The need for connection is a very basic human need. Feeling securely attached to our partner provides us with a feeling of safety. The more securely attached we are, the more connected and different we can be. It allows us to be vulnerable and authentic in the relationship. Feeling secure in our relationship with our partner will help us deal with conflicts more constructively. Without this secure Attachment, we may become afraid and seek forms of protection that not only interfere with connection, but move us further away from each other.
Accessibility and responsiveness help build secure and healthy bonds with our partners. When a partner fails to be responsive to the other, anxiety and/or avoidance may result. There may angry protests, clinging, depression, despair, and finally, detachment. Without that connection with our partner, we feel alone and unloved. The emotional wounds keep getting deeper.
Four main styles of attachment have been identified in adults:
· anxious – preoccupied
· dismissive – avoidant
· anxious – avoidant
SECURE – Securely attached individuals tend to experience positive relationships with themselves and their partner. They have achieved a good balance between intimacy and independence. They can prioritize their relationships within their life and have clear boundaries. They can accept rejection and find healthy ways to move on. They are capable of being loyal and sacrificing when necessary. They are trusting and trustworthy. It is estimated that 50% of the population are secure attachment types.
ANXIOUS – PREOCCUPIED – Individuals with this style of attachment look for high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their partner. There is the risk of dependency. Anxiety and preoccupation with attachment may result in worry, impulsiveness, and emotional outburst. They tend to be nervous and stressed and needing constant reassurance and affection from their partner. They have trouble trusting people.
DISMISSIVE – AVOIDANT – These individuals prefer high levels of independence which may lead to avoidance of closeness and intimacy. Feelings may be suppressed and they may respond by distancing themselves when rejection is perceived. They have problems with commitment and find ways to rationalize their behavior. They may complain of feeling “suffocated” when they perceive people trying to get close to them. They often construct their lives in such a way to avoid intimate contact, such as workaholics.
FEARFUL – AVOIDANT – Individuals with this attachment style are fearful of intimacy and have ambivalence regarding emotional closeness. They want it but fear it at the same time. Feelings may be suppressed and there may be a reluctance to express affection. They have a tendency to prefer to be alone and may react to anyone trying to get close. Other emotional issues such as substance abuse and depression may also be present.
These types are not monolithic qualities, but more like a scale. So, say someone maybe 50% on the secure scale, 35% on the avoidant scale, and 15% on an anxious scale. So individuals can exhibit behaviors in each of the types. It’s not all or nothing.
Forming a secure attachment with our partner will provide us with higher levels of intimacy, trust, and satisfaction. How do we form secure attachments with our partner? Below are ten behaviors that help us build secure attachment and connection with our partner.
TEN ATTACHMENT/CONNECTION BEHAVIORS:
9. Honoring (Respect)
Bring more of these behaviors into your daily interactions with your partner and your bond will strengthen as you each feel safer and more secure in your relationship.
Visit us at www.lifeworkscounseling.orgto sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter with topics on relationships & personal growth & receive a free gift!