Why do you always end up acting the same way even with such different partners? Do you always seem to be more involved than your partner? Does every person you date tell you, you are too clingy? Maybe you want to be with someone, but as soon as things get emotionally intimate, you back off? Have you noticed that your behaviors stay the same even with different partners, lovers, or spouses? Well these repeating patterns in your love life make sense if you think about your relationship with your parents or caregivers during your early childhood.
According to psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby, your relationship with your parents during childhood has a huge influence on your social and intimate relationships in the future. If your physical and emotional needs were satisfied by your caregivers (or parents), meaning your caregivers offered a warm and caring environment and were attuned to your needs, you were more than likely securely attached to them. If your needs were not satisfied, you more than likely wound up with an insecure attachment. Early childhood is a critical time in our lives and these attachment styles set the stage for how our relationships will function when we become adults.
There are four possible attachment styles that include:
Anxious (or Preoccupied)
Disorganized (or Fearful-Avoidant)
Avoidant (or Dismissive)
Anxious or Preoccupied
The anxious/preoccupied type of person often seeks approval, support, and responsiveness from their partner. A strong fear of abandonment is present. The attention, care, and responsiveness of the partner appears to be the ‘remedy’ for anxiety. The absence of support and intimacy can lead the anxious/preoccupied type to become more clinging and demanding, preoccupied with the relationship, and desperate for love.
Disorganized or Fearful-Avoidant
The disorganized type tends to show unstable and ambiguous behaviors in their social bonds. For adults with this style of attachment, the partner and the relationship themselves are often the source of both desire and fear. Fearful-avoidant people do want intimacy and closeness, but at the same time, experience troubles trusting and depending on others. They do not regulate their emotions well and avoid strong emotional attachment, due to their fear of getting hurt.
Avoidant or Dismissive
On an emotional level the dismissing/avoidant type would identify as strong, independent and self-sufficient. People with avoidant or dismissive attachment styles have high self-esteem and a positive view of themselves. Adults with this attachment style generally avoid emotional closeness and tend to hide or suppress their feelings. The avoidant or dismissive type do not believe they need to be in a relationship to be whole and they do no not want to depend on others, have others depend on them or seek support from others.
The three attachment styles covered so far are insecure attachment styles. They are characterized by difficulties with starting and maintaining healthy relationships. By contrast, people with secure attachment are comfortable expressing emotions and can depend on partners and let partners depend on them. People with secure attachment do well in relationships, and also do not fear being on their own.
Now that you know a bit about the four adult attachment styles, which one do you most identify with? It is normal to recognize features of your behavior in several of the types. Some of us will recognize more of our personality and behaviors in the three insecure types, the unhealthier ones. The point of self-analysis is to identify unhealthy behaviors and understand what you might need to work on in order to improve your love life. In this case it is recommended that you think more about this and if it is causing you problems in keeping a relationship, starting a relationship or causing problems in your current relationship. The counselors at The Relationship Suite are here to guide you to a loving, fulfilling, and stable relationship and life.
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