How you attach to other adults strongly corresponds with how you attached to others as a child. Four distinct styles of attachment have been identified — and perhaps recognizing yourself in one of them is the first step toward strengthening your relationships.
The four child/adult attachment styles are:
- Secure – autonomous;
- Avoidant – dismissing;
- Anxious – preoccupied; and
- Disorganized – unresolved.
Adults with these attachment styles differ in a number of significant ways:
- how they perceive and deal with closeness and emotional intimacy.
- ability to communicate their emotions and needs, and listen to and understand the emotions and needs of their partners.
- modes of responding to conflict.
- expectations about their partner and the relationship (internal working models).
There are three primary, underlying dimensions that characterize attachment styles and patterns. The first dimension is closeness, meaning the extent to which people feel comfortable being emotionally close and intimate with others. The second is dependence/avoidance, or the extent to which people feel comfortable depending on others and having partners depend on them. The third is anxiety, or the extent to which people worry their partners will abandon and reject them.
The outline below describes four adult attachment styles regarding avoidance, closeness and anxiety — and prototypical descriptions of each.
Secure: Low on avoidance, low on anxiety. Comfortable with intimacy; not worried about rejection or preoccupied with the relationship. “It is easy for me to get close to others, and I am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.”
Avoidant: High on avoidance, low on anxiety. Uncomfortable with closeness and primarily values independence and freedom; not worried about partner’s availability. “I am uncomfortable being close to others. I find it difficult to trust and depend on others and prefer that others do not depend on me. It is very important that I feel independent and self-sufficient. My partner wants me to be more intimate than I am comfortable being.”
Anxious: Low on avoidance, high on anxiety. Crave closeness and intimacy, very insecure about the relationship. “I want to be extremely emotionally close (merge) with others, but others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t love or value me and will abandon me. My inordinate need for closeness scares people away.
Anxious and Avoidant: High on avoidance, high on anxiety. Uncomfortable with intimacy, and worried about partner’s commitment and love. “I am uncomfortable getting close to others, and find it difficult to trust and depend on them. I worry I will be hurt if I get close to my partner.”
The outline below explains the four adult attachment styles; the behavioral, cognitive and social aspects of each style; and the way in which they differ regarding closeness, dependency, avoidance and anxiety. It is common for adults to have a combination of traits rather than fit into just one style.
- Comfortable in a warm, loving and emotionally close relationship.
- Depends on partner and allows partner to depend on them; is available for partner in times of need.
- Accepts partner’s need for separateness without feeling rejected or threatened; can be close and also independent (“dependent–independent”).
- Trusting, empathic, tolerant of differences, and forgiving.
- Communicates emotions and needs honestly and openly; attuned to partner’s needs and responds appropriately; does not avoid conflict.
- Manages emotions well; not overly upset about relationship issues.
- Insight, resolution and forgiveness about past relationship issues and hurts.
- Sensitive, warm and caring parent; attuned to child’s cues and needs; children are securely attached.
- Emotionally distant and rejecting in an intimate relationship; keeps partner at arm’s length; partner always wanting more closeness; ” “deactivates” attachment needs, feelings and behaviors.
- Equates intimacy with loss of independence; prefers autonomy to togetherness.
- Not able to depend on partner or allow partner to “lean on” them; independence is a priority.
- Communication is intellectual, not comfortable talking about emotions; avoids conflict, then explodes.
- Cool, controlled, stoic; compulsively self-sufficient; narrow emotional range; prefers to be alone.
- Good in a crisis; non-emotional, takes charge.
- Emotionally unavailable as parent; disengaged and detached; children are likely to have avoidant attachments.
- Insecure in intimate relationships; constantly worried about rejection and abandonment; preoccupied with relationship; “hyperactivates” attachment needs and behavior.
- Needy; requires ongoing reassurance; want to “merge” with partner, which scares partner away.
- Ruminates about unresolved past issues from family-of-origin, which intrudes into present perceptions and relationships (fear, hurt, anger, rejection).
