Everyone has an attachment style, including you. Your attachment style dictates how you feel in relationships, whether you believe you're loved, and whether you feel like you can trust other people. The type of attachment style you have is believed to be based on how you were treated by your caregivers when you were an infant, because this set the tone for how you view relationships with other people.
You can be: Secure, Pre-occupied, Avoidant, or Fearful-avoidant in your relationships. Based on the names of the different attachment styles, I'm sure you can guess which one is associated with relationship success. But if you happen to feel preoccupied (also known as anxious), avoidant (also known as dismissive) or fearful-avoidant (also known as anxious avoidant) toward relationships, watch the video here or read below to learn more about each style, and how you can change your attachment style if you want to.
“A securely attached child will store an internal working model of a responsive, loving, reliable care-giver, and of a self that is worthy of love and attention and will bring these assumptions to bear on all other relationships." -Holmes
If you consistently experienced love, support, care, and concern from your caregivers when you're young, you're likely to grow up believing that you are loved (and therefore lovable) for who you are, and that other people are generally good and trustworthy. On the other hand, if you happened to have caregivers who were neglectful at times, who maybe weren't that concerned with calming you or helping you when you were distressed, you may come to think that either people aren't trustworthy and dependable, or that there is something wrong with you, and that you may not be worthy of love from others. These are the bases for having an insecure attachment style.
If you are preoccupied in your attachments toward others, you may not have had your needs met as a child, and therefore might have low self-esteem, low perceptions of your own self-worth, and look to other people to give you reassurance that you are lovable. Preoccupied (also known as anxious) individuals are the most likely to be called "clingy" or "needy" in relationships, and are also the most likely to be ghosted by potential partners as adults.
If you are avoidant in relationships (also known as dismissive), you tend to feel that you don't really need other people. In this instance, you may have grown up having to learn self-sufficiency and feeling that you can only really count on yourself. In this instance, you have a hard time trusting others and tend to be compulsively self-reliant. These individuals tend to be the most likely to leave a relationship, and when in a relationship some research suggests they are the most likely type to cheat.
If you're fearful avoidant (also known as anxious-avoidant), you want close relationships with others, but you also don't feel that you can trust people, so you tend to avoid closeness in fear of others abandoning you. In this instance you often have a low view of your own self-worth, but also a low view of others' dependability and trustworthiness.
All of the insecure attachment styles are associated with greater stress and an increased likelihood of experiencing negative health outcomes (your attachment style impacts your psychological and your physical health - see here for an example), and insecure attachments tend to predict greater likelihood of relationship failure. So what do you do?
The first thing you can do is notice when you're attachment style is "activated" - which means that you need to notice when you are experiencing anxiousness or avoidance in your relationships. When this happens, you are less likely to respond in a calm and healthy way toward others, and this can cause problems in your relationship over time. So when you notice anxiousness or avoidance, STOP and evaluate the situation. Ask yourself if you have a good reason for feeling the way that you do, or if it is simply your relatinoship fears and insecurities causing you to view the situation in a negative way.
Evaluating your self-talk in a relationship can also help. The way we talk to ourselves is our insight into hwo we view our world and the people in it. If you are constantly thinking negative things about your partner, or fearing for the worst in your mind, this is good insight into of your mental model of relationships. Noticing negative statements you may think, but not necessarily say, can enable you to stop these thinking patterns. The more you think a certain way, the stronger that thought pattern becomes. So reframing your view of relationships is important in order to become more secure in them.