This post contains some of the best attachment styles quotes.
What Are Attachment Styles?
Attachment styles are patterns of behavior and emotional responses that develop in early childhood and continue to influence our relationships throughout our lives.
Here are four main attachment styles:
1. Secure Attachment
Individuals with a secure attachment style typically have had consistent and nurturing caregiving during infancy.
They feel comfortable with both intimacy and independence, are able to trust others, and have positive expectations about relationships.
2. Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment
People with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style often experienced inconsistent or unpredictable caregiving during infancy.
They tend to seek high levels of closeness and reassurance from their partners, worry about rejection or abandonment, and may become overly dependent on others for validation and self-worth.
3. Avoidant-Dismissive Attachment
This attachment style develops when caregivers have been emotionally distant or unresponsive.
Individuals with an avoidant-dismissive attachment style often have difficulty trusting others and may avoid closeness or vulnerability.
They value independence, self-reliance, and may struggle with emotional intimacy.
4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment
Individuals with a fearful-avoidant attachment style may have experienced trauma or highly inconsistent caregiving during infancy.
They often have conflicting desires for both closeness and independence, leading to inner conflict and difficulty forming close relationships.
They may fear rejection and have low self-esteem.
It’s important to note that attachment styles are not fixed and can be influenced by subsequent experiences and therapeutic interventions.
Attachment Styles Quotes
1. “Admittedly, giving loved ones more space and learning how to soothe ourself can be particularly challenging for those of us with ambivalent attachment.” – Diane Poole Heller
2. “Although it’s not impossible for someone to change his or her attachment style—on average, one in four people do so over a four-year period—most people are unaware of the issue, so these changes happen without their ever knowing they have occurred (or why).” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
3. “Although secure attachment can sound out of reach or like a fantasy goal for many of us, it’s how we’re fundamentally designed to operate. No matter how unattainable it seems, secure attachment is always there, just waiting to be uncovered, recalled, practiced, and expressed. We might lose access to it from time to time, but we never lose our inherent capacity for secure attachment.” – Diane Poole Heller
4. “Any activity can serve to foster more secure attachment with your partner, child, family member, or friend when enacted with joint attention. You could be watching a movie on the flat-screen from your couch and still practice joint attention (for example, occasionally making eye contact with each other, laughing together, or having a conversation later about the film).” – Diane Poole Heller
5. “As we familiarize ourself more with secure attachment, our relationships become easier and more rewarding—we’re less reactive, more receptive, more available for connection, healthier, and much more likely to bring out the securely attached tendencies in others.” – Diane Poole Heller
6. “Attachment insecurity is also related to many personality disorders—borderline personality disorder being particularly associated with extreme anxious attachment, and schizoid and avoidant personality disorders with dismissing avoidant attachment. Insecurity has also been linked to externalizing disorders, such as conduct disorders in adolescents, and antisocial tendencies and addiction in adults (Krueger & Markon, 2011; Landau-North, Johnson, & Dalgleish, 2011).” – Susan M. Johnson
7. “Attachment principles teach us that most people are only as needy as their unmet needs. When their emotional needs are met, and the earlier the better, they usually turn their attention outward. This is sometimes referred to in attachment literature as the “dependency paradox”: The more effectively dependent people are on one another, the more independent and daring they become.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
8. “Attachment style is no different from any other human characteristic. Although we all have a basic need to form close bonds, the way we create them varies.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
9. “Attachment styles are stable but plastic. Knowing your specific attachment profile will help you understand yourself better and guide you in your interactions with others. Ideally this will result in more happiness in your relationships.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
10. “Attachment theory designates three main “attachment styles,” or manners in which people perceive and respond to intimacy in romantic relationships, which parallel those found in children: Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
11. “Attachment theory explains our biological need to bond with others. It helps us understand how, for example, the kinds of bonds formed during our earliest relationships set the stage for our basic sense of safety and security in later relationships. Some people are fundamentally secure in relationships, while others are insecure. Insecurity can make it more difficult for you to get close to a potential partner, or can cause you to feel ambivalent about dating in the first place. While you can’t change your basic orientation with a snap of your fingers, styles of relating are not static.” – Stan Tatkin
12. “Attunement is almost a synonym for empathy or secure attachment itself.” – Diane Poole Heller
13. “Avoidants have reacted to the neglect or rejection they originally experienced by deactivating their attachment system. They withdraw and have learned to isolate. It takes a lot of energy to keep the brakes on their need for connection. It can be especially difficult for them to maintain a more intimate relationship unless they commit to learning secure attachment skills and do the work to heal and to connect.” – Diane Poole Heller
14. “Basically, secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving; anxious people crave intimacy, are often preoccupied with their relationships, and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back; avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
15. “By uncovering the specific needs and vulnerabilities of each attachment style (your own and your partner’s), and following tips and specific interventions that are tailored to the anxious-avoidant connection, you will be able to bring the relationship to a more secure place.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
