Psychology: There are three main styles of attachment – which one do you have?

According to experts, there are three attachment styles – which one do you have?

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Psychologists usually differentiate between three attachment styles, which are mostly not only important for our partnerships, but also for our entire feeling and behavior. Which one do you most likely identify with?

Most of you will have noticed this before: People sometimes behave very differently in relationships – be it friendships, partnerships, relatives or collegial relationships. We all have different expectations and demands on a relationship, we sometimes feel at home in completely different roles than our fellow human beings, set different priorities and evaluate and feel differently. Of course, this can lead to conflicts, but first and foremost, that’s a good thing: Our individuality and the resulting diversity in living together is one of our very great strengths, to which we owe far more than it bothered us. And our relationship behavior is just part of this individuality.

What shapes our attachment style and what it means for our lives

One aspect of our relationship behavior is our attachment style, which, according to psychologists, depends to a large extent on what our earliest social experiences looked like and shaped us: the relationship with our parents or siblings, for example. Other factors certainly also play a role (genes, year of birth / historical context in which we were born, character, zodiac sign, ascendant, weather conditions …), but experts unanimously agree that our early childhood experiences shape our attachment style.

As the scientist Paula Durlofsky writes in “Psychology Today”, our attachment style not only affects our relationships, it is such an integral part of our personality that it also plays a role in other areas of life, for example in our dealings with social media ( which admittedly are also about relationships, but where is that not?). But what she emphasizes: “Attachment styles can be changed.” As human beings, we develop for a lifetime and can break even established patterns and behaviors if we want. To do this, however, we first have to perceive them in ourselves, understand them and recognize them in our actions – which usually works better when we have terms for them.

The three styles of attachment

Psychologists distinguish the following three main styles of attachment: within common.

Secure attachment type

People with this attachment style typically have stable self-esteem, exude self-confidence and maintain a healthy approach to their own emotions and needs. Most of them grew up in a loving home where they were given a feeling of security and security. People with a secure attachment style usually have no problem giving other people freedom, trusting, forgiving, or opening up. Usually they maintain healthy and balanced relationships that give them stability, meaning and joy in life.

Anxious attachment type

An anxious attachment style is usually associated with unstable self-esteem and insecurity. Affected people fear rejection, attach great importance to recognition and confirmation and are very afraid to reveal themselves to others – because it would hurt them deeply not to be accepted. Behind this are typically early childhood experiences such as a lack of structure and care or a very opaque and unpredictable style of parenting. In social relationships, anxious attachment types tend to be clingy. Instead of standing by their needs, they always try to please others and to satisfy them, which usually leads to an imbalance and rather conflict-ridden and burdened relationships that cost more energy than they give.

Avoidant attachment type

An avoidant attachment style is often linked to personality traits such as pessimism and a more resigned, fateful attitude towards life. It is mostly based on early childhood experiences such as frequent being alone, parents who were little present and emotionally unavailable. Typical for avoidant attachment behavior are distancing and mistrust, even in the closest relationships such as a partnership. Affected people avoid intimacy and closeness and attach greater importance to maintaining their independence than to getting involved with one another. This makes it almost impossible for them to really enjoy a relationship and find it enriching.

Of course, as adults we can no longer change what we experienced as children and have to accept what shaped us and how. But as I said: it is never too late to break out of our learned patterns. And besides mindfulness and motivation, other people and our relationships with them can help – especially when it comes to the attachment style.

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