What kind of family do you come from? We all have our different levels of comfort when it comes to relating to others. These differing levels are derived from our different family attachment styles. Herds, solitary hunters, and packs illustrate family attachment styles. Fearful, dismissive, or secure types characterize them. Like individuals and families of origin, every relationship has a certain style of interacting.
The herd clusters when scared and anxious. When one member becomes anxious, the whole herd becomes anxious. These families are highly emotional. They are very reactionary and blindly follow even if the others are wrong. With this type of family, being alone is too scary. Individuality is discouraged as it is threatening to the family’s identity. Togetherness and traditions are very important. Individuals are threatened or bullied into compliance. Guilt can even be a weapon of choice. Within the herd, the attachment bonds are the insecure resistant type.
Individuals from the herd family tend to develop fearful relationship types. With the fearful relationship type, there is a fear of abandonment. Couples need constant contact and become nervous with distance. These relationships are often clingy and smothering. They need constant reassurances. The bonds of this relationship are enmeshment and fused. The boundaries are often diffuse and inconsistent.
The solitary hunter families are loners and withdrawn. When confronted or cornered, they become aggressive or simply walk away. Within this family, the motto is “every man for him self”. Individuality is more important than togetherness. Members tend to be logical and respond to emotions with distance. The attachment style of this family is avoidant.
Individuals from the solitary hunter families tend develop dismissive relationships. The dismissive relationships are emotionally distant. The boundaries are often rigid. There is little communication. They become anxious when others are too close and use space to create emotional distance.
Pack families are free to be individuals. The identity of this type of family is not threatened by individuality. The pack allows individuals to come and go but they are protective against outsiders. The attachments bonds of these families are generally secure. Members from the pack family tend to develop secure relationship style. They set clear, flexible boundaries and manages anxiety well. They are comfortable with themselves. They cope well with emotional distance and closeness without becoming anxious and nervous. The relationship is responsive rather than reactionary.
Families as well as individuals have a general attachment style and way of relating to each other. Each family has an attachment style that is past on to its offspring. Attachment styles continue throughout adulthood. A family’s attachment style is a powerful force that lurks in the shadows and backgrounds of every relationship. This force is responsible for shaping of subsequent relationships and marriages.