16. “Disorganized folks are often emotionally dysregulated, dealing with sudden shifts in arousal, or dissociated and checked out. Since they are prone to the most disturbance, reestablishing a fundamental sense of regulation and relative safety are the most important things for people with this attachment style.” – Diane Poole Heller
17. “Figuring out other people’s attachment styles is usually trickier than identifying your own. For one, you know yourself best—not just how you behave but also what you feel and think when you are in a relationship. Second, you can take your own quiz to help with the process. When you start dating someone new, however, you aren’t likely to whip out our quiz and start grilling your date about his or her past relationships.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
18. “For avoidant people, the attachment system is underactivated. It’s as if part of us is shut off because we didn’t enjoy enough comfortable, nourishing connection when we were younger, particularly in the first couple of years of life.” – Diane Poole Heller
19. “From the psychobiological perspective—and more specifically according to the insights of attachment theory—the bottom line is that most people need to feel closeness and ongoing connection with another human being. That is how we’re hardwired. Yes, we need people, and in particular, we tend to need one special person who can provide a sense of safety and security in the world. That in turn can reduce day-to-day stress, increase self-confidence, and make it easier to venture out and slay all the dragons in the wider environment.” – Stan Tatkin
20. “Having a partner who fulfills our intrinsic attachment needs and feels comfortable acting as a secure base and safe haven can help us remain emotionally and physically healthier and live longer.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
21. “In attachment studies, researchers bring people to the lab and ask them about their romantic relationships. The attitudes that people display toward intimacy and closeness and the degree to which they are preoccupied with their relationships determine their attachment style.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
22. “In relationships, shared vulnerability builds bonds, precisely because it brings attachment needs for a felt sense of connection and comfort to the fore and encourages reaching for others.” – Susan M. Johnson
23. “It’s important to understand that attachment-related anxiety does not have to be in response to any obviously abusive or harmful parenting; in fact, it most often is not. Many people with attachment-related anxiety come from very loving homes.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
24. “One of the hallmarks of secure attachment is consistent responsiveness. Contact maintenance means that you do your best to keep connected to the other person, whether through eye contact, touch, texts, or dates to your favorite restaurant. To practice this skill, all it takes is being a little bit more mindful when responding to messages from the other person.” – Diane Poole Heller
25. “Over the past two decades, adult attachment research has produced hundreds of scientific papers and dozens of books that carefully delineate the way in which adults behave in close romantic ties.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
26. “Particularly for children, secure attachment means that we feel taken care of and watched over by our parents, who act as our sentinels for safety. They pay attention to what we’re doing during the day, know who we’re hanging out with, and— depending on our age—make sure that a responsible adult is supervising us when they themselves are not around.” – Diane Poole Heller
27. “People with a secure attachment style know how to communicate their own expectations and respond to their partner’s needs effectively without having to resort to protest behavior.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
28. “People with preoccupied attachment needs focus intensely on keeping others close, at the expense of their own interests and sometimes even their values. This leaves them empty, without an experience of themselves that they feel good about. Instead, they look to someone else, such as a parent, friend, or spouse, for approval and guidance on what interests to pursue and how to respond to various circumstances. They are also often motivated by external, imageoriented goals (such as financial wealth) as a way to receive approval.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
29. “People with the ambivalence adaptation deal with a lot of anxiety about having their needs met or feeling secure in being loved or lovable. Their parents might have shown them love, but as children they never knew when their parents might get distracted and utterly pull the rug out from underneath them. Their care was unpredictable or notably intermittent. They can be hypervigilant about relational slights or any hint of abandonment, which amps up their attachment system into overdrive. Anticipating the impending inevitability of abandonment that they are convinced is coming, they often feel sad, disappointed, or angry before anything actually happens in their adult relationships.” – Diane Poole Heller
30. “Secure attachment doesn’t mean that we get everything a child could ever want, or that we’re spoiled, or that everything always goes right, or that we’re never upset by life, or that our parents are absolute saints. And, thankfully, it doesn’t mean that we need to be perfect as parents in order to foster secure attachment in our own children.” – Diane Poole Heller
31. “Securely attached people typically grew up with plenty of love and support from consistently responsive caregivers, and as adults they are interdependent, connecting with others in healthy, mutually beneficial ways. They are okay both in connection and on their own; they can think with flexibility, can perceive a range of possibilities, are comfortable with differences, and resolve conflicts without much drama. They can internalize the love they feel from others and forgive easily.” – Diane Poole Heller
32. “So much of what seems to be going on in our adult relationships is directly imported from our early attachment history. Understanding this will help us view ourself and others more compassionately because we realize so much of our relationship patterns may be related more to our early upbringing rather than our current partner’s shortcomings.” – Diane Poole Heller
Related: Do I Have Relationship Anxiety Quiz
33. “Some children grow up with parents who have their own strong attachment issues: they experience their parents as sometimes emotionally available, sometimes scared, and sometimes even scary. This variation is confusing and frightening, and these children are unable to find a way to consistently meet their attachment needs.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
