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What's Your Attachment Style?

Anxious attachment

Anxious attachment style is characterized by feeling insecure in a close relationship There can be a chronic fear of abandonment in their relationships, and they often require contact and reassurance to feel safe.

Key sign: This can mean you want 24/7 contact. “A person with an anxious attachment style may constantly text their loved one and anxiously await a reply,” says Beverly Palmer, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Torrance, CA, a professor emeritus and the author of Love Demystified: Strategies for a Sucessful Love Life. “When the reply doesn’t immediately come, they will either text again or may dissolve into a total funk.”

Avoidant Attachment

A person with an avoidant attachment style will want and need a loving connection with another person, but will not trust that this person won’t hurt or reject them, So they won’t share deep feelings nor vulnerability, and will pull away when the other person gets too close.

Key sign: If you have an avoidant attachment style, you might pride yourself on being “strong” on your own. “These folks are very independent in relationships, and can be quite detached, not offering up much emotionally, and not requiring much emotionally from the other person.

Ambivalent attachment

People with ambivalent attachment struggle with interpersonal relationships because the focus they put into other people creates a deficit in their sense of self and they don't take care of their own needs—they may experience anxiety on separations, take things too personally, project their insecurities by blaming perceived faults in others, and often seek external regulation because they believe they cannot regulate themselves well enough.

Key sign: Because they are so focused on the other and their early-childhood caregivers could not soothe them when upset, ambivalently attached people struggle with self-soothing and self-regulation. They rely on external regulators to soothe their distress because they lack their sense of Self. Tends to people please but if not reciprocated will resent the other person.

Disorganized Attachment

Disorganized attachment style is a combination of the anxious and avoidant styles. This person will exhibit strong emotions of needing, and then rejecting. This attachment style is marked by being so afraid that the other person will leave that they’ll often leave first.

Key sign: If people stay in the relationship, they tend to run hot and cold. There can be a lot of emotional dysregulation –up, down, close, far — and this behavior can be very confusing for the other person in the relationship. If you have this style, you do want a relationship, but struggle with trust. You’re afraid of being rejected, and may keep a partner at arm’s length in an attempt to be self-protective.

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is considered the healthiest form of attachment. These are people who are comfortable expressing emotions in a relationship, are comfortable with closeness, and are not fearful within a relationship. They experience a sense of missing a partner if they, say, go on a trip, but don’t experience a sense of panic or fear, or consider it an abandonment. They’re capable of being in relationships that are characterized by mutual regard and reciprocity—they don’t need a relationship to feel complete.

Key sign: If you have a secure attachment style, you give your partner affection and space. A person with a secure attachment style will connect deeply with another person, freely expressing deep feelings and vulnerability. They will not be overly dependent nor independent — they will be interdependent.


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