Attachment disorders into adulthood

I was interested in how these attachment disorders follow and play out in adult relationships. I found this article written by two college students and published in the Review of General Psychology,, which explains a little more about what is known and what is still debatable. The biggest problem is that adults seem to have spectrum’s of each attachment, a little of one and a little of other, some mixtures, but still there is one underlying attachment that is strongest. I personally think that some of this is due to our increased reasoning ability. The child doesn’t have this option.

The adults are classified a bit differently in this article. People who hold positive views of self and others are secure, and they are comfortable with intimacy. People who hold negative views of themselves and others are called fearful-avoidant and they crave intimacy and fear it at the same time. People who hold others as positive and themselves as negative are preoccupied and they desire a high level of intimacy and fear abandonment at the same time. And finally, people who think highly of themselves and hold others as negative are in the dismissive-avoidant category, and they are uncomfortable with intimacy and are too self reliant.
The part of this article that interested me most was how these different attachment styles found their secure base.  With children we know that the secure base is mom, but in adults it is your partner, and you only seek this secure base when you feel threatened, thus relying on the partner for their feeling of security.  Since securely attached people rarely feel threatened they rely on the partner seldom, and usually the threat is outside of themselves.  But the preoccuupied people may see many situations as threatening, and so they treat many peoople, even strangers, as attachment figures. Dismissing-avoidant people do not use other people, even when they should. However, they also rarely feel threatened, so they do not engage in attachment behaviors often at all.

We can see how these attachment styles can follow us and continue to shape our relations for years after we’ve grown up and moved away from mom.  This article pointed to many ways these styles can influence that we may not even be aware of.

Jennifer Poulos


~ by sun71 on October 3, 2009.

One Response to “Attachment disorders into adulthood”

  1. This does make a lot of sense because, I think, it is really hard to catagorize adults in specific categorize. And I can see why that would be, because adults can look at themselves and understand they are unreasonable about certain things and change positively, if they want to, because of it.
    Rebekah Pinegar

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