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Natevaelle

Attachment Styles in Adults

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The Attachment Theory pertains to humans of all ages. However, for this particular discussion, I would like to focus on Attachment in Adults.

 

The four main styles of attachment that have been identified in adults are as follows:

(All descriptions are from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_in_adults. Feel free to skip this part if you want to know your result first before reading about it and the other types.)

 

1. Secure

Securely attached people tend to agree with the following statements: "It is relatively easy for me to become emotionally close to others. I am comfortable depending on others and having others depend on me. I don't worry about being alone or others not accepting me." This style of attachment usually results from a history of warm and responsive interactions with their attachments. Securely attached people tend to have positive views of themselves and their attachments. They also tend to have positive views of their relationships. Often they report greater satisfaction and adjustment in their relationships than people with other attachment styles. Securely attached people feel comfortable both with intimacy and with independence. Many seek to balance intimacy and independence in their relationship.

 

2. Anxious–Preoccupied

People with anxious-preoccupied attachment type tend to agree with the following 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 like", and "I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them." People with this style of attachment seek high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their attachment figure. 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. They may feel a sense of anxiousness that only recedes when in contact with the attachment figure. They often doubt their worth as a person and blame themselves for the attachment figure's lack of responsiveness. People who are anxious or preoccupied with attachment may exhibit high levels of emotional expressiveness, worry, and impulsiveness in their relationships.

 

3. Dismissive–Avoidant

People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: "I am comfortable without close emotional relationships", "It is very 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 this attachment style desire a high level of independence. The desire for independence often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships. Some may even view close relationships as relatively unimportant. Not surprisingly, they seek less intimacy with attachments, whom they often view less positively than they view themselves. Investigators commonly note the defensive character of this attachment style. People with a dismissive–avoidant attachment style tend to suppress and hide their feelings, and they tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection (e.g. their attachments).

 

4. Fearful–Avoidant

People with losses or other trauma, such as sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence may often develop this type of attachment and 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." People with this attachment style have mixed feelings about close relationships. On the one hand, they desire to have emotionally close relationships. On the other hand, they tend to feel uncomfortable with emotional closeness. These mixed feelings are combined with sometimes unconscious, negative views about themselves and their attachments. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments, and they don't trust the intentions of their attachments. Similar to the dismissive–avoidant attachment style, people with a fearful–avoidant attachment style seek less intimacy from attachments and frequently suppress and deny their feelings. Because of this, they are much less comfortable expressing affection.

 

For me, the image below describes the four main attachment styles in a very simple and understandable way. (The image is from personalityresearch.org.)

user posted image

 

Here is a link to an attachment style test. Please note that you must be at least 18 years old to take the test. This is, after all, a discussion about attachment in adults. ^^ For the test, I chose Survey Option B because I did not want to make an account.

 

What are your thoughts on the theory of attachment styles in adults? What was your result? Do you agree or disagree? ^^

Edited by Natevaelle

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I'm very much dismissive-avoidant.

 

I tried to take the test, too, but there are so many questions that are geared toward people who are either currently in a relationship, trying to get into one, or have been in one.

 

None of those questions are questions I could answer - I am not in a relationship, not interested in being in one, and never have been in one - and there were so many I just quit the test. v:

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I'm very much dismissive-avoidant.

 

I tried to take the test, too, but there are so many questions that are geared toward people who are either currently in a relationship, trying to get into one, or have been in one.

 

None of those questions are questions I could answer - I am not in a relationship, not interested in being in one, and never have been in one - and there were so many I just quit the test. v:

Likewise, I am dismissive-avoidant. ^^ I have been so for the past year or so.