- Overly sensitive to partner’s actions and moods; takes partner’s behavior too personally.
- Highly emotional; can be argumentative, combative, angry and controlling; poor personal boundaries.
- Communication is not collaborative; unaware of own responsibility in relationship issues; blames others.
- Unpredictable and moody; connects through conflict, “stirs the pot.”
- Inconsistent attunement with own children, who are likely to be anxiously attached.
- Unresolved mindset and emotions; frightened by memories of prior traumas; losses from the past have not been not mourned or resolved.
- Cannot tolerate emotional closeness in a relationship; argumentative, rages, unable to regulate emotions; abusive and dysfunctional relationships recreate past patterns.
- Intrusive and frightening traumatic memories and triggers; dissociates to avoid pain; severe depression, PTSD.
- Antisocial; lack of empathy and remorse; aggressive and punitive; narcissistic, no regard for rules; substance abuse and criminality.
- Likely to maltreat own children; scripts children into past unresolved attachments; triggered into anger and fear by parent–child interaction; own children often develop disorganized attachment.
Attachment patterns are passed down from one generation to the next. Children learn how to connect from parents and caregivers, and they in turn teach the next generation. Your attachment history plays a crucial role in determining how you relate in adult romantic relationships, and how you relate to your children. However, it is not what happened to you as a child that matters most — it is how you deal with it. Many people go from victim to overcomer.
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I would suggestion that most are a mix of attachment styles.
You are correct Sam.
Oh. Phew. Im SO glad you said that! I was having some confusion and weirdly, anxiety over being clear about which is my style because I can see various aspects are true for me. VERY relieved to know I’m not disorganised but a hybrid ?
Agree with above. I tend to be a little of all of them also
I’ve been reading up on attachment theory a LOT lately. I’ve concluded that my attachment style is disorganized with extra ambivalent tendencies. It’s rather disconcerting to discover, but identifying the problem is the first step to resolving it.
At 58 yrs old I’m trying to understand what happened to me, why I can’t let people close to me and I believe I have attachment disorder
I was thinking the same, I’ve always been in the ‘anxious’ category but I combination of dealing with this plus my partner working away and a lack of adult contact through covid/lockdown seems to have nudged me more into avoidant?!
I am a secure attachment style most of the time but i find that if i am with an extremely avoidant person it makes me get out of my zone.
OMG! Yes! I am just learning that myself via my most recent relationship and my first relationship not only experiencing someone who is avoidant, but someone avoidant to this extent.
I wish someone would write about those of us who have been victims of anxious avoidant people.
hey, I am an avoidant person and I think I can share some thoughts on those points about avoidant attachment
I don’t know about the first point because I have never been In a relationship.
same with the 2nd point I don’t know
I can agree with the third on though, I just don’t know exactly how to say but as of my experience I have a lot of friends and family members who I have good relation with but I just don’t feel comfortable when either I depend on them or they on me because I am a loner(not lonely)and I am always with my thoughts so I know which type of person I can be or the people around me can be(for the worse).I had done some bad to some people so as I am improving on myself I project my action on other people that they can do this or that when I am vulnerable or even when it comes to being dependent on me I feel like I am trapped with some responsibility that my action are limited when someone is dependent on me.
the fourth one can be different from people to people I think.
Can totally agree100% with the fifth one.
6th one too can totally agree with but I only take charge of something when the other can’t do it no more(being a leader is too much hassle for me so I let other do it until they can’t)
7th one no idea
Sarah S I understand your comment but am not sure about the word ‘victim’ as that suggests the other person is somehow bad, I think it’s just 2 people in a difficult situation who both equally need help/advice x
agree with you most are a mix of attachment styles
Help! I’m dealing with severe detachment issues more so now than ever! My entire family stopped speaking to me 3 years ago when having a nervous breakdown. Now, I suffer horrible constant feelings of being unloved and that I can never trust them or most people ever again. With the COVID virus scare going on, I started telling myself that surely my mother and sisters would reach out to me to let me know they love me and hope I’m ok. That’s not happening apparently and I’m sad and angry. I never had any kind of closure. I want them to hurt too. I’ve ruined a relationship with a beautiful man because of the extra anxiety this non caring bunch of awful people give me daily. How do I make it stop? I am so upset and I can’t take it anymore.
