Let’s talk a little about how people with different attachment styles may get stuck in a loop. Just a recap, attachment styles are often developed while we’re young. Our caregivers either met our needs (secure attachment) or didn’t (anxious, avoidant attachments).
An anxious partner may have a complaint about something going on in the relationship and instead of being vulnerable, they may pick a fight. This may be caused by them feeling unsure of the relationship.
An avoidant partner may take the complaint as a direct attack and may feel like they’re a failure. Oftentimes avoidant partners feel like flaws are a sign of failure, rather than just part of being human. They may withdraw or even get up and leave the room. This can trigger the anxious partner to engage in protest behavior. Protest behavior can look like acting hostile, threatening to leave, or manipulation. The avoidant partner may feel pressured and withdraw more…
Before you know it, the couple is stuck in a loop.
On the flip side, here are some ways a secure partner may present in a relationship. Instead of taking criticism as an attack or feeling unsure of the relationship, they assume their partner has good intentions. They aren’t afraid of vulnerability and can communicate effectively. Secure partners often team together to tackle the problem instead of attacking the other person.
If you’d like to see which attachment style you are, there’s a useful questionnaire on Dr. Chris Fraley’s website: http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl
Don’t stress if you fall into one of the insecure attachment categories! It’s never too late to change your attachment style and move toward secure attachment. A book that I found helpful when learning about attachment styles was “Attachment” by Amir Levin, M.D. and Rachel Heller, M.A. There’s some great resources, charts, and lists if you’re interested in diving a little deeper!