What is the attachment theory in relationships and why we must understand them?
Have you ever met someone who behaved in a completely different way in a relationship than you would have? Did you ever wonder why people do the things they do in a relationship? We all have had phases when we failed to understand people. Some people seem too withdrawn whereas others come across as clingy. If you have been through dark relationships, it is very likely that you have been called one of the two. The answer to this lies in the attachment theory.
What is attachment theory?
We all have our own ways of handling our associations with people. We learn this during the first two years of our lives. Most of the times we learn this from our parents. Some of us might even learn this from close relatives. These early experiences become our example of attachment with people. We learn how to associate or our attachment patterns are developed from these people. Our idea of love and acceptance comes from these people. Let’s take a look at different attachment patterns and how these people behave in relationships:
Secure Attachment: This attachment pattern comes from parents who are responsive and sensitive to the child. The child explores the world knowing that the parents are his/her secure base. In their adult life, such children develop healthy relationships as they have a positive view of themselves and the world around them. They give equal importance and attention to their own independence and their close relationships.
Avoidant Attachment: This type of attachment pattern is developed when the parents or caregivers are unresponsive and unavailable for the child. Such children learn to be self-sustainable very early on in life. Such children grow into lonely adults. Their typical response to deal with anything is to distance themselves from others.
Ambivalent Attachment: This comes from parenting that sends mixed signals. Parents sometimes treat their children well whereas the other times they are insensitive or too intrusive. Such children fling on the extremes by sometimes withdrawing and sometimes acting too clingy. People with this kind of attachment pattern seek validation throughout their life. They have a deep-seated feeling of insecurity and are emotionally desperate in their relationships.
Disorganized Attachment: In this type of attachment pattern, the parents are the primary threat to the child in the formative years of a child’s life. Such children experience abusive parenting. The one foundation that is supposed to provide them security starts looking like the biggest threat. These children develop a very strong flight or fight response. In the worst cases, they also start dissociating from their environment.
If you have any other attachment styles other than secured style then you will have to start work on yourself to develop a secure attachment style. Don’t worry, with guided self-reflection you can become your best version in every relationship of your life. Self-realization is incredibly important to know what kind of attachment style you have imbibed.
Therapists, most of the times suggest a coherent narrative to write down about childhood experiences. This helps you identify where your idea of attachment and relationships come from. When you discover your attachment patterns you know the source and that sometimes brings you halfway to become your best version. In case you have encountered any issues in your relationships lately then it’s important to figure out your attachment pattern. You will know the source of your reactions and how and why you react the way you do. Get in touch with therapists on Thriive and find out your attachment patterns.
Komal Patil is a business management graduate finding purpose through words, writing stories and poems.