Attachment Style and How it Impacts Our Relationships

Throughout our lifetime, we may find ourselves reacting or responding in a particular way within our closest interpersonal relationships whether they be with our parents, our friends or colleagues, or within our romantic partnerships. These reactions or responses are often a result of our attachment style which we all begin forming within our infant/caregiver relationship. The development of a secure attachment style is one in which we are equipped with empathy, the ability to regulate our emotions, resilience, effective interpersonal skills, and attachment security.

Although the development of a secure attachment style is the goal, many of us aren’t always provided the environment or conditions which facilitate the development of such. Some individuals may develop what is called an anxious-preoccupied attachment style or one of two types of avoidant attachment, either dismissive-avoidant or fearful-avoidant. Those individuals who find themselves with an attachment style that hasn’t quite made its way to secure as of yet, fear not. The best part of learning about and identifying our attachment style is that we are empowered to recognize and give logic to those internal compulsions that drive us, and subsequently, what we can do to make our way towards the secure style of attachment we strive to acquire. Here are some steps we can take to begin making our way toward secure attachment:

  • Become aware of what your specific attachment style is. This can be done fairly easy through reading up on empirically based resources or even taking some of the many quizzes available on line.

  • Identify why you’d like to move your attachment style more towards secure and what drives your desire to do so.

  • Make a plan and set some goals. How would you like to work on developing a secure attachment style and what tools will you use? One may wish to do this work independently while others may wish to utilize the support and direction that can be found in therapy.

  • Once you have a plan in place and the desire to do so, stay persistent! This process isn’t an easy or quick one, as you are striving to alter a deeply engrained mindset; however, with a strong will and consistent effort, it is achievable and well worth the work.

Achieving a secure attachment style takes self-awareness, patience and tenacity but will ultimately provide us with more fulfilling, honest, and satisfying relationships within our lives.