Do you feel safe and secure in your relationships, without sacrificing your own needs? You might have a secure attachment style.
Attachment styles depict how we experience and feel about relationships.
- What is a secure attachment?
- Characteristics of a secure attachment style
- Can a secure attachment style be developed in adulthood?
What is a secure attachment?
Characteristics of a secure attachment style
People with a secure attachment have a positive, stable view of themselves and of others. They’re interdependent, meaning they depend on themselves, and find other people reliable and supportive.
Being empathetic, honest and open to different perspectives makes people with this style of attachment easy to get along with. They feel connected when apart from their loved ones or partner, which makes them a wonderful match for avoidants.
Someone with a secure attachment respects boundaries. Not only do they set and maintain their own boundaries, but they respect other people’s boundaries as well. They do not view boundaries as disrespectful or a form of rejection, but as a way to maintain one’s peace.
While they seek connection, they are also comfortable giving space. They’re warm and caring, knowing how to regular their emotions and partaking in appropriate conflict. All couples disagree, argue or fight sometimes. Someone with a secure attachment knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict and behaves accordingly.
People with a secure attachment style view their partner as their equal, not someone above or below them. In the relationship, each partner contributes to maintaining the home, even if they have their respective duties.
Children who have developed a secure attachment style will show signs of the following:
The child feels seen, heard and known.
Attuned parents are capable of understanding their child’s cues and needs accurately, helping them to soothe their child more quickly.
They feel safe.
While their caregiver protects them from danger, the child feels safe to explore within a safe distance between them and the parent — preferably at the child’s deciding (within reason).
The child feels reassured, comforted and soothed.
Attuned parents are capable of soothing their children quickly, but they also validate their child’s emotions and perceived life experience. Parents who are tuned in to what their children like and enjoy will show their support by attending recitals, games and competitions.
Love and support will be shown via gifts as well, as the attuned parent will give their child something that pertains to their interests it is from their wishlist.
The child feels loved, valued and wanted
Parents who raise confident children are less concerned with their child’s capabilities and more concerned with their child’s individuality. Instead of focusing on what the child needs to do, they relish in the joys of parenting and focus on the child’s interests.
The child feels free to explore
Attuned parents who develop secure attachment styles with their children do not fret over what mistakes their child will make because they are secure in their parenting capabilities.
While there’s no perfect parent, there are secure, anxious, avoidant and fearful parents.
The anxious parent will ban their teen from parties, even though attending parties helps them develop critical life skills. The child doesn’t receive the chance to make their own decisions and mistakes, so they’re more likely to hide even major injuries from their caregivers.
The avoidant or dismissive parent will let their child attend parties, but they also might enable their child through neglect. Whilst peer pressure does exist, dismissive parents will dismiss their children’s drinking and smoking as problematic.
Fearful-avoidant parents will do a combination of both.
However, the secure, attuned parent will allow their child to go to parties and teach them how to be responsible. Instead of banning their child from drinking, attuned parents are open and gentle about difficult topics. They know they can’t control their child’s behavior — so they teach safe sex and may even provide protection, as well as how to get home safely when drunk.
This is just one example of how a secure parent-child attachment dynamic may present.
Relationship with self
Those with a secure attachment style are comfortable with who they are. They know that someone else feeling differently about something doesn’t invalidate their own feelings. Personal boundaries help them meet their own needs while being a kind human to those around them.
Since they’re aware of their own emotions and needs, they’re capable of tuning in to their children’s needs. The secure attachment style involves emotional regulation, meaning those with this style of attachment are much less likely to explode in anger.
People with a secure attachment may have trauma. Secure attachment does not negate trauma experiences, but it does contribute to how they respond to it. Instead of repressing their trauma, they accept and face it head on.
Overall, though, they maintain a positive view of their childhood. They know they were loved and cared for, even if their parents weren’t perfect.
A secure attachment style does not negate anxiety disorders and other mental health issues, meaning that even an attuned parent could have anxiety. So if this is you, you are not alone.
Can a secure attachment style be developed in adulthood?
Yes! If you didn’t relate to any of this, you probably developed an insecure attachment style growing up.
The good news is that you can develop a secure attachment style in adulthood by healing your inner child.
Inner child work consists of therapy, trauma healing, and becoming more aware of your feelings and actions. Separating your intentions and feelings from the results of your actions will help you behaved more intentionally.
The more you begin to question why you behaved a certain way, the more you will uncover your trauma and trauma responses. Practicing mindfulness by journaling is a habit that people with the secure attachment style tend to adopt, and it’s no wonder. Journaling helps to rewire your brain, which is what trauma recovery is all about.