Relationship Attachment Style FAQ: Find Answers for Your Most Burning Questions

attachment style

So many women struggle with the question of what is a healthy attachment style. And how did attachment style affect my past relationship? And how could it affect my future relationship?

“I believe that if we can consciously create a more secure attachment style within ourselves, and help our children with the same, then we can really interrupt the generational cycle of divorce trauma.”

I can’t wait for you to join me in this FAQ! I’m going to answer all your questions on attachment styles. I’ll share with you what I share with the women who are in my divorce coaching group and in my membership community

Your Understanding of Relationship Attachment Styles and How You Can Create a Secure One Starts Here

What is attachment style in a relationship

“Attachment style was early defined by John Bowlby in the 1950s in the UK as “lasting psychological connectedness between humans.”

That’s the very academic answer.

“How I would respond to you about that is: it’s how we experience closeness in our relationships.”

We experience it with close family members, but most prominently in our romantic relationships.

  • Do I experience relationships feeling insecure, and I’m not sure if they’re going to last?
  • Do I experience them in largely a very shutdown way where it’s hard for me to stay close?
  • Do I experience it as really conflicted, and I can’t ever really tell if I’m in or out?
  • Or do I have a great sense of peace about being in this relationship, and it feels like we can conquer anything together?

How we experience close relationships is what I would say is what an attachment style is.

When is attachment style formed?

I love this question; because I think this question is largely misunderstood. There might be a couple of mic drops for you in my answer.

It is widely believed that attachment style is formed early in childhood and that is true. Except it is not a static status.

Not a Static Status

“Attachment style is formed early in childhood, but it can change throughout your life. It can change very early in your life, and it can change as a result of relationship experiences later in your life.”

And more importantly, most women believe that your attachment style is formed based on interactions with your primary caregiver.

However, what we really understand now is that our attachment style is formed early in childhood, yes, but is also based on a whole bunch of factors.

Genetics

Some women are simply genetically predisposed to having a more secure attachment style or a different attachment style.

Your Temperament

Another factor is the child’s temperament.

For instance, I was a colicky baby. Thus my ability to feel at ease, or to be easily soothed, was not really there early on. So my temperament would have impacted my attachment style. Because that impacts the next thing, which is how my caregiver responds to me. Meaning my mom would have probably been super stressed out about me being colicky.

Also, my mother was in a really stressful marriage. And she was working full time. So we could start to see that, yes, it’s genetics, but it’s also the child’s temperament.

Caregiver Response

Attachment styles are also affected by how the caregiver responds, and then by how we experience relationships throughout the course of our lives.

  • Were you bullied in middle school?
  • Were you assaulted at some point?
  • Did you have a horrible breakup that you went through where someone treated you a particular kind of way?

Because all of those things will absolutely contribute to your attachment style.

What is a disorganized attachment style?

First, let’s talk about what the attachment styles are, and then I’ll unpack what disorganized attachment style is. There’s a secure attachment style, anxious attachment style, avoidant attachment style, and disorganized attachment style, which we’re going to consider a mixture of anxious and avoidant.

Scared and Hurt as a Child

In a disorganized attachment style, you’re going to have someone who probably was afraid of one or more of their caregivers in their childhood.

“It’s most likely that someone whom they were supposed to trust was actually hurting them in some way. Someone with a disorganized attachment style has had or has experienced more trauma than probably the average person.” 

It is the least common of attachment styles. It is the least talked about of attachment styles. It is one that is tricky to recover from, but with the right guidance and work, recovering is totally doable.

Anxious, Concerned, and Uncomfortable

“A disorganized attacher is someone who vacillates between feeling very anxious and concerned about their relationship as though they’re going to be anticipating being abandoned or rejected.”

But they also have very avoidant traits, in that closeness feels very uncomfortable for them. And they use whichever strategy is necessary based on the current situation.

So you can imagine, in a circumstance where a child has a caregiver that maybe does care about them, and then a caregiver who is acting dangerously toward them, how they would feel very needy for that loving caregiver.

