Attachment theory focuses on how people form emotional bonds and connections with others. Someone with a more secure attachment style tends to enjoy meaningful, flexible relationships where both people mutually respect each other. However, people with insecure attachment styles may struggle with feeling too clingy or distant in relationships, and they might also find it hard to truly trust others.
While attachment styles are formed in infancy, promising neuroscience research continues to reinforce that it's possible for people to change these patterns and form healthier relationships.
Enhance Your Attachment Style Self-Awareness
If you want to know how to develop a secure attachment style, you need to consider your current baseline. People with insecure attachments often struggle with relationships, and they may experience heightened rates of mental health conditions and addictions.
Secure attachment style: Someone with a secure attachment style balances safety, closeness, and intimacy with others. They tend to have higher self-esteem and self-compassion, and they seek out friends and romantic partners who treat them fairly and respectfully.
Anxious attachment style: Someone who has an anxious attachment style tends to feel overly close to others, but they are also highly preoccupied with what others think of them. They may come across as clingy or intrusive in romantic relationships. They're often panicked that others are going to leave them.
Avoidant attachment style: Someone with an avoidant attachment style may present as guarded, withdrawn, or disconnected in relationships. They struggle to rely on others, and they often seek independence over emotional safety with others.
Disorganized attachment style: Someone with a disorganized attachment style has traits of anxiety and avoidance. They tend to want close relationships, but they also push other people away. They struggle to know their own feelings and often find it challenging to feel safe in stable relationships.
That said, attachment styles exist on a large continuum, and it's possible to have different types of attachment to different people.
Reflect on What May Have Triggered Your Attachment Issues
Attachment theory is largely rooted in how past relationships affect current and future relationships. All people are born entirely helpless and dependent on their primary caregivers.
Caregivers are responsible for attuning to a child's needs and helping them feel confident in the world. If you had a secure relationship with your parents, you are more likely to have secure relationships with others.
However, many factors can affect attachment in childhood, including:
history of trauma
having parents with insecure attachment styles
sudden changes in caregivers (divorce, death, etc.)
mental illness in the family
Some people find it tempting to blame their parents for their attachment styles and assume that things can't be changed. And while your family set the stage for attachment, you can still learn how to develop healthy relationships in your adult life.
Strengthen Your Emotional Regulation Skills
An insecure attachment style becomes exacerbated during times of stress, shame, and other heightened emotions. People with insecure attachment styles may be more likely to project their emotions onto others.
It's important to be mindful of your emotions and practice healthy coping skills and self-care if you find yourself becoming triggered. Take deep breaths, go for a walk, or practice positive affirmations. Try to manage your stress levels as much as possible. If you do slip up, hold yourself accountable and make amends quickly.
Practice Opposite Attachment Actions
Opposite action is a simple technique that can help you develop more secure attachments within your relationships. For example, people with avoidant attachment styles tend to withdraw from others when they become stressed. An opposite action would be to seek connection or at least text a friend about what's going on. If you have a more anxious attachment style, you might focus on prioritizing more independence in everyday life.
The goal isn't to completely course-correct. Instead, to develop a secure attachment, you want to eventually land somewhere in the middle.
Set Boundaries Within Your Relationships
People with secure attachment styles recognize the need for limits in their adult relationships. Boundaries are important for allowing both people to feel respected and safe. Pay attention to times when you get resentful or fatigued and try to enforce limits.
With that, it's also important to truly listen to other people's boundaries. This is particularly important in intimate relationships- if you want to have a secure partner, you will both need to tune into each other's needs and aim to compromise accordingly.
How We Strengthen Adult Attachment and Build Self-Esteem
Fulfilling relationships are what make life fulfilling and meaningful. But having an insecure attachment style can affect how close and connected you feel to others.
At Resurface Group, we prioritize helping people improve their relationships and strengthen their overall quality of life. With that, we offer emotional support, guidance, and structure for people recovering from addiction and other serious mental health conditions.
If you're ready to change your life, we're ready to meet you! Contact us today to get started.