Kelli, Sorry for your situation. Sounds very painful. If you are able, try to find a good counselor or therapist to help you. You need to talk with someone you trust about your family situation, and learn how to set emotional boundaries. You cannot change them but you can change yourself. Wish you the best.
Have you tried reaching out to your family verbally or in written form to explain how you are and what you have felt these past three years and explained your desire to reconnect with them ? Sometimes , so much time has passed that shame and guilt take over and people are fearful to take that first step back . I know as it happened with me and my dad but he finally reached out many years after I reached out multiple times. So sorry you have lost so much .
I’m so sorry to see what your going through. Take heart things can change but slowly. Focus on healing you and grieving. You’ll be able to work in building trust in your relationships later on. Have not expectations of your family and no judgement just focus on your self care and getting some good support.
Hey Kelli! I hope you are doing good now. but If you still need someone to talk to or need any kind of counselling you can contact me here—- email@example.com
Kelli, I was scrolling through this post and your comment stood out to me because one, I have went through/am going through a similar situation and can relate to how you’re feeling and two, I can almost hear the desperation in your words. Let me ask you this… Have you attempted to make contact with any of the family members you mentioned above since this whole Covid pandemic began?
Yeah I’d have to say I’m probably a mix.
I’ve never had a relationship and tend towards not even forming close attachments In friendships. It often scares me how easily I can emotionally detach myself from people if I’m not in their presence. Even my grandparents who were really warm and nurturing when I was a child. I didn’t really feel anything when they died.
At the same time I can be hyper aware and really anxious about the feelings of others. Like upsetting or displeasing someone can negate my whole self worth. I often desperately try to hide the fact that other people have upset me from them in a belief that it will only cause me more pain and turn people against me. Unfortunately experience has yet to prove me wrong on that one.
In general I find other human beings really stressful I’d avoid them altogether if I could but a strong sense of duty to others prevents me.
I really think the person you’re with brings out one of these traits more. I’ve seen myself to be really secure with someone, when we were able to discuss on what we wanted and started the relationship. However, prior to that, when we were in an uncertain stage, I was anxious-preoccupied. In times of conflict, I’d say I’m anxious-preoccupied.
Sam, I think you are absolutely correct—I am more of a mixture but I do have a primary type. I like love until I feel smothered after repeated marriages with the type of men who likes to merge I am in love again with a man who feels our souls and hearts are one. He says he loves me deeply madly passionately unconditionally forever and ever. I attracted these type of attachments because I am open and giving. Wish me luck!
I would agree with this, although it’s very helpful to me to see that I’m very much one of them and my parents are very much one as well, and they are both different ones, which lends to
Me being the one that resonates with me most. I find this fascinating and quite possibly the first time that my attachment and abandonment issues have been described in a way that I really understand and can see how it’s affected me so deeply.
I never make it into a relationship with Avoidant or Disorganized.
If the person is Anxious and I didn’t like them that much in the first place I’ll drift towards Avoidant. These are my second worst relationships.
If the person is Anxious and I really like them I drift towards Secure, but very nurturing. These are my best relationships.
If the person is Secure I tend to drift towards Anxious. These are my worst relationships.
