by Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
Secure attachment is an adult attachment style that shows up in romantic and other close relationships. Secure attachment is usually developed in childhood. Securely attached children find that their parents are there when they need them but also allow for independence and space. You do not need a perfect childhood to develop a secure attachment style, but you need to be responded to and cared for in mostly consistent and predictable ways.
When you are securely attached you will find that you can maintain close and loving relationships, you’re able to expect openness and honesty while also offering it, you grant autonomy to your partner without feeling overly anxious, and you respect boundaries. Securely attached individuals also trust in their partner during tough times and, in turn, offer their partner consistent support, as well.
What else do you think happens in relationships where secure attachment is present?
What does that mean for those who don’t develop secure attachment style in childhood?
Well, luckily it’s not fixed. If you understand where you struggle most you can work with a therapist to learn how to manage anxiety, set boundaries, and pick good partners that will build your sense of trust and safety. As it is with many challenges in life, you had no control over how this happened to you but you do have control over changing it now. Working to change your narrative from a story of relationships being unsafe or unreliable to believing that there is a potential for safe and loving relationships in the first step.
Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT is a licensed marriage therapist in Philadelphia. Elizabeth supports individuals and couples improve the relationship they have with themselves and others through better communication, self soothing, and a clear understanding of what a successful marriage looks like. She believes that any committed couples who is willing to do the work can walk away from therapy with more clarity and connection in their relationship.