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What is an Attachment Style?


Reading time:

4 min


Published on:

Mon Sep 11 2023


Last updated:

Wed Feb 14 2024


Written by:

The Personal Development School

Attachment styles play a significant role in our relationships and overall well-being. Developed in early childhood, these patterns influence how we connect, communicate, and form bonds with others. By understanding attachment styles, we can gain insights into our own behaviors and those of our loved ones. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of attachment styles, their impact on relationships, and how recognizing and working with them can foster healthier connections.

What are Attachment Styles?

The term attachment style was coined in the 1950s by John Bowlby and later expanded upon by Mary Ainsworth. It was called "Attachment theory"

The attachment theory is based on the theory that your early childhood experiences, based on interactions with your parents and/or caregivers, form the basis of how you perceive and believe in relationships and love. Most noticeably, it impacts your adult relationships.  Attachment style chart

These experiences are known as "core wounds", due to the wound that's built into your subconscious mind that surfaces when it's triggered. Knowing your attachment style can help you understand the core wounds behind your actions. 

There are four types of attachment types: secure attached (SA), anxious preoccupied (AP) -- also known as anxious attached (AA) --, dismissive avoidant (DA) -- which are also called disorganized insecure attachment style -- and fearful avoidant (FA).

Understanding each one of these attachment styles can help determine your attachment classification, assist with detecting your core wounds (or attachment wounds), your attachment behavioral system, and help you heal and overcome it, so you can find true romantic love. 

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is considered the healthiest style. Individuals with a secure attachment style tend to feel comfortable with intimacy and autonomy. They have a positive self-image and believe in their worthiness of love and care. They form trusting, stable relationships and effectively communicate their needs and emotions. They are responsive to their partners and provide support when needed, often becoming attracted to securely attached adults and peers. 

However, they struggle with other insecure attachment styles. They can be left wondering what they can do to help their partner, and get worried they'll stuck with someone who isn't as secure as them.

Cultivating a secure attachment style involves developing self-awareness, building emotional resilience, and practicing open and honest communication.

Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

Anxious preoccupied attachment is characterized by a fear of abandonment and a constant need for reassurance due to an inconsistent caregiving environment. Individuals with this style have insecure attachment patterns, often worrying about their partner's availability and dedication. They seek high levels of intimacy but can become clingy or overly dependent. They may struggle with self-esteem and be prone to jealousy and overthinking.

Building a secure attachment style for anxious individuals involves nurturing self-confidence, developing healthy coping mechanisms for anxiety, and improving communication skills to express needs and concerns in a constructive manner.

Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

Dismissive avoidant attachment is marked by a fear of intimacy and a desire for independence. Individuals with this style tend to avoid emotional closeness and vulnerability. They may have difficulty trusting others and may feel suffocated by too much connection. They often value self-reliance and independence over emotional bonds. This was due to their childhood experience where they learned to self-soothe quickly, gaining independence. They struggle with unresolved trauma and intense fear of trusting others. 

To foster healthier attachment, dismissive-avoidant adults can work on cultivating self-awareness, challenging their fears of intimacy, and gradually allowing themselves to be vulnerable in safe and supportive relationships. Ultimately, getting professional therapy can assist with their development. 

Fearful Avoidant Attachment

Fearful avoidant attachment is a combination of anxious and avoidant styles. Individuals with disorganized attachment may exhibit contradictory behaviors, experiencing both a fear of abandonment and a fear of intimacy. They may struggle with emotional regulation and have difficulty maintaining stable and healthy relationships.

Seeking professional support, such as therapy, can be beneficial for those with a disorganized attachment, as it helps them understand and address underlying traumas or unresolved issues that contribute to their attachment style. It can help them find secure relationships while meeting their emotional needs. 


Discover and Heal Your Attachment Style with The Personal Development School

Understanding attachment styles provides valuable insights into our relationship dynamics and offers a pathway to healthier connections. By recognizing our own attachment style and working on developing secure patterns, we can cultivate fulfilling relationships built on trust, communication, and emotional intimacy. Remember, change takes time and effort, but the journey towards secure attachment is a transformative and rewarding one.

When you start your free trial with The Personal Development School, you’ll get access to a wide range of online courses dedicated to understanding and healing your attachment style. You’ll begin to understand why learning about your attachment style is so important and the many ways it shows up in different areas of your life. Your free trial also gets you access to our weekly live webinars and dedicated support community so you can learn in more ways than one. Get started for free and see how you like it!

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