To be honest, I love relationships with Anxious people and don’t see what’s wrong with wanting a very tight, intimate bond full of constant mutual affirmation. What’s wrong with being “attached at the hip”? What’s wrong with being “two peas in a pod”? What’s wrong with being inseparable? What’s wrong with wanting a soul mate? The article even says that the attention of the other person is a remedy. Great. Find someone who can’t stop paying attention to you then. It’s not two people with a problem, it’s two people who just needed to find each other.
it depends. theres nothing wrong with any of this unless you or the other person are ignoring their own deeper needs. it can become so each partner is anticipating what the other one wants, and doing that, before they even know what they want themself. and it may not even be what the partner wants either!
my last partner was an anxious attacher and they ignored their own needs in this way for so long until they couldn’t do it anymore- when they exploded, becoming demanding jealous and controlling, even while/after ending the relationship. I’ve seen other anxious attachers end relationships very suddenly seemingly out of nowhere.. their deeper self was no longer in the relationship, meanwhile they continue playing the role of perfect attentive partner. of course, it depends on the extent of the tendency, and the dynamics of the relationship and other factors. I’m definitely not predicting disaster for everyone. But these ar some ways it can go wrong, if you know your tendency you can work with it, be aware, learn what helps you
This is such an interesting conversation and I love all the honesty here – thank you! I can relate to what Cathy (above) just said because I left a 20 yr marriage “suddenly” to others but I was unhappy for years as I played the “it’s all good here” game. In my marriage I was probably more the anxious attached and my husband was definitely avoidant. Now I’m with either a securely or anxiously attached partner and I’ve flipped to an extreme version of avoidant. I live in daily comfort but I know this is not how I want to love and live so I keep trying to let go and let him in/me out. Im 56 and am only just realizing this stuff about me – dead on accurate.
Has anyone found help to move past these barriers to lasting, loving relationships? Please share!
This is very informative and laid out in a nice and easy to understand format. Thank you.
Yes, this is a very clear and easy to digest summary. Thanks!
Thank you for this info.
Any suggestions on how to resolve if one tends to be a mixture?
The first step is to complete the “Life Script,” an evaluation tool to help you understand issues and patterns from your past. The Life Script is on our website (www.evergreenpsychotherapycenter.com).Next, find some one to help you understand and process the Life Script, because it can be quite emotional. Also, a good book is “Attached” by Levine and Heller.
Thank you for this explanation. I appear to be primarily in the Dismissive (Avoidant) category. I found your site while watching a documentary about an adoptive mother who beat her 2 1/2 y.o. Russian adopted daughter to death because she wouldn’t bond with her. Along with siblings I was taken away from our birthparents, put in foster homes then adopted at age 5. Our adoptive maternal parental figure made it clear to me on a regular basis that they only wanted my brother. (Coincidentally she taught at Evergreen H.S. for a few years). Medication helps control my dangerous flight impulses. My 2 children are upstanding citizens but I fear I may have been the cause of their emotional dysfunctions. I’ve devoted my retirement years to caring for handicapped non-humans. We survive against all odds.
(No comment needed)
You’re doing the best you can. Take care of yourself.
With love and compassion,
Thank you for providing these resources Terry.
Thanks, good advise to help narrow down and work on.
Any suggestions about how to shift toward a more secure attachment style?
That’s a big question — and we are glad you asked it. To help children become more securely attached, it is helpful to build trust and safety in the parent-child relationship. Please search our blog for lots of posts about that. To help a spouse become securely attached, it is helpful to be aware of previous attachment patterns stemming even from childhood.
But what about helping *yourself* develop a more secure attachment style?
Read “Attached” by Levine and Heller. They talk about developing secure attachment in relationships.
Great information! Would have loved more Direction on how to overcome some of the unhealthy attachment types.
Melissa, Our website has lots of info: http://www.evergreenpsychotherapycenter.com. Our books are described on the website.
Attachment types explained with great clarity.
This is so informative and helpful, but I’d love to learn more about these attachements and behaviours.
Please assist as to when can I get more reads.
Thank you for parsing these attachment styles. I’ve been trying to get a handle on RAD for some time now. It’s only now that I am prepared to read on.
Well laid out and easy to understand explaining the impact parents and the mix of traits may have on their children. Explains a lot in my own situation as I had a very distant and uncaring mother demonstrating that by building strong children prevents broken adults.
