4 Types of Attachment Styles

Have you heard of the Attachment Theory?

It is a research based theory that connects your early relationship with your parents or caregivers with the way you build relationships later in life as an adult. According to this theory, there are 4 types of attachment styles:

1. Secure – Comfortable with openly expressing emotions, honest, tolerant, emotionally available, dependable, no fear of being alone, positive self-image, does not seek out approval from others.

2. Dismissive/Avoidant – High self-esteem and a positive self-mage, independent, doesn’t need a relationship to feel complete, doesn’t depend on others and doesn’t like others to depend on them.

3. Anxious/Preoccupied – Negative self-image with a positive view of others, fear of abandonment, clingy, seeks approval from their partner and worries that their partner is not as invested in the relationship as they are.

4. Disorganized/Fearful Avoidant – Unstable and ambiguous in social groups, has issues trusting others, avoids intimacy for fear of getting hurt, has trouble regulating their emotions, needs space, has trouble expressing emotions openly.

So, why is it important to know this information? Because through your attachment style, you are seeking validation of your core narratives. Knowing which style you are can give you insight into why you are attracted to certain types of people, and if the pattern of attraction you exhibit is unhealthy, you can identify the root of the problem and make the necessary adjustments to break the cycle for future relationships.

For example, let’s say you are an anxious person who craves intimacy. You will constantly want your partner to be close to you, talk to you, and spend all their time with you, and that neediness can be overwhelming to your partner, especially if your partner is avoidant. Anxious people tend to be attracted to avoidant people because they validate the anxious person’s core narrative which is “I am too much.” And conversely, the anxious person validates the avoidant person’s core narrative which is “I am not enough.”

Both of these attachment types are built on insecurity. They feel connected to each other because they reinforce the beliefs the other person has had their whole life. It may be painful, but it is familiar so it feels right. They each believe that it’s just who they are and they do not believe that things will never be any different.

The important thing to remember here is that you have the power to reframe your narrative if it is not serving you. Your narrative is just a story you tell yourself so you alone have the power to change it. Just as you can reinforce a negative narrative by telling yourself that “I am not enough,” you can shift your mindset and reinforce a positive narrative through self-affirmations such as, “I am worthy of love and respect.”

If you have questions or need additional support, I am here for you!

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