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How To Fix an Attachment Style …

I felt every single one of the feelings below and it sucks! Typically strong, confident and secure, I felt weak, unwanted & not good enough

Attachment Theory EXPLAINED!

What Is Attachment Theory?

Ever found yourself browsing through psychology topics or even just scrolling through your social media feeds and come across the term ‘attachment theory’? You might be wondering, “What on earth is that?” Well, attachment theory is a concept in developmental psychology that emphasises the crucial bond between a child and their caregiver.

Think of it like this: if the caregiver doesn’t respond appropriately to the child’s needs, it’s like trying to grow a plant without enough sunlight. The bond may not develop as it should, and this can have effects that last throughout life. It’s pretty important stuff!

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the world of attachment theory. We’ll explore what it is, its roots, and the various attachment styles and behaviours that often show up in our relationships. It’s like embarking on an exciting journey to understand ourselves better, don’t you think?

Attachment Theory

Have you ever heard of the attachment theory? It’s an interesting concept that was brought to life by a psychologist named John Bowlby. He wanted to shed some light on the emotional connection that forms between babies and their caregivers. This bond is so crucial, that it can even give us insights into our behaviour in romantic relationships as we age. Isn’t it fascinating how our early interactions can shape our future love lives?

Attachment theory, in its essence, is all about the idea that from the moment we’re born, we have this deep-rooted instinct and desire to create a strong emotional connection with our caregiver. If our caregiver responds to us in a nurturing and attentive way, this bond can flourish and become even stronger. It’s like planting a seed – if it gets enough sunlight and water, it will grow into a beautiful flower.

But, if the caregiver doesn’t respond appropriately, this bond might not form at all or could even be harmed. This situation can leave a lasting impact that extends into adulthood. It’s during the first six months of a child’s life that this crucial bond between them and their caregiver begins to take shape.

Importance of Attachment Theory

Grasping the concept of attachment theory can be a real game-changer. It’s like having a secret window into why we behave the way we do throughout our lives. The bond we form with our caregivers in those early years can set the stage for how confident or apprehensive we become.

Imagine kids who don’t get the attention they need from their caregivers. As they grow up, they might struggle with low self-esteem, fear of getting close to others, or even become overly attached to people. And it doesn’t stop there – this early bonding experience can also influence how well we manage our emotions as adults.

So you see, understanding attachment theory isn’t just about knowing some psychological jargon – it’s about understanding ourselves and others better!

History of Attachment Theory

Back in 1938, a psychologist named John Bowlby was dedicating his time to helping children at a Child Guidance Clinic in London. As he worked with these kids, who were dealing with various emotional challenges, he started to ponder about the unique bond they shared with their mothers. He wondered how this maternal connection influenced their social skills, cognitive growth and emotional well-being.

This is where the roots of attachment theory took shape. The idea was put forward that attachment can be viewed through an evolutionary lens, as it’s the caregiver who offers a sense of safety and security to a child, particularly during infancy. That’s why when a baby comes into this world, they instinctively yearn for a close bond. It’s all about survival, you see?

Attachment Styles

John Bowlby, a renowned name in attachment theory, introduced the concept of attachment styles. These styles reflect our patterns of thinking and behaviour in relationships. Interestingly, they can originate from the bond and attachment patterns we develop as infants.

There are four distinct attachment styles. Let’s dive in to understand each one better.

Secure Attachment

Let’s talk about the first pattern of attachment, which is secure attachment. This one is generally seen as the healthiest among the four types of attachments. It usually results in adults who are well-adjusted and have strong connections with their caregivers during those crucial six months. If you’re securely attached, it means you have a positive view of yourself and also see others around you in a positive light.

This implies that they possess, or at one point possessed, a fundamental sense of self-worth and anticipated that others would accept them and respond to their needs. A person with a secure attachment style is typically open to conversations and comfortable sharing their feelings.