As a foster parent I find this info very helpful in understanding one child in particular who is now grown and we are foster parents to his child because of his unresolved issues. I want to change that in his daughter and give her a strong foundation as she grows.
I’m 53. I have lost my wife of 27 years through divorce and have strained yet developing relationships with my 20 year old son and 18 year old daughter. I feel like I screwed up many things in my life – myself, relationships (or lack thereof), and the people I loved most. But I do have hope as I learn more through sites like this and others on neuroscience and through a faith that says I am forgiven and that it’s possible to change and renew my mind.
It’s very cool that you (Mr. Levy) address people on this blog. It helps creates a healthy attachment with us! God bless you and your work. I hope that more of this information gets disseminated to couples before they get married and people prior to having kids. It’s sooooooooooo important. Thanks!
Russ, You are very welcome. Glad that you find the posts helpful. Sounds like you are already changing and renewing your mind.Keep growing.
Well I jus found out that I have attachment issues.with more understanding of my issues I feel like I can be able make adjustments to learn how managed my problems.. i hope that I can help prevent my children from developing theses issues.. please keep reaching out to those don’t there understand there connections . ?
Thanks Gabe. You have the right idea. With your self awareness you will be able to help your children.
What advice would you give to a father trying to guide two children whose mother abandoned them after they were already traumatized by the death of their younger sister?
My wife abandoned us a few years after our youngest daughter died at 13. My son was 20, had a severe learning disability, and had just flunked out of college. He felt his mother blamed his drinking for flunking out; I was able to determine that it was his learning disability (he was in way over his head in an engineering curriculum, and had been sick for most of his 2nd semester).
His younger sister was going to leave for college in 2 weeks. She had witnessed her sister’s death at age 15.
Their mother left and moved back in with her mother, brother and sister 4 hours away, with only several hours notice, claiming that our daughter had been murdered (and there was nothing remotely like a murder – it was an accidental death). She almost completely cut her kids off; she visited only at their college graduations four years later last May (I was able to find a college that my son could commute to, and he finally made it through). Their mother calls once a year, on their birthdays. They are allowed to visit her, but rarely have since she left.
My son is furious at her. My daughter is more forgiving, but frequently has referred to her as a distant aunt, rather than a mother.
The best I was able to come up with was to tell them that their mother has been broken by their sister’s death. What can be done to stop them from fearing being betrayed because of this?
Concerned father, I would recommend family therapy. This would give you, your son and daughter, an opportunity to talk about the situation and your emotions in a constructive and helpful way. Hopefully, talking as a family would also increase trust, communication, and togetherness as a family.
This is a really great resource!So much useful info and handy tips, thanks =)
I agree with Sam. I see in me a combination of traits in Autonomy and Anxious attachment styles.
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I’m under the impression that attachment theory has been disproved.
Although there are many theories of child development, more and more researchers and clinicians see the value of attachment theory in regards to child, adult and relationship issues and dynamics.
Have seen this explanation on the youtube channel ‘Charisma on command’.
Explanation was very nice.
I really appreciate.
It is because of this site, I need not have to take notes. I copied and printed this page. ??
It will help me improve a lot, Thanks….
that may be the case
It’s impressive that you are getting ideas from this
paragraph as well as from our discussion made at this time.
Thank you for this clear explanation of Ainsworth just in time for my PMHNP exam tomorrow!
Ken, if you had adopted a severely traumatised young girl who had been abused by both her birth mother and her foster carer for the first 5 years of her life and now shows all the signs of disorganised attachment syndrome. Then you wouldn’t suggest the theory had been disproved. As adoptive parents we live through the ramifications of an infant failing to securely bond with its care giver. It will take twice as long to repair the damage as it took to do the damage, we will persevere!
Dan Siegel’s work is really good, The Whole Brain Child and other books he wrote with Tina Payne Bryson. For trauma and how it gets stored in the brain there is also the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score, and perhaps Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) work of Francine Shapiro can help your daughter begin to process the trauma. God bless you and your family. You will persevere!!
