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Attachment Styles

The attachment styles:


The primary goal of a healthy family is to emotionally and spiritually nourish each of its members in a way that affirms their worth, their sense of security and their ability to love and be loved. In short, a successful family experience will help each member develop a secure attachment.


As noted by Tim Clinton and Joshua Straub in God Attachment, secure attachment describes those who hold a positive view of their self and others. Because they believe they are worthy of love, and that others are capable and accessible when they need them, secure people are comfortable with both closeness and independence.


What is attachment?

Attachment is an emotional bond to another person. Psychologist John Bowlby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings."


Attachment theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners.

People with a secure attachment:


  • Are willing to seek, accept and offer both love, trust, and commitment to healthy relationships


  • Innately know that relationships can be safe and are willing to risk love in healthy ways


  • Are able to deal with emotions, especially conflict, without fear of rejection or abandonment


  • Have a sense of fulfillment and courage because of who they are, where they stand with God and others, and seek opportunities they have to fulfill God’s purposes for their life


Types of Insecure Attachment Styles: (as per Tim Clinton and Joshua Straub in God Attachment)


The Anxious Attachment Style


Anxious people hold to a negative view of their self and an unrealistically positive view of others. As a result they are usually anxious in relationships and have an unhealthy fear of abandonment because they believe they are not worthy of love. It is tough being an anxious type because they don’t believe they are worthy of love. It is tough loving an anxious type because you can never love them enough.


Characteristics of Anxious People:

  • Long for intimacy but live in constant, nagging fear of rejection.

  • Are too needy, desperately looking for others to make them feel safe and secure.

  • Trust too easily and unwisely, overlooking signs that others have not earned their trust.

  • Are fragile and vulnerable to any perceived criticism, interpreting it as severe rejection.

  • Hope that authority figures will finally come through and fix their problems.

  • Experience a deep, controlling fear that they aren’t competent to make it on their own.



The Avoidant Attachment Style

Avoidant people are the opposite of anxious people, in that avoidant have an overly positive view of their self, but an excessively negative view of others. People who are avoidant are uncomfortable with closeness and tend to become overly self-reliant because they do not believe others will be there for them. It is tough being an avoidant type because they don’t trust anybody. It is tough loving an avoidant because they never really let you in.


Characteristics of Avoidant People:

  • Avoid intimacy because they don’t see the need for it

  • Are confident in their abilities and are self-reliant.

  • Commonly experience low levels of anxiety in relationships, even when others are very needy and demanding.

  • Are very analytical about those in authority, and seldom trust others very much.

  • Withdraw from those who express emotional needs.

  • Have, in effect, business relationships with others, even close family members, with clear expectations of what each person will do to make a relationship work. 



The Fearful Attachment Style

Fearful people have a negative view of both their self and others. These adults have a very difficult time with intimacy and closeness, and they often avoid relationships altogether. Fearful people are terribly fragile, but they build a hard shell around their hearts in an attempt to avoid being hurt again. They long to trust someone, but they have difficulty trusting even those who have proven to be loving and honorable. Love and acceptance always seem to be just out of reach, if, indeed, they haven’t given up entirely on ever finding love.


Characteristics of Fearful People:

  • Feel unloved and unwanted, unworthy of anyone’s affection.

  • Long for real relationships, but are terrified of being close.

  • Lack confidence in their abilities to make life work.

  • Are fragile, easily shattered, and vulnerable to any perceived offense.

  • Believe they need to trust those in authority, but just can’t.

  • Sometimes remain isolated, but sometimes launch out into relationships, seeking the connection they’ve always wanted.

  • Their neediness, though, almost always drives people away.

What's Your Attachment Style?


​Check out either of these two self-assessments. 


What's Your Romantic Attachment Style (from Psychology)?
Attachment Styles and Close Relationships  (from Web Research Design)


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