Attachment Articles

What are the four attachment styles?
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Attachment issues can impact us starting in childhood and follow us into adulthood. There are four main types of attachments: secure, insecure, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. Depending on how your attachment to your parents was formed as a child, you will generally fall into one of those categories. Understanding how attachment works will further enlighten you as to how you relate to your relationships. You will have a better understanding of the dynamic between you and your partner and have a better chance at fostering healthy relationships in the future. Here you will find articles that will help you gain insight into what kind of attachments you have with the people in your life. You can learn how to form healthy connections with friends and family by gaining a better understanding of the power of attachment. It can also help you become healthier, stronger, and more independent.

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA

Attachment

Attachment is an integral part of how we connect to other human beings. As children, we learned to bond with the people that brought us into the world or adopted us. Whether it’s your biological parents or your adopted family, you form bonds with your guardians when you are young. If a child has an insecure attachment, they are likely to develop separation anxiety. It could manifest in not wanting to leave their mom or dad when going to school, camp, or any other activity where they would have to be alone. A child who is securely attached will say goodbye to their guardian without feeling afraid that they won’t come back. There’s also another form of attachment, which is called “avoidant.” As a child, this individual is most often neglected, and due to their childhood neglect, they do not form attachments properly. They are afraid to form attachments, and it appears that they are numb or lacking emotion surrounding relationships with others.

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Types of Attachment

Insecure Attachment

An insecure attachment is when a person does not feel at ease when connecting with others. As an adult, a person who is insecurely attached to their partner will ask for reassurance that the person stills loves them. They fear being abandoned and are scared that their partner might leave them. A person who is insecurely attached may have trouble staying in relationships because of the constant reassurance that they need from their partner. Their significant other may grow tired of reassuring them and start to feel that they aren’t trusted. If you have an insecure attachment style, it is important to seek therapy. You can discuss where the insecure attachment originated. Ask yourself: how can I work on forming secure attachments to people, where I feel stable?”

Avoidant Attachment

Those who live with avoidant attachment issues are not confident that they can form meaningful connections. A potential cause of this attachment style is that the person may have experienced childhood neglect. If you don’t feel loved by your parents or guardians during your formative years, it can lead to avoidant behaviors. Children who experiences neglect may continue to isolate themselves in adulthood. They may find it challenging to seek proper attachments. Therapy or counseling can help a person open up, allow himself or herself to be more vulnerable to others and form secure relationships.

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Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is the optimal situation, where a person feels confident in themselves and secure about their relationships with loved ones or romantic partners. If you are securely attached, you are not afraid of your partner cheating on you or leaving. Secure attachments form healthy, lasting relationships! 

In a dysfunctional relationship however, you may have a person with avoidant attachment issues and a person with insecure attachment issues. An anxious or insecurely attached person constantly wants reassurance from the avoidant person, and the avoidant person avoids them. That is not an optimal scenario. The optimal situation is that people work on themselves in therapy and come together to form a healthy relationship.

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Counseling

Online counseling is an excellent place to discuss your issues with attachment and healing. We all have scars from our past. Our earliest attachments can imprint trauma in our lives, and if you are carrying around traumatic experiences without dealing with them, you’re hurting. If you were a victim of childhood neglect, or have had several failed relationships, you may be exhibiting signs of insecure attachment. You might worry about how this will affect you in the future. Whatever the reason, online counselors are available through BetterHelp to help you learn how to better attach and support you in forming lasting relationships with other people.

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