Sonya Thomas lcsw

Attachment 101 – Part 3

How we attached as children has an impact on how we navigate our adult relationships.  How so?

Secure Attachment = Secure Personality:  People who formed secure attachments in childhood often have secure attachment patterns in adulthood. They tend to have a strong sense of self and desire close associations with others. They basically have a positive view of themselves, their partners and their relationships. Their lives are balanced; they are both secure in their independence and in their close relationships.

Avoidant Attachment = Dismissive Personality:  Those who had avoidant attachments in childhood are at risk of having dismissive attachment patterns as adults. These people tend to be loners, cerebral and suppress their feelings. Their typical response to conflict and stressful situations is to avoid them by distancing themselves. Life can be unbalanced in that the avoidantly attached/dismissive adult can be primarily inward, isolated, and emotionally removed from themselves and others.

Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment = Preoccupied Personality:  Children who have an ambivalent/anxious attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As adults, they are self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated fears of rejection lead to jealousy and an inability to feel secure in their partnerships. This can show up as clingy, overly dependent behavior with their partner. Life can be unbalanced in that the ambivalent/anxious, preoccupied adult can act out their insecurity in ways that lead to emotional desperation in their relationships.

Disorganized Attachment = Fearful-Avoidant Personality:  Those who have a disorganized attachment style may act in ways that do not make sense, demonstrating unpredictable, confusing or erratic behaviors in their relationships.  Individuals with disorganized attachment often can’t make sense of their experiences, didn’t learn how to self-soothe, may have trouble socially or struggle in using others to co-regulate their emotions. It may be difficult for them to open up to others or to seek out help. They often have difficulty trusting people, as they were unable to trust those they relied on for safety growing up.  Because they struggle with poor social or emotional regulation skills, they may find it difficult to form and sustain solid relationships. They often have difficulty managing stress and may even demonstrate hostile or aggressive behaviors. Because of their negative early life experiences, they may see the world as an unsafe place.

To see what your attachment pattern is, take the following quiz .

It can be pretty intimidating and disheartening to realize that we are not securely attached.  The good news for those of us who were not raised in environments in which secure attachment was nurtured is that there is such a thing as earned-secure attachment.  We will look at what this is in our next post.  Until then, peace.

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