Ever wondered why your relationships are the way they are? Maybe you’ve wondered why it’s difficult for you to trust people or to open up to them? Or why you choose certain romantic partners? Or why you always seem to sabotage your relationships? The answer may have to do with your attachment style. In fact, everyone has an attachment style and it’s based on the attachment theory. The attachment theory was originally developed by John Bowlby in the 1950s and is based on the idea that the “emotional bond between parents and their children is responsible for the bond that develops between adults in emotionally intimate relationships.” This emotional bond develops when you are an infant. Carers who are sensitive to children’s needs foster a “secure attachment style”. Carers who become distressed and retreat when their children are upset to create an “avoidant attachment style”. Carers who respond sensitively but are often distracted from their caregiving create an “anxious attachment style”. And carers who harm their children through neglect or abuse, create a “disorganized attachment style.”
By the age of 5 years old, your attachment style is pretty much set in stone and can become much harder to change. It’s one of the reasons why the first 5 years of a child’s development are deemed to be the most important in regards to who they will become as an adult.
The relationship between infants and caregivers and the relationship between adult romantic partners share many similar features. Such as the following:
- both feel safe when the other is nearby and responsive
- both engage in close, intimate, bodily contact
- both feel insecure when the other is inaccessible
- both share discoveries with one another
- both plays with one another’s facial features and exhibit a mutual fascination and preoccupation with one another
- both engage in “baby talk”
Therefore, the type of attachment you form with your parents as an infant often mirrors the type of attachment that you develop with other people, especially when it comes to romantic relationships.
Knowing your attachment style can give you important information and insight about yourself, your relationships and other people in your life. It can also help you be more mindful of the type of parent that you want to be. Additionally, it can help fill in the missing pieces and explanations behind some of your behaviors when it comes to relationships. Lastly, it can help you understand your parent(s) in a new light as well. Because everyone has an attachment style, that means that your parent’s attachment style heavily influenced the kind of attachment that they developed with you while you were an infant. For some people, this revelation may bring about more peace and forgiveness.
In order to find out your attachment style, you can take the following quizzes:
In addition, do your own research and consider going to therapy in order to dig deeper into your own attachment style. What do you think about the attachment style theory? What do you think is your attachment style? Have you gained any new insights from learning about your attachment style? Let us know in the comments section below!