Know Attachment Theory And 4 Types of Attachment

by Shamsul
Attachment Theory
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Discover the 4 types of attachment during childhood. Patterns influence each of us in our romantic relationships. At the same time, some people manage to deal with them healthily and maturely. Others face serious challenges in welcoming love into their lives. It’s likely that you’ve already met someone who. As soon as he realizes that his partner is really committed to the relationship, he seems to have a tendency to withdraw. Or maybe you’ve met someone who constantly lives with the fear of being abandoned by their partner.

These patterns are quite common and can compromise a person’s ability to feel love. But where do these models come from? What experiences often cause us to sabotage our happiness?

To get answers to these questions. We can turn to attachment theory and the 4 types of attachment.

British psychoanalyst John Bowlby developed This theory in the last century. Seeks to understand how parental separation affects children’s development. To this day, it remains one of the main sources for understanding relational tendencies in human beings.

This attachment theory’s central idea is optimal emotional and social development. Children need to establish a secure attachment bond with at least one of their primary caregivers.

Indeed, our initial relationships with our parents establish a fundamental pattern that influences every other relationship we form throughout our lives. These attachment bonds have a direct influence on our cognitive patterns during childhood, which means they shape our expectations of relationships with our romantic partners and even our children.

Over the years, attachment theory has evolved and resulted in the definition of four types of attachment that we all experience. These types of attachment have become a recurring topic in discussions and research about love.

We will briefly discuss each of these types in the following. But you need to understand that determining your attachment style isn’t just about taking online tests. It requires a deeper understanding of yourself.

The 4 Types of Attachment:

How Does Attachment Occur in Childhood?

Attachment theory shows how children, like other mammals, tend to avoid separation from their parents. This trend stems from a fundamental evolutionary reason. Parents provide the care and protection necessary to ensure the survival of young mammals during their first moments of life.

Children’s behavior is closely linked to their parents’ commitment and availability to fulfill their responsibilities. To illustrate this, when children establish healthy attachment bonds with their primary caregivers, feeling secure, supported, and loved, they are likely to develop social skills, communicate openly, and explore the world with confidence.

On the other hand, if a child grows up in an environment where his parents are often unavailable. And don’t offer him the love, trust, and validation he needs.

He is likely to develop difficulties such as anxiety, frequent crying, and a constant attempt to connect with his primary caregiver on a physical, emotional, and psychological level.

To confirm the validity of attachment theory. Psychologist Mary Ainsworth designed an experiment in which one-year-old children were separated from their parents for some time and then reunited with them. This experiment, known as the “Strange Situation,” resulted in significant discoveries. According to Ainsworth, the main reactions of children after parental separation turned out to be three.

Most children were understandably upset by the separation. However, they recovered easily when reunited with their parents. Another portion of the children felt extreme discomfort in their parents’ absence. They expressed a need for comfort when they were reunited, but they also showed signs of wanting to punish their parents in some way for left them alone.

A third group of children also stands out in this experiment.

Some felt extremely uncomfortable when separated from their parents, and when reunited, they expressed a desire for comfort while also expressing a wish that their parents would be punished for leaving them alone.

Meanwhile, a fourth group of children seemed almost indifferent to the separation. When they found their parents, they avoided all contact with them. Mary Ainsworth analyzed these different behaviors and concluded that these reactions were closely linked to the parent-child dynamic at home.

Children who were upset but easily comforted by their parents appeared to benefit from a parental relationship attentive to their emotional needs. In contrast, children in the latter two groups seemed to live with parents who were less sensitive to their emotions or needs. These findings laid the foundation for the types of attachment we recognize and study today.

The 4 Types of Attachment:

How Does Attachment Occur in Adulthood?

Thanks to the work of Bowlby and Ainsworth, the study of attachment theory has also extended into adulthood. Psychologists have discovered that our attachment patterns influence not only our relationships with our parents but also our romantic relationships.

In 1987, Phillip Shaver and Cindy Hazan proposed that romantic love is an attachment process, and each individual experience it differently depending on their attachment history.

This finding highlighted the fact that relational patterns established with parents are often reproduced in romantic relationships. Thus, many people with less positive attachment experiences may experience difficulties in their romantic relationships.

The three attachment types identified by Ainsworth in his experiment also apply to romantic partners. Let’s explore each of these types in a little more detail.

The 4 Types of Attachment During Childhood Are:

1- Secure Attachment

In this type of attachment, the child feels secure and confident in the closeness of their attachment figure (usually a parent or caregiver). The child knows that he can count on this person to meet his emotional and physical needs. Children with secure attachments generally develop healthy interpersonal relationships, are able to regulate their emotions, and have positive self-esteem.

