4 Attachment Styles: Breaking It Down

Have you ever thought about why you seem to be the clingy one in the relationship? Why you tend shy away from asking for support? Why you avoid intimacy/closeness? Or simply why you’re self-confident and are able to seek support from your partner? Well, the four attachment theories help explain these defining features in relationships.

Attachment theory was first discovered in the 1960’s by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Bowlby and Ainsworth first studied attachment theory on infants and young children with their caregiver. Attachment styles in infancy and teen years are different then in adult relationships. Adult attachment styles are based on the expectations of the partners’ responsiveness (Bradbury & Karney, 2013).

Above is a picture that describes the overarching idea of what the four attachment styles are. Here is a breakdown of it:

  • Avoidant in this context, is indicated as low or high avoidance, which helps to identify whether the individual is comfortable on being dependent on others and having others to depend on.
  • Anxiety in this context, is indicated as either low or high anxiety, which helps to identify whether the individual is comfortable being alone or not.


Secure Attachment

An individual who has a “secure attachment” is someone who has low anxiety and low avoidance. Securely attached individuals tend to be more satisfied with their relationship as they’re self-confident to be independent in their relationship and to be intimate with their partner. When they’re in a state of distress, they’re comfortable with seeking out support from their partner and others, which in turn allows their partner to move freely by themselves.

Secure adults are coherent and realistic in discussing any concerns and misunderstandings with their partner, and are able to offer support to their partner when they’re distressed. The outcomes of being a securely attached individual are having relatively good personal and social adjustment. An example of good social adjustment would be being able to adjust to various social events. Another outcome would be having a stable and good quality relationship with others around you, which includes family members, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Having a secure attachment is the best attachment style to have not only in adult relationships, but also the relationship between a child and their caregiver.


Anxious Attachment

Unlike securely attached individuals/couples, anxiously attached individuals are people who have high anxiety and low avoidance. Anxiously attached individuals are quite the opposite to securely attached individuals as they’re clingy to their partner, which means that they’re quite demanding when it comes to closeness, attention, and approval from their partner (Bradbury & Karney, 2013). Because of these actions, they may have low self-worth. Also, when the individual is distressed, they’re heavily reliant on others for support. As a result, these individuals develop their confidence and self-worth through their partners’ responsiveness and attention they provide.

Unlike the outcome of being securely attached, anxiously attached individuals are quite the opposite when it comes to personal and social adjustment. They relatively have poor personal and social adjustment. Therefore, when they’re faced with loss/rejection, they usually are quite quick to find out the source of loss/rejection. Another outcome is that they usually face interpersonal problems, such as intrusiveness, being demanding, dominating, and are overly disclosing with their partner and others.


Avoidant Attachment

People with avoidant attachment styles have low anxiety, but high avoidances. These individuals have very high self-worth, which often means they often express for independence. However, when they’re in need of help when distressed, they tend to avoid seeking out support from their partner and others.

People with avoidant attachment styles don’t really value the importance of close relationships, instead they value self-reliance. One of the outcomes of this attachment style is that individuals are generally good with personal and social adjustment. However, when they’re faced with problem, they tend to distance themselves from any form of intimacy with their partner.


Fearful Attachment

People with fearful attachment styles have high anxiety and high avoidance. Bradbury and Karney (2013) identifies that for individuals with this attachment style, they have high anxiety, which means they’re hypersensitive to potential hurt and rejection. Along with this, they’re highly avoidant, which means that they withdraw use withdrawal as a coping mechanism. Overall, individuals with this attachment style go through highs and lows because they fear being abandoned and alone, but also fear the close and intimate relationship with their partner.

Individuals with fearful attachment are unsure of themselves, non-defensive, and are self-protective. One of the outcomes of this attachment style is that individuals are generally have poor personal and social adjustment. Like avoidant attached individuals, they face interpersonal problems, such as shyness, they’re unassertive, and have difficulty expressing their feelings to their partner. These characteristics normally explain why individuals who have this attachment style avoid closeness from their partner.


Keep in mind that people’s attachment styles can vary between the four and may have characteristics from a few of these attachment styles. That being said, depending on the individual, one’s attachment style can change overtime.

We hope that this article gave some insight and a general understanding on what the four different attachment styles are, and how it affects relationships. Leave us a comment below what you think of this article!



Psychology Today

Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R. (2013). Intimate Relationships. New York, NY: W.W Norton

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5 Misconceptions of Abuse: Breaking Down the Myths

What do you picture when you think of an abusive relationship? Perhaps you think of bruises or screaming matches, but what about drained bank accounts or frosty silence?

