People who have a secure attachment style are able to build and maintain supportive relationships – they feel connected to others, trust them and are comfortable being independent and allowing others to be independent within their relationship. A securely attached individual can reach out for support when they need it and can offer it in return. People in securely attached relationships can show affection and share their thoughts and feelings with the other person, even when this might be difficult, they can offer support and give the other space when needed.
Attachment styles may be transmitted between generations with children more likely to have the same attachment style as their primary caregivers. This is particularly true of mothers. Although it’s possible that the child’s temperament (the ‘hardwired’ biological base from which personality develops – like sensitivity to novelty) affects the way their caregivers responds to them so could help determine their attachment style.
Securely attached children will get upset when their caregivers leave them but greet them with positive emotions when they return. When frightened they will go to their caregiver for comfort and prefer them to strangers when they need support. They tend to be more empathetic, less disruptive and less aggressive and be more confident in their friendships. Although securely attached children can become insecurely attached later in life, the expectations developed early on tend to have an enduring impact on relationships.
Secure adults tend to hold a positive self-image and a positive image of others. They value their relationships and see them as positive despite any negative events, reporting more relationship satisfaction. Securely attached adults tend to believe although romantic feelings may wax and wane, some romantic love is enduring and their relationships tend to last longer. There is also a strong association between your own attachment style and that of your partner’s suggesting attachment style may impact choice of partner with secure adults tending to partner with other secure adults.
It’s important to remember though that people don’t always display the same attachment style in all their relationships and that attachment style can change over time, often but not always because of experiencing a major negative life event (life events are experiences that have lasting negative consequences for the person experiencing it).