Individuals with secure attachment are distinguished by positive self-esteem. It is an ability to express their feelings without inhibition, and a propensity to seek support when they need it. They have a more balanced personality, knowing how to communicate in a healthy way, resolve conflicts calmly, and manage close relationships without feeling stifled or threatened.

Secure attachment is also characterized by independence from external validation and an ability to enjoy solitude.

2- Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment

Children with anxious-ambivalent attachment show contradictory behavior towards their attachment figure. They may be preoccupied with separation, constantly seeking attention from the attachment figure while being wary of their support. These children may become anxious in relationships, frequently seek reassurance, and have difficulty trusting others.

Individuals with anxious attachment invest considerable time and energy in pursuit of approval and intense intimacy with their partner. This dynamic can make them excessively dependent on their companion’s presence and attention. This tendency often stems from a deep fear of rejection and abandonment, which are central motivations for this type of attachment.

To counter this feeling, they strive to create an environment of stability and security with their partners. When they fail to do this, they are overcome by feelings of separation from their partner, leading to extreme levels of anxiety.

These individuals only find comfort in their partner’s attention and care. In their absence, they may become even more attached to the other person or adopt behaviors that punish them and make them feel guilty.

In short, people with anxious attachments are deeply invested in their romantic relationships and are constantly on alert, ready to counter any potential threat to their emotional bond.

3- Avoidant Attachment

Children with avoidant attachment downplay the importance of emotional closeness with their attachment figure. They may appear uninterested or detached and prefer to explore their surroundings independently rather than seeking comfort from their attachment figure. These children may have difficulty expressing their emotions or relating intimately with others, which can lead to difficulties in their interpersonal relationships.

Individuals with avoidant attachment exhibit distinct characteristics. In general, they perceive themselves as being emotionally autonomous and not very sensitive to the negative consequences of attachment. One of the main tendencies in their behavior is to avoid intimacy and favor independence. They do not feel the need to establish close ties with others, regardless of their surroundings.

These people define their worth based on their own accomplishments and never seek external validation. Because of their self-control, they often feel threatened when someone seeks to establish emotional closeness with them.

4- Disorganized Attachment

The 4 types of attachment

Disorganized attachment is characterized by contradictory or disoriented patterns of behavior toward the attachment figure. Children with disorganized attachment may exhibit inconsistent or confusing behaviors, such as moving closer and then suddenly moving away from their attachment figure.

This type of attachment is often associated with traumatic experiences or an unstable family environment. Adults with disorganized attachment may experience difficulties in their relationships, sometimes experiencing anxiety or confusion in interpersonal interactions.

Disorganized attachment emerges after the first three types of attachment. Individuals with this type of attachment sometimes display characteristics of avoidant attachment and sometimes of anxious attachment.

Typically, they experience some confusion in their intimate relationships, which perplexes them about their attitudes. Although they seek closeness, they feel uncomfortable with this possibility, leading to constant behavioral duality in their relationships.

Experts consider disorganized, avoidant, and anxious attachments to be insecure forms of attachment that can make it difficult to build healthy relationships.

The 4 Types of Attachment:

How to Identify Your Own Attachment Style?

According to experts, identifying one’s own attachment style is challenging. Online tests or a simple self-assessment are not enough to truly understand a person’s attachment and relationship patterns.

Professor Marinus van IJzendoorn points out that this is a much more complex process and that it is best to use interviews to assess attachment within groups of adults.

It is essential to understand that the type of attachment is not immutable. Indeed, a person’s circumstances can lead to changes in their attachment style. Relationships with partners, caregivers, or therapists can influence our relationship tendencies, both positively and negatively.

An Important Warning for Parents

About The 4 Types of Attachment

Research shows that our attachment model takes shape in the first months of life, between six months and two years. However, this pattern can evolve throughout our existence. This knowledge is valuable in guiding parents in building healthy relationships with their children.

According to experts, parents need to establish secure, stable and shared bonds with their children to instill in them healthy standards that will last into adulthood. Children who grow up in an environment where they feel free, safe, and loved become more confident adults capable of cultivating positive and fulfilling relationships.

So, whether you’re already a parent or considering becoming one, keep this in mind. Be present and available to meet your children’s needs, share their interests, validate their emotions, and promote a harmonious family environment. This type of attachment will help to develop a secure attachment from childhood, paving the way for more fulfilling and satisfying relationships as adults.

Although many other factors contribute to living a happy, balanced life, attachment theory offers four types of attachment valuable insight into who we are, our behaviors, and ways to improve our relationships.

Types of Attachment, Attachment, Attachment Theory, Avoidant Attachment, Anxious-Ambivalent Attachment, Secure Attachment, Disorganized Attachment, Romantic Relationship,

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Read More:

Reasons You Should Stop Blaming Parents For Your Present

What to Do When Children Don’t Like Their Parents

How to Manage Your Emotions?

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