Everything You Need to Know About Attachment Theory

Everything You Need to Know About Attachment Theory

If you are suffering from relationship problems, depression and anxiety, there is a good chance that learning about "attachment theory" can help you find answers to your questions and discover effective coping techniques. This concept has helped millions of people worldwide in detecting the root causes of their issues and addressing it in a more powerful way.

What is Attachment Theory?

It is a psychological model developed in the 1960s by the renowned British Scientist, John Bowbly and was later on expanded by Mary Ainsworth. To simply put, this theory states that the ability of a person to create emotional and physical attachment with another individual forms a feeling of security and stability that is vital for continual growth and development as a person.

Bowbly's studies conclude that the ways by which we form attachments with the people around us is highly dependent on our early experiences as a child. According to this theory, a child who forms a strong bond with at least one caregiver, usually a parent, is more likely to have a much-needed sense of emotional security which is crucial for an individual's blossoming as an adult.

What Are The Different Attachment Styles And How Are They Developed?

  1. Secure Attachment - People who have this attachment style have been able to form strong relationships with a parent or a caregiver during their early years. This manifests in adulthood by the individual being able to maintain relatively healthy relationships.

  2. Secure attachment makes you feel like you miss a person that you are attached to when they are away, you feel relieved and excited when they are back but nevertheless you have the self-adequacy to let them move freely on their own without getting upset or insecure.

  3. Anxious Attachment - The development of this attachment style is caused by the early caregiver's inconsistency when attending to the child. It could be that sometimes they are emotionally unavailable, preoccupied with other tasks, or were just not paying attention. When this happens frequently, the tendency of a child is to cling to their attachment figure in order to satisfy their craving for attention and nurturing. When this craving is not met, it creates anxiety, confusion, and distrust which will be carried on to adulthood.

  4. When relating to other people, adults with this attachment style can be described as "clingy" or needing more validation and affirmation from their object of attachment in order feel adequately secure with themselves and the relationship. Anxious attachment makes you worry about many things; you constantly question the quality of your relationships through the words and actions of the people around you and it can get hard to feel satisfied or content relationship-wise.

  5. Dismissive Avoidant Attachment - Similar to anxious attachment, people that are dismissive-avoidant have experienced negligent caregivers as a child. This means that they have observed their caregivers to have routinely ignored their needs and demands for attention. They may have even been repeatedly left crying for a long while. Instead of depending on their caregivers to meet their needs, they have gradually developed indifference towards them and learned to be more self-dependent instead.

  6. Dismissive-avoidant adults often live by the mentality that they are good enough and that they do not need help or care from others. They find that needing others is a weakness and they openly declare how good and self-sufficient they think they are. It might appear that this is of their own choosing, to be literally dismissive and avoidant, but the reality is, they have developed this thinking and behavior as a defense mechanism for not having their needs met early on as a child

    Why You Should Know Your Attachment Style and How it Can Improve Your Relationships

    Attachment theory research suggests that some of the mental health problems that people deal with today are somewhat associated to their childhood and the attachment style that they have developed over the years

    It might not appear on surface that the issue is related to how your caregiver attended to you when you were young, but the truth is, this is the starting point from which you can fully evaluate and understand the root of your depression and anxieties as a grown adult, especially in relation to interpersonal relationships.

    The importance of knowing your attachment style is not just limited to identifying what causes your behaviors in terms of relationships because more importantly, it becomes your guide or compass in transforming your current relationships and even repair the ones that previously ended if possible through the help of therapy.

    “We do as we have been done by.”

    John Bowlby

    From Problematic to Healthy: Transforming Your Attachment Style Through Therapy

    Therapy has successfully helped millions of people globally in overcoming their psychological issues. With the abundance of highly-competent mental health companies that offer affordable therapy services, there is no need for you to journey to this change all by yourself. Countless qualified and compassionate therapists are very much willing to help you achieve healthier relationships and attain a greater version of yourself by improving your attachment style.

    No matter how serious your attachment problems are, there are many revolutionary and life-changing psychological and emotional development techniques that can powerfully free you of your attachment issues when you seek help from a professional therapist. Make use of therapy as your life tool for a better and more positive life and it will be one of the best investments you will ever make!

Original Post by Yolanda Gonzalez, MS, LMHC, PsyD