Attachment styles range from secure, anxious and avoidant. This is usually formed during childhood from the relationship between caregiver (often mother) and ourselves. Secure attachment is ideal. This is when as a child we feel comfortable needing the mother and as we grow, are able to extend comfort to others, building healthy relationships. Securely attached children are resilient and easily soothed, fostering the ability to attach and separate as adults.
Avoidant attachment is the opposite of secure. This is when the child feels long-term neglect, resulting in the minimization of close relationships as adults. They feel uncomfortable being reassured and nourished. Disorganized attachment is on the same side of the scale of avoidant but develops when a child feels terrified of the parent. They hide their emotions and fears to maintain a relationship with the parent, leading to disruptions in life as adults.
In the middle is anxious attachment. These are the people who tend to be…
- Anxious to please parents, spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend
- Overly concerned with what others think of them
- Minimize the flaws, faults and dangers of people they are attracted to
- Tell others they are much happier than they really are
As children, they got some of what they needed from their mother, but not all, and were left with a constant longing to be accepted and appreciated. Throughout their entire lives they feel love is difficult to win. They cater to others to win their affection.
If these traits are part of your life, you may find yourself struggling with persistent anxiety and fear. You might have trouble asking for what you want from people, neglecting your own needs. You may be drawn to people who are demanding and destructive. Most of the time, these individuals don’t notice they struggle with anxiety because they have felt this way since childhood. Anxiously attached people are extra sensitive to rejection. Often apologies are made because they feel threatened by the emotional state of others, not because they are sincere.
Even though our childhood relationship with our parents dictates our attachment style, attachment can be changed. By creating new thought patterns and establishing healthy coping skills, women can begin to transform their attachment behavior, becoming stronger while retaining their kindness.