Bowlby’s types of attachment
Human beings are made to live with others, we’re social animals! Indeed, babies are programmed to attach themselves to their parents, alone they cannot survive 🐣. It’s therefore from this observation that John Bowlby worked on attachment types in children according to their interactions with their parents.
It’s a way of showing how we develop based on our experiences. These are essential for our construction and determine how we’ll behave in our romantic relationships. From this, Bowlby’s theory of attachment was developed for adults to find out how we got attached to someone else 🥰.
👉 The relationship with our parents and how they met our attachment needs during childhood will impact our level of anxiety and avoidance.
Anxiety and avoidance, two essential parameters
There are two factors that influence our type of romantic attachment:
- the level of anxiety,
- the level of avoidance.
➜ The higher the level of anxiety, the more likely we are to wonder whether we’re going to be rejected and whether our partner really loves us. That’s who I used to be, partly because I didn’t trust myself. It’s limiting beliefs that pull you down, so you feel constantly insecure.
➜ The higher the level of avoidance, the less comfortable we’ll be with depending on another person. This will have the effect of pushing us into self-withdrawal rather than reaching out to others 😕.
What are the 4 types of romantic attachment?
Anxiety and avoidance are obviously caused by a dysfunctional relationship with your parents, resulting in one of the 5 soul wounds. This will have an impact on the way you behave and get attached to others, resulting in 4 types of romantic attachment:
Knowing our attachment type can enable us to decipher our behavior in love. For example: Why do we always go for the same type of person 😅? So here are the details of each type of attachment:
👉 Secure attachment
It brings together everything that’s needed for a secure relationship, i.e. low levels of anxiety and avoidance. Most of the population falls into this category, which means having long-lasting, healthy, and satisfying relationships. If you have this type of attachment, it means that you’re able to manage your emotions and express them to the other person without suffering 🤗.
👉 Preoccupied attachment
It reflects a high level of anxiety about the relationship, usually reflecting a fear of abandonment. Having had this type of attachment for a long time, I can say that it’s a source of suffering to be constantly questioning. We feel insecure, like we’re a burden to the other person. Our emotions are difficult to express, and they can often explode, which damages the relationship 🤕...
👉 Detached attachment
In contrast to the preoccupied type, this one represents someone who prefers to be alone, to the detriment of the couple. This may reflect an overinflated ego if there’s no consideration for others. But without going that far, we can also blame this behavior on the rejection wound. When you’re “detached”, you maintain a distance, so you don’t suffer, but it’s difficult to build a relationship this way 😖.
👉 Avoidant / fearful attachment
This style represents a high level of anxiety and avoidance, which corresponds to people who are in great pain. They lock themselves into toxic romantic relationships, not being able to get emotionally attached and constantly doubting their partner’s sincerity. Emotions and behavior are usually contradictory, which makes them even more difficult to identify 💔.
Are you still struggling to recognize which type corresponds the most to you?
Changing your type of romantic attachment
When reading about the different types of attachment, you might think that some of them paint a bleak picture. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to change your type of romantic attachment 🧐! I said it during the article, I went from a preoccupied attachment to a secure attachment.
It’s therefore possible to change your behavior and evolve your relationship patterns. To do this, you need to be able to do a lot of introspection and take a step back from your relationship (or your single life!). Personally, I did this journey and realized that I was with someone who left me permanently insecure 😥. As the relationship started with ghosting, it was impossible for me to feel good. So I decided to end it and start therapy to heal my wounds.
This is the healthiest solution that really works to make you evolve. Now I’m with someone who speaks the same language of love as me, and we’re both “secure” 🤗.
Editor’s note: Identify your type of attachment to make you evolve
Identifying your type of attachment enables you to become aware of certain mechanisms or patterns that may explain why your love affairs and disappointments keep repeating themselves. If your relationships are repetitive, if the disappointments follow one after another and are a source of suffering, don’t hesitate to contact a psychologist. Together, you’ll be able to identify the way you work and its origins and put in place new, more valuable behaviors that will allow you to flourish in your life in a relationship.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!
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