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  • Writer's pictureDezerrae Sanchez

How do early relationships affect our adult connections?



Hello! The weekend is almost among us!

I wanted to discuss a topic that I feel is often overlooked and misunderstood; attachment styles. Attachment styles play a significant role in shaping our relationships and interactions with others throughout our lives. These styles, which are primarily formed during early childhood, can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being and the quality of our relationships in adulthood. Understanding attachment styles, how they develop, what they look like in adulthood, and how to achieve secure attachment is crucial for personal growth and healthy connections with others.

Attachment theory suggests that our early experiences with caregivers shape our expectations, beliefs, and behaviors in relationships. The attachment style we develop is influenced by the sensitivity, responsiveness, and consistency of our caregivers' care during infancy and early childhood. Meaning, were our primary caregivers responsive to our needs, empathetic to our concerns, and supportive and encouraging of our goals. If so, they likely helped you develop a secure attachment. If our earliest experiences consisted of unmet needs, dismissive or absent caregivers, neglectful or abusive caregivers it is likely we have developed one of the other three types of attachments. There are four primary attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious-preoccupied attachment, dismissive-avoidant attachment, and fearful-avoidant attachment.

Secure attachment is considered the ideal attachment style. Individuals with secure attachment had caregivers who were consistently responsive, warm, and emotionally available. As a result, they feel secure in their relationships, have trust in others, and exhibit a healthy balance of independence and intimacy. They feel comfortable seeking support and are capable of providing it as well. Securely attached adults tend to have stable, satisfying, and long-lasting relationships.


Anxious-preoccupied attachment develops when caregivers are inconsistent in their responsiveness or attention. Individuals with this attachment style often crave reassurance and worry about rejection or abandonment. They may be overly dependent on their partners, have a fear of being alone, and seek constant validation. These individuals tend to experience emotional highs and lows in relationships and may struggle with feelings of insecurity and jealousy.

Dismissive-avoidant attachment develops when caregivers are emotionally distant or dismissive of the child's needs. Individuals with this attachment style often prioritize independence and self-reliance over emotional intimacy. They may have difficulty trusting others, prefer solitude, and avoid getting too close to others. They often downplay the importance of relationships and may struggle with expressing vulnerability or emotional needs.


Fearful-avoidant attachment, also known as disorganized attachment, typically results from caregivers who are abusive, neglectful, or inconsistent in their behavior. Individuals with this attachment style often have conflicting desires for both closeness and distance in relationships. They may have difficulty trusting others and struggle with emotional regulation. Fearful-avoidant adults often fear rejection, abandonment, and may experience intense anxiety or fear when forming close connections.


While attachment styles often form during childhood, they are not fixed and can be influenced by later experiences and relationships. Achieving secure attachment as an adult involves a combination of self-reflection, self-awareness, and active effort in cultivating healthy relationship dynamics.


1. Develop self-awareness: Understanding one's own attachment style is crucial. Reflect on early experiences and relationships to identify patterns and triggers that may be influencing your attachment style.


2. Seek support: Working with a therapist can provide valuable insights into attachment patterns and help address any unresolved issues from the past. Therapists can guide individuals in developing healthier relationship skills and coping mechanisms.

3. Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care and self-compassion. Building a strong sense of self-worth and self-reliance can contribute to a more secure attachment style.


4. Enhance communication skills: Develop open and honest communication skills to express needs, emotions, and concerns effectively. Learning to listen actively and empathetically can foster healthier connections with others.


5. Build supportive relationships: Surround yourself with individuals who prioritize emotional well-being and provide a secure base for exploration and growth. Cultivate relationships based on trust, mutual respect, and consistent emotional availability.


6. Challenge negative beliefs: Examine and challenge negative beliefs or assumptions about relationships and intimacy. Replace them with more positive and realistic expectations.


7. Practice vulnerability: Gradually open up and share emotions, thoughts, and fears with trusted individuals. Practice vulnerability in safe and supportive environments.


8. Patience and self-compassion: Achieving secure attachment is a journey that takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself, acknowledge progress, and practice self-compassion throughout the process.

By understanding attachment styles, their origins, and how they manifest in adulthood, individuals can actively work towards achieving secure attachment. With self-awareness, supportive relationships, effective communication, and a commitment to personal growth, it is possible to cultivate healthier attachment patterns and foster fulfilling connections with others.

Do you feel you know what type of attachment style you have developed over time? What is one way that attachment style affects you in your daily life?

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