 

Again, like you, I have the same situation regarding relationship matters, except I have been in one relationship but it was over five years ago. When I took the test, I attempted to relate the questions to my closest friends instead. Regardless, I think that one could tell their attachment style without having to take the test though it would serve as a guide for those who are unsure of theirs. ^^

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According to the test, I'm right on that line between dismissive-avoidant and secure, but just a bit more into the dismissive-avoidant area. I definitely agree that I'm dismissive-avoidant; despite being in a two-year-and-going-strong relationship, I never let myself get too attached to the person and I never invest much in them. Closeness is fine and all, but I like to be distant enough that my life won't really be altered and I won't be affected very much should the relationship end. People that treat their few-months-long partners as lifelines and such scare me a little bit xd.png but I guess everyone gets attached differently.

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Yeah, the whole assuming the person is/has been in a romantic relationship made it pretty impossible for me to take the test in an effective way too. I've never been in a relationship nor am I in one now, and I'm also pretty much uninterested.

 

However, trying to judge based more on my friendships instead and by reading the paragraphs in the OP, I'd be somewhere in the Fearful-Avoidant spectrum or Anxious-Preoccupied spectrum. I generally don't think very highly of myself and feel like a burden most of the time, so I stay out of people's ways. :y Ah well.

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As an aroace, I def just gave up on the romance/relationship questions, lmao.

 

I'm def dismissive–avoidant, though.

 

I have to question the breakup of having one secure option and three avoidant options, though. I know a lot of clingy people who, although many of them are anxious, I feel would not fit any of those categories. I can't answer to how they feel about the categories, though.

 

EDIT: Like have Anxious-Attachive plus maybe some others that swing the other way?

Edited by SockPuppet Strangler

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I never let myself get too attached to the person and I never invest much in them. Closeness is fine and all, but I like to be distant enough that my life won't really be altered and I won't be affected very much should the relationship end. People that treat their few-months-long partners as lifelines and such scare me a little bit xd.png but I guess everyone gets attached differently.

I have the same sentiments. ^^ Even if I am dismissive-avoidant, I still experience attachment towards a few people. There are a few people I truly care about and even if I am not always around them, I think of them fondly quite often. ^^ Naturally, others will not sense my attachment this way. I send a message once in a while to ask how they are, but it is a lot less often than how often I actually wonder how they are.

 

Yeah, the whole assuming the person is/has been in a romantic relationship made it pretty impossible for me to take the test in an effective way too. I've never been in a relationship nor am I in one now, and I'm also pretty much uninterested.

 

As an aroace, I def just gave up on the romance/relationship questions, lmao.

 

Thank you for sharing! And in relation to the sections of your posts that I quoted above, I will update the first post with a link to an attachment test that revolves more on relationships with friends over romantic relationships when I find one. ^^ Or if any one knows of one, please feel free to share!

 

 

 

 

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My result came out fearful-avoidant.

I also took "translated version" of this test, and its result was dismissive-avoidant. (I'm not sure this questions translated well because none of those questions are assuming romantic relationship.)

 

I converted some of those words of "romance" question before answer them. (something like "romantic partners" to "friends")

Edited by sh20000sh

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Me personally, I'm saying that I'm dismissive-avoidant, bordering on fearful. I've never exactly been good at forming relationships of any kind, I mean it took me a year in high school to finally make some friends. Mostly its because where I live, most people my age are only interested in either drinking themselves senseless or partying all night. I'm not and never will be like that, having interests that most see as nerdy or strange ever since I was a child. As a result, being alone is a pretty normal and even preferred state for me.

 

The reason I'd say bordering on fearful is because, thanks to the few friends I have made over the years basically stabbing me in the back because I'm no longer any use to them (one of which was only this week) and all but one of my blood relations being untrustworthy to begin with, I'm basically at the point where I'm extremely reluctant to trust anyone enough to even start a relationship of any kind.

 

And I agree with Aquenee; people who treat their partner of a few months as their reason for living are.....well, odd. It's especially weird when you see someone go from strong and independent to overly clingy, can't-do-anything-without-their-partner type of person. It makes me feel kinda sick, tbh.

Edited by CharonDusk

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I....just had no way to accurately answer those questions. I have little to no frame of reference to do so. I'm ace and thought I could just translate terms to 'emotional attachment/friend' but found I couldn't. I've never allowed anyone close enough to me to have these questions come up. And I am unhappy with that, if I could find anyone that was content with a platonic relationship but it's too hard for me to reach out.

