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How to Identify and Understand Your Attachment Style for Healthier Relationships

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Have you ever wondered what makes people handle relationships so differently? You might start a friendship or romantic relationship and look forward to every text from that new person. Others grow more distant as they get closer to people, and it all depends on that person’s attachment style.

These styles can seem complicated at first, but you’re about to learn more about yourself than ever before. Read this guide to discover how to understand your attachment style in relationships so you can find more fulfillment in your connections to friends and loved ones.

1. What Is an Attachment Style?

Understanding how you interact with people is the first step in identifying your attachment style. Your style is how you relate to others. It’s an emotional response in both romantic and platonic relationships that can stem from things you experienced during your childhood development.

2. What Are the Attachment Styles?

There are four types of attachment styles:

  • Anxious
  • Secure
  • Avoidant
  • Disorganized

These styles can affect people the moment they meet a new person. You might have the urge to flee while shaking someone’s hand or worry about what that person thinks of you.

Those thoughts might feel unavoidable if you’ve dealt with them your entire life. They may even discourage you from meeting new people and force you to isolate yourself even when you crave close friendships. The good news is, the discouraging thoughts come from the roots of your attachment style; understanding where that style came from can help you conquer your insecurities.

3. How Do These Styles Form?

Attachment styles have a few different sources. If you’re always worried about your friend or partner leaving you because you fear you’re not good enough, those thoughts would be an example of anxious attachment. It may stem from a general anxiety disorder (GAD) you inherited from your parents, directly influencing how you bond with others.

You can also identify your attachment style by thinking about your first significant relationship. What were the most important events that happened while you were with that person, and how did the relationship end? If you were reluctant to open your heart, felt uncomfortable with physical closeness, or frequently refused help and support, you might have an avoidant attachment style. An avoidant attachment style often results from a childhood where parents or caregivers were emotionally unavailable or unresponsive.

If there is inconsistency in your relationships, with many emotional ups and downs, and simultaneous fear of intimacy and abandonment, you may have a disorganized attachment style. Disorganized attachment can grow out of unpredictable and inconsistent behavior from caregivers during childhood.

4. How Do You Identify Attachment Styles?

So what is your attachment style? Figuring that out could save you from significant pain or even danger later in life. People who form avoidant attachments are more likely to suffer from sexual violence. Those with anxious or disorganized attachment might put up with emotional manipulation or abuse to stay in a relationship.

Approach your introspective journey by considering which strengths you contribute to relationships, like always being ready for deeply heartfelt discussions or conversations about trauma. Being open to those things could indicate that you’re anxious to be brutally honest because you’re fearful of your partner leaving or have disorganized emotions left from past relationships.

If you have more relationship strengths than weaknesses, you may form secure attachments. This is a healthy type of attachment that fosters bonds of equal standing and consistent communication in relationships. Think about making secure attachment your goal if you have one of the other three attachment styles. It is possible to change one’s attachment style, though many will benefit from the guidance of a therapist or counselor.

5. How Can You Change Your Attachment Style?

You don’t have to feel stuck with an unhealthy attachment style. Your future is full of rewarding relationships if you give yourself time to work on it. After learning about your attachment style, start working on your self-esteem.

Low self-esteem creates room for anxious thoughts, fear of relationships, and abuse from partners or friends. Utilize positive and supportive self-talk any time you need help. Start your day by stating your strengths and reflecting on what makes you remarkable. You’ll become more confident in yourself and enjoy healthier relationships as you learn to identify and avoid negativity in your everyday interactions.

Dive Into Your Personal Development

Now that you know how to understand your attachment style in relationships consider what you want for your future. Do you have fulfilling secure relationships with loved ones right now, or do one of the other three attachment styles sound more like what you’ve experienced with others? Work on your self-development to change whatever isn’t working for your mental health, and you’ll feel more confident as future relationships start to bloom.

Want to read Attached. and The Attachment Theory Workbook?
Check out the links above!

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About the Author: Ginger Abbot is a lifestyle and learning writer who talks about mental health, career development, and personal growth. Read more of her work on Classrooms, where she serves as Editor and contributing writer.

Photo by Kristina Litvjak on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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