How to change your attachment style and relationships (2023)

How to change your attachment style and relationships (1)

Credit: Chris Fraley, used with permission

We are made for attachment - that's why babies cry when they are separated from their mother. Depending on our mother's behavior, as well as subsequent experiences and other factors, we develop an attachment style that influences our behavior in intimate relationships.

Fortunately, most people have a secure attachment because it contributes to survival. It gives us confidence that we are safe and that we can help each other in a dangerous environment. Theworrywe feel when we don't know where our missing child or loved one is during a disaster, like in a movieImpossibility, is notsuovisni. It's normal. Calling and searching frantically is considered "protest behavior", like a child suffering from its mother.

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We pursue or we avoidintimacyon a continuum, but generally one of the three styles below predominates whether dating or long-distancelack:

  • Sure, 50 percent of the population
  • Restless - 20 percent of the population
  • Avoids - 25 percent of the population
  • Combinations such as safe-anxious or anxious-avoidant account for 3 to 5 percent of the population.

There are statistically more people avoiding a relationship among singles, because people with a secure attachment are more likely to stay in relationships. Unlike avoiders, they don't look for perfection, so when a relationship ends, they don't stay alone for long. This increases the likelihood that anxiously attached coworkers will avoid dating, increasing its negative impact on relationship outcomes.

Secure attachment

Warmth and love come naturally and you can be intimate without worrying about the relationship or minor misunderstandings. You accept your partner's minor flaws and treat them with love and respect. You don't play games ormanipulatebut they are direct and can openly and decisively share their victories and losses, needs and feelings. You also respond to your partner's needs and try to meet their needs. Because you're goodSelf-EsteemYou don't take everything personally and don't react to criticism. Thanks to this, you won't take a defensive stance in confrontations. Instead, you de-escalate them by solving the problem,mildand apologize.

Anxious attachment

You want to be close and you can be intimate. To maintain a positive relationship, you give up your needs to please and get to know your partner. But because you don't meet your needs, you become unhappy. You're busy with the relationship and you're very in tune with your partner, making sure he wants less intimacy. You often take things personally with a negative attitude and anticipate negative outcomes. This can be explained by the brain differences found in people with anxious attachments.

To relieve stress, you can play games or manipulate your partner to wincareand persuasion by withdrawal, affective action, non-response, provocationjealousyor threatens to leave. You may also be jealous of his attention to others and often call or text even when he asks for it.

Avoiding attachment

There are two subtypes: rejection avoidance and fear avoidance. If you are an ex, you can easily get rid of difficult feelings. daffodilsbelong to this categoryand those who suppress their emotions. If you know you want intimacy, butdistrusteither you are afraid of it, you have a fear avoidance style.


  • What is attachment?
  • Find a therapist who will strengthen your relationship

If you avoid intimacy, independence and self-sufficiency are more important to youintimacy. You can enjoy closeness - to the limit. In relationships, you act self-confident and confident and don't feel comfortable sharing your feelings. (For example, in a study of partners saying goodbye at the airportscammersthey didn't show much contact, stress, or sadness unlike others.) You protect your freedom and delay commitment. Once you do, you create mental distance by being constantly dissatisfied with your relationship, focusing on your partner's minor flaws, or remembering their loneliness or some other idealized relationship.

Just as an anxious person is hypersensitive to signs of distance, you are hypersensitive to your partner's attempts to control you or in any way limit your autonomy and freedom. To participate indistancing behavior,Such asflirtmaking unilateral decisions, ignoring or disregarding your partner's feelings and needs. Your partner may complain that you feel you don't need him or that you're not open enough because you keep secrets or don't share your feelings. In fact, he or she often seems needy to you, but you feel strong and self-sufficient in comparison. Don't worry about disconnecting. But if the relationship is in jeopardy, you pretend to yourself that you don't need attachment and hide your feelings of anxiety. It is not that these needs do not exist, they are suppressed. Alternatively, you may become stressed because the possibility of intimacy is no longer a threat to you.

Appendix Essential reading

Cultivating Secure Attachment: Building Healthy Relationships

Because anxious and avoidant attachment attract each other


Even people who feel independent when single are often surprised when they become dependent after a relationship. This is because intimate relationships unconsciously encourage attachment and a trusting stylefearfrom their past experiences. It is normal that you are healthy, dependent on your partner. When your needs are met, you will feel safe.

