What is My Attachment Style?

Learn Where You Fall in the Four Types of Attachment Styles.



What is My Attachment Style? - Learn Where You Fall in the Four Types of Attachment Styles

How are your relationships going? More importantly, how do you feel, both in and about them? A big part of what influences the feelings, successes, and problems associated with your relationships is your attachment style. 

If you’ve ever wondered why you feel a certain way in all of your relationships, no matter the type of relationship or person you’re with, it might be time to recognize, address, and sort out your attachment style. Read on to learn how to do just that!



Why It Matters

There are four different attachment styles, so knowing what your attachment style is incredibly important. It can help you to understand why you feel and act the way you do in your relationships, and how to ensure they succeed - or, if they’re detrimental to your wellbeing, end. 

It can also help you to reckon with your familial relationships, why they are the way they are, and how they may be influencing your current or new relationships, both platonic and romantic ones.

At the end of the day, knowing your attachment style means that you know more about yourself, which can help you to understand and deal with your feelings in a healthier way. Recognizing why you feel the way you do can allow you to work to alter the way you think and process the way other people relate to you so that you can have more functional relationships. 


Four Types of Attachment Styles

There are four types of attachment styles. Firstly, you have secure attachment - that’s the style of attachment that is healthy and stable. Then, you have the three insecure attachment styles: avoidant, anxious, and disorganized. These are three attachment styles that can cause a lot of challenges in your relationships.

If you’re not quite sure what your attachment patterns or styles are right now, don’t worry. Down below, I’ll go through each of them and help you to identify, and if necessary, change, the one you possess. 


Secure Attachment Style

A secure adult attachment style is defined by the ability to exist comfortably and happily in long-term adult relationships of all kinds. Securely attached adults tend to love their life and their relationships. 

Attachment security usually begins in childhood through your relationship with your primary caregivers, or attachment figures. If your parent responded to your needs as an infant and as a child without being overly coddling and did not interfere with your personal choices, it is likely that you were able to develop secure attachments. However, trauma, difficult experiences, or simply living in our conflict-ridden world as human beings can cause you to develop insecure attachment styles, regardless of how you were raised. 

If you have a secure attachment style, you likely: 

  • Have high self esteem
  • Feel confident seeking out all forms of support, including social, emotional, physical, and psychological 
  • Have the capacity to trust
  • Have had, and want to continue having more, long-term, healthy relationships 
  • Enjoy your relationships and want to share your feelings with others 
  • Do not doubt whether other people actually want to have a relationship with you 
  • Do not over-analyze the interactions of others towards you  
  • Are comfortable doing things both independently of and within your relationships

If you recognize these characteristics within yourself, that’s great! You likely have a secure attachment style, and are capable of healthy, secure, long-term relationships of all kinds. 

If you don’t recognize these qualities within yourself, don’t fret too much - through work and with the right support you can develop secure attachment styles at any point in your life! To start, first figure out what type of attachment style you currently possess. 


Insecure Attachment Styles

There are three types of insecure attachments, all of which are nearly certain to make healthy relationships impossible for you. Recognizing that you do not have a secure attachment style is the first step to getting one, but knowing which specific insecure attachment style you have will make it easier to address and change it. 

Many people have issues developing and maintaining healthy attachments, but don’t know what to do about it. They write it off as just being “who they are”, or that it’s “just how relationships are these days”, or make excuse after excuse for why they don’t have secure attachment to anyone in their life. If this sounds like you, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to continue to be this way!

Read on to figure out which particular insecure attachment you’re suffering from, why you might be dealing with it, and how to get rid of it once and for all. 


Avoidant Attachment

An avoidant attachment style is defined by prominent feelings of personal confidence and self worth that, while allowing you to be very independent and assured in your relationship with yourself, prevents you from having healthy relationships with others. If you have an avoidant attachment style, it is probable that you refuse to let others get close because you feel like you are better off on your own.

An avoidant attachment style can be developed in early childhood if your primary caregiver was emotionally unavailable to you, discouraged you from expressing your emotions, or lacked empathy or commitment to you. 

