Attachment Styles Quiz

Know your Adult Attachment Style

When completing this questionnaire, please focus on one significant relationship – ideally a current or past partner as the focus here is on adult relationships. This does not necessarily need to be a romantic relationship but must be the individual with whom you feel the most connection. Who is your primary “go to” person if you’re sick, in trouble, want to celebrate, call with news, etc.

This questionnaire is designed to be an interactive learning tool. Please highlight, circle, or comment on any statements that are particularly relevant to you or that you’d like to revisit for exploration at a later time.

When responding, consider how strongly you identify with each statement – disagree, mostly agree, strongly agree. Using the scale below, respond in the space provided.

Answer the questions below
DisagreeSometimes AgreeMostly AgreeStrongly Agree
I sometimes feel superior in not needing others and wish others were more self-sufficient.
When my partner arrives home or approaches me, I feel inexplicably stressed - especially when s/he wants to connect.
I want to be close with my partner but feel angry at my partner at the same time.
I have a hard time remembering and discussing the feelings related to my past attachment situations. I disconnect or dissociate and get confused.
I am comfortable being affectionate with my partner.
I insist on self-reliance, have difficulty reaching out when I need help and do many of life's tasks or my hobbies, alone.
When I give more than I get I often resent this and harbor a grudge. It is difficult to receive love from my partner when they express it.
People are essentially good at heart.
I feel like my partner is always there but would often prefer to have my own space unless I invite the connection.
I act like I don't need reassurance or encouragement when sometimes I, in fact, do.
I am always yearning for something or someone that I feel I cannot have and rarely feeling satisfied.
I look at my partner with kindness and caring and look forward to our time together.
I want to be close with my partner but feel angry at my partner at the same time. Sometimes I pick fights when my partner shows up when we go on a "long awaited for" vacation.
When presented with problems, I often feel stumped and feel they are irresolvable.
It is a priority to keep agreements with my partner.
I am easily confused or disoriented, especially when stressed. It is important for my partner to keep arrangements simple and clear.
It is difficult for me to say NO or to set realistic boundaries.
I feel a deep wish to be close along with a paralyzing fear of losing love of the relationship.
I find myself minimizing the importance of close relationships in my life.
I chronically second-guess myself and sometimes wish I had said something differently.
When I reach a certain level of intimacy with my partner, I sometimes experience inexplicable fear.
Sometimes I prefer casual sex instead of a committed relationship.
I can keep secrets, protect my partner's privacy, and respect boundaries.
I have an exaggerated startle response when others approach me unexpectedly.
I often expect the worst to happen in my relationship.
I struggle to feel safe with my partner. Protection often feels out of reach.
I feel like I over-focus on others in general and tend to lose myself in relationships.
I override my instinctive self-protective responses when possible danger is present - sometimes feeling immobilized, disconnected, or "gone".
If my partner and I hit a glitch it is relatively easy for me to apologize, brainstorm a win-win solution, or repair the misattunement or disharmony.
My partner often comments or complains that I am controlling.
It is easier for me to think things through than to express myself emotionally.
I actively protect my partner from others and from harm and attempt to maintain safety in our relationship.
Stuck in approach-avoidance patterns with my partner, I want closeness but am also afraid of the one I desire to be close with.
Sometimes, I over-function, over-adapt, over-accommodate others, or over-apologize for things I did not do.
I often find eye contact uncomfortable and particularly difficult to maintain.
I prefer relationships with things or animals instead of people.
I attempt to discover and meet the needs of my partner whenever possible and I feel comfortable expressing my own needs.
When I lose a relationship at first I might experience separation elation and then become depressed.
I am more prone to feeling sorry for myself when I have a problem than to take action and solve it.
It is difficult for me to be alone. If alone, I feel abandoned, hurt, and angry.

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Your Attachment Style

  • Secure
  • Avoidant
  • Anxious/Ambivalent
  • Disorganized

About Attachment Styles

In the SATe (Adult Attachment Theory) training workshops we address four of the core Attachment Styles, their origin’s the way they reveal themselves in relationships, and methods for transforming attachment hurt into healing. I use the terms Secure, Avoidant, Ambivalent, and Disorganized Attachment. These are described below.

Secure

Secure attachment is the ideal attachment style needed to enjoy healthy boundaries, fluidity of intimacy and individuation, and social engagement. This is developed by the child having caregivers who are positively attuned to the child, provide a safe haven with consistency and “good enough” care, attention and affection. Children who experience this type of holding environment grow to feel safe to explore the world, interact with others with trust, and to have emotional resilience and regulation. As adults they will tend to have greater confidence, better balance and choices in relationships, and the ability to both give and receive love.

Avoidant

In the avoidant attachment style, caregivers’ emotionally unavailable, insensitive and even hostile responses to a child’s need for connection forms a coping strategy of disconnection in a child. Avoidantly attached people commonly find their greatest struggle to be a lack of emotion. Without intimate nurturance the limbic system is neurologically starved and does not receive the signals required for building social responses nor the frontal brain stimulation that develops bonding.

This disconnection extends first to the parents and then to all other relationships. Though some of our cultural models extol the virtues of this self-reliant lone-wolf behavior (think X man Wolverine, or the quintessential “Desperado” cowboy icon), actually living with such a lack of emotional attunement can be increasingly isolated. When working with Avoidant attachment, the intrepid task of the therapist is to nurture a transition to a fully embodied and participatory existence by creating a welcoming and contactful experience full of compassion “permission for existence.” DARe provide resources for ways Avoidants can cross the tenuous bridge to emotional connection.

Ambivalent

Ambivalently attached people have had caregivers who were on again off again, inconsistently tending and attuning to the child. Because of the lack of consistency the child doubts whether their needs will be met and is on the constant look out for cues and clues to how their behavior may or may not influence the parent’s responses. Over time they find themselves on an emotional see saw of needs being met and not being met. Their object relation is “I can want, but cannot have.”

You may observe that in ambivalent attachment styles there is a tendency to be chronically dissatisfied. First, there is a tendency to project their own familial history onto their relationship. Secondly if the other person becomes available, they become unavailable! Unaccustomed to receiving love, having it available doesn’t fit their profile of “still wanting”. Over time partners of Ambivalent people can be discouraged by their love being dismissed and the loss of the relationship can be the both the feared and created outcome.

Disorganized Attachment

A Disorganized Attachment style results when caregivers present double-binding messages to children. This is sometimes called “paradoxical injunction.” An example of this is a, “Come here, go away. Come here, go away.” message. Parents create situations for the child that are unsolvable and un-win-able. For example a parent may ask a child to do a task such as sweep the floor. When the child begins to do so the parent criticizes how it is being done, or even when it is being done. The child may attempt to do the task again taking the direction but is criticized again. The parent may then deride the child for not doing what the parent has asked them to do and punish them for not doing the job.

When exposed to these impossible-to-resolve situations over and over again the child develops a pattern of not solving problems. When parents set up these interactions that are frightening, disorienting, inherently disorganizing, and which sometimes involve violence, the parents become the source of fear. The disorganized pattern arises in the child when there is a desire to be close to the parent as an object of safety conflicting with a drive to detach from a dangerous and confusing caregiver. For the Adult this may mean being held emotionally hostage by the conflict of the desire for intimacy and was well as the fear of it.