Your attachment style has a significant impact on how you function in relationships. It also reveals a lot about your self-esteem. Your attachment style may help you thrive when you get close to others, or it may harm your relationships. You can determine your style by comparing yourself to common attachment styles, assessing your personality, and reviewing your childhood.
Method 1 Comparing Yourself to Common Attachment Styles
1. Define the term attachment. Attachment refers to a being’s ability to form emotional bonds with another. You can build stable and enjoyable relationships with friends and family when attachment is at its healthiest. However, if you have developed an insecure attachment as a result of traumatic experiences, attachment issues may arise, making it difficult to form and maintain stable relationships.
Your ability to develop a healthy attachment style is not the result of a single learned experience. Your attachment style is formed and shaped over time as a result of the many experiences and events to which you are exposed early in life. For example, how your caregiver responds to and nurtures you as a child, any trauma you may have witnessed, and possibly a predisposed biological, cognitive, or psychological condition may all have an effect on your ability to develop healthy attachment styles.
2. Learn about the various types of attachments. There are various types of attachments that a person may have. Understanding the various types will help you better understand yourself and whether there are any issues that need to be addressed with the help of a professional. Attachments come in a variety of forms, including:
Attachment that is secure. The ability to maintain a healthy and stable relationship. The ability to see others in a relationship without distortions. A person with a healthy and secure attachment style is able to value the relationships he is in and express their affections verbally and behaviorally. They can freely love and be loved by others.
Attachment is dismissive. This person may appear aloof and becomes agitated when others attempt to show affection or a deeper connection in the relationship. A person with this attachment style may appear to be dismissive of the other person(s) in the relationship’s emotional and physical needs. This person will also struggle to express his needs and desires to others. Passive-aggressive and sarcastic behaviours are two other personality traits that may be associated with dismissive attachment. They may be afraid of being dependent on another person because they consider this to be weak.
Attachment that is preoccupied A person with this attachment style is overly concerned with relationships and attachment. These people will typically relive and tell their stories about previous bad relationship experiences over and over again. They may constantly relive all of their past pain and rejections, indicating a lack of resolution. Other personality traits associated with this attachment style include controlling behaviour and difficulty conforming to rules, as well as being argumentative and impatient. Some people may be manipulative and devise strategies to get what they want out of a relationship. They can also have a strong sense of creativity and be charming.
Attachment is disorganised. These people frequently have disorganised thoughts and relationship patterns. People who have a disorganised attachment style may also have another underlying diagnosis, such as Borderline Personality Disorder. These people may have had a traumatic childhood filled with abuse, neglect, or frequent losses. Caregivers may have been emotionally unavailable, unresponsive, or inconsistent as children. They learned not to fully trust others and developed insecurities about getting close to someone else because they see themselves as unlovable and unworthy of healthy support. Antisocial behaviours, lack of empathy and remorse, selfishness and control, and a disregard for rules are some of the other behavioural characteristics that may be displayed by those with disorganised attachment. These people are more likely to engage in substance abuse or dependence, as well as abuse of others and criminal behaviour.
3. Examine your level of confidence in yourself and your relationships. People with secure attachment styles have a positive self-image and are at ease receiving and giving love. They do not look to others to find value in themselves and are at ease with intimacy, but they are not co-dependent. They also maintain their cool during heated debates and are mentally flexible.
People who had secure attachments were often raised in stable and loving environments. They were cared for and lived in a nurturing environment.
4. Examine for clingy behaviour. Consider whether you are clingy in relationships and are constantly concerned about what others think of you. You probably have an anxious attachment type if you look to others to complete you, want your partner to save you, and are afraid of rejection and abandonment. Individuals with this attachment style crave intimacy and become obsessed with the specifics of their relationship. They are concerned that even minor changes in a relationship will lead to its demise.
Those with anxious attachment styles grew up unsure of how they would be treated by their parents. They were sometimes met with love and care, while other times they were met with insensitivity and abandonment. As a result, they are constantly looking for other people’s approval.