Because domestic violence isn’t frequently discussed, there are many misconceptions that circulate around it. We’re hoping to spread awareness and bust some of the following myths with this article.

Misconception # 1: Leaving the relationship should be easy

  • There are many factors that may make it difficult for someone to leave an abusive relationship. These could include such things as: shared pets, children, cultural demands, financial dependency on the abuser, and the threat of worse violence should you choose to leave.
  • In addition to these ties, there is also the emotionally manipulative aspect of such relationships. Abuse usually occurs after strong feelings for a partner have developed.
    • “Think of someone you really care about and whose opinion you respect- if they started lashing out at you. . ., could you leave right away and never speak to them again? For most of us, the answer is no.” (Source)


Misconception #2: Abuse is always physical

  • Many assume physical violence must be involved in an abusive relationship, but that is not always the case. Other forms of abuse such as emotional, financial, or digital abuse are common but often overlooked.
    • Look forward to our future blog post offering an in-depth explanation of the various types of abuse.


Misconception #3: If someone needs help, they will ask for it

  • Once someone realizes their relationship might be abusive, they will need support in planning for their safety. However, many people may feel ashamed, guilty, scared or isolated, and therefore hesitant to reach out for help. Make sure your friend knows that you will provide a listening ear and resources if they need them.
    • Only 1 in 3 teens tell anybody about their abusive relationship (Source)


Misconception #4: Abusers are always putting their victim down

  • Many abusers are charming and charismatic in most settings. The abuse doesn’t usually start until their partner has developed strong feelings. You may be “swept off their feet” and find it hard to recognize the signs of abuse as they slowly build up.
  • Violent episodes may be followed by tearful apologies and loving, kind gestures. Such tactics are designed to make you question their your misgivings.


Misconception #5: You would know if your friend was abusive to their partner

  • Many abusers are friendly and warm on most occasions. If they were constantly cold and cruel, their partner would have less reason to stay!
  • Sometimes, you’re the only one who sees the manipulative side, and being believed can be devastating.
  • If someone discloses abuse to you, taking them seriously is critical. Doing otherwise can lead them to question their judgement and remain in the dangerous situation.


These are only a fraction of the common misconceptions surrounding domestic violence and abuse. We hope you learned something new! If you did, comment below to let us know what you found most surprising.


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Relationship Podcasts: 4 Podcasts You Should Listen To

Podcasts are entertaining, but could they also increase people’s access to meaningful advice? That’s a question many hosts are exploring as they delve into subjects from sexuality to mental health.

The podcast medium is increasingly popular, perhaps due to streaming services such as Apple Podcasts. There are shows covering endless topics, you can listen to them on the go, and they might even help you better your life.

We’re big fans of podcasts, and so in this article we’re recommending some shows that discuss love, life’s challenges, and finding your identity.

Ladies Who Lunch

“Ladies Who Lunch lets you sit at the table and explore topics often left out of polite conversation with YouTubers Ingrid Nilsen and Cat Valdes. Join their dialogue about sex, relationships, social phobias and more as they approach life’s dilemmas with compassion and a sense of humor.” Although the podcast ended in June 2018, there are plenty of archived episodes to explore.

Listen using: Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud

A sampling of episodes:

    1. Being Honest with Yourself
    2. The Journey of Gender Fluidity
    3. Online Dating: How Do You Do This Thing?!
    4. Dealing with Depression


I Do Podcast

Hosted by Chase and Sarah Kosterlitz, the “I Do Podcast” is on a “journey to create lasting love!” Full of interviews with relationship experts, therapists, and couples, this podcast is a comprehensive guide to improving your relationship. The episodes aren’t just for couples- topics have included self-improvement, resolving conflict, financial issues, and much more!

Listen using: Website, Apple Podcasts, and Google Play (search for Relationships, Sex, Dating and Marriage Advice – I Do Podcast)

A sampling of episodes:

  1. Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence
  2. When Two Worlds Collide – Dating and Parenting
  3. Understanding Your Relationship Boundaries
  4. What Should I Do After a Breakup?

Want to read more on Emotional Intelligence? Check out our blog post for more information on what it is and how to develop it.


Optimal Relationship Daily

A curated experience, Optimal Relationship Daily is “a podcast created for those looking to improve their life one step at a time.” Learn from the best of the Internet with less work as carefully selected, high-quality blog posts are read to you by Joc Marie.