I Want You, I Don’t Want You

But they would also feel very afraid of how the caregiver might treat them.

“It’s kind of like this cat and mouse game – a come close, go away, push and pull thing.”

That is a disorganized attachment style where we use different attachment strategies based on

  • what we perceive is going on, whether or not we feel like we need a lot of emotional soothing.
  • Or whether we perceive that we’re being attacked by someone close to us.

woman with bracelets on her wrist is holding a man's wrist while he is driving a car, Attachment Style - Get Answers to Your Questions for Women

What is the anxious attachment style?

“Anxious attachment style is one where you would experience a lot of need to feel validated and reassured by the people close to you.”

You would probably feel a sense of low self-esteem, although I think we could say that about most insecure attachment styles.

Imbalance and Fear

It creates deep anxiety inside relationships. A fear that you’re going to be abandoned or rejected, or the fear that you’re doing something to ruin it.

Taking Responsibility for Other People’s Problems

“There’s a tendency to take responsibility when the relationship is experiencing conflict or when something goes wrong.”

There’s a perception of: It must be my fault. And there’s a constant need for checking in: “Are we OK? Did I make you mad?”

Emotional Codependency

An anxious attachment style is probably the one that’s most associated with emotional codependency. 

“We see people really holding on to relationships and marriages, probably for too long, because there’s all this personal responsibility, insecurity, and probably a history of being told that it’s your fault or no one else is going to love you this much.”

Anxious attachers would most likely be used to not having their emotional needs met in a relationship. It’s a very insecure or anxious way of experiencing relationships and probably one of the most widely understood when people search for attachment style.

Drawn to Partners With Avoidant Attachment Style

And some interesting things about anxious attachers is that they’re almost magnetically drawn to avoidant attachers. And so while the thing they need most is security, the thing they crave is somebody who’s avoidant, because it reinforces their belief, their very subconscious belief of self-worth that says:

“I’m not worth it. I don’t matter.”

Showered With Love

What’s interesting is that anxious attachers misread love bombing or breadcrumbing.

Those things that avoidants do too, like rush in and show you a bunch of love.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I got you this gift. Oh, you’re the best thing ever!” Saying a handful of things or doing a handful of things to keep you engaged, or literally get engaged by asking for your hand in marriage.”

And then the next thing you know, you are married after a short time of dating without really having done your due diligence to figure out whether you’re right for each other. Anxious attachers misunderstand those love bombing behaviors to equal love.

Bored to Death

And then here’s the more interesting thing.

“When women meet someone who has a secure attachment style, it feels super boring to them because it doesn’t have that trauma of here and gone, here and gone, here and gone kind of thing.”

Anxious attachers really have to not only learn how to regulate emotionally and build up their self-esteem, but they have to also really start to see the world and other attachment styles and love for what it is, rather than all of those kinds of unhealthy attachment behaviors and strategies as passion and fire.

“The boring thing is the secure thing. It’s where women can thrive and we have to really build and reframe that for anxious attachers.”

What is the anxious, preoccupied attachment style?

So what I want you to know about this is there are a lot of phrases out there about the attachment styles that aren’t quite academically on point, and an anxious, preoccupied attachment style is one of them. An anxious preoccupied attachment style is kind of like saying anxious-anxious attachment style.

Preoccupied Behavior

Preoccupied is actually a behavior that anxious attachers exhibit in order to create a sense of security within themselves.

“An anxious preoccupied is really an anxious attacher who does preoccupied behavior as part of their attachment style. This can be a strength if you play it right.” 

The preoccupation part of anxious attaching is that radar that you have where you’re constantly scanning the environment because of your perception that somebody is about to leave you or hurt you or abandon you. So you’re always ready to smooth things over and make sure it’s all OK.

Perception of Security

Women have a highly tuned radar and can pick things up in facial expressions, tones of voice, and behavior patterns. But if you’re a preoccupied anxious attacher, you might let this radar run wild with imagination.

