Attachment and Relationships

Have you ever found yourself wondering why you or your partner(s) are so avoidant during difficult conversations? Well, this difficulty could be link directly to attachment style. John Bowlby developed the attachment theory while working with children in the 1950s. He observed that how children bonded was directly related to how their caregivers would react to them. The level in which the caregiver soothed or met the child’s needs, would then impact that child’s ability to feel safe and close to others. Bowlby identified 3 main forms of attachment secure, insecure anxious, and insecure avoidant. In the 1980’s researcher studied how childhood attachment styles impacted adult intimate relationships. Studies found that people who had positive bonding with their caregivers had a secure attachment style. They were able to be emotionally close, had open and honest communication with their partner and built a trusting relationship. While people that had more challenges in the child caregiver bonding would become, anxious or avoidant. Often the anxious person and avoidant person find themselves in a romantic dance of pushing and pulling.

This happens when the anxiously attached person seeks trust, closeness, validation and safety in co-dependent manner and the avoidant person is overwhelmed by true emotional intimacy, desires independence and has trouble staying in long-term relationships. This dance can go on for a long time making the members of the relationship both insecure. There is hope, a attachment styles can change. With some honest work, you and your therapist can explore how your attachment style came to be and how it has impacted relationships. You can be on your way towards a more secure self.