How to Change Your Attachment Style
You likely have an avoidant attachment style, meaning you prefer to be independent. Here's how to still have a successful dating life. How attachment styles play out in your relationship can help improve the patterns in your dating life and safeguard your relationships in the. The dating literature is not helpful for anxious daters. If you have been reading any dating books for women, you will.
Each one is unconscious of their needs, which are expressed by the other. This is one reason for their mutual attraction. Pursuers with an anxious style are usually disinterested in someone available with a secure style. They usually attract someone who is avoidant. It validates their abandonment fears about relationships and beliefs about not being enough, lovable, or securely loved.
They tend to become defensive and attack or withdraw, escalating conflict. Without the chase, conflict, or compulsive behavior, both pursuers and distancers begin to feel depressed and empty due to their painful early attachments.
To change your style to be more secure, seek therapy as well as relationships with others who are capable of a secure attachment. If you have an anxious attachment style, you will feel more stable in a committed relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style. This helps you become more secure.
Changing your attachment style and healing from codependency go hand-in-hand. Both involve the following: Heal your shame and raise your self-esteem. See my books on shame and self-esteem. This enables you not to take things personally. Learn to be assertive. See How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits. Learn to identify, honor, and assertively express your emotional needs. Risk being authentic and direct. Practice acceptance of yourself and others to become less faultfinding — a tall order for codependents and distancers.
Pursuers need to become more responsible for themselves and distancers more responsible to their partners. The result is a more secure, interdependent, rather than codependent relationship or solitude with a false sense of self-sufficiency. Among singles, statistically there are more avoiders, since people with a secure attachment are more likely to be in a relationship.
This increases the probability that daters who anxiously attach will date avoiders, reinforcing their negative spin on relationship outcomes. They tend to see things they share in common with each new, idealized partner and overlook potential problems.
In trying to make the relationship work, they suppress their needs, sending the wrong signals to their partner in the long run.
All of this behavior makes attaching to an avoider more probable. When he or she withdraws, their anxiety is aroused. They hang in and try harder, instead of facing the truth and cutting their losses. Having an insight into your own securities and insecurities can help improve the patterns in your dating life and safeguard your relationships in the long term too. Your attachment style is a pervasive feature in your engagement approach with the people around you.
An attachment style can be described as the way you relate to other people1. Attachment theory was initially proposed by John Bowlby, who was interested in the highly distressed response of infants separated from their caregiver 2.
Coming from a psychoanalytical background, Bowlby noted that this pattern of behavior was prevalent across a wide range of species, not just human. He proposed that being in close proximity with your caregiver was an evolutionary mechanism to ensure survival, and thus saw the attachment behavior system as a core motivational system for survival2.
Researching and experimenting with colleagues, they determined that there were three basic categories of response: They confirmed several features are shared by both types of relationships; attached infant-caregiver and attached adult relationships can both be seen as functions of the same attachment behavioral and motivational system.
Since then, research into attachment theory has been greatly expanded and, because of the social and cognitive mechanisms which are activated during development, attachment styles tend to be quite stable.
One of the most widely recognized models of adult attachment is the Bartholomew and Horowitz model, laying out at its core, secure and insecure styles. These are then further separated into secure, anxious and avoidant styles3.
Dating With An Avoidant Attachment Style - mindbodygreen
To get right into the heart of the matter, these dimensions are further characterized as secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful- avoidant. This is your instinctive attachment style.
However, keep in mind that people are sentient beings, capable of change and growth throughout their lives. Although according to attachment theory, these responses are hard-wired into our emotional and cognitive functioning, people can adapt and change their attachment styles in adulthood for more functional and fulfilling relationships. A secure attachment style is viewed as the healthiest of the four adult attachment styles and securely attached adults are generally happier and more fulfilled in their relationships.
Having experienced a secure foundation in the relationship with their primary caregiver, they tend to feel secure and encourage positive relationship dynamics in adulthood, such as independence, support, and honesty3.
They are comfortable to depend on others and equally support those around them, being emotionally present and engaged.
This reflects that the adult felt safe in their primary attached infant relationship, their caregiver being emotionally available, attuned to their needs and consistently there. Now in adulthood, a securely attached individual responds from a positive, confident and secure perspective, facilitating a strong sense of identity and close connections1. They tend to develop thriving and intimate relationships.
How to Change Your Attachment Style
On the flipside of secure attachment, there are three different styles which fall on the insecure attachment spectrum. Looking to their partners to complete or rescue them, they are motivated by fear of abandonment and can interpret actions as affirmations of their insecurities rather than believing or trusting their partner and their love3.
This can, in turn, become a self-fulfilling prophecy, pushing their partner away, and existing between an uncomfortable juxtaposition of dependency and anxiety.
This interaction pattern arises from the primary caregiver who was emotionally unavailable and insensitive, resulting in distrust and self-doubt in adulthood. Dismissive-avoidant attachment style Children who experienced avoidant attachments with their primary caregiver can go on to develop dismissive attachment styles in adulthood. These adults pride themselves on being self-sufficient, but to the detriment of emotional intimacy. Often work and other projects are placed as a higher priority than romantic relationships, and in relationships, freedom is very important, some even choosing to be single rather than place themselves in a vulnerable position in a relationship.
Avoidant parenting style gives rise to this type of pattern - a caregiver who was emotionally unavailable and not present and connected, thus forcing their child to take care of themselves from a very young age. Adults with dismissive-avoidant attachment tend to be inward and emotionally shut down. Differing to a dismissive style, they desire close relationships, however when they become too close, they revert back to childhood trauma and withdraw 1.
As a result, they desire to be both not too distant or too far from others.