Understanding Different Types of Attachment Styles


In childhood, we form different attachment styles in our relationships with people. There are three categories of attachment styles under Child Developmental Psychologist John Bowlby. These include secure attachment, avoidant attachment, and resistant attachment (also known as an anxious or ambivalent attachment). Most people are securely attached, and a small minority of people are resistantly attached. However, it is helpful to be familiar with all the attachment styles as most people exhibit a combination of the different styles throughout a lifetime.

Secure Attachment

In this form of attachment, children are given a positive working model. Their caregiver is emotionally available, sensitive, and supportive. Later in life, they can form committed relationships with relative ease. They form strong friendships and immerse themselves well in social situations.

Avoidant Attachment

In this form of attachment, children have a working model of themselves as either unworthy or unacceptable. Their primary caregiver tends to reject them in some way. Later in life, they are avoidant of committed relationships and try to avoid relational environments. They have trouble making friends and do not thrive in social situations.

Resistant Attachment

In this form of attachment, children have a negative self-image and tend to exaggerate their emotional responses to environmental cues to gain attention. This tends to happen when the primary caregiver in their youth was inconsistent.

Disorganized-Confused Attachment

In some more severe cases, we also witness disorganized-confused attachment. Those with this kind of attachment tend to be apprehensive around caregivers. It originates from children who feel both afraid and comforted by their parents, which results in an ultimate state of confusion.

Take some time to consider this question: which type of attachment style do you most identify with? Are you securely attached, avoidant attached, resistant attached, or disorganized-confused attached? Do you experience a combination of these different forms of attachment? Remember that this is not a static relational behavior and that it can change throughout a lifetime.

People have different attachment styles. At Valiant Living, we recognize that this feature of early childhood development can have an impact later in life. Our men’s only facility in Denver, Colorado, treats addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. Our expert staff is educated on the different forms of attachment and understands how they may come up during the care process. We also recognize that these are not static labels. They can change with time and the relationships we form. To learn more about our services, you can contact us today at (303) 952-5035.