As children, those with this type of attachment likely experienced a strong connection with their caregiver. This bond was formed because the caregiver effectively met their emotional needs, providing them with the security to grow and safely explore the world around them.

Avoidant Attachment

Let’s chat about the second attachment style, known as avoidant attachment. Sometimes, in adults, it’s also called a dismissive attachment style. People with this style usually think highly of themselves but have a less positive view of others.

If you find yourself identifying with this avoidant or dismissive attachment style, you might notice that you tend to steer clear of close relationships and intimacy. You might prefer to keep your independence intact instead. Often, folks with this style see others as not quite trustworthy and don’t feel upset or distressed about their relationships.

Remember when you were a kid and your caregiver was your haven? Well, for some children, this isn’t the case. They don’t show much distress or emotion when they’re separated from their caretaker. This usually happens because their emotional needs were overlooked during infancy, especially in those critical first six months. As a result, that essential emotional bond doesn’t develop as it should.

Anxious Ambivalent Attachment

Next up, let’s talk about the anxious ambivalent attachment type. In adult terms, we often call this a preoccupied attachment type. Now, these folks tend to have a low self-image but hold others in high regard. So essentially, even though they might struggle with feelings of unworthiness, they still see the good in other people. It’s quite an interesting dynamic, isn’t it?

Due to this, they usually look for self-acceptance by gaining approval and validation from the relationships they have with their significant others or partners.

Ever noticed how a child’s relationship with their caretaker can shape their behaviour as they grow up? This is all about attachment styles. An anxious ambivalent attachment style, for instance, can develop if the caretaker’s response to the child’s needs is inconsistent. This inconsistency can make a child feel insecure and unsure, often leading them to become clingy or fearful as they grow older. And guess what? These patterns don’t just disappear; they often show up in romantic relationships too!

Disorganised Attachment

Lastly, let’s talk about the disorganised attachment style, sometimes known as the fearful avoidant attachment style. If you identify with this, you might find yourself having a negative view of yourself and others around you. You might be scared of getting too close to someone, but at the same time, fear being alone.

In relationships, it’s common for adults with this attachment style to engage in casual relationships or flings to avoid getting too serious. When we look at children with disorganised attachments, they often seem untrusting and socially withdrawn.

They may also appear conflicted or disoriented – hence the name “disorganised”. For instance, if they’re separated from their caregiver, they might initially run towards them only to change their mind and run away.

We must offer proper support for children dealing with disorganized attachment so that these patterns don’t continue into adulthood. It’s never easy dealing with these feelings but remember – it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

How can you fix an anxious attachment style?

When you start to spot the tell-tale signs of an anxious attachment style, it’s possible to flip that negative experience into a positive one. This is often referred to as a corrective emotional experience. How can you do this? It starts with acknowledging the pain from your past experiences and replacing them with positive thoughts.

Think about changing your old thought patterns and adopting new ones that focus on positivity. Overcoming insecure attachments is all about embracing these positive emotions.

For instance, if you’ve ever felt undeserving of love from others, it’s time for a change in perspective. Start by recalling moments when you felt loved not just by others but also by yourself – because self-love is equally important!

Practice learning from others with a secure attachment

Building connections with people who have a secure attachment style can be a real eye-opener. It can show you the importance of meeting the needs of both partners in a relationship.

What can you learn from those with a secure attachment? Well, they’ll show you how crucial it is to have emotional closeness, calmness and stability in your relationships. They’ll help you realise that while past experiences might be set in stone, present ones are entirely within your control to change.

They will also teach you the importance of expressing your emotional needs and desires, even if there’s a risk of letting others down. And let’s not forget about setting boundaries – learning to say “no” is an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships!

Build your self-esteem and, in turn, how to express your needs and emotions authentically

If you’re someone who often finds themselves worrying excessively about their partner leaving them, or feeling a deep-seated fear of rejection, you might have an anxious attachment style. This can often be linked to low self-esteem and can manifest in various ways such as needing constant reassurance about your worthiness or attractiveness.

