Ever wondered how your childhood may have had an impact on your adulthood? While there are many influences of one’s childhood on their adult life, one primary outcome is the impact of childhood attachments on one’s adult relationships. So we spoke to Taehreem Ansari, a therapist at The Mood Space to know more about the various types of attachment styles and how to know which one describes you best. Here’s what they had to say:

To draw some context, we refer to attachments as emotional connections that people have with each other. As you may understand, these connections are formed from a very young age and continue to impact other relationships as we grow older. 

So, What Is Your Attachment Style?

The different ways in which we interact and behave in relationships define our attachment styles. These attachment patterns are first formed on the basis of our interactions with parents during early infancy and show up later as patterns of attachment in our romantic relationships. 

There are four main types of attachment styles: 

1. Secure Attachment

Those who are securely attached are more likely to build long-term partnerships based on trust.
High self-esteem, appreciating close connections, seeking out social support, and the ability to express sentiments with others, are all significant traits of securely attached people.

If you have a secure attachment style, you may be,

  1. Great at overcoming conflicts 
  2. Mentally flexible
  3. Effective communicator
  4. Comfortable with closeness, unconcerned about boundaries
  5. Quick to forgive
  6. Inclined to view sex and emotional intimacy as one
  7. Collaborating with your partner to improve the relationship

2. Anxious Or Ambivalent Attachment

Those with an ambivalent attachment style are generally hesitant to form close relationships. These people may be concerned that their partner may not reciprocate their sentiments, making them walk an extra mile to feel connected.

If you have an anxious or ambivalent attachment style, you may,

  1. Engage in repeated attempts to re-establish contact with the partner
  2. Be on the lookout for signals that the partner is drifting apart
  3. Fear of being misunderstood and underappreciated
  4. Have a negative view of oneself and a positive view of a partner
  5. Desire to be closer to and feel more secure in the company of others
  6. Sensitive to any signs of rejection or abandonment
  7. Need to be reassured and feel loved

3. Avoidant Attachment

Those with an avoidant attachment may have a hard time with intimacy and close connections making them vulnerable to detaching themselves from their partners. This attachment can be thought of as the opposite of anxious attachment.

If you have an avoidant attachment style, you may,

  1. Be self-sufficient
  2. Secretive and rigid
  3. More open to casual relationships and casual sex
  4. Feel safe in maintaining distance
  5. Be unwilling to ask for help
  6. Be emotionally withdrawn from others

4. Disorganised Attachment

Those with disorganized attachment want to connect with others and share closeness and affection, but they may throw up a lot of obstacles to keep themselves from being abandoned. This type of attachment includes individuals who are both, anxiously and avoidantly attached.  They may exhibit a push-pull dynamic and want to be in a committed, loving relationship while also fearing abandonment. Despite their desire for intimacy, they may appear to want to avoid it, which makes relationship stability and longevity difficult.

If you have a disorganized attachment style, you may, 

  1. Feel a general sense of uncertainty
  2. Sense mistrust
  3. Fear conveying needs/expectations or sharing vulnerable emotions 
  4. Find it difficult to manage emotions
  5. Look for extreme closeness or extreme detachment, with no in-between
  6. Be concerned about the intentions of others
  7. Be inconsistent in romantic relationships
  8. Fear being abandoned
  9. Experience low self-confidence

We, as humans are interactive and interpretive in nature. We try and make meaning of all our experiences to become self-aware. When we become aware of and understand the role of these attachments, we can obtain a better insight into our behaviours and emotions to unlearn these attachment styles. 

By identifying our unique attachment styles, learning from others, and being proactive and reflective of this information, we can work on moving from an insecure to a secure attachment style.

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