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Attachment styles

You must have seen different people having different bonds with different people. There are some people very aloof and unattached in their relationships, while others are clingy and need constant validation. Some of them handle their bonds in a healthy way, while some end up making a fool of themselves by overreacting/ underreacting to situations. This is what we call attachment styles.

Different people have different attachment styles and this is what makes them a healthy or a toxic being. During early childhood, these attachment styles are centred on how children and parents interact. In adulthood, attachment styles are used to describe patterns of attachment in romantic relationships. Of course, experiences that occur between infancy and adulthood can also impact and shape our relationships. However, the infant brain is so profoundly influenced by the attachment bond, understanding your attachment style can offer vital clues as to why you may be having problems in your adult relationships. Perhaps you behave in puzzling or self-destructive ways when you’re in a close relationship? Maybe you repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over? Or maybe you struggle to form meaningful connections in the first place?

Also read: Is it love or emotional dependency?

Whatever your specific relationship problems, it’s important to know that your brain remains capable of change throughout life. By identifying your attachment style, you can learn to challenge your insecurities, develop a more securely attached way of relating to others, and build stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships.

Attachment style includes the way we respond emotionally to others as well as our behaviours and interactions with them.

We can group attachment styles into four categories:

1. Secure: Secure attachment style refers to the ability to form secure, loving relationships with others. A securely attached person can trust others and be trusted, love and accept love, and get close to others with relative ease. They're not afraid of intimacy, nor do they feel panicked when their partners need time or space away from them. They're able to depend on others without becoming totally dependent. About 56% of adults have a secure attachment type.

2. Anxious attachment: Anxious attachment style is a form of insecure attachment style marked by a deep fear of abandonment. Anxiously attached people tend to be very insecure about their relationships, often worrying that their partner will leave them and thus always hungry for validation. Anxious attachment is associated with "neediness" or clingy behaviour, such as getting very anxious when your partner doesn't text back fast enough and constantly feeling like your partner doesn't care enough about you.

Anxious attachment is also known as anxious-preoccupied attachment, and it generally aligns with the anxious-ambivalent attachment style or anxious-resistant attachment style observed among children. Some 19% of adults have the anxious attachment type.

3. Avoidant attachment: Avoidant attachment style is a form of insecure attachment style marked by a fear of intimacy. People with avoidant attachment style tend to have trouble getting close to others or trusting others in relationships, and relationships can make them feel suffocated. They typically maintain some distance from their partners or are largely emotionally unavailable in their relationships, preferring to be independent and rely on themselves.

Avoidant attachment is also known as dismissive-avoidant attachment, and it generally aligns with the anxious-avoidant attachment style observed among children. Some 25% of adults have the avoidant attachment type.

4. Fearful-avoidant attachment: Fearful-avoidant attachment style is a combination of both the anxious and avoidant attachment styles. People with fearful-avoidant attachment both desperately crave affection and want to avoid it at all costs. They're reluctant to develop a close romantic relationship, yet at the same time, they have a dire need to feel loved by others. Fearful-avoidant attachment is also known as disorganized attachment, and it's relatively rare and not well-researched. But we do know it's associated with significant psychological and relational risks, including heightened sexual behaviour, an increased risk for violence in their relationships, and difficulty regulating emotions in general.

You might also like: Setting Healthy Boundaries

Caregivers are not the only ones who shape your attachment style; however, People's attachment styles may also be influenced by other significant relationships throughout their lives. A person can have had a secure attachment during childhood, however, betrayals and infidelity in adulthood can lead to an insecure attachment. To read more about secure attachement style, click here.

How a person behaves with others, has nothing to do with them, but with the person itself.
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