Attachment Articles

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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.

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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, and this influences our attachment style. 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. Attachment theory states that this could manifest in the child not wanting to leave their mom or dad when going to school, camp, or any other activity where they might 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, the individual with avoidant attachment style is most often neglected, and due to their childhood neglect, they do not form attachments properly, impacting their adult intimate relationships. Children with avoidant attachment are afraid to form attachments, and they can appear to be numb or lacking emotion surrounding relationships with others. Children with a secure attachment style are comfortable in their caregiver relationships, and confident enough to explore their lives independently.

Types of Attachment

Some questions people often ask about attachment include:

What are the 4 types of attachment?

What is attachment in a relationship?

What is an attachment person?

What is an example of attachment?

What is attachment trauma?

What age is attachment formed?

What is difference between love and attachment?

What causes attachment?

What is healthy attachment relationship?

Can you love without 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. People with insecure attachment fear being abandoned and are scared that their partner might leave them. A person who is insecurely attached may have trouble staying in romantic relationships because of the constant reassurance that they need from their partner. This partner other may grow tired of reassuring them and start to feel that they aren’t trusted, which might impact their mental health. If you have an insecure attachment style, it is important to seek therapy. You can discuss where the insecure attachment style originated. Ask yourself: how can I work on forming secure attachments to people where I feel stable?

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about attachment:

  • What is an example of ambivalent attachment?
  • What are the characteristics of ambivalent attachment?
  • How do you fix ambivalent attachment?
  • Is ambivalent attachment the same as avoidant attachment?
  • What parenting causes ambivalent attachment?
  • How do you love someone with ambivalent attachment?
  • What are the examples of ambivalence?
  • What does ambivalent attachment look like in a child?
  • What is ambivalent behavior?
  • What causes ambivalence?

Avoidant Attachment

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

Anxious Attachment

Anxious attachment, also called anxious ambivalent attachment, or anxious-preoccupied attachment, is one other common attachment style. In children, anxious ambivalent attachment can develop as a result of inconsistent responses by caregivers. If a child sometimes feels that their needs are met, and sometimes does not, this can lead to an anxious attachment. These children want the love and affection of their caregivers, but are not sure they can be trusted to provide it. In adults, anxious ambivalent attachment can affect both mental health and relationships. Adults with this attachment style can crave the emotional intimacy of a romantic relationship, but have a hard time trusting anyone enough to develop a relationship with them. This can cause difficulties with trust, boundaries, and excessive worry. 

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is the optimal attachment theory, 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! Securely attached children feel confident in their relationship with caregivers and trust that they are loved and taken care of.

Many adults have attachment patterns that are not secure. These fall under many categories, and can be called insecure ambivalent attachment, anxious preoccupied attachment style, or anxious ambivalent attachment, among other names. People with insecure attachment behaviors or anxious attachment styles can sometimes have difficulties forming and maintaining healthy relationships. 

In a dysfunctional relationship, there may be one 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 might avoid talking about or showing emotion. That is not an optimal scenario for anyone's mental health. The optimal situation is that people work on themselves in therapy and come together to form a healthy relationship.

Whether you have a secure attachment, anxious ambivalent attachment, or avoidant anxious attachment, you deserve to feel comfortable and confident in your relationships, whether they are friend, family, or romantic. According to attachment theory, it is possible for anyone to change their attachment style or move into a secure attachment style.

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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