We’re wired for attachment — that’s why babies cry when separated from their mothers.Depending especially upon our mother’s behavior, as well as later experiences and other factors, we develop a style of attaching that affects our behavior in close relationships.Fortunately, most people have a secure attachment, because it favors survival.
The anxiety we feel when we don’t know the whereabouts of our child or of a missing loved one during a disaster, as in the movie “The Impossible,” isn’t codependent. Frantic calls and searching are considered “protest behavior,” like a baby fretting for its mother.
We seek or avoid intimacy along a continuum, but one of the following three styles is generally predominant whether we’re dating or in a long term marriage: Combinations, such as Secure-Anxious or Anxious-Avoidant, are three to five percent of the population. Warmth and loving come naturally, and you’re able to be intimate without worrying about the relationship or little misunderstandings.
To determine your style, take this quiz designed by researcher R. You accept your partner’s minor shortcomings and treat him or her with love and respect.
You don’t play games or manipulate but are direct and able to openly and assertively share your wins and losses, needs, and feelings.
Once committed, you create mental distance with ongoing dissatisfaction about your relationship, focusing on your partner’s minor flaws or reminiscing about your single days or another idealized relationship.
Just as the anxiously attached person is hypervigilant for signs of distance, you’re hypervigilant about your partner’s attempts to control you or limit your autonomy and freedom in any way.You engage in distancing behaviors, such as flirting, making unilateral decisions, ignoring your partner, or dismissing his or her feelings and needs.Your partner may complain that you don’t seem to need him or her or that you’re not open enough, because you keep secrets or don’t share feelings.You’re also responsive to those of your partner and try to meet your partner’s needs. To maintain a positive connection, you give up your needs to please and accommodate your partner in.Because you have good self-esteem, you don’t take things personally and aren’t reactive to criticism. Instead, you de-escalate them by problem-solving, forgiving, and apologizing. But because you don’t get your needs met, you become unhappy.You’re preoccupied with the relationship and highly attuned to your partner, worrying that he or she wants less closeness.