The Attachment Theory: How Childhood Attachment Affects Adult Relationships

The Attachment Theory How Childhood Attachment Affects Adult Relationships

Due to inconsistent parent-child communication, Rebecca will grow up with an Insecure & anxious adult who will:

  • Crave closeness and intimacy in relationships
  • Have a less positive self image
  • Be very needy, controlling, unpredictable, erratic and seek ongoing reassurance
  • Be preoccupied with partner and constantly afraid of abandonment and rejection 
  • Have hyperactivate attachment needs and will be very clingy which will push her partner away 
  • Be highly sensitive to behaviors, moods and actions of partner and take them too personally
  • Allow unresolved family issues from the past like emotional pain, fear, anger & rejection, to affect her current relationship
  • Be overly emotional, moody, controlling, blaming, angry, combative and argumentative with poor personal boundaries
  • Have uncollaborative communication and fail to understand her responsibilities in the relationship
  • Be erratically attuned with her own children and will respond unpredictably to their needs

4. Allison’s story (Disorganized attachment)

Allison mostly feels unhappy in her life. She feels dazed and disoriented and behaves confusingly most of the time. She doesn’t feel secure around her parents due to inconsistent behavior, maltreatment and abuse from them.

For Allison, her parents are a source of both fear and comfort. And this is why she lacks any clear pattern of attachment. As a result, she displays disordered behaviors in presence of her parents.

This is known as Disorganized attachment or Disoriented attachment. 

About 15% of children demonstrate disorganized attachment with their primary caregiver. This pattern of attachment is considered as a severe form of insecure attachment.

Growing up with abusive parents, Allison will develop a disorganized attachment style as an adult, who will:

  • Have a negative self image 
  • Likely be in an unhealthy and toxic relationship
  • Be abusive herself and be aggressive, insensitive and untrusting
  • Become very chaotic, desperately craving emotional security in intimate relationships 
  • Have unresolved thoughts, emotions and attitude
  • Will be traumatized by past abuse, experiences, memories and losses that have not been not resolved
  • Be unable to accept emotional closeness in romantic relationships and unable to regulate emotions
  • Be angry, argumentative, aggressive, punitive and abusive in dysfunctional relationships to recreate childhood patterns to avoid pain
  • Have narcissistic and antisocial tendencies and lack remorse and empathy. May indulge in substance abuse, criminal behavior and experience depression & PTSD.
  • Have a fear-based parent–child interaction and may abuse and mistreat her own children. May try to fit her children into her own past unresolved attachments.

Read – How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Relationship

Childhood attachment and adult relationships

Although attachment patterns with our parents play a vital role in determining our future relationships, it doesn’t necessarily have to define us as adults. 

You have the ability to change your mindset and behavior within your current relationship. By being aware and understanding your attachment styles as a child and how it is connected with your adult interactions, you can improve your existing adult relationships.

If you have insecure attachment styles, then you can seek professional help to bring about necessary changes in your life.

You can also choose a partner with a secure attachment style and work on improving yourself to become more securely attached and emotionally connected.

Being aware of your attachment style can help you challenge your insecurities. It can empower you to develop new patterns of attachment to build a loving and satisfying relationship as an adult.

Read Also – How To Change Your Attachment Style

What attachment style do you have? Do you have a secure attachment? Or an insecure attachment? Share your story with us in the comments section below.


The attachment theory

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