Attachment theory was first developed by psychologist John Bowlby and Mary Ainswort. The research focused on emotional bonds formed between individuals — particularly infants and their caregivers, this would ideally shape the individuals into the people they are to connect with others throughout their lives. The attachment styles are categorized into three buckets and offer insight into the emotional need, communication patterns, and relationship dynamics of the individual.
- Secure Attachment
- Avoidant-Dismissive Attachment
- Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment
Individuals who have a secure attachment style usually experienced responsive and consistent caregiving during their childhood. They’ve come to understand that their needs are met through their caregivers and their caregivers are sources of support and comfort.
As a result they’re comfortable with intimacy and capable of expressing their emotions openly, and establish healthy boundaries when in relationships. They’re empathetic, resilient, and posses high levels of self-esteem.
Individuals who have an Anxious-Preoccupied attachment style often experience heightened anxiety in their relationships. This is due to inconsistent caregiving and neglect during childhood.
As a result they worry about the feelings of their partner and intentions. They often seek reassurance and validation. They struggle with self doubt and a sense of abandonment. They can be attentive and loving, but their anxiety sometimes causes emotional volatility.
Individuals who have an Avoidant-Dismissive attachment style usually experienced consistent neglect for emotions and unresponsive empathy towards their emotions from their caregivers.
As a result, they downplay the importance of emotional closeness, and usually prioritize indepence and self-sufficiency. They may be uncomfortable in excessive intimacy, and struggle with expressing emotions. They value personal space, and might unintentionally push others away. It’s often challenging for them to commit to deeper emotional connections.
Understanding your attachment Style
It’s important to note that these attachment styles are not fixed or rigid traits. They can evolve over time, through new experiences and relationships. Having an understanding of your attachment style can contribute to effective and compassionate interactions while fostering healthier connections.