But here’s the thing – it’s okay to be open about your emotions and needs. Acknowledging them is a crucial step towards building your self-esteem. And remember, not everyone will be able to meet all of these needs – and that’s perfectly fine too.

So where does self-esteem come from? It could spring from focusing on the positive aspects of yourself, expanding your knowledge base or simply accepting yourself – mind and body – without feeling the need for change. It also involves recognising your skills and experiences without comparing them with others.

With high self-esteem comes less worry about rejection and less need for constant reassurance. Understanding that you cannot control other people’s actions nor are they a reflection of who you are is key in maintaining high self-esteem and shifting away from an anxious attachment style.

Learn to not react by using self-regulation and mindfulness

Mindfulness, in essence, is about living in the now. It’s about tuning into your surroundings and experiencing what’s happening right this second. Recognising potential triggers is the first stride towards not reacting impulsively.

Understanding that certain situations are merely triggers and not massive threats can be a game-changer when it comes to managing an anxious attachment style. Your attachment style plays a big role in how you handle emotions, and learning to control these emotions – or self-regulation as it’s known – coupled with mindfulness, can be a powerful tool for overcoming anxious attachments.

Practising self-regulation involves:

– Managing your emotions and the actions they trigger

– Mastering the art of soothing yourself

– Avoiding extreme emotional outbursts and reactions in various situations

– Dealing with disagreements without resorting to negative feelings like aggression

Self-regulation can be a game-changer in resolving relationship conflicts and boosting your confidence. Plus, mindfulness can help you stay grounded in the present moment, fostering deeper emotional bonds in your relationships.

Therapy

Therapy can be an important step if a person feels their anxious attachment style is affecting their relationships. It can help:

  • show what a secure, healthy relationship looks like

  • help recognize anxious attachment behaviour patterns

  • help recognize signs of anxious attachment styles

  • explore ways to form healthy and secure bonds with others

Psychotherapy could help people understand what past issues influence or dictate their current emotions and attachment style.

Psychotherapy can include:

Cognitive behavioural therapy: This type of therapy can focus on how thoughts can influence beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour.

Emotionally focused therapy: This therapy looks at emotion and emotional regulation.

Interpersonal therapy: This approach explores fresh methods to articulate emotions and feelings, steering negative ones in a constructive direction.

In addition to therapy, other strategies can assist in altering an anxious attachment style:

– Acknowledging the dual nature of a relationship and understanding how one’s behaviour might impact the other person.

– Maintaining an emotions journal or diary, where you can note down instances when you may feel unloved.

– Cultivating self-awareness about the types of people or partners present in your life, especially those who might contribute to insecure attachments.

What happens when you change your attachment style?

Ever felt like you’re too clingy? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that arguments seem to be a recurring theme in your relationships. Maybe you’ve even struggled with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If this sounds familiar, it could be that you have an anxious attachment style.

On the other hand, those with secure attachment styles often enjoy a host of benefits. They’re generally less likely to grapple with depression or anxiety, they tend to be healthier both physically and mentally, and their relationships are usually more satisfying and fulfilling.

But here’s the good news – change is possible! With determination, support from your loved ones, community backing and professional guidance, it’s entirely possible for someone with an anxious attachment style to develop healthy, secure attachments. So don’t lose hope – better days are definitely on the horizon!

Summary

If you’re someone who tends to feel insecure and fears being abandoned, these feelings likely took root during your childhood. This can often show up in your relationships, where you might feel undeserving of love or find yourself prioritising a partner’s needs over your own.

But remember, it’s possible to navigate through this anxious attachment style. With the right support and guidance, you can make significant strides towards overcoming it. This could involve therapy sessions, learning how to manage your emotions better or even just becoming more aware of the early signs of anxious attachment before they escalate into larger issues.

Remember, every step forward is a victory in itself!

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