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via Getty/Westend61 Are You Avoidant or Anxious? Understanding Attachment Styles

Do you always worry about how your lover feels about you? Do you feel as though you are continuously pestering your partner in an effort to win their love? You might be the opposite, withholding your support and ceasing to engage at the first sign of conflict.

Your ability to build close, healthy relationships with other people may be impacted by these inclinations, which are rooted in your attachment type. Understanding your attachment style is essential to comprehending your innate behaviors in partnerships. In order to better understand your attachment style and how to use that information to manage your interactions with the people you care about most, POPSUGAR spoke with specialists.

How Do Attachment Styles Differ?

Our attachment style is a measurement of how we react to closeness and how dependent we are on a significant person. These styles are frequently depicted as discrete groups, most notably anxious and avoidant, although they should actually be seen as a spectrum. The attachment types that have been determined by professionals in the field are listed below.

tense attachment

Yoobin Park, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco who focuses on how interpersonal aspects affect close relationships, argues that in modern psychology, we evaluate people’s attachment styles on two dimensions. One is the level of attachment anxiety, or how much the individual thinks they are deserving of love and how concerned they are about being rejected. Dependence on a significant other and excessive behavior analysis are two signs of anxious attachment. It may have its roots in erratic affection and trust from prior significant relationships, such those with parents or loved ones.

reluctance to attach

According to Dr. Park, “the other dimension is attachment avoidance and how uncomfortable the person is with closeness.” People with high attachment avoidance tend to value independence or self-reliance over developing a meaningful relationship with their partner or feeling connected to others. If they feel a problem in their connection or that it is becoming too serious, attachment-avoidant persons frequently have the innate urge to retreat.

Attachment in disarray

The two most frequently discussed attachment patterns are anxious and avoidant attachments, but you may also hear about two others. The first of these helps to show that the many aspects of attachment are not exclusive of one another. Anxious and avoidant personalities combine in disorganized attachment, also known as fearful-avoidant attachment. When it comes to trust, people with this attachment style find it difficult to decide whether to depend on or dread their partners’ closeness. Despite their yearning for connections, they have a deep-seated aversion to intimacy.

dependable attachment

Dr. Park asserts that while nervous or avoidant attachment is a common problem, it’s not necessary for everyone to have these problems. “We argue that people are pretty firmly attached or secure” when they have low levels of both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, according to Dr. Park, emphasizing that this is likely the most adaptable form.

The Development of Attachment Styles

So, from where do attachment styles originate? According to Kristina Schrage, MA, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto with a focus on self-disclosure, “the idea argues that these patterns originate in childhood and we get these patterns through our relationships with our parents.” “Our understanding of how closely other people will relate to us will be based on this, according to the theory. That will be our starting point for learning how to relate to this individual when we are adults and begin our romantic relationships.”

The extent to which our childhood influences our relationships as adults and what other elements might be at play are still unresolved research questions. According to Dr. Park, “studies are also emerging that suggest there may be genetic variances behind these attachment-style distinctions, in which case it may not only be childhood experiences.” We also know that experiences in later adulthood have an impact on attachment types from our investigations, including my own recent research.

How Do Relationships Affect Your Attachment Style?

Operating in the extremes of either anxious or avoidant attachment can be harmful to both ourselves and our partners. People pick up on these patterns early on, and by the time they start new relationships, they are embedded in their minds, according to Schrage, who speaks to POPSUGAR. Conflict happens when we let our attachment styles be our only guides rather than taking a step back, analyzing the circumstance, and consulting with our partner.

How you approach resolving those disputes may also depend on your attachment preferences. According to Dr. Park, avoidant persons would leave the conversation or avoid going to the location where they must face the problem. A fear of being abandoned by their partner may prevent those who tend to lean more toward anxious attachment from wanting to talk about problems in their relationship. Additionally, they are prone to misinterpret any indication of disengagement from their relationship. This could come off as being intrusive.

According to Schrage, one of the difficulties for nervously connected people is that because they crave so much intimacy and closeness, it may be necessary for the other person to take a step back when they are attending to their own private matters or simply going about their daily lives. When someone is actually just trying to get their own life and their fundamental responsibilities done, the anxious person may misinterpret such misunderstandings as rejection.

How Can Attachment Styles Be Handled in Relationships?

There is no one approach to controlling these behaviors because attachment patterns are a range. However, there is broad consensus that attachment-rooted fears can be mitigated.

To better understand why your partner could be acting a specific way, Schrage emphasizes the significance of knowing their attachment style. According to Schrage, “the overall notion is that you have to tailor to which precise insecurity it is,” adding that being aware of your partner’s underlying worries might assist to lessen some of the difficulties you might both face.

According to Schrage, “Avoidant people really respond to these powerful, unshakable positive indications.” Your significant other’s emotional barriers may be lowered if you are a dependable spouse. This holds true for interactions with anxiously attached persons as well. According to Schrage, “it seems that what nervously attached people need are things that are going to calm some of their anxieties of potentially dangerous aspects of the relationship.” They need to perceive your devotion and love in real, concrete ways.

Furthermore, being aware of your personal attachment style will assist you in figuring out whether your concerns are based in the present or pertain to your current relationship.

Find Your Attachment Style: A Guide

If you’re unsure of your attachment type, try taking an attachment-style questionnaire and reading about how your relationship-related intimacy insecurities might show up. Be aware that discovering your attachment style is just the beginning and not who you are meant to be in relationships. If there are aspects of your attachment style that you don’t like, you can alter them. The first step in changing your attachment style is to properly comprehend and recognize these behaviors when they occur.