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Attachment Theory Reveals How We Develop Attachment

Attachment is an emotional bond that develops when someone fills a void in our lives. We develop attachment from the moment we are born. We, humans, are attached to people who justify our beliefs. For the same reason, attraction in humans is based on beliefs.

But What Are These Beliefs?

Beliefs are our own benchmarks and parameters for determining what kind of person we want to be with and what should happen in our relationship. These also decide how we want a relationship to be or what are our expectations and values. The expectations that we have with our relationship, in return, fortify our beliefs.

These are the same beliefs that compel us to stay in touch with our partner throughout the day. It is the same thing that makes us insecure about whether the relationship will last long or not. Even though we know how crazy it is to feel insecure, we manifest our fears through our actions. At last, the relationship ends!

How These Beliefs Are Born

We form these beliefs based on our relationship with our parents and other family members during our childhood days. Our beliefs are highly influenced by the attachment we had with our parents in our childhood and this is where the Attachment Theory comes into picture [1] . This term was coined by John Bowlby, a famous psychologist at the Child Guidance Clinic in London, for the first time.

John Bowlby, in his study about Childhood Development and Temperament stated, "Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space [1] ." According to him, the way, our needs and demands got fulfilled while we were little, shapes our beliefs about what we are worthy of, how we should be treated, and how to behave with others in our adulthood.

So, we can say, while growing up, we use the beliefs formed in our childhood as a filter to see our life ahead. Interestingly, we are mostly unobservant of these beliefs until we are in a relationship with a person who is unable to justify the beliefs we hold within.

If we look closely, attachment is a big deal because it influences the way we communicate in our relationship and the approach we follow to deal with issues in our romantic partnership.

The Evolution Of Attachment

According to John Bowlby's Attachment Theory, we humans are born with a default feeling of attachment. This feeling of attachment helps us to survive in this world and form relationships. Whenever a child is born he/she is automatically attached to his/her parents and caregivers [1] .

The subsequent incidents in later life, can determine the evolution of attachment in us. There are three ways in which we can be attached to people:

a) Feeling secure:

This is an attachment strategy majority of people have. People falling under this category feel easy to stay close to their partners. These people depend on their partners and rarely feel insecure or scared about being cheated. They are quite positive and happy about their relationship. In this kind of attachment, people do not fear to ask for clarity about things, neither do they manipulate their partner about things. In this attachment strategy, there is full trust among the partners.

b) Being anxious:

People having anxious attachment strategy feel difficult to find partners who would stay close them to them. In this attachment strategy, there is a constant fear of being left or cheated by their partner. Sometimes, they (people having anxious attachment strategy) may even doubt if their partners love them or not. They behave in a way that reinforces their beliefs of being anxiously attached to their partners. A time comes, when these people start to have a low-esteem and thus, try to fulfil others' expectations. For them, their partners' validation about being in love is important.

c) Being avoidant:

This kind of attachment strategy is seen among those who grew up far from their parents. Maybe because their parents were not present and therefore, they might feel uncomfortable in a close and emotional relationship. People having this kind of attachment strategy tend to become self-dependent and do not like being dependent on their partners. For them, their independence and self-dependency reinforce their beliefs.

Attachment Can Lead To Insecurity In Relationships

Sometimes the attachment can make us paranoid and we might do something stupid. For example, sometimes people may call their partners a hundred times in just two hours for pacifying their insecurities. Or they might doubt if their partner is cheating on them even if there is no such thing.

The attachment can sometimes also work as an emergency button in our mind based on our childhood experiences. For example, if something bad happened to you during your childhood in the absence of your parent, you turn out to be anxious and scared for the person you are attached with. Suppose, you were separated from your parents. Then as a child you would have felt the urge to get close to your parents as soon as possible. When grown up, you might feel dejected when your friend cheats on you or when your partner ignores you.

These experiences can make us paranoid and trigger the attachment button in our mind. We then try to be closer to one we are afraid to lose. We concentrate on getting closer to our partner emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Now, it is up to our partner to either accept or reject our closeness.

But it is not necessary that bad attachment during childhood will form a wrong belief for how our future relationship will be.Some people may show willingness to explore some good and healthy relationship to lead a happy life.

View Article References
  1. [1] 1. McLeod Saul (2017, Feb 05) Attachment Theory. Retrived from on 2019 Jul 30