For example, if you get sent to voicemail automatically, they must be mad at you. Versus they just got pulled over for speeding and can’t pick up at the moment, right? That preoccupation is the behavior that an anxious attacher does to help them create security, or perception of security, in their environment.

“Research shows that if an anxious attacher acts on that preoccupation right away, without taking a beat and breathing and asking more questions or getting more information, they can create a lot of chaos with that preoccupation.”

However, the research also shows that if an anxious attacher takes a moment, takes a breath, asks more questions and figures out the context of what they’re perceiving, this radar actually can be a huge asset to organizations at work or in friendships or in their relationship.

Anxious attachers are really finely tuned. They pick up on stuff that other people simply miss. This is an absolute skill if used correctly.

What is the anxious-avoidant attachment style

Anxious avoidant attachment style is another way of saying disorganized attachment style. I answered what disorganized was at the very beginning here, and it is that kind of toggling between anxious strategies and avoidance strategies in order to feel regulated inside of oneself.

Just Another Disorganized Attachment Style

Anxious avoidant is just another way of saying disorganized attachment style.

“A person with a disorganized attachment style who struggles with distance in a relationship, but they also struggle with closeness, and so they’re constantly having to regulate through the various behaviors.”

Whether it’s distancing through conflict or asking for reassurance. It’s kind of this ‘never know what’s gonna come next’ way of experiencing an attachment style.

woman with long black hair and orange pullover, holding her eyes closed with her hands, Attachment Style - Get Answers to Your Questions for Women

How can I navigate this attachment style?

So, there’s an emphasis on the perception of being rejected or abandoned. And with the example I gave of going straight to voicemail, ask yourself:

  • Am I being sent to voicemail because I’ve been dealing with an avoidant attacher and they don’t feel like dealing with whatever is coming?
  • Did I get sent to voicemail because the person I’m calling just got pulled over for speeding, or their boss is standing right there, or their kid is in the hospital, and so on?

Feeling I am in Trouble or Being Rejected

What triggers this reaction to going straight to voicemail in the first place is that finely-tuned radar perceiving a difference in the person that they usually understand and can predict.

So if someone acts outside of their predicted way, and the anxious attacher interprets it as “I’m in trouble, or I’m going to get rejected,” then that whole concerned hypervigilant need to reconnect gets switched on.

What is an avoidant attachment style

“Avoidant attachment style is one of the main attachment styles. It is the experience of being together but apart mentally and emotionally.”

Physically Together but Mentally and Emotionally Apart

“An avoidant attacher really struggles to tolerate closeness. Often not only literal closeness but also emotional closeness, vulnerability and intimacy.”

Avoidant attachers use a lot of strategies to really suppress their attachment needs because we are all born hardwired for connection, love, and belonging, as Brené Brown has so beautifully taught us.

Suppressing Natural Needs

So an avoidant attacher really has to work hard to suppress all of that need and their awareness of how uncomfortable closeness makes them feel.

Distract Me And I Become Yours

“Now there’s some really interesting research out there that shows if you distract an avoidant attacher, they have a harder time suppressing those needs. And all of a sudden they are more emotionally aware and you might see them engaged a little more emotionally and psychologically.”

So for instance, in a particular research study, they asked some avoidant attachers to identify a series of words, and they measured how quickly they responded. The avoidant attacher responded very quickly about words related to anxious attachers.

Remember that magnet kind of thing about how anxious and avoidant attachers are drawn to each other? But when avoidant attachers were shown words that had to do with their own concerns, like separation, they’re not as quickly able to identify those kinds of words.

And if they gave the avoidant attacher a task to do while they were exposed to those words, and they were kind of distracted from those words being their main focus, all of a sudden they had way more capacity to consider words like separation and loss.

“So if an avoidant attacher is distracted, like for instance if you just threatened divorce, they’re not going to be able to suppress their relationship-based concerns as much, their fear of closeness (their fear of loss).”