If you have an avoidant attachment style, you likely:

  • Avoid emotional closeness in adult romantic relationships
  • Frequently feel a need to suppress your emotions, even to those who care about you
  • Feel like other people are “too clingy”, even when they are just trying to get to know you or deepen your relationship 
  • Are unable to vocalize what is actually bothering you, opting to drop random hints
  • Fear rejection 
  • Are independent to a fault, refusing to let others help you
  • Are overly self-involved and very focused on your own needs 
  • Have high self-esteem, but a very negative view of others
  • Are resistant to show any outward need or desire for closeness, but still experience the stress and anxiety of loneliness

Having an avoidant attachment style can be very stressful, as you may feel that you cannot, and do not want to, rely on others at all, yet existing in that very independent space causes you to feel isolated. This attachment style prevents you from having long-term, enjoyable relationships because you are resistant to opening yourself up to others in your life.


Anxious Attachment 

An anxious attachment style is defined by an inability to be alone. If you have an anxious attachment style, it is likely that you fear abandonment, loneliness, and experience anxiety when you are by yourself or not in relationships. 

An anxious attachment style can be developed if your primary caregiver was emotionally distant, smothered you with involvement in your life, or was inconsistently responsive to your needs. It can also be developed as a result of psychological or physical abuse.

If you have an anxious attachment style, you likely:

  • Do anything to avoid being left alone
  • Frequently feel, or are described as, clingy, desperate, and all-consumed with your relationships 
  • Become easily jealous when you see or hear about someone else spending time with someone important to you
  • Be suspicious of your significant other
  • Need constant reassurance that you are “good enough”
  • Think highly of others, but have low self-esteem 
  • Are very attentive to what the other person in a relationship needs, but feel unworthy of your own needs or wants being met
  • Feel unworthy or attention or love
  • Fear or are incapable of being alone

Having an anxious attachment type can be, well, anxiety inducing! Recognizing if you have this attachment type is key to putting these feelings of anxiety in their place - behind you - and starting to live in confidence and calm going forward. This attachment style can lead you to self-sabotage your relationships, as your constant need for validation and fear of being left can overtake your entire relationship.


Disorganized Attachment 

Disorganized attachment is defined by having a strong and genuine desire for intimate relationships, but not being able to stop yourself from putting up walls, out of intense fear of getting hurt. Disorganized attachment is the most extreme of the three insecure attachment styles.

A disorganized attachment style can be developed in childhood if your primary caregiver responded to your needs, fears, or distresses in a way that fostered insecurity. This causes you to both fear, because the response you receive is scary or detrimental to your wellbeing, and want, because you are still receiving a response, attention from your parent. 

If you have a disorganized attachment style, you likely:

  • Struggle to cope with challenge
  • Experience a great deal of inner conflict
  • Fear and mistrust those who you are in relationships with 
  • Find yourself frequently putting up walls around those you want intimate relationships with
  • Frequently push people away after stating that you want to get closer
  • Have a fear of rejection 

Because this is the most extreme insecure attachment style, if you recognize it yourself, it is definitely hurting your relationships. It is absolutely necessary that you work towards a secure attachment style so that you can start loving, not fearing, your relationships!



How to Change Your Attachment Style and Develop Secure Attachment 

So, now that we’ve gone through all four attachment styles and adult attachment patterns, hopefully you have been able to identify your own attachment style! If you haven’t, that’s okay - I’d love to meet with you to help you find your way! Please, always feel free to reach out and schedule a FREE appointment

If you now know that you have one of the three insecure attachment styles, you know that it is imperative to move towards secure attachment. 

If you have anxious attachment styles, try to get into the habit of using self affirmations. Tell yourself that you are worthy of love, and that you are not a burden. 

Additionally, try to create small routines to make being alone something you look forward to. For example, start eating at your favorite restaurant alone one night a week, or making your favorite snack while you watch a movie you love. 

If you have avoidant attachment, try to focus on looking outside of yourself, and working to understand that you should rely on others and that you should support others as well. Practice expressing, communicating, and letting yourself feel all of your emotions. 

If you have disorganized attachment, try to start to break some of your tough, brick walls down. Remember that not everyone wants to hurt you. 

Changing from an insecure attachment to a secure attachment is by no means an easy fix, and this list should serve as a starting point, not a cure-all. I’d love to connect with you and help coach you through your journey from insecure to secure attachment. I can’t wait to work with you, and help you feel confident in all of your relationships, soon!

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Categories: attachment style, relationships