We each have a level of both secure attachment and insecure attachment within us. Our attachment styles are formed by early experience and the way we are affected by our bonds with caregivers. The main attachment style that we exhibit as children largely stays the same throughout the lifespan, though behaviors may vary. This means our adult relationships are indeed affected by early attachment experiences, and we can benefit from learning about how we tend to display our attachment style.
We all have a level of security within us, even if it’s small. Indicators of internal security as it’s developed into adulthood may include the ability to display healthy autonomy in a relationship, extending a reasonable amount of trust to our friends and loved ones, and maintaining strong but non-rigid personal boundaries and convictions. Some people exhibit these healthier habits in most interpersonal relationships, but find themselves struggling romantically. This person would certainly have a level of secure attachment, despite having elements of insecure attachment patterns as well. An individual who regularly displays these types of characteristics in across all areas of life would be considered to be primarily securely attached. That being said, none of us is perfectly secure 100% of the time.
Just as with security, we each have a level of insecure attachment within us. Caregivers could not possibly have attended to every single need we ever had 24/7, and there’s no perfect parent. Therefore, identifying weak areas within ourselves can be beneficial to potential growth. Insecure attachment can be further broken down into categories.
Indicators of someone with a primarily anxious attachment may include doubling down or responding in emotional desperation when a relationship feels uncertain. An anxiously attached person may be hypersensitive to any perceived abandonment or rejection. Anxious attachment is often identified with behaviors of people-pleasing, lack of personal boundary, or low self-esteem.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, those with a primarily avoidant attachment style struggle to connect deeply in their relationships. Avoidant attached people may display a high level of independence and self-esteem. They tend to close themselves off when they sense someone trying to get too close, tending rather to invest in their personal growth or self-indulgent behaviors.
Disorganized attachment or anxious-avoidant attachment blends the insecure attachment styles together. These people will typically have a low view of both themselves and others, both reluctance and desire to get close in relationships. There is likely an overarching fear-feeling in these individuals that holds them back from connecting rather than a lack of desire. Disorganized attached individuals likely seem hot and cold at times and can be unpredictable in their behaviors.
Learning to acknowledge our areas of needed personal growth and the history behind these tendencies is important. To learn more in-depth about your attachment styles, we can help! Also, you can reference the book:
Clinton, T. E., & Sibcy, G. (2002). Attachments why you love, feel, and act The way you do: Unlock the secret to loving and lasting relationships. Thomas Nelson.