34. “The famous seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza said: “All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.” So choose wisely when you are getting involved with someone, because the stakes are high: Your happiness depends on it! We find this to be particularly true for people with anxious attachment style.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
35. “The human attachment system is an inherent, biological, and natural process that relates to everything we do in life, especially when it comes to our relationships with others. Although secure attachment is what we’re after here, it’s important to note that whatever attachment style we live with evolved to keep us safe. Even insecure attachment patterns are designed to help us survive dangerous situations, and none of these styles are set in stone.” – Diane Poole Heller
36. “The key factors that define the quality and security of an attachment bond are the perceived accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional engagement of attachment figures.” – Susan M. Johnson
37. “Those who are securely attached are comfortable with closeness and their need for others. Their primary attachment strategy is then to acknowledge their attachment needs and congruently reach out (e.g., matching verbal and nonverbal signals into a clear whole) in a bid for an attachment figure to make or maintain contact.” – Susan M. Johnson
38. “Threats that trigger the attachment system may be from the outside or the inside, for example, troubling construals of rejection by loved ones, negative images or concrete reminders of one’s own mortality.” – Susan M. Johnson
39. “Uncovering your partner’s attachment style will allow you to better understand the particular challenges that you face as a couple—an essential step toward using attachment principles to improve your bond.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
40. “Understanding attachment styles is an easy and reliable way to understand and predict people’s behavior in any romantic situation. In fact, one of the main messages of this theory is that in romantic situations, we are programmed to act in a predetermined manner.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
41. “Understanding attachment will change the way you perceive new people you meet, but it will also give you surprising insight into your partner if you are already in a relationship.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
42. “Unresolved trauma can limit our life in ongoing, fundamental ways. Specifically, our unresolved attachment history—the source of our original relational blueprint—can sneak into our adult relationships and cause all kinds of problems. This is unavoidable as long as we are not aware of the source of these destructive patterns. We may repeat these patterns again and again, blind to our own behaviors but able to see the same behaviors unfolding in the lives of those close to us. We act out what we can’t see or understand unless the light of awareness and compassion extinguishes the dark places that keep us wounded and unavailable.” – Diane Poole Heller
43. “We can’t change our factual history, of course, but we can change the rules, roles, meanings, beliefs, and coping tactics we formed based on the original events, in order to let go of some limiting factors that restrain us from the promise of secure attachment. It’s not about denying what happened to us; it’s about opening to a more expansive capacity, now and in the future.” – Diane Poole Heller
44. “When it comes to enjoying healthy relationships and growing into your own secure attachment, it truly matters who you surround yourself with in life.” – Diane Poole Heller
45. “When our partner is unable to meet our basic attachment needs, we experience a chronic sense of disquiet and tension that leaves us more exposed to various ailments. Not only is our emotional well-being sacrificed when we are in a romantic partnership with someone who doesn’t provide a secure base, but so is our physical health.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
46. “When people hear about attachment styles, they often have no difficulty recognizing their own style. Some people tell us right away, “I’m anxious,” “I’m definitely avoidant,” or “I think I’m secure.” Others have a harder time figuring it out.” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
47. “When people with avoidant attachment styles can no longer ignore their feelings because their stress or relationship problems have become so severe and persistent, they often don’t know how to handle their emotions. This puts them at risk for using unhealthy ways to cope. Their emotions are also likely to leak out despite their apparently calm demeanor.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
48. “When relationships don’t work out, people with attachment-related anxiety can experience a need for an attachment figure that’s so intense that it practically seeps out of their pores. They may protest angrily, blame themselves, feel a greater attraction to their former partner, and even become preoccupied with that partner, despite knowing that a relationship with that person is destructive for them. In addition, they can struggle with feeling that they’ve lost a part of themselves.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
49. “When we make our original blueprint more conscious, we can actually help ourselves heal and regain healthy attachment patterns that will benefit us for the rest of our lives. Even if we didn’t grow up with secure attachment, we can learn it later.” – Diane Poole Heller
50. “Whom do you turn to when you are really upset? At those times, your attachment system is turned on; like turning on an internal homing device for which the target or “home” is an attachment figure. When an adult’s system works well, he has a secure style of attachment.” – Leslie Becker-Phelps
51. “With secure attachment, we start to want what’s good for all of us—what’s good for the planet and the entire human community, regardless of community or country or gender or what have you. We begin to tap into the interconnectedness of the whole human family.” – Diane Poole Heller
52. “Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, if we could help people have some measure of control over these life-altering shifts? What a difference it would make if they could consciously work toward becoming more secure in their attachment styles instead of letting life sway them every which way!” – Amir Levine & Rachel Heller
Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.
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