There are 4 different types that you may have, some good and some bad.
We will explore all 4 to see which one you classify with and if you realize that your adult life is off balance due to your attachment style, we will also explore how you can change it.
What an attachment style is, an example of the attachment, and the tendencies you may have developed as an adult in each respective attachment category.
The 4 attachment styles are as follows:
- Secure Attachment
- Anxious Ambivalent Attachment
- Anxious/ Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment
- Disorganized/ Disoriented Attachment
I will break each one down into easy to understand terms later on in this article –
Attachment Theory in the world of psychology is an ever-changing study, due to differences in culture, and other factors such as your environment, etc. However, studies are able to pinpoint that the forms of attachments that you develop during infancy and early childhood are pretty common, and they’re also the key components of your social and emotional development well into adulthood.
I will explain each theory and give some examples, with this you can pretty much choose what kind of attachment style you were exposed to growing up and work on it from its root, which is what Attitude On Ten is all about.
Here we go!
Having your needs met entirely and receiving the attention that you needed as an infant and child defines Secure Attachments. Feeling secure and having the knowledge that one or both parents (guardian/caretaker) were readily available to cater to your basic needs, would be the basis of forming an early secure attachment.
If you grew up in a household where you were able to receive at the very least, one of your parents’ undivided attention from birth, and into your early childhood years, then more than likely you have a root of secure attachment.
As an adult: You are pretty well rounded when it comes to buiding relationships. You have high regards for your self worth which instills a sense of adventure and risk taking in life when trying new things and going for what you want head on. You have a good level of overall communication skills.
Anxious Ambivalent Attachment
The definition of ambivalent shines a light on this form of attachment:
“Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.”
In this case, as a child, you may have been confused about your parent’s (guardian/caregiver) role because they lacked consistency in providing the necessary attention and care to form a secure attachment. One day you may have felt cared for, and the next a blur with basic needs not met. As a child, the fear of abandonment is present with this form of attachment.
If you grew up in a household where you witnessed constant fighting and arguing, then the next day everything seemed fine; very confusing and unbalanced for a young brain to process (this theory is closely correlated with experiencing any form of child abuse in the household.)
Maybe one day your parent (guardian/caretaker) was very affectionate and attentive, then the next they were standoffish and easily annoyed by you; you may have developed Anxious Ambivalent Attachments.
As an Adult: You may seek constant validation in relationships and find it difficult to trust people to persistent (does he or she really love me? Will this really last?). You may experience outbursts of emotional expressions that you later regret (impulsivity), and you tend to over analyze almost everything. Overthinking and feeling fear of losing something or someone, will have you feeling defenseless or often defensive during interactions.
Anxious/ Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment
In this case, as an infant and child, your needs were not met. Experiencing constant rejection for your emotional and basic needs leads to Anxious/ Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment.
A crying baby is a way of communication and a “cry for attention,” it warrants the parents (guardian/caretaker) response, when the cue is ignored or rejected time and time again, it sends a dismissive message to the infant. It’s what leads to the anxiousness, because though the basic needs are not met, they are naturally still a necessary process to form secure attachment. Furthermore, an infant becomes dismissive of natural tendencies to become attached to a parent (guardian/caretaker) because they are constantly rejected.
As an Adult: You may compensate for the loss of attention and constant rejection by providing this for yourself. You have become overly independent and may even be referred to a a workaholic or plain emotionally unavailable. You find it hard to show deep emotion toward any one individual and would rather save yourself the frustration or possible rejection by keeping to yourself. The relationships you have only scratch the surface, you don’t consider much closeness.
Disorganized/ Disoriented Attachment
This form of attachment can be directly linked to the Anxious Ambivalent and Anxious/ Dismissive- Avoidant Attachment Theories, in the sense that this form of attachment can not draw a definitive conclusion of what causes it, only that it can be due to a variety of neglectful behavior on the part of the parent (guardian/caregiver) that leads the child to fear based characteristics.
This form of attachment would lead to a mix of behavior from the child, from trying to get attention at times, to trying to avoid the parent (guardian/caretaker) all together. This attachment is very inconclusive. However studies show that a large sum of parents with children in this classification of attachment have suffered some form of trauma and are depressed (the parent that is).
If you grew up in a home where a parent (guardian/caregiver) had a substance abuse problem, suffered a traumatic loss, was battling mental health issues, or anything of that nature, then they weren’t readily equipped to provide the necessary tools for you to gain a secure attachment. With this environment in the home, your attachment style may be well between the last two, plus some added characteristics.
As an Adult: You carry characteristics form the last two attachments, tied to resistance. So, at times you may be fearful of relationships, then at other times you feel you want them. Sometimes you feel emotionally stable and ready to independently take the world on, then there are times where you question your abilities and feel you need others due to emotional instability and deep rooted fear.
What you can do to change your style of attachment
You must first become acutely aware of it. You can take a trip into your family history by simply asking your elders or trying to recollect your youngest childhood years, well into your teenage years, and there is a high chance that your treatment during your infant years wasn’t too far off.
Awareness alone will begin to form changes in your perspective when it comes to your attachment style as an adult, but you must do what I call the “Deep Impact Mind Work” in order to get to the root beliefs that were programmed into your mind during the progression of your attachment style.
That includes performing daily exercises that will create new neural activity that will then create new beliefs in your subconscious mind; creating new experiences in your conscious reality.
I know that sounds super complicated, but the point I want you to walk away with is that changing your style of attachment is not impossible, just like any long sustaining change that you may be trying to make in your life, it will take some time and effort.
That which took time to learn and build unintentionally, will also take time to unlearn and rebuild intentionally.
Whether it was good or bad for you does not matter, your biological responses just are. Now as an adult, you can sway your results by becoming educated about your biological response system, and purposely create new experiences.
Does that resonate with you at all?
You can take your time to learn about yourself on a deeper level and get to the root of why you live the life that you do today, and only then can you really change it.
I hope that the information herein has helped set you in the direction of enriching your relationships by altering possible toxic attachment styles that were once out of your direct control.
Now that you know, you can begin to make the changes that you really want.
If you found this post helpful please share and feel free to leave comments, spark a conversation, share your experience.
Overall, remember to always be the best version of yourself and keep your Attitude on Ten!
I truly do appreciate you.