Attachment: what it is
Attachment belongs to the motivational systems of the human being and it is always active in our lifetime.
It defines how we relate to the people we get in a deep relation with, involving intimate beliefs about our loveliness and other people’s affective availability, and consequently the expectations we have about these relations.
In early years, the first person who allows us to experience attachment for the first time is usually our mother. This relationship will have an intense influence on developing the first beliefs and general rules about interpersonal relations.
Types of attachment
In early years, as in adult life, we can discriminate between secure and not-secure attachments.
Different types of attachment are not be considered as separate categories but as elements of the same continuum, with different shades and characteristics.
Adults with a secure-style tend to develop long-lasting and healthy relationships based on mutual trust; the partner represents a secure base to leave in order to explore the environment and to rely on with hope and trust.
People with an ambivalent-style have usually experienced in infancy an unpredictable mother, who intermittently responded and not responded to the kid emotional needs. Those kids developed a feeling of not constant loveliness. When adults, they will probably experience the same unpredictability in relationships, where sometimes they will feel an intense love from the partner and other times and intense rejection.
On the other hand, adults with an avoidant-style were once kids with distant and dismissing mothers; they learned to inhibit their emotional needs in order to prevent rejection. They will become adults who will not experience an intense emotional involvement in relationships and who will stay at a safety distance from intimacy.
Attachment in lifetime
Attachment styles tend to consolidate during the first years of life.
But recent theories suggest that each life stage can represent for attachment an opportunity to change; furthermore, particular life events or psychotherapy processes can allow a change from a un-secure attachment towards a more secure one.
Photo credits @Rachel Kramer