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.

You stand a chance of being very happy in your relationships; everything won't always go right, but you have the psychological tools to cope when they don't.

Click VIEW ALL RESULTS to learn about the other two attachment styles.

Avoidant

From an early age, you have probably 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.

It can be very hard to change your attachment style, but knowing which one you might have is a vital first step. You might want to start to observe how you quickly shut down when your partner has disappointed you - and how your characteristic response to hurt is not to feel. Consider that your independence includes, somewhere, an element of fear. Having a vocabulary with which to discuss our patterns of love can be very helpful. Next time you feel like being completely alone and insist that your partner (who might have hurt you a little emotionally) means nothing to you, think of the concept of avoidance.

Try to find out what attachment style your partner has. If they're anxious, take a moment to read this article.

The Challenges of Anxious-Avoidant Relationships

Click VIEW ALL RESULTS to learn about the other two attachment styles.

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. The love you knew in childhood was warm, but perhaps erratic. Probably people let you down. It’s made your emotional needs feel urgent and powerful and your sense of emotional stability slightly rocky. You frequently feel that those you love are slipping away from you.

It can be very hard to change your attachment style, but knowing which one you might have is a vital first step. You might want to start to observe how nervous you can feel of your partner's intentions - sometimes a bit unfairly. You could try to explain that you've done a questionnaire, that the answer was 'anxious' and that this interests you rather a lot. Having a vocabulary with which to discuss our patterns of love can be very helpful. Next time you feel abandoned or humiliated, take a moment to ask whether bad intentions are really at play.

Try to find out what attachment style your partner has. If they're avoidant, take a moment to read this article.

The Challenges of Anxious-Avoidant Relationships

Click VIEW ALL RESULTS to learn about the other two attachment styles.


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.

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. 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.

If you’d like to find out more on this topic, you might be interested in our film on the subject:

Film: What is Your Attachment Style

How Can We Help You?

The School of Life has developed a wide range of classes, special events, therapies and emotional well-being tools designed to help people with their relationships and to gain self-knowledge. If you have further questions about your attachment style and how it relates to these areas, discover how The School of Life can help you.

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