Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Has a romantic partner ever triggered you and then you go into full-time physco mode? I know I have. That is a sign that someone has activated your attachment style and it is in overdrive.
Attachment styles is a psychological theory regarding the relationships between people and how we interact. As adults, we experience this in different ways than when we were children. There is some information online about how it shows we develop as adults and how it infiltrates our relationships. Depending on our attachment style depends on how we interpret emotional intimacy, closeness, and expression of emotions.
I was first introduced to the subject by a friend reading 'Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment And How It Can Help You Find And Keep Love', by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller. (A great book which I happened to lose in the process of moving house! Note to self: buy it back!). It really opened my eyes to how I interact with people and how people interact with me. We are all unique but that also extends to how we see, treat and expect love.
I must note before I move on, you are who you are. One is not better than the other
As always relationships require work and you may need to work harder at understanding your partner's needs if they are different from your own.
There are four main strands:
ANXIOUS people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
AVOIDANT people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
SECURE people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
ANXIOUS-AVOIDANT people have a fear of intimacy and minimise closeness although they worry about their partner's ability to love them.
Anxious-avoidant people require the most love and care as sometimes their feelings cause them to feel confused. Which is okay, but the key here is understanding and patience.
If you would like to do the attached quiz please see the link here.
As with many theories of this nature, you can express qualities of all three strands but you naturally have one main one, similar to love languages. Now that you know your own, it can help identify your partners'. So when they are calling you 50 times after an argument, you know you have triggered an anxious person.
Tip: Answer the phone and just say you don't want to talk right now but you still love them. Assuming you do of course!
Here are some ideas to spending time with people based on their attachment style:
Secure: Anything, ask them to marry you? Lol, I joke of course
Anxious: Try spending time together talking about feelings, maybe using our connect cards?
Avoidant: Try doing an activity such as mini-golf, it will help build the closeness in a discrete way.
There are some great social media accounts that have more information regarding attachment styles. A couple I follow on Instagram are:
They create content to help clarify how people show up and how you can respond to deepen the understanding and strengthen the relationship. As with all types of relationships, this isn't limited to just romantic partners and can be for friends, family, and even work colleagues. However, it is normal for these to show up more strongly in romantic relationships as our hearts are connected.
Relationships are always about learning. Even if your attachment style is not the same as your partners, look at it as an opportunity to learn more about them and how they love.