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Fearful or Avoidant? How Childhood Attachment Shapes Your Love Life

Relationships formed between individuals vary greatly from person to person. Some people enjoy forming relationships with others, while others may feel anxious or reject relationships. Why do these differences occur? One of the reasons lies in attachment, which is formed from childhood and continues to influence us into adulthood. It is one of the fundamental emotional bonds.


Attachment theory

Attachment in the attachment theory refers to the emotional bond formed between the primary caregiver and the child. Humans are beings that need protection, and the emotional bond formed with the caregiver plays a vital role in human stability and survival. In the case of young children, they grow through interaction with their caregivers, which continues to influence them as they age.


Necessary attachment between a young child and a caregiver

Attachment, the intimate relationship formed from the parent-child relationship when a person is born, is an emotional bond with a persistent tendency to interact with a special object. As people grow, they are greatly influenced by the type of attachment formation in human relationships, so the attachment formed with the primary caregiver in childhood is crucial.


It also influences adults

This formed attachment significantly impacts you even into adulthood, but it can change, so there’s no need to worry. Notably, marriage can be viewed as a relationship between couples formed by merging adult attachment styles. While people often choose partners with similar attachment types, sometimes they select very different types. Even if it’s different from yourself, you can live without any problems, but if there’s a problem, it’s good to get outside help. There are also reports that marriage satisfaction has increased.


Adult Attachment Type Test

The Adult Attachment Type Test is well-known as the revised version of the Intimate Relationship Experience Scale developed by Brennan and others. It generates four types based on two scales: anxiety and avoidance.

Overcoming unstable attachment

Obsession, ignoring, and confused attachment all fall under anxious attachment. If you formed a stable attachment when you were young, you will likely form a stable relationship later. However, those who have experienced much loss from childhood attachment objects are likely to form unstable attachments. But this is not genetic so that it can change significantly over time. If you are honest with your emotions and try to confront them without avoiding them, you can overcome unstable attachment.


Adult Attachment Type

Secure Type

The secure type is when you have experienced a lot of warm and appropriate responses and interactions with your primary caregiver. A child who has formed such an attachment relationship quickly finds stability even when separated from the caregiver and later meets the caregiver again. And this attachment influences the formation of relationships in adulthood beyond adolescence. They feel comfortable and secure even when alone, comfortably feel the help of others, and do not waste time worrying and worrying.

Anxious Type

The anxious type is when the primary caregiver has shown emotional fluctuations and inconsistent responses and parenting attitudes to the child consistently; then, the child can also form a behavior with severe emotional fluctuations such as anxiety and anger. They worry about when the other party will reject them and habitually ask whether they are loved.

Avoidant Type

The avoidant type is when the child has consistently experienced an indifferent and neglectful attitude or inconsistent response from the primary caregiver, and the child may be clumsy in expressing appropriate emotions or may be indifferent. They did not receive enough love from their caregivers in their childhood, so they blocked their attachment desires to protect themselves and avoid forming deep bonds.


Future marital relationships and influence on middle-aged women

Adult attachment acts as many factors in marital intimacy and marital satisfaction in marital relationships, especially triggering depression in middle-aged women. This comprises four types: secure, dismissive, preoccupied, and fearful. People who do not form a smooth attachment in childhood tend to cling to their spouses, their attachment objects, after marriage and try to satisfy their affection needs. Still, depending on the other party, their needs may or may not be satisfied.


Relationship between attachment and obsession

Attachment feels like a bright and cheerful word, but obsession feels like a dark and negative atmosphere. Obsession is a damaged attachment, not loved or cared for, clinging to a specific part. A person in an attachment relationship strives for the other person’s happiness. Still, a person in an obsessive relationship ends when they are happy, regardless of whether the other person is hard or sad, and only wants their happiness. If a person fails to form a proper bond while growing up, their attachment can become distorted and veer towards obsession.

By. Shin Young Jeon

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