Attachment theory can be used to explain emotional attachment between human beings. It can be used as useful model to explain why your relationships have succeeded or failed in the manner they did. It also often points out repeated patterns of your relationship problems.
It can also be used to explain other areas such as self sabotage, childhood trauma and etc.
There are mainly for 4 types of attachment: secure, anxious, avoidant, and anxious avoidant attachment.
People with secure attachment strategies are comfortable with displaying interest and affection. They are also comfortable being alone and independent. They’re able to prioritize their relationships in their life and are able to draw clear boundaries and stick to them. They also have a positive perception of others, and positive perception of themselves.
They make the best romantic partners, family members, and friends. They are capable of accepting rejection and moving on despite the pain but are also capable of being loyal, sacrificing when necessary. They have little issue trusting the people they are close to, and are trustworthy themselves.
Research has shown that over 50% of the population are secure attachment types.
People with an anxious attachment style of attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would”, and “I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don’t value me as much as I value them.”
They sometimes value intimacy to such an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure. Compared to securely attached people, people who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment tend to have less positive views about themselves.
People with anxious attachment have a positive perception of others and negative perception of themselves.
Anxious attachment strategies are developed in childhood by infants who receive affection and care with unpredictable sufficiency. Women are more likely to be anxious types than men.
Avoidant attachment types tend to be independent, self-directed, and often uncomfortable with intimacy.
People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: “I am comfortable without close emotional relationships”, “It is important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient”, and “I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.”
People with avoidant attachment have a positive perception of themselves, and negative perception of others.
Avoidant attachment strategy is developed in childhood by infants who only get some of their needs met while the rest are neglected.
People with this attachment style are much less comfortable with expressing affection. They frequently deny and suppress their feelings.
They commonly have a negative worldview on others and view themselves as unworthy of their own selfs. These mixed feelings are combined with sometimes unconscious, negative views about themselves and their attachments.
Anxious-avoidant types tend to agree with the following statements: “I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to others.”
Anxious-avoidant types have both negative perception of others and themselves.
There’s only a small percentage of the population that are anxious avoidant types.
They often have other emotional problems in other areas of their life: substance abuse, depression, etc. Anxious avoidant types develop from abusive or negligent childhoods.
There’s an attachment theory test that you can take to find out your attachment type. If you don’t want to take the test, then rely on the above examples to roughly give you a guess on your style of attachment.
Rollercoaster Relationships – The Chaser and the Chased
It’s noted that anxious and avoidant frequently end up in relationships with one another. The avoidant types are so good at putting others off that often times it’s only the anxious types who are willing to stick around and put in the extra effort to get them to open up.
Think of the man who’s is constantly pushes away a women’s pushes for intimacy. A woman with a secure attachment will simply accept the rejection and move on. However, an anxiously attached woman will be more determined by a man who pushes her away. The avoidant man then is reassured that he can behave independently around her, and ultimately avoid emotional intimacy. When one chases, the other runs, and this goes in circles.
From an emotional needs standpoint, both the anxious and the avoidant have a fundamental belief that their emotional needs aren’t important. One denies their emotional needs by avoiding it, and the other overexpresses them. Both come are insecurely attached. Both end up failing to get their needs met ultimately in a relationship.
I experience this chaser and chase pattern in my first serious relationship with my ex-girlfriend. Every time I chased, she ran. Every time I got sick it, she came back chasing. It was a constant, tiring too and fro. It felt exhilarating at times, however, these relationships often end up exploding and leave two hurt individuals hurt and confused.
The Self Esteem Model
Psychologists has also hypothesized a model showing one’s attachment strategy corresponding to the self image of yourself, and how you perceive the self image of others. The assortment theory in psychology backs it up as well, people with the same level of self esteem end up dating each other. Insecurity finds insecurity and security finds security.
The problem with pick up artist strategies is that you never learn how to engage and express these emotions from a secure attachment strategy. It’s always done in a vacuum. You’re using lines, techniques, and you’re blocking out any form of real emotional engagement. The pick up artist community rarely addresses this.
Our human psychology doesn’t work this way. If we’re only liked when we’re expressed ourselves through techniques and lines, then we’re subconsciously telling ourselves that we’re not enough. This doesn’t build self esteem, but lowers our self esteem instead.
You could also argue that many pick up artists are relying on avoidant attachment strategies. The girls that are willing to stay around and be ‘gamed’ are probably anxiously attached. The inability of a guy to express genuine affection (since he’s using pre prepared techniques and lines) triggers her anxious attachment that makes her chase even more, which in turns rewards the avoidant style that he uses and the cycle repeats.
If you’re guessing that attachment theory has connections concepts such as true confidence, fake alpha behaviour, self esteem, emotional needs sand vulnerability, then you’re right. These ideas are interlinked.
Can Your Attachment Style be Changed?
Okay, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking: you’re absolutely fucked. Hear me out first. The good news is that attachment styles can be changed. The bad news, it’s slow and difficult.
Someone with insecure attachment who enters a long term relationship with a secure can be “raised up” to the level of secure over an extended period of time. Unfortunately, insecure attachments such as the anxious or avoidant can also “bring down” a secure attachment.
I was a hard core avoidant throughout my teens up till my early twenties. When I started opening up, one anxiety uncovered the other. There was a period of time that I was going through a phase of emotional vomit and life changes and flipped between anxious and avoidant attachment.
Extreme negative life events, such a divorce, death of a child, serious accident, lost of important friendships, can cause attachment types to fall into a more insecure attachment type.
Manson, M. (2011, Dec 12). Attachment Theory. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from MarkManson.Net: https://markmanson.net/attachment-theory