Sometimes I think I really have it together. I can deal with impermanence, the uncertainty of the future. I’m more capable than my fear wants me to think I am, I remind myself.
Secure attachment, here we come!
And then other times? It’s like the ground is falling out from underneath me, and the best I can do is hop from place to place. I’m like Mario landing on platforms that drop if he stands too long.
Hop hop hop. Oh geez, will I make?
Whatever you do, don’t fall in the pit.
Seriously, be careful. Watch the landing.
Don’t fall in the…
Perhaps the biggest lesson of all in child development is that the first year of so of our life is a radically important time for us emotionally. While we continue to learn about trust and social relationships over the course of our life (and experience another notable period of turbulence at puberty), the bulk of how we learn to be in relationships takes root when we’re infants. The way we come to feel supported or unsupported by our caregivers profoundly shapes the way we feel in all kinds of relationships, whether they’re friendships, romantic, or something in between. This baseline unconscious expectation we develop is called our attachment type.
In their book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment, Amir Levine and Rachel Heller identify 3 basic attachment styles in adults:
Securely attached people find it fairly easy to connect with others and achieve fulfilling relationships. People with this attachment type typically don’t worry about being alone and are at peace with both intimacy and independence.
People with anxious attachment crave closeness to others but often worry that others find them clingy and can feel quite insecure, fearful that their partners don’t reciprocate the strong feelings that they have. Anxious types can become extremely dependent on their partners, viewing themselves as incomplete without that bond.
Avoidant people value independence and autonomy above closeness, and though many want to be close to people, they have a way of keeping people at arm’s length. They don’t open up easily (or at all) to their partners and can come off as quite emotionally distant. They can easily feel smothered by too much intimacy.
Levine and Heller have a quick quiz on their site here where you can answer questions to determine both your attachment type as well as a partner’s, by asking you questions about their behavior.
I will say that “platformer” isn’t one of the types they test for, sadly.