How Do Different Types Of Attachment Influence Us In Childhood And Adulthood?


Human behavior is fascinating! Although the world may not be full of absolute truths when it comes to the enigmas of personality, one truth resonates loud and clear: childhood leaves an indelible mark on people.

The experiences and connections we create in our early years not only shape our way of being, but also build the foundations for the relationships we will establish in adulthood, especially in the love sphere.

In this article, we are going to immerse ourselves in the universe of different types of attachment, those emotional unions that arise between children and their main caregivers. We will investigate the way in which these models are transformed or maintained throughout life and guide our relationships in adulthood. Don’t be left wanting to learn more about the topic and keep reading.

What are the types of attachment?

Although there are discussions and nuances in relation to attachment theory, scientific evidence increasingly supports the influence it has on our emotional and social growth. It is because of that Understanding the different types of attachment not only allows us to understand how we relate to each other, but also helps us establish healthier and more satisfying connections in adult life..

To know the birth of attachment theory we have to take a trip back to the 1950s, when the British psychologist John Bowlby began to explore the relationship between children and their main caregivers. He originally pursued the “primary attachment” theory, which suggested that establishing a strong bond with a sensitive caregiver was essential to a child’s mental health. However, this idea was questioned by psychologist Mary Ainsworth, who, through her observations, identified three types of attachment: secure, anxious-ambivalent and avoidant.

Later, Main and Solomon, in the late 80s or early 90s, introduced a fourth type of attachment coding: the Disorganized/Disoriented style, which we will explain in the next few lines. Over time, attachment theory has evolved and integrated the research of prominent psychologists such as Harry Harlow and Martin Seligman.. It is now recognized that early experiences are not definitive, but rather interact with later factors to influence attachment style in adulthood.

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Currently, attachment theory is seen as an essential pillar for understanding human growth and the connections between individuals. It is used in different areas, from child psychology to couples therapy, which allows us to understand our behaviors in relationships and promote the creation of healthier and more satisfying bonds.

1. Secure attachment

Within the wide spectrum of attachment types, the secure bond stands out as the strongest among the various ways in which we relate to our peers. According to the theory, this type of bond is distinguished by the creation of a solid and reliable bond between the child and his or her primary caregiver.

What does secure attachment look like in childhood?

A securely attached infant feels protected and loved. He seeks the proximity of his attachment figure when he requires it, trusting that he will receive a sensitive and timely response. Discover the world with confidence, knowing you can return to a safe base.

What does secure attachment look like in adulthood?

Securely attached adults tend to be independent and confident. Their relationships are usually stable and rewarding, characterized by trust, open communication and reciprocal support. They feel comfortable expressing their emotions and needs and trust that their partner will be there for them.

In general, those who cultivate a bond of this nature with their partners tend to demonstrate confidence in their abilities, address disagreements in a constructive and respectful way, as well as manage their emotions in a healthy way.


2. Anxious-ambivalent

Within the range of attachment types, anxious-ambivalent attachment stands out for being a kind of dance between the desire for closeness and the fear of rejection. This form of attachment is defined by the lack of uniformity in the responses of the main figures during the childhood stage.

What does anxious-ambivalent attachment look like in childhood?

A child with anxious-ambivalent attachment faces a combination of attention and lack of attention from his or her caregivers. At certain times, he receives affectionate and understanding responses, but at other times he is confronted with coldness or refusal. This lack of consistency causes insecurity and nervousness, since the child cannot predict the behavior of his parents or guardians.

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What does anxious-ambivalent attachment look like in adulthood?

Adults with an anxious-ambivalent attachment style tend to be insecure and often have low self-esteem. They feel a strong need for closeness and affection in their romantic relationships, but at the same time, they fear being abandoned or rejected. They are usually jealous and possessive people and find it difficult to express their emotions clearly.

Those who develop this type of attachment tend to constantly question their worth and the stability of their relationships, continually seeking validation and affection from their partners.. Additionally, it is common for them to overreact to disagreements or conflicts.

3. Avoidant attachment

Avoidant attachment is commonly interpreted as an emotional armor that protects the person from fragility and suffering. According to the theory of the 4 types of attachment, this pattern is formed in childhood, when the child learns to hide his or her sentimental needs to avoid rejection or disinterest from those who care for him in his first stage of life.

What does avoidant attachment look like in childhood?

A child with an avoidant attachment develops autonomy skills so as not to have to depend on those who care for him. In general, he appears to be independent and shows little interest in maintaining close relationships, even appearing distant or unaffectionate. This attitude serves as a defense mechanism against emotional suffering, since the child has understood that sharing his or her needs only results in disappointment and rejection..

What does avoidant attachment look like in adulthood?

Adults with an avoidant attachment are often noted for their independence and self-sufficiency. These people usually value their freedom and individuality very much, it is difficult for them to communicate their emotions and needs. In their romantic relationships, they can show a cold and distant attitude, making it extremely difficult for them to establish meaningful bonds.

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They frequently avoid emotional closeness for fear of dependency or control. It is common for those who adopt this type of attachment to seek to maintain dominance in the relationship in order to prevent themselves from feeling vulnerable, which causes them problems trusting their partner and allowing themselves to open up emotionally.

4. Disorganized attachment

Disorganized attachment shows a disordered and confusing model that arises from traumatic or incoherent experiences in childhood. This form of attachment is highlighted by the absence of a trusted figure and the manifestation of frightening or unpredictable behaviors on the part of caregivers.

What does disordered attachment look like in childhood?

An infant who has a disorganized attachment goes through traumatic or incoherent situations in his or her attachment relationships. He may witness violence, abuse, or neglect, and even be affected by these experiences. Exposure to frightening or unpredictable circumstances by caregivers causes confusion, fear, and emotional disorder in the child.

What does disordered attachment look like in adulthood?

Adults with disorganized attachment often have problems regulating their emotions, impulsive behaviors, and unstable, chaotic relationships. They may experience emotional disconnection or a feeling of distance from their feelings and body.

In addition to what was mentioned, It is common for people with this type of attachment to repeat patterns of abuse or neglect in their own relationships or to become involved in conflictive and chaotic relationships.. It is important to remember that the type of attachment developed throughout life does not completely determine your history. Attachments can change over time. Although early experiences are relevant, with the right support it is always possible to evolve towards a more secure attachment and cultivate healthier and more satisfying relationships.