Avoidant

From an early age, you have known quite a few let-downs. But you aren’t one to whimper. You present a rather stoic face to the world. If someone lets you down, you are concerned to maintain a dignified facade. You tend not to tell people who’ve disappointed you: what would be the point? You like to be on your own a lot, especially when things go wrong. It can feel safer that way. Quite a few things probably weren’t ideal in childhood. You learnt to cope - perhaps a bit too well. Trust doesn’t come easily, strength does.

Secure

You’ve enjoyed a relatively stable and reliable childhood and are used to communicating your needs clearly, with a good expectation of being heard at least some of the time. You have faith that upsets can generally be corrected, if they’re sensibly discussed. When people let you down, it doesn’t darken your faith in humanity as a whole, or indeed in yourself. These things can happen. You’re happy being on your own, but even happier being with someone you love. You’ve had some very satisfying relationships in the past. You like your parents and they like you.

Anxious

You long to be close to people, very close, but often find the reality disappointing. You feel intensely, but are frequently let down. Sometimes you can get very angry with people in whom you’d invested a lot. You don’t necessarily mind raising your voice to let them know. You quite like things to be tidy and well-arranged. You’re generally on-time for meetings and expect others to be too. You really like to know where your loved one is at any time. The love you knew in childhood was warm, but erratic. People let you down. Perhaps there was a divorce, someone died, or there was a shock to the family’s integrity. It’s made your emotional needs feel urgent and powerful and your sense of emotional stability slightly rocky.


Knowing that one’s way of relating to others carries a name is one step on the path towards greater self-knowledge and change where change feels necessary. Each of these patterns relates back to particular experiences in childhood and ways of having been parented. 50% of people in the US are estimated to be securely attached, with the other half divided into anxious and avoidant quarters. We don’t need to be free of psychological hurdles to deal with life, but knowing how to explain in good time who we are, and where we might be tricky, is a central to forming good enough relationships.

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