So avoidant attachers, while they are still hardwired for needing attachment, they swear they’re not. They swear they’re very independent and self-reliant, and they don’t need people.

Understanding the Difference Between Being a True Avoidant Attacher and a Secure One

Sometimes an avoidant attacher can really appear engaged, and so it’s really, really important to become very aware of how to read the signs of a true avoidant attacher versus a secure attacher. And to not get sucked into a trap by an avoidant attacher who’s kind of just more in touch with their feelings at that moment.

What is fearful avoidant attachment style?

A fearful avoidant attachment style is another way of saying anxious avoidant, which is another way of saying disorganized attachment style.

“But really, it refers back to someone who has both the qualities of an anxious attacher and an avoidant attacher, and they both show up.”

They probably have a history of trauma and kind of toggle between those two needs in order to feel OK in the world.

What is dismissive avoidant attachment style?

Dismissive avoidant attachment style would be like saying avoidant-avoidant attachment style.

“Dismissive is a strategy that an avoidant attacher would use in order to put distance between themselves and somebody they are in a relationship with.”

The Behavior of an Avoidant Attacher

Dismissive avoidant isn’t necessarily its own type of attachment style. Dismissive is the behavior that the avoidant attacher does. It’s a behavior that they do to put that mental and emotional space between themselves and someone else.

Do Avoidants Lack Empathy?

This is a fantastic question!

What is Empathy?

Empathy isn’t a trait we’re born with. It’s not a thing that you have or don’t have.

“Brene Brown has taught us that empathy is an emotionally based skill of relating with an understanding of what someone else is going through.”

An Avoidant Attachment Style Does Not Have to Be a Sociopath or Narcissist

There are very few people in the world who truly lack empathy, and I would characterize them as sociopaths, people who don’t feel feelings. Or people who are not neurotypical, they’re not aware of feelings. They’re not able to pick up feelings in other people. A narcissist is not incapable of feeling; however, because they live in that self-absorbed, traumatized experience, they’ve never built the skill. They don’t practice the skill of empathizing, of relating. They are avoiding their own pain and emotional awareness so much, they’re staying so much in the realm of ego, that it’s very difficult for them to empathize.

The Difference of Not Having Empathy Versus Missing the Practice of Emotionally Connecting

“So for an avoidant attacher, it’s not that they can’t empathize, it’s just that they’re not emotionally connected enough to practice that skill.”

But they can learn to.

If an avoidant attacher were to address their underlying traumas, become aware of their own emotional experiences, and really be willing to understand someone else’s emotional experiences, then yes, they can practice and cultivate empathy.

What is fearful attachment style?

A fearful attachment style is also an anxious attachment style. So if we’re anxious or fearful, we’re concerned, we’re nervous. It’s just another one of those search terms.

The Ultimate Primary Attachment Style of an Anxious Attacher

“Fearful attachment has kind of morphed from anxious attachment, but it is ultimately the primary attachment style of anxious attacher, someone who needs a lot of reassurance that the relationship is OK.”

child and mother in a national park, child is holding the mother's hand, Attachment Style - Get Answers to Your Questions for Women

What is an ambivalent attachment style?

Ambivalent attachment style is a phrase that was coined by Mary Ainsworth, who is a psychologist who was researching attachment theory in the 1960s and ’70s.

“And what Mary Ainsworth came up with was that when children were presented with a certain set of circumstances, they became very ambivalent toward their parent or caregiver.”

She did specify whether it was a parent or a caregiver because she was really identifying that kids can have different attachment relationships with different caregivers. For instance, they may respond completely differently when mom leaves than when grandpa leaves.

The Caregiver Influences the Attachment Style the Child Expresses

“There was this understanding that who the caregiver was could shift how the child expressed their attachment.”

And what she coined as an ambivalent style was when a child really seemed to be conflicted and had a hard time being soothed by a caregiver.

So maybe they demonstrated some neediness in certain circumstances, but then, when the caregiver engaged, the child stepped away and avoided contact and was not easily soothed when the child was distressed.

