Going From An Avoidant Attachment Style To Secure Is Hard, But Possible

Have you ever wondered why you encounter the same challenges in relationships over and over again? If you're unfamiliar with attachment theory, the idea is that you fall into a certain category based on how you feel about, experience, and act in your relationships — and that your attachment style is a result of how your parents or guardians treated you when you were a child. Traditionally, the three main types of attachment are avoidant, anxious, and secure. Spoiler alert: One makes life a whole lot easier than the other two.

Avoidant folks generally stay away from intimacy and prioritize independence, while anxiously attached people are constantly worried that the other person in the relationship is not as invested as they are. People who are securely attached are able to find the ideal balance. They're comfortable and happy with very close relationships, but they're also fully-fledged individuals with their own hopes and dreams. If you suspect that your behaviors are indicative of avoidant attachment, here are the signs of this style and the ways you can work to become securely attached. 

The signs that you have avoidant attachment style

It's not always easy to determine if you have an avoidant attachment style because it may just feel like you're super independent. Per Medical News Today, avoidant people tend to have an especially strong sense of independence, and they may think highly of themselves while looking down on others. You might find yourself extremely annoyed when a partner, friend, or family member needs you a lot or acts in a way that you perceive to be clingy.

Despite this tough exterior, the root of this attachment style is actually fear of rejection. In order to minimize your chance of getting hurt and experiencing loss, you never allow yourself to get too close to people. If this sounds like your experience as an adult, it's likely that your parents or guardians didn't provide you with consistent, high-quality care on an emotional level. So, as a child, you might've learned to just deal with this — but in turn, you felt a lot of anxiety. 

How to go from avoidant to secure

If you do identify with an avoidant attachment style, there's no need to panic. Fortunately, it is possible to become securely attached. Recognizing your avoidant tendencies and wanting to change them is already half the battle, so if you've gotten this far, you're on the right track! Next, it's probably a good idea to talk it out and develop some strategies with a therapist of your choice. 

There are a few different exercises you can do to make your own thinking more positive. Start by trying to focus on everything wonderful about your partner or friend instead of everything that bothers you about them. You can make a list of their best qualities, or simply think about a trait you love each time you find yourself thinking about a trait that bothers you. Another way to achieve secure attachment is simple: Open up more. Instead of bottling up all your intense feelings, express them in a clear and respectful way, and notice how it feels to do that. Our health and happiness depend on the quality of our relationships, so the work to achieve a secure attachment style is more than worth it.