Your results show you are Ambivalent-Avoidant.
First, let’s explain what attachment is.
Early childhood experiences leave a permanent mark in our brains; they become our stories, the basis for our identities, and later on they shape our adult relationships because of our biological wiring.
Biologically we are designed to be social creatures, and it is a fact of our biology that as babies we need to survive by attachment to our care-givers. Without this attachment, our brain tells us, we would not get food or warmth. In other words, we instinctively know we would not survive.
The process of being raised by other grown-up members of the species is supported by a bond between baby and caretaker called attachment. Attachment bonds influence us all, but how they influence us depends on the quality of care that we receive.
This is not a common idea because we basically tend to think of ourselves as independent, self-reliant individuals; this is a very strong social myth. We are raised and aspire to be independent, resourceful beings that solve all personal needs in an efficient way. If someone can’t do this, he has to be a weaker individual, a dependent or needy one… right? In this way, we reject the concept of interdependence (attachment) in a very strong way.
To conclude, what kind of attachment we get from our mothers determines what attachment style we have now. When we are grown-ups, we can achieve more if we have the right type of attachment. The more and better connected we are, the more effective we are.
Passive aggressive behavior from a spouse to his partner is not a reaction to his real, living partner of today. Rather, it is a learned model of interpersonal attachment, wired in his brain early in life. Remember that we said attachment is a pattern learned from the interaction with the mother or caretaker? In a passive aggressive person, the caretaker or mother taught him in his first year of life either that: he should not depend on her (and thus you should not depend on him), or instilled in him a fear of rejection or ambiguous security (thus, he will not open up to you or doing anything to make himself look bad).
Neuroscience tells us that these protective patterns were formed in the first years of life, birth to five years. Thus, you bring to your relationship what you learned from some of your earliest experiences in childhood.
Even though you may have read several books or taken some couples workshops or leadership trainings at work on how to communicate with others, your brain is still fixed in your early designed attachment style.
These neural patterns are held in place by intense pockets of fear imprinted in cellular memory. This is your subconscious mind producing what core beliefs you hold about your self-concept and other core beliefs, such as what it means to be a man, a woman, what conflict means, what love means, one “should” do or not do, how intimate you should get to anyone, and so on.
So what is ambivalent-avoidant attachment like?
Children with this kind of attachment are in a permanent battle between acknowledging their deep needs to belong and to trust (connecting primarily with a care-taker or mother who is alternative absent or present without empathy), and staying away for self-preservation. They can accept that there is love somewhere out there, but not for them.
- There is always a see-saw of emotions, because they can never block themselves out and “forget” deep emotional needs as the avoidant child; they are still hung up with the idea that if they behave better (be a good boy) mother then will pay attention and care.
- The way of escaping is to declare that all relationships are traps to control and attack freedom or self-independence (so stay away and shut down and don’t connect), followed by the surge of attachment needs that makes them vulnerable to people who themselves can be avoidant in search of a new prey, making a new failure.