Self-esteem and Attachment Type

In simplest form, the attachment types (predominant attachment styles) can be seen as the results of thoughts about self-esteem versus thoughts about the value of sociability with others, especially with respect to intimacy.

Those who have positive thoughts about sociability and value and trust intimacy with others can either be secure (if they have positive self-esteem—that is, believe themselves to be worthy) or (if they have negative self-esteem, and so are anxious about the evaluations of others) anxious-preoccupied. 

Those who have negative thoughts of sociability (thoughts about others) are avoidant—so-named because they avoid intimacy, and can either be dismissive-avoidant (if they have positive self-esteem—that is, believe themselves worthy enough to do without the support of close relationships) or fearful-avoidant (if they have low self-esteem—that is, they believe others will reject them in a close relationship. Both avoidant types avoid intimacy because they think little of others or are afraid of it because they think they will be rejected if fully known, with the key difference between avoidant subtypes being apparent positive self-esteem among the dismissive-avoidant, who seem to have adopted the attitude that they don’t like or need intimacy, and negative self-esteem in the fearful-avoidant, who (while sometimes desiring intimacy as an ideal) are too afraid of it in reality to feel safe in a close relationship.


It might seem ideal if every person had high self-esteem, but like a person’s judgments about others, evaluations of the self are only as valuable as they are accurate. A person who wrongly expects everyone to do him wrong is blind to the real allies he has in the world, while a person who thinks he is capable of far more than he actually is, and blames everyone else for his problems, is going to make bad decisions in the real world. A realistic level of self-esteem, accompanied by the skills of empathy and honest communication, is ideal.

Next: Type: Secure

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