Understanding your attachment style

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The other day, I was sent a link to a quiz. Little did I know, this five-minute quiz would reveal to me the very hard truth about the ways in which I interact with people, the way I love and why I’ve been repeatedly hurt by others and myself throughout my life. What I thought would be a fun quiz to do while brushing my teeth ended up becoming several hourlong conversations with a friend and a head swirling with emotions and thoughts. 

There are four types of attachment styles: secure, anxious, avoidant and fearful-avoidant. Each of these is used to describe the way people are in relationships with others. The theory states that we develop our attachment style throughout our early childhood. This means our present relationships with others are a reflection of the type of care we were given growing up. While you can take the quiz if you want, it’s pretty common to be a mixture of the four attachment styles. Here is a description of each to help get you thinking about the way you form relationships and attach yourself to others.

Secure attachment

Ugh, what we wish we could all be. These people are secure in their relationships with others. They can readily create secure, loving relationships with people, without jealousy or hesitation. They receive and give love easily and are not deterred when their partner wants space or if there is a conflict within the relationship. They trust their partner and are able to depend on them without becoming codependent. 

Anxious attachment

This style of attachment generally comes with a fear of abandonment. They are often insecure about their relationships with their partners, afraid that they will be left alone. Thus, they can often feel desperate for validation. These are the people pleasers, the ones who give all of themselves to someone in hopes that it is enough to make them stay. They would rather sacrifice their own well-being in order to ensure the security of their relationships. This type of attachment is also known as anxious-preoccupied, anxious-resistant and anxious-ambivalent.

Avoidant attachment 

These people are marked by their resistance to intimacy and attachment to others. They have a hard time not only opening up to people but also getting close to them. Their trust issues create distance between them and the people in their lives, making them appear emotionally distant and indifferent. They would rather be on their own, in fear of the pain or vulnerability a close relationship may bring. 

Fearful-avoidant attachment

These people crave love and attention desperately, but for some reason feel themselves being reluctant to receive or give any love. They create distance between themselves and all others, similar to the avoidant attachment. However, they differ from the avoidant in that they need and want to love and be loved. 

Everyone may not fit into each category perfectly — you may even spill onto others. Regardless, it is interesting to understand that much of the way you love and receive love was developed because of the way you were cared for as a child. Researching attachment types helped me personally align the way I am now with the way I was loved growing up. It answered a lot of questions I didn’t even know I had. Understanding this about yourself and your loved ones not only creates clarity, but a peace of mind.

Contact Paloma Torres at [email protected].