Am I Safe Or Not?

So, an ambivalent attachment style is primarily associated with Mary Ainsworth’s work in the ’70s and had to do with parent-child interaction. It’s a lesser-known term, but what I want you to really take away is that word ambivalent.

What is Ambivalent?

“It’s feeling conflicted inside, not knowing whether it’s safe or not. Do I feel good about this? Do I not?”

Feeling very unsure about how this relationship feels or how to interpret it. And having a really hard time getting out of that sense of inner conflict or ambivalence.

How do you identify attachment styles?

This has become such a popular thing to understand about. There’s a lot of information on the Internet. So there are really interesting attachment quizzes, and there are some really great resources and attachment-based websites. One of the best books out there right now is “Attached”by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. All of these things can help you home in on your attachment style.

Your Personal Attachment Style is Influenced by Temperament, Genetics, Caregivers, and Experiences

But what I would say to you is: work with a trauma therapist or divorce coach who really understands attachment styles and attachment theory. Because it’s complicated; as you can hear from all of my answers to the question so far.

It’s made up of these four things:

  • childhood temperament,
  • your genetics,
  • the way your caregivers responded, and
  • your lifetime of relationship experiences.

Your Attachment Style Changes in Your Lifetime

And, women can change throughout the course of their life. So it’s really important to get this one right. Because who you pick to be in a relationship with is largely going to impact how happy you are. If you are in a secure relationship, then it’s going to be so much easier to feel happy and to enjoy your life; versus if you are mismatched attachment-wise.

How Your Attachment Style Influences Your Relationship Success and Divorce, Or Not

“A lot of times, this is where divorce comes into play. There are typically more avoidant attachers in the dating place than insecure and secure attachers.”

Why is that?

Because avoiders have an easier time walking away from relationships and starting over. Whereas insecure attachers are more likely to hold on to their relationships. And so are secure attachers.

“And while insecure attachers hold on for a long time, they do keep coming back onto the dating market whenever a relationship ends because they typically feel anxious without a partner.”

But women who have a secure attachment style can find a sense of security within themselves, even if they’re not in a relationship.

So getting your attachment style right and really having a rich understanding of it is pretty crucial to your relationship success. My suggestion is to find a great therapist or divorce recovery coach out there, like myself, who understands attachment theory and what attachment looks like in your past relationships, present relationships, and what you need to look for in your future relationships.

woman in blue jeans jacket and white t-shirt is sitting next to man, having her hand wrapped around his ellbow, Attachment Style - Get Answers to Your Questions for Women

What is the most common attachment style?

This is such an interesting question. I’m going to answer it and then I’m going to ask a question of my own.

“It is believed that the most common attachment style is a secure attachment style.”

I, being a divorce recovery coach/therapist, and coming from a not secure attachment style historically, probably have a biased experience, right?

Secure Attachment Style, Or Not?

I happen to think that the divorce rate wouldn’t be as high as it is if the world was full of primarily securely attached humans. That’s my personal view of how it all works, but the researchers say that the most common is secure.

However, I want to ask you this: why are you Googling that? What inside of you have you Googling, “What is the most common attachment style?”

Because my sense is that something you’ve experienced has you concerned that either there’s something wrong with you or there’s something wrong with the person that you were with. Or want to be with.

If this sounds like you, I want to really encourage you to reach out to a professional. To get a better handle on what your experience was, to make sense of your past relationships so that you can move forward and be sure that you’re creating healthy ones.

Which attachment style is the most complex?

“Remember we are all born needing to connect. Needing to attach. Needing to experience relationships.”

So the answer to this question really lies in who has the hardest time connecting.

People with Avoidant or Disorganized Attachment Styles

The answer probably is either avoidant attachers or disorganized attachers. Because avoidant attachers actively seek to avoid connecting, they suppress that need. As for disorganized attachers, there’s a lot of chaos that goes into how they experience themselves in their relationships.