I did not relate to every part of the Avoidant Style description, but I do tend to dismiss partners after periods of intimacy, so that one feels the most like my zone. It is painful for my partners, and for me. I do think it has some connection to childhood, where my narcissistic parents did not much give but mostly took attention and I therefore learned that intimacy is an exhausting process of being there for others without getting much or anything in return, not to mention the likely impact on my development. Hard to re-wire those things even by naming them.
My relationship was restored back by the great power’s of Robinson buckler after three months of loneliness, my ex-lover called me after my contact with Robinson Buckler that he want us to come back and start a good home, now we are happily married. All thanks to Robinson buckler for his wonderful spiritual help. You can contact him on his via email ((Robinsonbuckler [@] yahoo . c o m))………………?? if you have similar problem, or any solution you may need……………………..❣️❣️❣️❣️???…………………………??????
How do you go about changing your attachment style? I would say I am anxious and unresolved. I know I struggle with past trauma and ptsd but I also worry about abandonment all the time and am extremely needy and insecure. So how on earth does one go about changing it?
Find a counselor or therapist who knows about attachment and trauma. Experiential therapeutic methods are most effective. Then you have to make real life changes in perception, emotion and relationship patterns.
You start by studying what Self Belief is. It is Self faith. Fsith that you are, always have been, and always will be ‘Good Enough’. Understanding that you came into this eorld a beautiful blank canvas.
You study John Bradshaw’s Homecoming, google & Youtube. Do Inner Child Healing work via the meditations available. You restructure your main pain memories to reflect ‘this was not my fault. You do forgiveness meditations (jason Stevenson on PTSD is awesome). Many tears shed..
You begin by ‘being the parent’ in an ‘imagiary compassionate meeting’ with that little ‘you’.. YOU HEAL THOSE WOUNDS.
You reconnect with your heart by understanding that our parents did only what they could under the circumstances of THEIR own childhoods. Remember.. they were hurt little children too. You forgive them. And you forgive yourself for ALL the ways you found to cope with that poor small traumatised child that remains hurt and abandoned inside of you. Until you do.. that child feels doubly abandoned… by the past, and thereafter, by you. He/she needs you to take some time out.. to try to ‘connect’ with her and try to befriend her and convince her she is ‘Safe’ now.. that you’ve ‘Got This’, that you’re fighting for her now. She/he desperately wants to come home.
I’ve gone through this process a few times, I now feel more well adjusted, less ’empty’. More balanced. It will integrate that part of you that you left behind. You’ll feel ‘whole’.. for the first time in you life.
? ? Take her/him by the hand and lead them home – to your heart.
Then you’ll be able to love yourself fully, and know what heart connection is. Then you’ll be ‘available’ and eager to connect your heart and spirit to another’s heart and spirit without fear of ‘losing your self’.
Thank you for this write-up, Doc. It was really helpful, i have quite noticed that I am of the anxious-preoccupied type but i would love to make my life better and have better interactions and relationships with people, I’d like to know how to become one who has the secured attachment style.
If you are in a relationship, this is the context in which you can practice new behaviors, reactions and mindsets regarding closeness, trust and emotional security. Be intentional and goal-oriented; very clear about the changes you want to make. Work on it consciously every day. Hopefully, your partner will do the same. If you are not in a relationship, read books on attachment, get counseling, learn more about yourself so you know specifically what you need to change. Almost anyone can achieve secure attachment if they work hard, persevere and maintain hope.
I am a student of counselling and recently had an ‘a ha’ moment when I realised that my husband is avoidant… over our whole 25 year relationship this has caused problems and I am really struggling to keep going. Not having the connection I need with the person I’m meant to be closest to is killing me. But we have 3 children and I don’t want to break up the family. He knows how I feel but is apathetic. Do you think there any way I can get him to look at this? I’m starting to wonder if he just doesn’t love me anymore.
