What is Attachment Theory?
Ever wonder why you feel anxious around family or social situation? Why you can't seem to let your guard down even in relaxed or safe situations? Research shows that your nervous system and ability to connect comes down to one primary thing... your attachment style!
So what is attachment? Attachment theory is the science around how humans are born with an innate need to connect and bond with others. The experiences they have in early childhood programs their mind with the ability to form either secure, anxious or avoidant connections. ¹ Primary nervous system programming happens before 6 months old up until the age of 7 years old. ²
Your primary caregiver or parent likely influenced your style of attachment. Meaning that you learned your attachment style based on how your parent:
Showed up for you
Modeled love to you
Expressed love to their partner(s) or spouse
Once your attachment style forms – it sticks with you for life (or until you do the emotional work to overcome your childhood programming). Even today, your attachment style impacts your social, intimate, and work relationships. And your attachment style can even influence the way you parent your children.³
"You transmit what you don't transform"
Based on attachment theory, here are the four attachment styles in adults:
Secure attachment style
Avoidant attachment style
Anxious attachment style
Disorganized attachment style
Most of us don't fit into just one of these categories. You could identify with avoidant and anxious styles at the same time. And when you found love later in life, you could have formed another attachment style.⁴
Let’s go over the different attachment styles so you know how to recognize which attachment styles resonate with you the most.
The Four Adult Attachment Styles: Which Attachment Style(s) Are You?
When navigating your attachment style – you’ll generally fall into either the “secure” or “insecure” category. Being in the secure category is where you want to be.
But if you find that you fall into the insecure category, it’s okay. It is possible to heal and shift your attachment style... not easy but possible!. Thats what I'm here for!
Let’s start with the golden standard - what we all WISH we had.
This attachment style comes from a childhood of feeling safe, secure, seen, and soothed. You trust that your physical and emotional needs will be met. And when you need them to, your parent(s) will have your back.
If you were raised with a secure attachment style, you’d likely have:
Emotional regulation skills
Ability to handle stress
Better relationships (family and romantically)
Greater trust in life
While you might think this secure attachment style portrays a picture-perfect scenario of a parent solving all of their children's problems – that’s not what’s happening here at all. It simply means that your parent(s) showed you unconditional and non-judgmental love. They were your guide to navigate through lifes’ situations - both good and bad.
They didn’t hide the facts of life or the hardships you would face as an adult. Instead, they taught you there is no such thing as a failure or mistake but an opportunity to grow, build resilience and learn.
Today, you actively listen to your authentic voice instead of the views and judgments of others. I often help clients get to this golden standard of attachment styles so they can finally start living their life in total alignment.
Next, we’ll discuss the three attachment styles within the insecure attachment category. Try to be open and honest with yourself here. The first step towards changing your attachment style and changing your life is to have acceptance. You can do this. 💪
The avoidant attachment style is also referred to as “dismissive.” If you have this attachment style as an adult, you may often refer to yourself as the lone-wolf.
You might believe that you don’t have to be in a relationship to feel complete. You don’t want to depend on others or have others rely on you, or seek social support or approval. I’ve also found that those with avoidant attachment styles cultivate relationships built on chaos, rigidity, or both.
If you were raised with an avoidant attachment style, you’d likely have:
Problems trusting your inner voice
Issues dealing with emotions
Difficulty with connecting
A hard time trusting others
Disassociate from conflict
Shut down or close off from emotions
If this sounds like you, you might have had your emotional needs ignored by your parent figure(s) as a child. And as a result, you taught yourself to dismiss your emotional needs as a means of surviving.
That’s why when you’re faced with a stressful or emotional situation, you quickly shut down your emotions and avoid reflecting internally. Today, you probably wouldn’t consider relationships or “people in general” as trustworthy or safe in your eyes.
The anxious attachment style, sometimes called “preoccupied,” makes you crave emotional intimacy – yet worry that your partner doesn’t love you. And sometimes, you find it hard to observe boundaries and keep close relationships.
This happens when anxious parents are distracted by their own unresolved and imbalanced emotions. So much so they overwhelm their children with their insecurities as a parent.
For the child in this situation, they’re most likely:
In a state of constant imbalance
Stuck in confusing situations
Revved up or on guard all the time
If you formed this attachment style, you might have been inconsistently forced to live on the edge. As a child, you felt like you were always walking on eggshells or waiting for the pin to drop – trying to prepare for the next disaster.
You may have learned that you couldn’t count on your parent(s) for attunement, connection, and regulation. This left you feeling insecure with your family and even the world.
If you are experiencing disorganized attachment style, often called “fearful-avoidant,” you might know some of these statements to ring true:
You find your intimate relationships to be confusing.
Your emotions for your partner may swing from one extreme to another – you often go from loving your partner to hating them.
You crave healthy, intimate relationships, but you feel unworthy of love. And you’re terrified of being hurt again.
You can be insensitive or untrusting to your partner or the people in your life. They’re not alone in this, though – you’re harder on yourself than you are on them.
You may recognize yourself resorting to negative behavior patterns like alcohol and drug abuse. Or you might feel prone to aggressiveness or violence.
Often, those experiencing the disorganized attachment style may have had their childhood surrounded by abuse, neglect, or trauma.⁵ And that’s just one reason why being aware of your attachment style is so important.
Healing Your Past Attachment Style
Whether you find yourself thinking “that’s me” with one or more of the insecure attachment styles, it’s essential to understand that it doesn’t mean you're stuck with it. There is hope. Because you can heal your past and, in turn, change your attachment style.
Meaning you can go from having either anxious, avoidant, or disorganized tendencies to reaching the golden secure attachment style that we all crave.
All you need is a little help from proven modalities like hypnotherapy and Emotion Code Therapy that help you heal from within, rewrite your story, and change your attachment styles.⁶
Hypnotherapy + Emotion Code Therapy can help heal your Attachment Style
You may know you have a behavior like deeply fearing abandonment or becoming angry and upset during certain situations but aren’t sure why you feel that way. If this is the case, Hypnotherapy lights the path towards finding out the underlying cause of your behavior. And once the root cause of the problems is identified, you can set healthy boundaries and love yourself and others healthily.
Next, I recommend using conscious energy healing like Emotion Code Therapy. When you use this powerful therapy, you work to release harmful energies of the past, find and connect with your inner child, and unlock energies that happened ages ago – like when you were a child.
Isn’t that amazing?
Using Emotion Code Therapy in conjunction with Hypnotherapy is a savvy step towards cultivating an abundant life supported by genuine, healthy relationships that consistently push you forward.
If you’re anything like I was – you know you're not living your life in total alignment, and you’re interested in learning more about how you can get started on your own healing journey. If you know this to be true, I invite you into my safe space on my email list. ✉
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I can’t wait to hear from you, learn your story, and point you in the right direction on your journey towards inner healing, happiness, and wellness.