Secure attachment is classified by children who show some distress when their caregiver leaves but are able to compose themselves and do something knowing that their caregiver will return. Children with secure attachment feel protected by their caregivers, and they know that they can depend on them to return. - Wikipedia
Most people have a secure attachment style and it is the sort of attachment everyone wants. It is what everyone should be aiming for if they don't already have a secure attachment and I will be talking about how you can attain a secure attachment style.
How is Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment attained?
When a caregiver interacts with their child/ren in a way that is unpredictable, the child/ren will develop ambivalent/anxious attachment patterns. The guardian is at times nurturing, attuned and responds effectively to their child’s distress, while at other times they are intrusive, unresponsive or emotionally unavailable. For instance, they may be careless or neglectful and then later try to make up for it by being excessively intimate. This behaviour confuses their children and causes them to become distrustful, not knowing what behaviour to expect.
How does Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment affect your behaviour and relationships?
People with an anxious/ambivalent attachment style seek high levels of intimacy and approval from their partners and occasionally value intimacy to such an extent that they become overly dependent on their partners but because their needs don’t get met, they become unhappy. Compared to securely attached people, someone with anxious/ambivalent attachment usually has a negative view of themselves, they tend to feel anxious when not in contact with their partner and they usually doubt their worth as a partner and blame themselves for a lack of intimacy or approval from their partners.
To maintain a positive connection, they feel an urge to give up their needs to please and accommodate their partners’. They’re preoccupied with their relationship and highly in tune with their partner, worrying that s/he doesn’t want to be as close as them. Things are often taken negatively and personally and project negative outcomes. To ease anxiety, they may play games or manipulate their partner to gain attention and encouragement by withdrawing, acting out emotionally, ignoring calls or efforts to make contact, provoking jealousy, or by threatening to leave. They can also become envious of their partners attention to others and call frequently, even when asked not to.
How can you obtain a Secure Attachment?
Though most people don’t change their attachment style, you can alter yours to be more secure depending upon experience and conscious effort. To become more secure it would help to seek therapy (group therapy if you can’t afford one-on-one therapy) and/or relationships with people who are capable of a secure attachment. If you can’t afford therapy and can’t find someone with a secure attachment then you can try to:
- Heal your shame and increase your self-esteem. This will help you to stop taking things personally.
- Learn to be self-assured and assertive and learn to identify, respect and express your emotional needs.
- Risk being genuine, direct and firm. Stop playing games or trying to manipulate your partner’s (or anyone else’s) needs and interest.
- Practice self-acceptance and learn to accept others to become less fault finding. This will be difficult for those with an anxious/ambivalent attachment style.
- Stop responding immediately, learn to resolve conflict and cooperate from a “we” perspective.