Listen here: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify

A sampling of episodes:

  1. Why Aloneness is a Path to Recovery
  2. 5 Ways for Parents to Manage Anxiety
  3. Be Mindful: Your Children are Watching, Listening, and Learning and Healthy Parenting is not Only about How you treat your Children
  4. A Two-Step Process for Dealing with Difficult People and How to Deal with Toxic People


The Love Bomb with Nico Tortorella

Younger star Nico Tortorella’s podcast digs into gender identity, relationships, and sexuality, with conversations tending toward intimate, vulnerable reflections on love, heartache and identity. Guests have included Tortorella’s Younger co-star Hilary Duff and even his ex, YouTuber Kyle Krieger.”

Listen through: Website, Google Play Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

A sampling of episodes:

  1. A Girl I Love Named Lane
  • Nico speaks with comedian and musician Lane Moore about her past relationships, the term fluid vs bisexual, and the impact of love plays on creativity.

2. A Man I Love Named Bryan

  • Nico speaks with relationship ninja Bryan Reeves about what it really means to commit to a relationship, masculine vs feminine energy, and the “wing-it” method of raising children.

3. Two Ladies I Love named Julie and Emily

  • Nico speaks with couple Julie and Emily about the 12+ year relationship, coming out to their friends and family, and dealing with people who ask them to kiss at bars.

4. A Man I Love Named Ian

  • Nico sits down with Ian Daniel (co-host and executive producer of Viceland’s ‘Gaycation’) for an intimate discussion about global LGBTQ oppression, discovering his sexual identity at a young age, and going out dancing solo.


These are just a few recommendations of podcasts that explore meaningful subjects. The phrase used to be “There’s an app for that!,” but the same could be said of podcasts now.

We hope you enjoyed this introduction to the world of podcasts! In the comments below, let us know if you have any recommendations of shows we should check out.

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Emotional Intelligence: What Is It and How Do I Develop It?

So you’ve heard of IQ, but what about its lesser-known cousin, EQ? There’s not a MENSA or a reliable test for “emotional quotient,” but this unique intelligence can be far more important when it comes to social interaction.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI), sometimes called EQ, can be loosely defined as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.” (source)

The Emotional Quotient Inventory breaks EI down as follows:

  1. Self-Perception: Understanding and awareness of your own emotions
  2. Self-Expression: Expressing your emotions
  3. Interpersonal: Developing and maintaining relationships
  4. Decision Making: Using emotions to make better decisions
  5. Stress Management: Coping with stress and other challenges (source)

Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) from Parks and Rec is yelling, defensively, saying "I am super chill all the time!"

Leslie Knope is not nailing the “self-perception” side of things here…

What can EI help you achieve?

Emotional intelligence is critical when it comes to navigating emotions, both our own and others’. Developing your EI can help you:
  • Recognize your own emotions
    • “Why am I so disinterested in going out? I usually love socializing! Then again, I’ve been feeling so downtrodden at work lately… that must be what’s wearing me down.”
  • Identify the root cause behind your feelings
    • “Why can’t I just be happy for them? I guess I wish I had what they have.”
  • Communicate effectively when you’re feeling emotional
    • “I’m so frustrated, but giving him the cold shoulder isn’t the best way for him to understand why. I should just explain how I’m feeling.”
  • Recognize others’ feelings
    • “Why does Drew keep ignoring me in the hallway? Oh, he has that huge deadline coming up, he’s probably preoccupied with the project.”
  • Respond appropriately to others
    • “I was hurt by Nicole’s tone just then, but I know her mother is in hospital. That must be putting her on edge; I’ll respond calmly instead of snapping back.”

Developing your Emotional Intelligence

As you can see, EI can help you navigate conflict in your workplace, friendships, and relationships. But how can you develop this critical intelligence?

  • Check in with yourself at regular intervals throughout the day
    • “How am I feeling right now? Why might I be feeling that way?”
  • Start naming your emotions
    • Instead of thinking “I’m angry today”, take it a step further. “I feel overlooked, hurt, and frustrated.”
  • Question your assumptions
    • “Mark just answered me with one word. He came across as frosty. However, maybe he’s swamped with work right now and isn’t thinking about pleasantries.”
  • Consider the context
    • “Wow, Raquel’s criticism made me feel terrible about myself. But stepping on the scale this morning lowered my self esteem so much. If I wasn’t already feeling bad, I’d probably view her critique as helpful.”
  • Regulate your responses
    • “I’m so annoyed with how this was handled, and that’s understandable. However, if I want to change the protocol, I can wait a while. I’ll bring it up again when I can express myself calmly.”

Britta (Gillian Jacobs) from Community is ironically talking about being self-aware while displaying a lack of self-awareness.

This may be your current level of EI, but now you’re aware of it, you can improve!

These things are easier said than done. For example, when we’re feeling threatened, it’s hard for us to recognize that we’re being unusually defensive. However, with time and practice, you can implement some of the above tips to increase your emotional awareness.


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