Attachment Styles in Adults Relationships

 

Secure Adult Attachment:

(Also called Autonomous/Free)

  • Values attachment relationships
  • When conducting what is called the ‘Adult Attachment Interview’ the interview is coherent and objective
  • There is an ease with description of parents
  • The descriptions are supported by examples
  • They are reflective, not idealizing or angry and preoccupied. 
  • They are at peace and forgiving. 

 

Adult Relationships with Security of Attachment:

  • Value relationship and turn to others in times of stress
  • Can be calmed by nurturing, containing experiences
  • Has a strong sense of self competence, explores and problem solves in situations that are challenging
  • Basic trust in others as “being there” for them. At the same time can see when a situation or person may be unsafe. 
  • Has openness to new information and to changing perspective. Is self-reflective. 

 

Avoidant Adult Attachment:

(Also called Dismissing)

  • Dismisses idea early experience has affected them
  • Devaluing of relationships
  • Restricted in Feelings
  • May idealize or not remember anything
  • Contradictions may be found

 

Adult Avoidant Attachment in Relationships:

  • Often stable relationships, where everything is well taken care but there is little deep emotional connection
  • Both partners live in their own lonely world, or one partner complains about the other (avoidant) being unavailable, or uncaring. 
  • Doesn’t talk about relationships 

 

 

Insecure Ambivalent Adult Attachment:

(Also called Preoccupied)

  • Influence of parents can neither be dismissed or coherently explained
  • Preoccupied with relationships with parents
  • Oscillates between good and bad evaluations
  • Expresses anger and helplessness
  • Striking incoherence

 

Adult Relationships in Insecure Ambivalent Individuals:

  • Lack of self disclosure or indiscriminant, overly intimate self disclosure
  • Undue jealousy in close relationships
  • Feelings of loneliness even when involved in relationships
  • Difficulties in forming relationships in new settings
  • Tendency to view partners as insufficiently attentive

 

Disorganized Adult Attachment:

(Also called Unresolved or Disoriented)

  • Shows evidence that has not resolved past trauma or abuse
  • Has not resolved death of a loved one
  • Incoherent/disoriented
  • Frightened
  • Angry and frightening

 

Relationships with Disorganized Adult Attachment: 

  • Extremely volatile, often marked by domestic violence, mental illness
  • Can be long term yet destructive, or many short term relationships
  • Very confusing descriptions, with a lot of variability
  • Often significant unresolved loss in history, the impact of which is still occupying much of the parent’s emotional and psychic energy

 

On average, just above 50% of adults are securely attached, 20% are ambivalent, 25% are avoidant, and 3-5% are disorganized. 

 

References:

Myrna Martin, MN, RCC, RCST. Lecture Notes. Pre and Perinatal Professional Training, Virginia, April 2013.

Levine, Amir and Rachel Heller, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find and Keep Love.

 

Attachment Styles in Adult Relationships

 

Secure Adult Attachment Style

  • values attachment relationships
  • when conducting what is called the “Adult Attachment Interview” the interview is coherent and objective
    • there is an ease with description of parents
    • descriptions of parents supported by examples
    • reflective, not idealizing or angry and preoccupied
    • at peace and forgiving

 

Adult Secure Attachment in Relationships

  • value relationship and turn to others in times of stress
  • can be calmed by nurturing, containing experiences
  • strong sense of self competence, explores and problem solves in situations that are challenging
  • basic trust in others as “being there” for them, at the same time can see when a situation or person may be unsafe
  • open to new information and to changing perspective, is self reflective

 

 

Avoidant Adult Attachment Style

  • dismisses idea early experience has affected them
  • devalues relationships
  • restricted in feelings
  • idealizes or does not remember anything
  • contradictions

 

Adult Avoidant Attachment in Relationships

  • often stable relationships, where everything is well taken care of but there is little deep emotional connection
  • both partners live in their own lonely world, or one partner complains about the other (avoidant) being unavailable or uncaring
  • doesn’t talk about relationships

 

Insecure Ambivalent Adult Attachment Style