What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?
By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.
When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.
In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.
Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.
What is attachment theory?
Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.
The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.
His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.
The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.
When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.
Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.
How attachment develops
Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.
Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.
The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.
It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.
In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.
Different types of attachments
In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:
- Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
- Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
- Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
- Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.
What attachments mean to adults
So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.
Read more: https://www.lifehack.org/788867/secure-attachment