Attachment styles: A map to understanding yourself and others in relationships - Deepstash
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Differences in Attachment

Do you ever find yourself wanting to spend more and more time together, while the other seems to be pulling away?

Similar problems to the one outlined above are often caused by differences in where each person lies on two scales:

1) Avoidance - of intimacy, relationships, and emotional connection

2) Anxiety - relating to the security and stability of a relationship


273 reads

The Four Attachment Styles

  1. Secure attachment
  2. Anxious-preoccupied attachment
  3. Dismissive-avoidant attachment
  4. Fearful-avoidant attachment


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Secure Attachment

These people are high in their desire for emotional and physical closeness, and are low on their insecurity and anxiety about their relationship.

  • Have a positive view of themselves and others
  • Show comfort in being emotionally and physically close
  • Value and respect their self-identity and identity of others
  • Show comfort in separating temporarily from someone and then reuniting later in the day
  • Feel comfortable depending on others and having others depend on them
  • Find that love and trust generally come easily to the


156 reads

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment

These people are high in their desire for emotional and physical closeness, but also high in their insecurity and anxiety about their relationship.

  • Negative view of themselves and positive view of others
  • Have a strong pull towards emotional and physical closeness
  • Often feel that they want to be closer and more intimate with others, and that others often don’t reciprocate this desire with the same intensity
  • Can often experience anxiety and even distrust when they spend time apart from their partner
  • Worry that they may be too much or need too much from others
  • Fear and show sensitivity to abandonment and rejection in a relationship
  • Can become overly dependent on partners
  • Can have high levels of emotional expression and worry, and often exhibit signs of emotion dysregulation and impulsivity in the relationship
  • In arguments, they are more likely to persist and pursue the person they are arguing with


117 reads

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment

These people show a strong preference towards independence and low levels of anxiety and insecurity about the security and stability of relationships.

  • Positive view of themselves and negative view of others
  • Report a comfort or desire to be without close emotional relationships
  • Place strong value on independence and self-sufficiency, often far above emotional closeness
  • Avoid strong attachments
  • Tend to suppress or hide their feelings
  • Can appear distant to others
  • Often report that no partner can meet their standards
  • In arguments and disagreements, they are more likely to withdraw physically and emotionally

(Note, given the assumption that human beings are social creatures and do want and need relationships in their life, it has often been argued that people categorised as dismissive-avoidant may be using this style as a defence)


111 reads

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

These people have a high level of anxiety and insecurity in their relationship, as well as a high level of avoidance in a relationship.

  • Fluctuating view of themselves and others
  • Want emotionally close relationships, but at the same time can be uncomfortable getting too close and struggle to truly trust others
  • Fear of getting hurt, rejected, abandoned, if get too close
  • Often suppress, hide, and deny their feelings and desires
  • Show discomfort in expressing affection and their desires for intimacy
  • Can often feel confused and can often give off mixed messages
  • More likely to express desires and wishes in ineffective and unclear ways
  • Can have difficulties with emotion regulation, anger, worry, sadness, and anxiety

(Note, their high level of avoidance is often due to a fear of getting hurt, rather than a lack of desire for relationships.)


102 reads

Where do I go from here?

The first step in self-development is building an awareness and understanding of yourself and others.

Use this information with kindness. Show yourself and others more compassion and recognise that attachment behaviours come from early experiences that continue to have strong influences today.

You can use this information as a starting point in a conversation. Use it like a road map to navigate your interactions and relationships moving forward. Change can be achieved, but it often takes time and patience.

Psychological therapy can also help you on your path of self-development. Through therapy, you can:

  • Develop a stronger understanding of yourself, your reactions, and your behaviours
  • Gain a better awareness of maladaptive patterns you may fall into
  • Learn more effective ways of communicating and asking for what you need
  • Work on improving your general social interactions and relationships
  • Learn ways to interact with people who have different attachment styles to you
  • Work through old emotional wounds, so that you can learn to trust and open up more to others
  • Learn strategies to manage low mood, anxiety, jealousy, and anger


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