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Identify Your Attachment Style and Find Someone Who Fits Yours

Identify Your Attachment Style and Find Someone Who Fits Yours

Ever heard of attachment theory? It’s the theory that explains what kind of attachment we form in our adult relationships, particularly with our romantic partners.

Some relationships have compatible attachment styles. Others are not so lucky. When you end up dating somebody with a different attachment style, it can lead to all kinds of conflict in the relationship. One of these conflicts could be about time. For example, attachment theory explains that some people expect to spend all of their free time with their partners. Other people, however, neither want nor need to spend so much time with their partners. This difference can cause a struggle between two people as they try to agree on how much time to invest in the relationship.

Changing your attachment style is a long and difficult process.

You can definitely try to change your particular attachment style, but that’s a really long and difficult process. According to attachment theory, we develop our attachment style when we are small children. It’s usually based on the relationship we had with our parents.

Instead, we’re going to talk about the different types of attachment styles and which combinations are better for relationships. If you can identify your exact attachment style, you can find a partner who fits your needs. This, of course, is the ideal situation. If you’re already in a relationship, however, and your attachment combination isn’t so good, don’t worry! There’s still hope for you and your significant other.

Four attachment styles.

Attachment theory identifies 4 types of attachment styles:

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Secure – You tend to feel secure and close to your partner, while still respecting each person’s independence.

Insecure Anxious – You tend to feel unhappy in your relationships and sometimes act possessive of your partner. You worry a lot that you will lose your significant other, who you depend on for your happiness.

Insecure Avoidant – You tend to put distance between yourself and your partner, doing everything possible to avoid an emotional connection. Your partner may feel that you are not concerned with the relationship.

Insecure Disorganized – You have difficulty trusting other people and experience a variety of fears, including: getting too close to your partner or being too distant. Your emotions tend to change quickly, which keeps you in a constant state of confusion.

Each attachment combination has a different outlook for the relationship.

Positive Outlook

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    If either person has a secure attachment style, then the relationship has a positive outlook. Attachment theory tells us that the person with a secure attachment style is able to validate their partner’s concerns. They can even help their less secure partner overcome their insecurities.

    Challenging Outlook

      The anxious + anxious combination is challenging. People with this attachment style are able to read small changes in emotion and behavior. This perceptive ability combined with their anxious insecurity results in jumping to conclusions.[1] In short, two insecure anxious people have the potential to experience a relationship full of drama, jealousy, and arguments. The same happens for the insecure disorganized + insecure disorganized combination.

      When an avoidant one pairs up with another avoidant one, there’ll be little communication, which may seem to be fine at the beginning as both aren’t demanding. But as time goes by the connection will become weaker and it’s hard to sustain the relationship.

      Toxic Combination

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        If the two attachment styles are anxious and avoidant, things are going to be difficult. You should probably mentally prepare yourself for the kind of issues that this combination might bring to your life. If you’re thinking about getting into this romance, think again.

        Interestingly, these two types of attachment are often drawn together. That’s because they almost complement each other. An anxious person has fear of losing their partner and so they wait for the avoidant person to decide to commit to the relationship. This combination validates the avoidant person’s behavior.[2]

        As insecure disorganized style is a combination of the anxious type and the avoidant type, when the anxious side comes up, it’ll be a disaster with the avoidant type. When the avoidant side comes up, conflicts will arise with the anxious type. That’s why both insecure disorganized + insecure avoidant and insecure disorganized+ insecure anxious are not likely to work.

        Be honest with yourself to identify your attachment style.

        In order to find someone who fits your attachment style, you must first identify it. Think about the way you react to the things your partner does.

        If they tell you they’ll call at 6:00 pm and they don’t call until 6:30 pm, do you spend that half hour worrying what could have possibly gone wrong? Do you start feeling vulnerable or thinking you’ve probably been abandoned? Be honest with yourself, you’ve probably been known to pout or start arguments with your partner. Sound familiar? You’re probably an insecure anxious type.

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        Think about how you feel after you spend a lot of time with your significant other. Do you need some time to yourself? Or maybe you feel like being in a long term relationship means you’ll lose your identity or independence. If this sounds like you, you could be have an insecure avoidant attachment type.

        Observe your partner’s behavior to find out their attachment style.

        It may seem more difficult to identify your significant other’s attachment style, but it’s not impossible. You might not know exactly how they feel internally, but you can observe their behaviors. Think about how they react to your concerns. If you’ve had a bad day and you come home talking about it, what do they say? Do you feel ignored, like they just aren’t interested? They might have an insecure avoidant attachment style.

        What happens when you’re running late to a date? If they start sending texts after only 3 minutes to ask if you’re still coming, they might be an anxious type.

        No relationship is perfect and certainly no relationship is bound to fail just because of attachment styles. By understanding your person attachment style and that of your partner’s, though, you can make real progress toward ensuring your future happiness together.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Amber Pariona

        EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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        Last Updated on August 16, 2018

        Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

        Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

        He asks you for your opinion, but only follows his own advice regardless of what you say.She loves to talk about herself, everything about her is just better than you.  When you try to share anything happy about yourself, she seriously doubts it.

        If you know someone who acts like these examples, there’s a chance they might be a narcissist.

        What is a narcissistic personality?

        Narcissism is a spectrum personality disorder which most of us have.

        In popular culture, narcissism is interpreted as a person who’s in love with themselves, more accurately, their idealized selves. Narcissists believe that they are too unique to be understood and that they are so good that they demand for admiration from others.

        Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that,[1]

        the narcissist is someone who has buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.