5. Determine whether you are afraid of intimacy. Those who have avoidant attachment styles attempt to distance themselves from relationships. They are frequently emotionally distant and withdraw from others. Even during an argument, they can turn off their emotions and become non-reactive.
People who have avoidant attachment styles are frequently raised by parents who are unconcerned about their children’s needs. They are emotionally withdrawn themselves and typically discourage their children from crying or expressing emotion. They want their children to be self-sufficient as soon as possible and show little concern when their child is upset or in need of nurturing.
Method 2 Assessing Your Personality
1. Consider your self-esteem. It’s no secret that how parents treat their children has a long-term impact on their self-esteem. The way you feel about yourself is a good indicator of your attachment style. When evaluating yourself, be truthful, and you will get the most reliable answer.
Are you satisfied with yourself, or do you despise yourself? Do you think you’re valuable, or do you believe you’re not? If you have high self-esteem, you most likely have a healthy attachment style. People who have low self-esteem tend to have unhealthy attachment styles.
2. Consider how you react in debates. The way you argue reveals a lot about your attachment style. It reveals how you handle conflict and most likely reflects how you observed your parents behave in disagreements.
Do you keep your cool during arguments, or do you walk away and try to avoid the situation entirely? During a fight, do you scream, lash out, name call, and vow to “get even”? Your attachment style can be revealed by the answers to these questions.
3. Consider your romantic relationships. When it comes to determining your attachment style, your behaviour in a romantic relationship is probably the most telling. The way you respond to your partner and how attached you become to them says a lot about you. Being honest with yourself in this area may be difficult, but it is essential when determining your style.
Consider whether you are open to love and intimacy or if you shy away when someone wants to get close to you. Are you constantly concerned that your partner will abandon you, and do you become clingy early in the relationship? Perhaps you enjoy your relationship and feel completely secure in it. Whatever answer you give reveals a lot about your attachment style.
4. Inquire about the opinions of those close to you. Because you are so close to the situation, it can be difficult to access your own personality. However, if you ask your partner, family, or friends for their thoughts on how you should behave in certain situations, you may get a better idea than attempting to figure it out on your own.
Method 3 Reflecting on Your Childhood
1. Inquire about your first two years. Attachment styles are frequently formed between the ages of infancy and two years. Your attachment style evolved as a result of how you were cared for as a baby. During this time, inquire about your primary caregiver from those around you. Those responses can provide information about your attachment style.
People who were around you during this time should be able to tell you how the caregiver responded to your needs and if they were consistent in doing so. Your attachment style was formed as a result of the type of interaction you received during your first two years.
2. Determine how your parents treated you. Consider how your parents treated you. Consider whether they were always present, nurturing and providing for you, or if they were withdrawn or untrustworthy. Your attachment style was most likely influenced by how they interacted with you.
For example, if your parent made you feel safe and secure, you most likely have a healthy attachment style. If they made you feel unsafe or were inconsistent in their giving, you may have an unhealthy attachment style.
3. Seek professional assistance. Depending on your attachment style and the severity of your emotional and relational experiences, you may benefit from individual professional help from a therapist. If you are an adult who has never addressed any previous relationship issues (even as a child), you may benefit from effective therapeutic treatment.
Treatment will allow you to fully explore your childhood and life experiences as they relate to any losses or trauma from abuse or neglect. Therapy may assist you in gaining closure on past experiences and developing healthy coping skills in order to improve your attachment style to a more secure one.
4. Discover how you acted as a baby. Inquire about your behaviour as a baby to determine your attachment style. Inquire of someone who is old enough to remember how you reacted when you were separated from your parent. Their response can help you determine which attachment type you are.
For example, inquire whether you cried a lot when your parent left and how you acted when they returned. When they returned, did you stop crying or did you push them away? Did you notice when they left and returned? Their responses can shed some light on your personal style.
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