Emotional Sobriety’s Study of the Attachment Theory Types

Although I no longer date, I am sure that if I did I wouldn’t be choosing based on my attachment type. I am an avoidant-dismissive through and through. I still am even though I have also added being a secure type. Confusing? Not really. It helps me to remember that I can choose others based on my being a secure person.

An understanding of the attachment types is the basis for understanding how we relate to others and how they relate to us.

The attachment type theories have evolved over the years but I will posting about the following: secure–anxious–avoidant-dismissive–and avoidant-fearful.

The best short listing of these that I have found is from The Stoic’s Journal: What is your attachment style?

John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth came up with four attachment styles.

Secure

  • These are the ‘normal’ ones
  • Effective communicators
  • They will trust you if you don’t give them any reason not to
  • Attuned to their emotions and open about their feelings
  • Dating them is a smooth ride

Anxious

  • Anxious about almost everything and anything
  • Terrible communicators
  • They act out when triggered (might resort to silent treatment)
  • Closed off at times
  • Dating them can be quite difficult but it’s possible to make things work

Avoidant-Dismissive

  • Downplays the importance of relationships
  • Extremely self-reliant (don’t believe they need anyone)
  • Have strict boundaries
  • They are emotionally distant
  • They’d rather have casual relationships

Avoidant-Fearful

  • They have conflicting feelings about relationships
  • Might come off as clingy and needy due to separation anxiety
  • Strongly fears rejection
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Feel the need to flee when things start to get serious

Each Monday, I will post about one of these types. I don’t know of anything as important to understanding why we make the relationship choices we do as knowing our attachment type.

A quiz to help you determine your style–Attachment Styles and Close Relationships.

From You Need to Understand Your Attachment Style:

One of the hardest lessons that attachment theory teaches us is that we make relationship decisions in a way that validates our understanding of love and attachment, regardless of the healthiness of our approach.

For example, attachment expert Dr. Lisa Firestone elaborates that a person with an anxious attachment style will be attracted to an avoidant personality in order to validate her or his own beliefs that “in order to get close to someone and have your needs met, you need to be with your partner all the time and get reassurance.”

At first, this might not make sense. If you think about it, however, a securely attached person would provide consistent emotional intimacy to their anxious partner, thus invalidating the anxious partner’s belief that they must constantly work for that intimacy. This wouldn’t fit the anxious partner’s mental model of love and attachment.

If unexamined, the discrepancy could cause the anxious partner to exit the relationship because of a belief that it didn’t feel “right”. Of course, what does feel right in this case, isn’t healthy.

The question then becomes, can we get out of our unhealthy attachment patterns?

Dr. Firestone argues that you can. While attachment theory emphasizes that maladaptive attachment styles were learned before we had a say in the matter, we aren’t doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

After all, attachment styles are, at their core, mental models for seeking and keeping intimacy in our lives. They aren’t hardwired into our brains. Once we become aware of the models we are utilizing, we can analyze them, see where they come from, and work our way to better relationship models through therapy and introspection.

We can learn to behave differently, and, as a result, find more fulfilling relationships.

4 comments

  1. I am a combo of the bottom two

    I have reached a point where I rather be by myself than even risk betrayal

    I would never trust a mate enough to make a relationship work

    Like

    • You have so much to give. I believe the best relationships begin with friendship. You are a young man. Please allow yourself to know that you wouldn’t be attracted to someone who would betray you. You have done 10 years of hard emotional work. You are not that person who used to choose betrayers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you

        But inside me I would b miserable wondering and worrying about betrayal

        I am scared by my only girl I ever thought I loved

        After an abusive childhood

        I met and fell for a sweet girl in college

        It was nice if a year, then she betrayed me sneaking off to a rival fraternity

        She got drunk and 15 gangraped her and bragged about it in a small 1200 enrollment college

        We at a the same cafeteria

        I found out listening to them brag about it

        I never rusted ever after that public humiliation

        Like

  2. She betrayed herself more than you. Forgiving her for being a soul so tortured that she would put herself in harm’s way. I hope she found some peace in life. Maybe you are like me, I like to have my life for me. I guess some would call me selfish. But I call myself blessed.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Marty Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s