We all have the ability to enjoy a happy and secure relationship.
Has that not been your experience? The research on adult attachment, including the categorization of “Attachment Styles” can explain the reasons for much of your suffering, and offer a method of healing that will transform your capacity to find — and keep — a loving partnership.
Attachment styles are initially imprinted in children during their early years, through the nature of the relationship with parents or primary caregivers. To put it simply: If a child perceives parents as available, responsive and present most of the time, a child will feel confident, secure, and loved; and will grow up to have a relatively easeful and secure attachment style.
Insecure attachment styles are imprinted in children if parents themselves display characteristics of insecure attachment, or, if circumstances of life, such as illness, death, addiction, depression, economic stress, or divorce, etc., present challenges that prevent appropriate bonding with the child.
When you are unaware of your attachment style as an adult, you will play the patterns of your childhood out unconsciously. You will choose partners who mirror your learned attachment style, even if it is unhealthy. It’s familiar.
Curious? Read about the qualities of the 3 Main Attachment Styles below, to start to have an understanding of your experience in adult intimacy.
Qualities of Anxious Attachment in adults:
- Feelings of separation, distress or anxiety.
- Monitoring your partners whereabouts at all times.
- Obsessive email and phone checking.
- Protesting any separation.
- Constantly searching for “the one.”
- Feelings of anxiety escalating into stalking-like behavior.
Qualities of Avoidant Attachment in adults:
- Extreme need for independence.
- Tendency to keep partners at arm’s length.
- Desire to be close to partner, but too much closeness makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Partners often complain that you are emotionally distant.
- When in relationship, you are often on alert for any signs of control or “invasion of your territory” by your partner.
Qualities of Secure Attachment in adults:
- Able to feel loved
- Able to enjoy activities separate from partner and come back together, feeling happy to see the other, without anxiety.
- Able to make mistakes or have a fight, and then go back and repair any unintentional hurt that occurred.
- Able to share and communicate needs and experience with ease.
Keep in mind that none of the insecure attachment styles are life sentences. You have the ability to grow, unlearn, re-learn, and repair your attachment style. Through hard work, consistency and commitment, you can earn secure attachment. Please remember:
Secure attachment is either God-Given or hard-won. Neither is better.
Attachment therapy provides a container to explore and heal your experience adult intimacy. It will help you to:
- Have a concrete understanding of your attachment style. This is invaluable, because, as I always say to my clients, “When we know better, we do better.”
- Be more discerning about potential partners’ attachment style and choose partners who offer a greater potential for a stable, satisfying relationship.
- Do the work necessary to earn secure attachment for yourself.
- *Based on the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth
Ready to find out more? Come to my upcoming workshop: Relationship Rescue Remedy. In this class, you will:
- Begin to discover you attachment style
- Look at how your attachment style impacts your relationships
- See what type of attachment style your partner has, or what style you attract
- Learn about ways to work on your creating secure robust attachment.