Driven by Childhood and Lifetime Trauma like Divorce

That’s driven by experiencing a lot of trauma. That trauma is very much healable through certain techniques like EMDR therapy, guided journaling, EFT tapping, and so many other really great approaches to healing trauma. And with that, you can experience a different attachment style.

Attachment Recovery

You can have attachment recovery. You can have a secure relationship. The reason I might say that avoidant edges out disorganized is that if an avoidant attacher just remains to avoid their own pain and just keeps repeating that cycle, it can be really hard to get an avoidant attacher to come to the table to have a conversation about healing those traumas and tolerating the process. To stay in it long enough to tolerate the process of healing.

Can attachment style change?

Oh my goodness. Attachment style can absolutely change and there is some very cool information out there about this.

So when we think about the things that contribute to attachment style, we have the environmental factors and a person’s own individual characteristics.

The Answer is YES

We can absolutely impact those environmental factors. The childhood trauma, the negative lifetime experiences. We can heal from those things to help create a more secure attachment style.

How Attachment Style Partners Influence Each Other

“Here’s another fun fact: If someone with an insecure or avoiding attachment style is in a relationship with a secure attacher, and they naturally become more secure themselves, then, the anxious and avoidant attachers trigger each other.”

The anxious attacher is, for lack of a sexier way to put it, kind of needy, and the avoidant attacher desperately wants to push away. So when the needy person says, “Come close.” And the avoidant person says, “Get back.” It starts off this very defensive, kind of hostile who’s right-who’s wrong situation. But if an anxious person says, “Come close.” And a secure person says, “I’d love to, except, blah blah blah, I’ll come close in a couple of hours…” Then it’s very easy for an anxious attacher to feel like, “Oh, that makes total sense, awesome, thanks for the clear communication.” So it’s not this escalation of intensities. The same thing with an avoidant attacher with somebody secure; they’ll say, “I just can’t take this anymore!” And the secure attacher responds with, “I totally get that you’re feeling overwhelmed right now. Please, let’s chat in a couple of hours when you feel a little more even-keeled.” That avoidant attacher is able to say, “Thank goodness that they get me. I don’t feel instantly defensive or hostile.” It’s this kind of nice, easy dialogue.

Seeking Relationship Drama Instead of Security

One more thing I want to add about an attachment style changing is just a reminder of something I said earlier.

“Typically, insecure attachers are drawn to avoidant attachers and secure attachers feel very, very boring.”

So, remember that when you’re used to a lot of relationship drama and you’re used to interpreting that drama as passion, as fire, as love; there’s a retraining of the brain that is required to really access that. Sometimes we sabotage those healthiest relationships because they don’t feel right. It’s another reason to really work with someone who has a deep understanding of attachment styles to help you not only spot a secure attacher, but also to build and maintain that relationship.

Which attachment style is most commonly associated with conflict?

Anxious attachers and disorganized attachers are going to have the biggest reputations for conflict.

Stirring Up Or Avoiding Conflict

But that’s largely due to avoidant attachers stirring up conflict and then running the other direction. Or blaming the conflict on the anxious attacher or the disorganized attacher. So, that’s who’s most frequently associated with conflict—an anxious or disorganized attacher. But that’s because an avoidant attacher is just not going to hang out for the fight.

“Conflict avoidance – that’s a large part of a strategy that an avoidant attacher would use.”

a woman with blonde hair and white pullover sitting down, holding her hands closed, Attachment Style - Get Answers to Your Questions for Women

How to fix an avoidant attachment style?

An avoidant attacher has a lot of suppressed pain. So first things first, work with a trauma-informed therapist or divorce coach who can help address those underlying traumas or painful experiences that are causing that suppression. The reason I say trauma-informed is because it can be really tricky when we’re talking about early childhood trauma. A lot of times my divorce recovery coaching clients say, “I don’t remember anything painful.” Or, “I have gaps in my memory.” Or, “I had a great childhood.” And it’s because all of that stuff is suppressed or dissociated.

