You might have heard of “attachment parenting” or “attachment style” in everyday conversations, on social media, or in pop culture. Attachment theory has become a hot topic because it provides key insights into how caregiver relationships in childhood affect adult relationships.

Keep reading to learn more about attachment theory, the four styles of attachment, and how you can move to a healthy attachment style.

What is a healthy attachment style?

Attachment theory provides the basis for understanding the four attachment styles. John Bowlby developed attachment theory in the mid-twentieth century. He researched how early childhood experiences affected both child development and adult behavior.

Bowlby defined attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” He devoted a great deal of attention and research to the relationship between infants and their primary caregivers.

Attachment theory identifies four main attachment styles: 1) secure, 2) anxious, 3) avoidant, and 4) disorganized.

Secure attachment involves “feelings of trust and safety in relationships” (Simply Psychology). Anxious (or anxious-insecure) attachment can outwardly manifest as insecure or stereotypically “needy” behavior. Avoidant (or avoidant-insecure) attachment often shows up as emotional disconnection and overindependence.

Disorganized (or disorganized-insecure) attachment is characterized by unpredictable and inconsistent behavior, such as being loving sometimes and lashing out in anger at others.

Secure attachment is the healthy attachment style. Infants and children who have their needs met by responsive caregivers usually develop secure attachment. Other life experiences can also impact how attachment styles develop.

How to have a healthy attachment style.

Considering your attachment style provides a first step in the right direction! Self-reflection and self-awareness are vital components of personal growth. It is more than possible to move from insecure attachment to a healthy attachment style.

On the other hand, it’s not possible to control all of our relationships and circumstances so that we feel more secure (this desire in itself can reflect anxious attachment).

However, we can consciously seek out positive relationships that contribute to our well-being. Spend more time with people who are kind, validating, and understanding. Seek to reciprocate their kindness.

For someone who is anxiously attached, anxiety can manifest when a friend or spouse seems withdrawn or distant, even in healthy relationships. For the anxiously attached, it’s crucial to learn the skill of emotional regulation. When we learn how to regulate our own emotions, we can show up in our relationships from a place of strength instead of weakness.

For the avoidantly attached, focus on how to identify and communicate your needs without being passive-aggressive. This is also a skill that takes time to develop.

For any insecure attachment, it’s vital to learn how to have healthy boundaries and set aside time for self-care.

Developing secure attachment often involves a time of personal healing. Whether you experienced inconsistent care in your childhood, some form of trauma, or have been emotionally damaged by relationships later in life, uncovering those wounds can be a necessary step on the road to emotional security and wholeness in a healthy attachment style.

How Christian counseling can help.

If you have noticed insecure attachment in your relationships, whether in yourself or in someone you love, you might want to seek out an experienced counselor to provide faith-based and biblical support on your journey to emotional health.

The counselors at Rowlett Christian Counseling are available to schedule your risk-free initial session to discuss your concerns about relationships, process childhood experiences, and become more secure in both God’s love and your worth.

If you are interested in scheduling your first session, please fill out our contact form or call us today.

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