Jo, You can start by asking him to read a book about attachment and relationships (Attached, by Levine and Heller is good). Then maybe he will go to counseling (individual and couples). You will need to be honest with him, but not critical. Maybe he will be honest with you about his apathy.
Jo, I am in the same boat, except that I realized this fairly early on in my marriage. Yesterday was our 23rd anniversary and he didn’t remember it. I didn’t say anything because I don’t feel like celebrating our marriage. The reason I stayed with my husband all of these years was to provide a stable, positive, intact home for our son, who is now 22. I knew that I could deal with not having my emotional needs met and still find ways to be happy and to make sure that my son’s emotional needs were met. We get along well, we laugh together, and we co-exist. My husband is a good man! He is just unable or unwilling to provide me with validation and positive affirmation, even when I specifically ask for it. I started my marriage with SO much to give! But he has shut me down until I haven’t even tried in the last several years. Dismissive is the perfect word. I am dismissed. We have been in couple’s therapy 3 times and once on my own, but he has not changed the avoidant behavior. But at least I was around to explain to my son that Dad loves him very much, but has trouble showing it. I told him that his dad shows his love by going to work every day and providing for us. Unfortunately, his older son by a previous marriage did not have anyone to help deepen his relationship with his father. My stepson spent many years resenting my husband and has only felt close to him now that he is in his 30s with kids of his own. I am at the point where I can’t continue on this way now that our son is raised. I am on empty and the lack of affirmation has harmed some areas of my self-confidence to the extent that I don’t know if I’ll ever feel attractive and wanted. I understand you wanting to stay for the sake of your kids because I felt the same way. You do deserve, though, to be emotionally close to a partner/husband. Living without that emotional intimacy is soul crushing. I wish you all the best and hope that you can find a way to get what you need.
This list is freighting on so many levels. From everything listed every person suffers from multifaceted attachment disorders on different levels and different degrees. Just like spectrum autism, ADHD and or ADD. But then there are true medical condition undiagnosed that can also emulate any and all?
This is a list, a guide; it is not the same as real people. People are unique and complicated, and have a mix of different styles and patterns. All people do not suffer from attachment disorders, but all people are affected by their past, genetics, life situations, and other things.
There’s a great deal of these attachment style evaluations, and every single one simply assumes the respondent has a significant history with intimate relationships. I’ve never had a ‘partner.’ I can’t imagine many of the situations and interactions described by the tests. I was never close to my mom and lacked other family. Foster homes, special ed, institutions growing up. Little rooms with heavy bolted doors and dome windows and 4-point restraints, and that was just public school. A battalion of psych____ists and countless meds but never a stable place or person. Dumped out of the system ASAP when 18 and then it was my problem. I’m 32 now, and I guess my style is just never being able to form attachments at all, because I don’t exist in this model.
YES. You make a great point. You had a unique relationship with others. As you say, “never a stable place or person.” Are you hoping to create better relationships in the future, or do you not think that is possible? Thank you for sharing your experience.
I was recently was asked, “Do I know my attachment style?” from a person whom I was involved with for about 8 months. My reply, “I check it out and explore myself to know.” It is refreshing that from all the relationships I have had, we became “real” friends; even though, our relationship did workout.
Long story short, after reading this I was shocked. I fell in between Secure and Avoidance. I realize that majority of the characteristics came from my mother mostly; yet, I adapted the other’s from how philosophically and socratically I scrutinize my past relationships and through self-exploration with others. I am person who craves to evolve and I am not afraid of change.