You can judge your partner's style by their behavior and reaction to a direct request for more intimacy. Does he try to meet your needs, or does he become defensive and awkward, or does he please you once and then go back to reserved behavior? A confident person will not play games, communicates well and can compromise. A person with an anxious attachment style would welcome more closeness, but still needs security and care in the relationship.

Anxious and avoidant attachment styles resemble codependency in relationships. They characterize the feelings and behaviors of stalkers and distancers described in "Attachment problems between anxious and avoidant partners“AndConqueringSramsuovisnostEveryone isunconsciouslytheir needs expressed by others. This is one of the reasons why their community existsattractiveness. Anxious style hunters are usually not interested in someone who is available and has a safe style. They usually attract the avoidant. The anxiety associated with attachment insecurity is vivid and familiar, although it is uncomfortable and makes them feel even more anxious. This confirms themfear of abandonmentabout relationships and beliefs that you are not enough, loved or definitely loved.

Anxious people tend to get attached quickly and do not take the time to assess whether their partner can or is willing to meet their needs. They tend to overlook what they share with each new, idealized partner and overlook potential problems. Wanting the relationship to work, they suppress their needs by sending the wrong messages to their partner in the long run. All of these behaviors increase the likelihood of attachment to the avoidant. When he or she withdraws, their anxiety is awakened, the stalkers mistake longing and anxiety for love instead of realizing that the problem is the partner's unavailability, not themselves or anything they have done or might do in the future to change it. They endure and try harder instead of facing the truth andSectiontheir losses.

Those who distance themselves need someone to accompany them to meet the emotional needs that they mostly abandon and that another avoidant could not meet. Unlike highly attached people, bullies and withdrawers lack conflict resolution skills. They tend to take the defensive and attack or retreat, which intensifies the conflict. No rush, conflicts andcompulsive behavior, stalkers and distances begin to feeldepressingand empty because of early, painful attachments.

Change style

Although most people do not change their attachment style, you can change yours to a more or less secure one, depending on your experiences and conscious effort. To change your style to a more confident one, look fortreatmentas well as relationships with others capable of secure attachment. If you have an insecure attachment style, you'll feel more stable in a committed relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style. This will help you gain more confidence. Changing the attachment style and treating codependency go hand in hand. Both require:

  1. Heal your shame and boost your self-esteem. So you can't take things personally.
  2. learn to beclaim.
  3. Learn to recognize, respect, and confidently express your emotional needs.
  4. Take the risk of being authentic and direct. Don't play games or try to manipulate your partner's interests.
  5. Practice accepting yourself and others to find fewer mistakes - a difficult task for interdependent and aloof people.
  6. stop reacting. This can be a challenge for usnervous systemhe is used to reacting automatically. This often involves being able to identify triggers and unravel what triggers them.
  7. Learn to calm down - that is, all those things that are difficult to do alone. ListenYouTube exerciseand read self-care tips.
  8. I'm learningresolve conflictand compromise from the "us" perspective.

Oppressors need to become more accountable to themselves, and withdrawers need to become more accountable to their partners. Anxious guys need to learn to come out slowly. Distanced people need to discover their vulnerability, respect their need for love, set verbal boundaries, and learn to receive. The result is a safer, codependent relationship, not a codependent relationship or loneliness with a false sense of self-sufficiency.

Especially after leaving an unhappy, codependent relationship, both types fear that relying on someone will make them even more dependent. This can happen in codependent relationships when there is no secure attachment. However, in a secure relationship, healthy dependence allows for greater interdependence. You have a safe base from which to explore the world. It also gives young children the courage to individualize, express their true selves and become more independent.

Similarly, people in therapy often fear becoming dependent on the therapist and leave when they feel a little better. When fear of addiction arises, it needs to be addressed. These are the same fears that prevent us from building secure bonds in relationships and cause us to seek out someone to avoid. In fact, good therapy provides a secure attachment that allows people to grow and become more autonomous, not less. Therein lies the paradox: the more autonomous we are, the more familiar we are. In addition, we can be more independent when we are dependent on someone else – provided it is a secure attachment. This is another reason why it is difficult to make changes on your own without therapy or in an insecure relationship without outside support.

Suggested reading

  • Many books by the authorJohn Bowlby
  • Mikulincer and hairdresser,Attachment structure, dynamics and change in adults(2007)
  • Levine and Heller,In Attachment(2010)

© Darlene Lancer 2014


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