What is Attachment?

Attachment is the deep; emotional bond that connects two people. This bond endures across time and space. Our initial attachment bond is our primary caregiver (usually one or both parents). In the same way as we need physical nutrients to grow and flourish, we have psychological needs that are necessary for our emotional growth and development. Safely, security, love, respect, attention, understanding and belonging are our most important attachment needs. Depending on our parents’ ability to respond to our emotional needs, as children we develop patterns of relating to others. These patterns endure, affecting further relationships.

Attachment Styles

Attachment relationships continue to be important throughout our lives. In adulthood, we form attachments to other people in characteristic ways. These Styles of attaching are:

  • Secure: You see yourself as worthy of love and expect others to be accepting of you and responsive to your needs. “I’m OK, You’re OK”
  • Preoccupied: You do not feel you are worthy of love, but you have a positive view of other people. You strive to accept yourself by gaining the acceptace of others. “I’m not OK, You’re OK”
  • Fearful: You do not feel you are worthy of love and expect that others are untrustworthy and will be rejecting of you. You avoid close involvement to protect yourself from abandonment and hurt. “I’m not OK, You’re not OK”
  • Dismissive: you see yourself as worthy of love but have a negative attitude towards others. You avoid relationships and maintain your independence to protect yourself against disappointment from others. “I’m OK, You’re not OK”


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