attachment and relationships
News

Attachment and Relationships

attachment and relationships

Intimate relationships are the foundation of life. Through them, we learn who we are, how to see the world, and how to interact with people. The ability to form and exist in relationship with other people determines the success of families, couples, careers, and society. From the time we are babies we are biologically driven to stay close to our caregivers. This closeness is necessary to insure survival. At the biological level close proximity assures that food, safety, shelter, and comfort will all be delivered as quickly as possible when the infant cries out. The more attuned the mother is to the babies needs, the less discomfort the baby endures and more trust they develop that their needs will be met. The baby develops the ability to predict how quickly and under what conditions the mother will be able to meet these needs. Over time the child forms a “mental representation” of what support and love and truest feel like and carries that into their exception of how the world will respond to similar needs. As the child grows, this mental representation strengthens into a belief system. The more successful this process is, the easier it is for the child to play, learn and achieve developmental milestones. Play allows children to venture further from their mothers and lay the groundwork for a lifetime of coping skills.

Attachment theory is based on the observation of infants and their primary caregivers. The attachment system is biologically based. It exists in all of us and is activated as a means of getting attention. The more available the attention is, the less frequent and severe behavior needs to be to get attention. The mothers’ attunement to the child’s ever-changing needs creates an environment where the child is able to play, grow, explore and protest with fear of repercussion, or abandonment. Successful attachment ultimately results in the development of other relationships that are healthy and satisfying. Cognitive development, self-esteem, and social development are all a result of healthy secure attachment. It is necessary for the development of trust and empathy.

I’m going to talk about attachment in three segments. In this installment, we’ll talk about the types of attachment style and you will have an opportunity to take the adult attachment questionnaire. The two subsequent blogs will talk about dating, romantic relationships and how to use your knowledge of your own attachment style to find and stay in happy satisfying relationships.

There are four categories of attachment: secure, avoidant, anxious and disorganized. Attachment researchers Dr’s Hazan and Shaver found that about 60 percent of people are securely attached while 20 percent are avoidant and 20 percent are anxious.

Heres a little quiz to help you determine your attachment style. If you feel the answer is true for you, put your X in the box with the asterisk. When you are finished, count up the number of each letter. How many A’s B’s and C’s did you score?

Adult Attachment Questionnaire

TRUE

A

B

C

I often worry that my partner will stop loving me.I often worry that my partner will stop loving me.

*

I find it easy to be affectionate with my partner.

*

I fear that once someone gets to know the real me, they won’t like who I am.

*

I find that I bounce back quickly after an break up . I find that I can just put someone out of my mind.

*

When I’m not involved in a relationship, I feel somewhat anxious and incomplete.

*

I find it difficult to emotionally support my partner when they are feeling down.

*

When my partner is away I fear they will become interested with someone else.

*

I feel comfortable depending on romantic partners.

*

My independence is more important to me than my relationships.

*

I prefer not to share my inner most feelings with my partner.

*

When I show my partner how I feel, I’m afraid they will not feel the same way about me.

*

I am generally satisfied with my romantic relationships.

*

I don’t feel the need to act our much in my relatioships.

*

I think about relationships a lot.

*

I find it difficult to depend on romantic partners.

*

I tend to get very quickly attached to a romantic partner.

*

I have little difficultly expressing my needs and wants to my partner.

*

I sometimes feel angry or annoyed with my partner without knowing why.

*

I am very sensitive to my partners moods.

*

I believe most people are essentially honest and dependable.

*

I prefer casual sex with uncommitted partners to intimate sex with one committed partner.

*

I’m comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with my partner.

*

I worry that if my partner leaves me, I might never find someone else.

*

It makes me nervous when my partner gets too close.

*

During a conflict i tend to do or say things I later regret.

*

An argument with may partner doesn’t usually cause me to question our entire relationship.

*

My partners often want me to be more intimate than I am comfortable being.

*

I worry that I’m not attractive enough.

*

Sometimes people see me as boring because I create little drama in relationships

*

I miss my partner when we’re apart but when we’re together I feel the need to escape.

*

When I disagree with someone, I feel comfortable expressing my opinions.

*

I hate feeling that other people depend on me.

*

If i notice someone I’m interested in checking out other people, I might feel a pang of jealousy but i don’t let it phase me.

*

If i notice someone i’m interested in is checking out other people I feel relieved because it means they aren’t looking to make things exclusive.

*

If I notice someone I’m interested in is checking out other people, it makes me feel depressed.

*

If someone I’ve been dating begins to act cold and distant I may wonder what’s happened but i’ll know its’ probably not about me.

*

If someone I’ve been dating begins to act cold and distant I’ll probably feel cold and indifferent. I might even be relieved.

*

If someone I’ve been dating begins to act cold and distant I’ll worry that i’ve done something wrong.

*

If my partner tries to break up with me I’ll try my best to show them what they are missing. A little jealousy can’t hurt.

*

If someone I’ve been dating wants to break up, I’d feel hurt at first, but I’d get over it.

*

Sometimes when i get what I want in a relationship, I’m not sure what i want anymore.

*

I wouldn’t have much of a problem staying in touch with my ex. Strictly platonic. After all, we have a lot in common

*

Separately add up all of your A’s, B’s, and C’s.
A= Anxious
B= Secure
C= Avoidant
Adult attachment questionnaire
*Adapted from Fraley, Waller, and Brennan’s (2000) ECR-R Questionnaire.

Sharing is caring!