        The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissistic personality as a personality disorder. It is a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from some narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder.[2]

        Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not very common, but the truth is, we all have some of the narcissistic traits.

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        Traits of a narcissist:

        • They have a deep need for admiration and validation. They think they’re special and too unique to be understood.
        • They feel they are superior to other. They achieve more and know a lot more than you.
        • They do not show their vulnerabilities. They fear what others think of them and they want to remain superior in all situations.
        • They are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. They want to be the centre of attention and believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.
        • They are skilled manipulators and are emotionally abusive. They know how to make use of their charm to take advantage of others to get what they want.

        How are narcissists different from others?

        Narcissism expert and the author of Narcissism in a Nutshell, Zari Ballard, tried to answer some common questions asked by non-narcissists about what a narcissist thinks and feels from a narcissist’s perspective.[3]

        Do narcissists know they are narcissists and are they happy?

        We could really care less about how others feel. We enjoy our so called cold existence. True narcissists don’t want to change. We feel in total control of our lives using this method.

        Do narcissists know or understand right from wrong?

        Narcissists know the difference between right and wrong because they understand cause and effect. There is no “guilty conscience” giving them a clue and they are displaying the symptom of being “indifferent to social norms” while most likely presenting as ‘cold-hearted.’

        Narcissists have a very different thinking mechanism. They see things from a different perspective. Unlike non-narcissists and empaths, they don’t have much sympathy and are reluctant to show emotions to others.

        Why do people become narcissists?

        1. Narcissism is vulnerability taken to an extreme.

        The root of a narcissistic personality is a strong resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone.[4]

        Narcissists refuse to put themselves in a position where they feel vulnerable. They fear that others will take advantage of their weaknesses, so they learn to camouflage their weaknesses by acting strong and powerful. The think showing emotions to others is a sign of weakness, so they learn to hide their emotions and act cold-hearted most of the times.

        Narcissists live in a state of anxiety because they are highly aware of their emotions and how others think of them.

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        Vulnerability aversion, is the root of a narcissistic personality.

        2. A narcissistic personality could be a result of a wounded past.

        Narcissists are desperate to seek validation constantly because they either didn’t feel worthwhile and valued in the past, or were being paid too much attention as the most precious and unique one in the world.

        Faulty or inadequate parenting, for example a lack of limit setting, is believed to be a major cause, and both permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting have been found to promote narcissistic symptoms.[5]

        Both parents who fail to see the worth in a child, and parents who spoil and give excessive praise to the child promote narcissism as the child grows. While the former ones make the child feel inferior of others and want to get more attention, the latter ones encourage an idealized-self in the child.

        How to deal with a narcissist?

        1. If someone close to you is a narcissist, embrace the differences.

        There’re different personality types and not everyone will think and act the same as you do. Instead of trying to change others, learn to accept the differences and strike a balance when you really have to communicate with them.

        2. Don’t try to change them, focus on your own needs.

        Try to understand that narcissists are resistant to change, it’s more important for you to see who they really are, instead of who you want them to be. Focus on how you feel, and what you want yourself to be.

        Embrace the fact that there’re different types of personality and the only thing you can control is your attitude and your own actions.

        3. Recognize what they do only comes from their insecurity.

        Narcissists are quite vulnerable deep inside, they question others because that’s how they can make themselves feel better.

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        When you learn that what a narcissist does to you is nothing personal, but something that comes from their insecurity, you know that sometimes they just need a certain amount of reassurance.

        This is especially important if the narcissist is someone you have to closely work with, or if they’re your family member. The right amount of reassurance can calm them down and get the tasks on hand completed.

        4. Ask them what would others think instead of what’d others feel.[6]

        Narcissists don’t feel guilty, but they care about how others think of them deep in their heart.

        Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein explains:

        There are just things, like other people’s feelings, that narcissists rarely consider. If you have their ear, don’t tell them how people might react; instead, ask probing questions. Narcissists are much more likely to act on ideas that they think they thought up themselves.

        If you have to work with a narcissist closely, focus on the facts and ideas, not the emotions.

        5. Let go of the need of getting a narcissist’s approval.

        You’re not who a narcissist says you are. Don’t let their blame game undermine your self-esteem, and don’t argue with them just to defend what you believe is right.

        There is no point arguing with a narcissist just to prove them wrong because they will not give in proving themselves right. It’s more likely that you’ll get more upset when they disagree with you in an unpleasant way.

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        Know your own worth and detach from a narcissist’s opinion on you.

        6. If a narcissist is hurting you, stay away from them.

        Remember, a healthy relationship is two-sided. It’s about mutual respect and it’s based on give and take. But any kind of relationship with a narcissist is likely to be the contrary, it’s about making the narcissist happy and constantly supporting them. A relationship like this will only weigh you down and is unhealthy for your growth.

        7. Set a boundary and always keep it.

        If you’re setting a boundary, you have to be willing to keep it. When a narcissist sees that you’re trying to take back control of your life, they will try to test your limits, it’s just their instinct to do it.

        Be prepared that your boundary will be challenged. Make your boundary clear, have all the actions needed to be taken in your mind.

        For example, if you have decided to stop communicating with them, they will likely to show up in front of you just to talk to you. Be brave enough to keep your boundary, don’t back down and get close to them again; or else they will not take your boundary seriously any more.

        8. Learn when to walk away.

        When a narcissist starts to make you feel uncomfortable and doubt about yourself, it’s time to pick yourself up and give yourself enough respect to just walk away from them.

        If you’re in love with a narcissist, you should seriously think about ending the relationship and move on for a better life. If the narcissist is your family member, you don’t have to be cruel to them, but it’s better to keep distance from them.

        Reference

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