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Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is the 'ideal' attachment style we can all strive for (which is to say it is a product of positive emotional experiences with others and we suffer less when we have this style - no style is wrong or bad, but insecure styles are a product of trauma). You can be securely attached since childhood because your caregivers raised you in a consistent nurturing, emotionally available, stable way or you can earn secure attachment intentionally as an adult through healing your inner child wounds. If you don't recognise the signs of secure attachment in yourself, there is no shame in that - many of us didn't have a healthy role model to teach us how to relate to others and so you are doing incredible work to learn how to embody these traits now as an adult! 

Signs of Secure Attachment

  • I am comfortable with closeness: depending on others and being depended upon

  • I am able to self soothe (care for myself and offer myself reassurance when I am upset) and also able to turn to others in times of need and ask for support. I might have a preference for which I would like in the moment and I have flexibility around choosing whether I turn to myself or to others to feel better. I know I can cope with closeness with others and also taking space and sitting with my own feelings. 

  • I don’t play games. I present myself honestly to people in my life from the start: "This is who I am and how I feel and what type of dynamic works for me in a relationship/ a friendship”. 

  • I am able to communicate my needs directly and be vulnerable with others

  • I hold high standards of personal integrity (I expect to be treated kindly and with respect and I have certain deal breakers in relationships etc) but I'm not unrealistic or critical about others. I am aware that the perfect partner/friend doesn't exist and I am able tolerant of their imperfections and able to regard them with endearment and acceptance.

  • I understand that oscillating between periods of closeness and space is natural in any relationship. I am able to navigate differences in our needs for closeness or space when they arise - understand our drives for closeness and space won't always match and I can be adaptable (but also I don't choose to stay in relationships where the other person isn't also willing to work with me and meet me in the middle in a way that honours both of us). 

  • I set and respect boundaries (my own and others'). “It’s okay for me to say no to you and set limits and it’s okay for you to say no to me and set limits”.

  • I am able to communicate consciously during conflict more often than not. I know all relationships include some disagreements, but how you disagree is what makes or break a relationship. I don't need to argue, to shame or blame the other person, or to raise my voice. I have calm discussions where we work out what the core unmet needs are so we can understand each other, empathise and find win win solutions. 

  • In the dating phase I quickly notice red flags that a partner isn’t emotionally available or ready for a relationship. I might feel sad or disappointed, but I don’t take it personally when another treats me poorly - I realise that they aren’t compatible and move on.

  • I trust their partner/close connections (unless there is a serious red flag). I generally have less fears and insecurities in relationships, and when they do arise I am able to share my fears without blaming or projecting onto my person. 

  • I am consistently empathetic, and I have the ability to accept influence; my partner’s/ close loved ones' feelings matter to me and I are willing to adapt my behaviour to help support them (within reason, without abandoning yourself). 

  • I don't give up on my loved ones at the first sign of a challenge - I work through rough patches, knowing that some conflict is inevitable and healthy relationships take effort and meeting each other in the middle. 

  • I am also honest with myself when a relationship isn't healthy, when I have tried to resolve the challenge or the person did something that was a deal breaker for me e.g. betraying me... I am willing to end a relationship if that's what is right for me, even if it's painful. 

  • My approach to relationships is simple and calm. I experience less relationship 'dramas' than many people I know and when I commit romantically, my relationships tend to last a long time. 

Path To Growth

If you are securely attached, one way that you can grow further is to learn about the other attachment styles and how best to support them as around half of the population are not! You are likely to end up in close relationships with others who experience attachment differently to you. 

Nobody is totally secure unless they are an enlightened being - most people under lean slightly avoidant or anxious or both in challenging times. It can help to identify if you have any patterns from other styles. How do you react when you are under stress? There might be a few tips you can take from advice that applies to another attachment style. 

©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.