 

So, Fearful-Avoidant fits me to a T. rolleyes.gif

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I'm secure, that works for me.

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I got Preoccupied Attachment. Huh. I guess it describes me though. Somewhat secure in relationships but always having negative feelings about it.

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I don't know how exactly I would assess my behavior. It's really been a transition for me. I consider myself highly independent, so I would go with dismissive-avoidant, but at a previous time in my life I can say I was definitely more "anxious" about my relationships. I think this evolution in my character has been due to life experiences shaping me into who I am. I embrace the freedom that comes with emotional independence in relationships in a positive way. However, this was difficult to respond to in an accurate way since I have not had a romantic partner previously.

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Like everyone said, the test assumes that you are in a relationship (despite asking about whether or not you were in one on the first page) which made it really hard for me to answer.

I wanted to think about it as if they were asking about my relationship with a best friend, but it isn't the same thing...

 

I think I'm both anxious preoccupied and dismissive avoidant.

Like I wouldn't mind being in an emotionally intimate relationship and I can worry about whether or not they value me, but I'm also highly independent. Like I would rather not have someone depend on me and I would rather not depend on someone....

So I don't know...

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Not surprising, I got preoccupied. I was on the cusp or that and Secure, but I don't feel very secure at all/have a lot of anxiety about my relationships.

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Interesting test. I got a secure result which surprised me after all my years of anxiety and worry and self-doubting over relationships, particularly friendships. It took me a damn while to open up to my boyfriend as it was. He has the patience of a saint I swear!

 

If I had to categorize myself I'd say I'm more on the defensive-avoidant and perhaps a tinge of fearful-avoidant side of the scale. Judging from how I can go from close initially in friendships to then backing off and needing my own time and going a while without talking without much negative effect on my part but my friends are usually very confused and often wonder if its because of something they did when it wasn't at all. I just need time alone, frequently.

 

Yet my relationship with my boyfriend steadily grew very close and tight and strong over the 4+ years we've known each other, despite huge and harrowing upheavals of both of our lives many times over from outside circumstances that we had to weather through. (Let's just say the economy and this society SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK in general. Damn you America. -.- I wish you'd sink into the ocean abyss sometimes man. =.=) Health issues also suck especially if they get worse, so damn you again slow-progressive chronic illnesses. -^-

 

Despite all that, we managed to grow closer, to open up, to learn and practice healthy relationship and communication (which was rather difficult in some ways due to the decidedly UNhealthy rape culture and abusive society that is America). So I think my score was unfairly biased by my good relationship with my boyfriend and if I had taken it on basis of relationships in general, like my friendships, then it might've dropped down more to the anxiety/avoidant part of the scale.

 

But that's just me. *le sigh and shakes head*

 

 

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The original test that I linked in the original post was entitled "Attachment Styles and Close Relationships" and instructed: "Please read each of the following statements and rate the extent to which you believe each statement best describes your feelings about close relationships in general." However, the test was full of questions involving romantic relationships rather than friendly relationships. ^^; I attempted to search for another test online but the other tests were heavy on questions regarding romantic relationships too. There was this one test but it had a fee so I did not bother to try it out.

 

Any psychology students or practitioners out there? smile.gif I would love to hear what you have in mind! I am especially curious to know how this theory has evolved to take aroaces into consideration.

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As a psychology student who studied this in my Developmental Psychology class last semester, this sort of thing should apply to friends and family members as well as romantic relationships. To figure out what your primary attachment style is, think of how you approach your interactions with other people in general, particularly close friends and family.

 

It's interesting stuff. Also, it is possible for your attachment style to change throughout life, and for it to be different towards different people! For example, I've always had secure attachments to my parents, but up until high school, my friendships were all anxious-preoccupied. I was terrified of losing my friends because it was so hard for me to make them and I did whatever seemed right to try and please them.

 

Then I got some socialization therapy for my autism-spectrum disorder and started making meaningful friendships. From that point, most of my friendships have been secure attachments.

