Taken from The Relational Soul – In the ‘70s John Bowlby pioneered the study of early attachment. Since then there has been a great deal of research that identified four basic patterns of attaching—avoidant, ambivalent, scattered, and stable. All of us “learn” one of these basic patterns early in life and it becomes the way by which we tend to relationally engage throughout our lives. How one learns to relate in childhood will influence how one relates as an adult unless or until the adult makes an intentional, hard-fought shift.

Before looking at each of the four patterns [in future posts] we need to highlight one crucial reality. The primary factor that determines the pattern in which a child will land is trust. Trust is born and nurtured in the infant through the consistent and reliable care of the primary caregivers. Trust is the critical, non-negotiable element required for learning to attach well. Mistrust interrupts the growth of the healthy giving and receiving necessary for appropriate relational connection. Simply put, without the ability to trust oneself and others well intimacy is blocked.

Taken from The Relational Soul by Richard Plass and James Cofield. Copyright (c) 2014 by Richard Plass and James Cofield. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com