However, I often wonder, how one insist or situation in your life can truly change your course entirely when it comes to the aspect of “intimacy” and being open; or even cause that much fear of intimacy? Don’t get me with this ironic conundrum, but is it possible to crave intimacy so badly in relationship and still have so much fear and reservations about opening yourself up so much? I think the reason I fear it so much is because I am not trusting when it comes to people or their intentions. I am not entirely afraid of being hurt, but I would rather not go back down that rabbit hole again.
ouch. i had an abusive mother and i knew i had BPD, and i knew this contributed to a lot of my issues in relationships. i’m mostly anxious, but a little avoidant. in that eg: when i really like someone but i don’t trust them enough, i’ll push them away to see if they come back. if i do trust them, i do the glomming on and wanting to be with them 24/7 and the “merge” thing you mentioned.
when relationships would run into issues and we’d try to talk things out, i’d ping back and forth between being never wrong, and always wrong, in quick succession. sometimes i’d try to step back and think, yk, i’m sure this is my fucked up upbringing making all this so hard. but when i’d vocalise about that, evryone would think i was deflecting blame :/
so i’m not rly sure how to deal with it in the ways you’ve described, trying to practice things healthier in relationships and stuff. i’ve tried that for like 10 years, and even tho big arguments went from monthly to yearly events, those still built up and frayed and ruined relationships… it can be so hard to feel like i’ll ever break out of these cycles, especially because… when i’m doing good, it feels easy, but when i’m doing bad, it all just rushes out of me like a dam that got a hole worn in it.
unfortunately the most stable period of my life has been when i didn’t talk to anyone for 18 months. but that felt so hollow and empty as well.
going to try to avoid going into details about upbringing, but suffice to say i wasn’t given a good role model. father absent at work, mother abusive and distant (while constantly compalining that _i_ didn’t put the work in to spend time with _her_).
and psych help on the nhs has been abysmal. even when funding was okay it was like a monthly appointment, and now with funding cut and cut and cut it’s like every 4 months at best, with many-year waiting lists. when i read about people seeing their therapist once, twice, thrice a week, i cannot even imagine what that’s like. when they talk about seeing their therapist that often for a whole year before being able to open up, that’s even more impossible for me to imagine.
i’m not, like, expecting a reply, just.. shooting this out there. i actually first found out about attachment styles in some youtube video about cats, so i really just found this to remind myself of the cartegories. but then you went into such detail about it and it hit so hard as well.
anyway, thanks for reading this, if you did.
I am confused as I usually hear about:
fearful avoidant attachment
dismissive avoidant attachment
But never about the unresolved attachment.
At first I thought it’s because of my english skills. But at least the german wikipedia uses the same classification as the article above.
Is someone able to resolve this? Do I mix something up?
Andrew, Unresolved attachment is the adult version of Disorganized attachment in children. These children have experienced severe and chronic abuse, neglect and betrayal. They can be very angry, aggressive, depressed and unable to form meaningful relationships. As adults, they are not able to form and maintain healthy relationships, and often are angry, manipulative, substance abusers, and have antisocial behavior.
What attachment style would you be if you’re shy?
Usually shyness is more temperament than attachment style. However, someone can have social anxiety if they experience maltreatment and betrayal.
So would someone with social anxiety have maybe an avoidant attachment or a disorganized attachment?
How does avoidant attachment show up in interpersonal relationships (i.e. romantic, familial, professional, social)?
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I am anxious preoccupied myself. Was married to a person with disorganized attachment and BPD for a long time. I never really felt good about myself, and wanted someone else to fill that up for me, which is too much for someone else to be responsible for. After being with the same psychologist for 6 years, I learned to love myself enough to begin breaking the pattern of behavior, which in turn broke the relationship, as my partner perceived this as abandonment and distance. I begged to come back, and repeated the same patterns and pot stirring in a desperate attempt to save the marriage, but it was already gone because it was never really there in the first place. Just two sick people butting heads. I think I am finally letting go of this part of my life and learning to love myself. I am a great person and I have accomplished a lot, and I believe it.
I’m both insecure and avoidant. I just learned this after 50 years. I was married to a Secure person never any drama we were married for 20 years. I met a woman half my age age and has insecure attachment disorder. We are on a constant rollercoaster. When it good it’s amazing when it’s not it’s horrific.
Avoident Dismissive, right on the money.