The 4 attachment styles
The anxious / avoidant dynamic
The 4 attachment styles refer to the studies of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth : The attachment theory. They research the effect of separation between parents and children and how their reaction impacted their survival and the way their needs are met. The research evolved and we are now applying these theories to the way we engage as adults in relationships.
The 4 attachment styles and their attributes
The 4 attachment styles is an amazing tool to understand where you stand in your relationships. It also helps you understand where your partners are at and how to manage the different kind of attachments.
You might have notice that you are having secure relationships with your friends, but you become an anxious type when it comes to romantic relationships and you switch to become an avoidant with your family. The ideal would be to feel secure enough in any kind of relationships, but that’s exactly where the education you receive as a child comes along.
Depending on the kind of affection you received you develop more or less one of the attachment style. If you received support and love as a child, you will develop a secure attachment. If you receive neglect or experienced codependency, you are more likely to develop an avoidant or anxious attachment.
The 4 attachment types : focus on the anxious and the avoidant
We replay what we know as we grow up, and that’s how we repeat those style of attachment as adults. On a more common note, you might notice those styles in yourself, in your partners and in your friends as a well-known dynamic : the push-pull, aka pursuer-withdrawer, aka Chaser-Runner for the highly spiritual version of it.
This dynamic is constantly created between an anxious type and an avoidant type. Meaning that every time the anxious type is going to show affection, the avoidant will withdrawn. And when the avoidant withdrawn, the anxious gets angry or worried and clings on the avoidant who withdraw even more. And you get a beautiful circle of an unhealthy dynamic.
The anxious and the avoidant are matching because that’s where they can replay the inconsistency they experienced in childhood. The anxious are seeking for reassurance outside while the avoidant feel like they can only count on themselves. The anxious are codependent, the avoidant are independent. In the end, they both struggle to be interdependent.
Though that quality can be learned, it requires inner work and willingness to face our shadows. From the Anxious it would mean to work a lot on loving themselves and finding their truth outside of the relationship while for the avoidant this would be to understand that being in a relationship doesn’t equal being imprisoned. There is a sweet spot in between. But it requires willingness, real willingness.
In both cases, it is important to remember that the responsibility comes on both ends. You can’t expect an anxious partner to suddenly giving you the space you need because that’s exactly what is freaking them out. On the other end you can’t expect your partner to suddenly become close and super committed because their definition of it is not the same as yours. That’s why it is important to take responsibility on the way you are reacting, communicating and sharing with your partner. And remember that actions speak more than words.
If you are willing to change your attachment type and to become more secure, then it’s probably the right time to do some shadow work and to reparent your inner child so that you know yourself enough to be true and safe in a relationship. That’s the work.
To help you on the path of reparenting you can download my e-book “7 days to reparent your inner child” and you can join the Love is the first step community, where we slowly take the path towards ourselves.
You can also book a private session to receive help in your relationships
I am Héra, Spiritual teacher and intuitive healer and the Creator of Love Is the First Step. My purpose is to bring joy and peace in your relationships through a journey to self-love.