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What Are Attachment Styles? Which One Fits You?

attachement-styles

These days, labels are everywhere. It’s impossible to talk with friends or scroll through TikTok without hearing a new term or diagnosis. One of the buzzwords you’ve likely been hearing is “attachment styles.”

When you know your attachment style, your relationships—both romantic and otherwise—can get stronger and healthier. In this guide, we’ll talk about the four known types. And stick around until the end, where you’ll find a quiz to help determine once and for all which best describes you! 

So, What Are Attachment Styles? And Why Do They Matter?

Attachment styles, also known as ‘infant-parent attachment,’ describe the way you act in relationships, whether romantic or platonic. Your attachment style is based on what kind of connection you had with your primary caregiver when you were an infant.

Basically, the way you bond during the first relationship of your life—that is, with your parent or guardian—impacts your perception and behavior during every other relationship of your life.

At the end of the day, you just don’t have any control over how you were treated during your infancy. That’s why it’s important to know and understand your attachment style.

Having this knowledge allows you to understand why you think, feel, and act the way you do. More importantly, it empowers you to create positive change in every one of your relationships.

Types of Attachment Styles

Research has identified four distinct attachment patterns. Your pattern influences not just your behavior, but also things like your overall beliefs regarding relationships, and even your capacity for trust.

1. Anxious Attachment

If you find that you’re objectively “needy” in relationships, you may have an anxious attachment style. It’s normal to crave deep emotional intimacy, but you find it hard to hold yourself back because you worry people don’t actually like you.

This attachment style happens when a primary caregiver is inconsistent with their approach to parenting. They were sometimes engaged, but other times unavailable or focused elsewhere.

And when you go through this as an infant, it can cause you to have anxiety and uncertainty about getting your needs met in every future relationship.

Here are a few other common signs:

  • Even though you badly want to have tight-knit relationships, you just don’t feel like you can rely on your partner or close friends
  • You become fixated on your romantic partner, causing your relationship to take over your life
  • You feel afraid, panicked, or angry when you aren’t physically near your romantic partner
  • You have a fear of being alone, abandoned, or rejected
  • Your self-worth tends to hinge on how well you believe your partner is treating you
  • You find yourself using guilt or manipulation to spend more time with your loved ones

2. Avoidant Attachment

With the avoidant attachment style, also known as avoidant-dismissive, you’re essentially the opposite of someone with an anxious style.

You don’t long for intimacy—instead, you’re so skeptical of getting close to people that you often avoid emotional connections. You likely also do your best to make sure you don’t rely on other people, and they don’t rely on you.

The avoidant attachment style often originates with a caregiver who wasn’t available or flat out wasn’t interested in parenting. 

Because your needs were never met, you were forced to soothe yourself—and that involuntary independence impacts how you behave in relationships now.

If any of these sound familiar, you may have an avoidant attachment style:

  • You feel like you can take care of yourself and you don’t need anyone else
  • The more someone seems like they need you, the more you reject that person
  • Past partners or loved ones have called you distant, intolerant, or closed off
  • You’ve kept secrets from partners, such as cheating, to regain your feelings of independence
  • You actively seek out and prefer short, casual relationships instead of long-term connections

3. Fearful/Disorganized Attachment

Having a disorganized attachment style signals intense fear in your infancy.

The disorganized attachment style often stems from childhood neglect, abuse, or trauma. It’s especially common when a primary caregiver is dealing with unresolved trauma of their own.

Typically, a parent or guardian in this position serves as a source of both comfort and fear, which triggers confusion in babies—and this can cause ripples across your entire adult life.

These habits are usually present if you have a disorganized attachment style:

  • Relationships are unsettling for you, and you often bounce between loving or hating your partner
  • You tend to be insensitive, selfish, untrusting, or controlling, both towards loved ones and yourself
  • You’re prone to getting aggressive, abusing alcohol or drugs, or being generally antisocial when you’re stressed
  • People in your life have expressed their frustration about you not taking accountability for your actions
  • The idea of a secure relationship sounds nice, but at the same time, you feel unworthy or worry about being deeply hurt

4. Secure Attachment

The first thing to know about the secure attachment style is that it stands in its own category. The other three styles are “insecure,” meaning they’re characterized by struggles related to building and maintaining relationships.

A secure attachment style, on the other hand, means you’re comfortable with openly and honestly expressing your emotions. You’re able to depend on your partner (or friends) and vice versa.

If this sounds like you, your primary caregiver was almost definitely engaged with you from day one, while also able to manage their own stress. They helped you feel secure and safe, and gave you a strong foundation of trust for all your upcoming relationships.

Here are a few good indicators that you have a secure attachment style:

  • You feel like you can truly be yourself in relationships, and you know your own worth
  • While you have no trouble seeking support from your loved ones, you don’t get anxious when you’re apart
  • Similarly, you have no qualms about your partner or friends asking you for comfort
  • You look for healthy ways to work through conflicts in all of your relationships
  • When you deal with setbacks—in general or related to your relationships—you have the resiliency to bounce back

Find Out Your Attachment Style Now

After reading through the types of attachment styles, you might have an inkling as to which one best describes you. But there’s no need to guess—take the short quiz below to find out which one fits you best!

If you have any questions about your attachment style or how you can use this information to improve your relationships, schedule a free consultation with Holistic Mental Health Counseling. Our compassionate, certified therapists look forward to helping you step into the life you’ve always envisioned for yourself. 

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