of attachment theory can clear your understanding of what your personal attachment style is so that you can actively pursue a healing process. Surely a glitch in your relationships shouldn’t define you and a little work will make all the difference bringing the stability in your adult life.
What is Attachment Theory?
It is believed, with heaps of scientific studies to back it up, that our attachment style (secure or insecure) is largely affected by our childhood relationship with our caregivers. The concept was pioneered by John Bowlby in the 1950s, psychologists and researchers have taken a keen interest in this field ever since to help people better understand why they have anxiety in a relationship.
The attachment theory states that the relationship between a child and his primary caregivers is responsible for shaping our adult relationships: platonic or romantic, consciously, or unconsciously.
Studies recognize four major attachment styles. However, it’s not black and white. You will not be one hundred percent of one style, maybe you may express a a different style at any given time.
Secure Attachment Style
People with no security anxiety don’t face trouble building meaningful relationships later in their life. They are comfortable sharing their emotions and expressing affection. And they do so without the fear of rejection; even if they face rejection they simply move forward instead of dwelling on the pain. You cannot break their spirit. They do not shy away from prioritizing relationships and drawing realistic boundaries. So obviously they make the best romantic partners, friends, and family members. If that sounds like you then voila!
- Parental Style: Close and affectionate, aligned with children
Avoidant Attachment Style
Do you take pride in being independent and self-directed? That’s awesome and we are proud of you! But the problem begins when you feel uncomfortable with intimacy and with opening up to the people in your life. Avoiding conflict makes people commitment-phobic and they’re experts at creating an exit strategy for every relationship.
- Parental Style: Rejecting and unavailable
Ambivalent Attachment Style
If you find yourself being nervous and craving for constant validation, then your approach may fall under this category. People with an anxious attachment style are often scared of being alone, so they would even stay in an unhealthy relationship rather than being single; this reflects on their low self-esteem. They come across as clingy and crave intimacy in relationships in a manner that might scare people away.
- Parental Style: Inconsistent with alignment
Anxious-Avoidant Attachment Style
Bringing the worst of both worlds, the anxious-avoidant attachment style may turn out to be a negative personality trait to most others. People with this characteristic type are high on avoidance AND anxiety. They’re uncomfortable with opening up and concerned that their partners may not reciprocate. This keeps them from acting upon their feelings because they don’t deal with rejections too well. So as a defense mechanism, they lash out at people who try to come close even if it’s someone they like.
- Parental Style: Ignoring and failed to meet the child’s needs
As you have realized by now, the last three attachment styles show a pattern of insecurity and need to be worked on. You can get to learn more about the science of attachment styles from the information-oriented book, Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.
How does Insecure Attachment Affect Adult Relationships?
It is likely that children who grow up not having their emotional needs met often turn out to be inconsistent with their feelings. You may be super affectionate one moment and next thing you know, you’re picking a fight over a minor inconvenience. You may even be rejecting, overwhelmed with anxiety and fear.
Aggressive and Angry with Partners
Having grown in an abusive environment themselves, some people cannot seem to figure out how to channel their anger and frustration in a healthy manner. They end up being insensitive to their partner’s needs and even may be abusing them.
Growing up with unavailable caretakers teaches children to be self-absorbed, getting lost in themselves. They don’t do too well with emotional connections as they (even unconsciously) keep their guards up.
How to Heal?
Insecure attachment style is concerning but don’t lose hope just yet. When you do put in the effort, you can find a resolution to the issue. Annie Chen in her book The Attachment Theory Workbook explores the dynamics of attachment theory and helps readers learn how to heal. We have listed a few ways here, deliberately left unnumbered because you can start with any step at any point in your life.
The first and foremost thing that you need to do is figure out the mystery that lies within yourself. The more you get to know yourself, the better you will understand where your limitations are; what sparks your interest, emotion. Learn about your neuro-diversity. You can also choose to take therapy if you think that might help.
Choose a Partner with a Secure Attachment Style
If you are looking for stable relationships then you may consider this approach. Doing so, you can experience a healthier model for relationships as a result of which you are likely to develop inner security yourself.
Scheduled affection is a proven way to develop intimacy in a relationship fulfilling the needs of your partner and yourself. By pursuing affection on a regular you can foster security and sustain a relationship.
Two Must-Read Books
If you are interested to do some further study on the matter then we suggest you read the following books:
Why We Suggest These Books
The book comes with fascinating insights into the attachment theory along with quizzes and case studies. It works as a complete guide to the science behind love and affection. If you are willing to work on building a stable, stronger, and more meaningful relationship then we suggest you check it out!
The author takes a very positive approach to the issues relating to insecure attachment in the light of what is known to psychological science today. She goes through the three very important steps that will help anyone with insecurities:
- Attachment Theory 101: You can learn about the theory in-depth, the authors provide valuable insights into the insecure attachment theory
- Your attachment Style: Through this step, you can understand how your thoughts run the way they do and how your relationships are impacted by it
- How to Heal: Through exercises and questionnaires the authors help you to foster healthy and sustainable relationships
To sum up, emotional attachments do not come easy to everyone and some might need to communicate and work on it a little more than others. The journey to earned security is a bumpy one. But be assured that the end of the road has something beautiful in stock, and it’s absolutely worth the fight!