“Attachment style is not a medical or mental health diagnosis,” says Dr. Abrams. “This is useful information about a set of patterns that someone may exhibit, and understanding this and working with it is best done by working with therapists who use attachment theory in their clinical work.”

According to psychoanalytic theory, these childhood experiences can play a role in shaping our future romantic (and Platonic) relationships. “How we attach to our current partners, based on attachment theory, mirrors the way we attach to early caregivers,” adds Lori Lawrenz, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in Hawaii. “Our current attachment styles are formed in our early years but lead to thoughts, feelings and behaviors that influence how we behave in adult relationships and connect with others.”

Simplifying it even further, attachment style basically boils down to this: If your childhood caregiver was consistently loving, supportive, and attentive, it would be easier for you to build and maintain healthy relationships as an adult. If not, you will struggle with these types of connections.That being said, Charlottesville, Virginia-based social worker Laura Young previously told lure Small fluctuations in a child’s first year of life don’t lock them into a particular attachment style or romantic future. “This study varies, but ‘good enough’ parenting is generally classified as accommodating your child — in the case of a baby, allowing them to be completely at peace — 50 to 70 percent of the time,” she said. And cited from this 2020 study.

What attachment style are you?

Dr. Abrams explained that most people fall into one of two main attachment categories: secure or insecure. Insecure attachment can be further divided into anxious, avoidant, and disorganized attachment.

But just because you identify with one of these attachment styles doesn’t mean you’ll be labeled that way forever. Attachment styles can change flexibly over time, says Dr. Abrams. These labels are more of a default for most of us, and really are tools to help us understand ourselves and our habits more intelligently, again: not hard categories. Dr. Lori breaks down three of the more popular attachment styles here:

safe

This style may be more common when children can approach their parents for comfort and can be comforted by their caregivers. “It means being able to bond with your partner and engage in relationships that involve comfort, honesty and the ability to openly share your feelings as an adult,” she said.

avoid

This style develops when the child’s parents have difficulty accepting or responding appropriately to the child’s needs. “This attachment style develops when parents minimize their children’s needs or when children are forced into the role of caring for the needs of adults,” she said. “Children may learn to shut down their own needs and become dependent on the ego, which can lead to pushing others away.” As children grow into adults, they cannot (or will not) commit in relationships and tend to distance themselves from partners to avoid The kind of intimacy that evokes unmet needs in childhood.

anxious

This style may develop when children cannot rely on their parents to meet their needs. “Children don’t feel safe with their parents because they can’t rely on them,” she said. “Children don’t explore their world; they stay close, become clingy, demand their needs be met.” When children grow up, they tend to be jealous, stubborn, and possessive.

What is a disorganized attachment style?

The broad consensus on TikTok defines a disorganized attachment style as a combination of avoidance and anxiety, but that’s only somewhat true. There isn’t much research into this category, but it’s worth noting that it can manifest as a fear of abandonment or being emotionally close to someone, Dr. Lawrenz said.