4 Types Of Emotional Attachment
Emotional attachment, having feelings of closeness and affection, are key to sustaining meaningful relationships and are an important component in the process of human connection. This can be with or without romantic and sexual attraction, and it can help you feel safe, comfortable and happy when in another person’s company. Unfortunately, however, some forms of emotional attachment can become a problem.
If you are unsure if your attitude and behaviour towards your relationships are healthy, here are a few concerning signs to look out for: relying on them for approval, not knowing how to function without them, losing the sense of self or the relationship being unbalanced.
If any of those ring true to you, there are four different types of emotional attachment that you should be aware of.
What are the four types of emotional attachment?
Avoidant attachment develops in children when a parent/guardian doesn’t show care outside of the essentials such as food and shelter. As a result, the child will begin to disregard their own needs and struggle with their emotions as they develop into a teenager and then an adult.
This can impact their relationships with other people, whether they are romantic or not. So it is important for parents to take note of any signs such as the lack of physical or eye contact. Knowing how to spot these signs will help you to resolve any issues before they become more damaging. If you are an adult with these difficulties, therapy can support and help you to better manage these feelings.
Also known as Disorganised attachment, Fearful-Avoidant attachment is a type of emotional attachment issue where a person will crave connection but also fear getting too close.
The common signs include a fear of intimacy, lack of commitment, and elevated anxiety. Again, this typically forms during childhood based on the relationship with your caregivers. Fearful-avoidant attachment can be based on the child fearing their caregiver, affecting their relationships with others as they crave comfort but are unable to trust those who give it to them. Therapy is once again a good way to deal with this form of emotional attachment.
Secure attachment develops in children who feel safe, seen, known, comforted, soothed, reassured, valued, and supported to explore. When they grow up into an adult, they will end up having a positive view of themself, others, and even their childhood, all due to their caregivers. Out of all four emotional attachment types, this is the only one which is deemed as ‘positive’. Nonverbal communication – such as body language, eye contact, facial expressions, touch, and vocal tone – all come together to build up that secure attachment.
Also known as Preoccupied attachment, Anxious attachment is a type of emotional attachment issue where people have problems trusting others, worrying that they will be abandoned. Children tend to experience anxiety, a fear of strangers and extreme distress when separated from their parents, as well as other emotional responses. Adults, on the other hand, tend to experience a constant need for contact and support from others and typically fear being underappreciated.
Therapy can help individuals understand their emotional responses. They can experiment with building a healthy relationship in a safe environment while learning how to respond to their family and friends in a more beneficial way.
How can therapy help?
With emotional attachment issues, therapy is a great way to better understand your condition, build awareness around the triggers and find coping strategies to improve your quality of life. Having a new way of thinking things through and someone to guide you can make it easier to approach relationships from a completely different perspective than you ever have before. Therapy is highly effective as you are encouraged to find solutions and talk openly.
By working together to understand your emotional world, you can learn to recognise distortions in thinking and re-evaluate, gain a better understanding of the behaviour, build your problem-solving skills, and learn to develop a greater sense of confidence in your abilities. Strategies for the latter include facing fears, role-playing to prepare for problematic interactions, and learning to calm the mind and body. However, different strategies could be used based on your individual circumstances. Either way, talking therapy is the best treatment for emotional attachment.
Therapy in Warrington, Cheshire.
The key to living with emotional attachment difficulties is to better understand the reasons you feel like this in the first place, to have support around you and discover which therapeutic interactions work for you. Therapy can help in all those areas, getting you onto the path to better mental health.
Whether it be Avoidant, Fearful-Avoidant, Secure or Anxious Attachment, I am an experienced therapist based near Warrington, and I am here to help you. Visit my website today to learn more about me and to book an initial consultation.