 

In my first romantic relationship, I was sort of more dismissive-avoidant, mostly because my partner at the time pressured me into the relationship and was very anxious-preoccupied. I ended up ending that relationship.

 

In my second, I was more secure but bordered on anxious-preoccupied because my partner at the time started drifting away, she was pretty dismissive-avoidant, especially as time went on. We figured out it wasn't working and parted on good terms.

 

In my current relationship, the attachment is most definitely a mutual secure one and it's going pretty well as a result~

Edited by TheCompleteAnimorph

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This quiz is kinda hard for me because I'm in a relationship right now, which I've been in for a long time, and it's also my first relationship.

I'm very happy with it, like I have been the whole time, but it's taken me a long time to feel this secure.

 

So, while it probably reflects well where I am now, I don't think it's completely accurate.

I guess it depends how fluid they are.

 

I got 1.78 for avoidance and 4.11 for anxiety, which is only just on the anxiety side, but I feel like normally I would be much higher on the anxiety side.

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I found it difficult to take the test, as I've never been in a romantic relationship. The first time I took it (a year or two ago) I was very high in the Dismissive category. After lots of counselling sessions (i.e. now) I'm in the fearful category, but pretty close to the centre of the graph.

Edited by High Lord November

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I ended up closing the test as my interaction with friends/family is very different depending on each person and I've no frame of reference as far as being in a romantic relationship is concerned. Based on the descriptions in the OP, however, I am dismissive-avoidant in most cases.

 

Editing in that I do not identify as aromantic/asexual, so that did not influence my inability to complete the test.

Edited by Jazeki

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I didn't take the test. I tried, but have very little experience with romantic relationships.

 

If I had to categorize myself though, I'd say I'm a fearful-avoidant. I fit a lot of the OP's description. I like the idea of having a boyfriend and future husband, but it is hard to actually get comfortable enough with someone. This is mainly due to a lot of self-esteem issues I've had in the past and some that still remain.

Edited by Daydreamer09

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I know this thread is old and all, but I stumbled across it and I find this really interesting! Psychology stuff like this is always fun to think about especially when you can try to apply it to yourself. I think fearful-avoidant describes me pretty well, especially when it comes to romantic relationships, which I am pretty scared of. :unsure: In theory I would really like to have a loving spouse some day, but when faced with the option of even dating anyone I immediately panic since I can only see any romantic relationship ending in disaster. When it comes to friends sometimes I am scared of getting too close to people and getting hurt, and even though I love making friends I can't help but be suspicious about people's intentions or sometimes doubt that they could actually like me.

 

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Combining your anxiety and avoidance scores, you fall into the preoccupied region of the space. Previous research on attachment styles indicates that preoccupied people tend to have highly conflictual relationships. Although they are comfortable expressing their emotions, preoccupied individuals often experience a lot of negative emotions, which can often interfere with their relationships.

sounds about right.  i find it hard to let people in at first, and when i do i am always terrified that i won't be good enough, although i'm generally aware that the other person likes me.  i tend to not feel worthy of the other's affection and it can cause some rough patches when you're trying to love someone even with your own self-hatred. ://

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Combining your anxiety and avoidance scores, you fall into the secure region of the space. Previous research on attachment styles indicates that secure people tend to have relatively enduring and satisfying relationships. They are comfortable expressing their emotions, and tend not to suffer from depression and other psychological disorders.

 

It's interesting to see how I landed so strictly on the secure side with this test (in the absolute corner more or less). I used to have depression and a crippling, medicated social phobia when I was younger. I was definitely Anxious–Preoccupied 4-5 years ago, but nowadays I feel quite relaxed. Would have probably placed myself at least a little closer to the Anxious–Preoccupied region even nowadays, but I suppose I just don't really feel too anxious in my current relationship or around other people anymore. Maybe working on my self-confidence and knowingly turning negative thoughts around for all these years has actually had quite an impact for me. Well, that, and of course having an amazing SO.

Edited by Nagapie

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