Cleaning Up Underlying Pain

So when you’re wanting to fix an avoidant attachment style, let’s first look at cleaning up those underlying painful experiences that are causing you to suppress issues related to separation or loss.

Understanding Why You Feel and Act In This Way

The second thing to do is really understand how the strategies that an avoiding attacher is using to avoid attaching. The book “Attached” goes into them in great detail. It’s fantastic, but some of the few strategies are believing that X-person is this magical unicorn creature, and kind of idealizing this.

“There’s one person for me and they’re unattainable!”

Devaluing the person that you’re in a relationship with, being very critical of your partner, and creating relationships that aren’t sustainable (like with people who are married); these are all things that avoiders do to avoid emotional and psychological closeness.

When an avoidant attacher can become aware of the strategies that they use to stay detached emotionally and psychologically, then they can start to work on those things. They can use some cognitive behavioral therapy to come up with some new strategies to be able to tolerate feelings and closeness.

What attachment style do narcissists have?

This is a great question. So first, a narcissist is not necessarily all bad. The attachment style that they’re most likely to have would be avoidant.

Avoidant or Disorganized Attachment Style

“They’re in that egoic-it’s-all-about-me space, and pretty disconnected from what they’re feeling.”

And therefore, really disconnected from what somebody else is feeling. There’s a lot of repressed pain in there, usually associated with a lot of abandonment in childhood. So they’re most likely to be avoidant or disorganized.

How do we help an avoidant attachment style

If you want to help somebody who has an avoidant attachment style, there are a handful of things you could do to support their recovery or they’re moving toward a more secure attachment.

Don’t React

I kind of referenced this earlier when I was talking about someone who’s avoidant in a relationship with someone who’s secure. They automatically have the ability to feel more secure themselves.

So if you want to help an avoidant attacher, you can work to be non-reactive.

  • Manage your own insecurities and really encourage that person to seek someone who is an expert in trauma and attachment styles to help them heal their underlying suppressed pain.
  • Gently guide somebody toward help.
  • Set healthy boundaries with them.
  • Do it in a super non-reactive way so that it doesn’t keep escalating or doesn’t totally devolve into chaos and drama.

There are ways for women to really help and support someone who’s avoiding. But you have to manage your own anxiety for it to really be effective.

How to fix an unhealthy attachment style

We’ve talked about a lot of those strategies here today. If we can really become aware of, “What is my attachment style?” and address any of the underlying traumas that have contributed to that unhealthy attachment style, then we can really cultivate some new responses inside of those triggers.

Awareness and Finding New Healthy Ways to Relate to Others

Becoming aware, healing the underline traumas or painful experiences, and developing new healthy ways of relating to people after divorce is tough, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a lot easier to practice new behaviors if we have fielded the traumas. If not, we have to work 10 times as hard. 

“Because all of those traumatic experiences keep telling us, “Oh wait, it’s not safe to do it differently. No, that’s a bad idea. Stop trying to be healthy because it’s not safe! This bad stuff happened to you before.”

So there’s this whole order of operations that makes it a lot easier to create a healthy attachment style.

  • Really get clear on what you have.
  • Heal the traumas.
  • Develop some healthier behaviors.
  • Pick a partner that is a secure attacher because automatically you then have a more secure orientation.
  • And if you’re already in a relationship and you don’t have a secure partner, then seeking help from a relationship counselor could be really beneficial. Somebody who can help you really maintain your own sense of security as much as possible in the relationship with somebody who has a non-secure attachment style.

There’s a lot of healing that’s possible here and I cannot wait for you to continue on this journey. The fact that you’re here searching these terms means that you are on the right track.

And don’t let the difficulties involved in creating the healthier attachment style knock you off course. It’s just one of those things that you chip away at. And if you work with a divorce coach who is particularly capable and really gets it, the path can be much shorter.

If you’re curious about how you can work more with me, either one-on-one or in my Post Divorce Roadmap membership community, do not hesitate to reach out. I cannot wait to hear from you.

 

 

You might also enjoy