December 22, 2014
Modern attachment theory, founded by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, studied the relationship between children and their caregivers. Attachment theory was applied to adult romantic relationships in the late 1980’s by Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver. They found interactions between adult romantic partners and interactions between children and their caregivers shared similarities. There are four main attachment styles identified in both adults and children. The adult styles are secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. The children styles are secure, anxious-ambivalent, anxious-avoidant, and disorganized. The core principles of attachment theory apply to both types of relationships. Birth to three is the most crucial time for an individual when it comes to forming attachment styles. Bartholomew (1990) defines attachment styles as modes of social interactions reflecting how people view themselves as well as others. Bartholomew’s (1990) concept of attachment style crosses two theoretically derived dimensions: a mental mode of self and a mental model of others. The mental mode of one’s self is based on whether a person has an internalized sense of self-worth. The mental mode of others is based on whether a person sees involvement with others to be rewarding. When crossing these dimensions four unique attachment styles emerge; secure, dismissive, fearful, and preoccupied. Individuals with secure style are confident that others will like and accept them as well as being comfortable with closeness. Relatively few interpersonal problems are experienced among individuals with secure attachment style. Individuals with dismissive style are self-sufficient and confident. They often reject interaction with others and see relationships as unnecessary and unrewarding. A premium is placed on activities related to work or self-fulfillment instead of close relationships with others. Fearful individuals are the opposite, they would like to have close relationships with others but worry they will be rejected or hurt. Low self-esteem and high social anxiety are experienced when interacting with others is a result of their fear of being hurt or rejected by others. Preoccupied individuals have high needs for external validation. They want to be liked by others but often think others do not sufficiently reciprocate their feelings. The well-being of their relationships is worried about constantly (Bartholomew, 1990; Feeney, Noller, & Hanrahan, 1994; Guerrero, 1996). There are many negative traits associated with different attachment styles. Affectionless psychopathy is one of them. This type of individual feels no shame or guilt, lacks a social conscience, and is unable to care about or feel affection from others (Ansbro, 2008). Anti-social personality disorder (ASPD) traits in individuals are often seen in middle childhood and early adolescence. An individual with this disorder antagonizes, manipulates, and treats others harshly or with callous indifference. They also have a disregard for other’s rights, lack of empathy, inflated self-appraisal and superficial charm, excessively opinionated, self-assured, and cocky. In popular culture, this individual is often referred to as a psychopath or sociopath. High anxiety occurs in individuals who do not have a secure attachment style. They are in a constant state of inner turmoil and have unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events. This individual has feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness, and often tend to over react to situations. There are also feelings of apprehension or dread, feeling tense or jumpy, irritability, trouble concentrating, restlessness, anticipating the worst, watching (and waiting) for signs (and occurrences) of danger, and, feeling like your mind is blank as well as nightmares, Deja vu, obsessions about...
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