According to the data produced by Dr. Olufowote’s research study, she identified three interrelated categories to become a more secure person: meta-conditions of positive attachment change, making intrapsychic changes, and making interpersonal changes.
1. Meta-Conditions of Positive Attachment Style Change
Being intentional about attachment-focused change. A shift from “stubbornness to resolve” needs to happen. While stubbornness keeps individuals stuck in an insecure attachment orientation, determining to make change helps break free of it.
Overcoming setbacks and barriers to growth. Change is not a linear process; an individual’s resolve helps them stay the course.
Having surrogate attachment figures. Individuals learned new ways of relating to others via surrogate attachment figures who have served as parental figures. This includes college mentors, friends, church communities, spouses, and therapists.
Early “parent” figures. Some individuals began working toward earned security as youngsters, looking to safe adults, for example, extended family members, that looked out for them.
Spiritual and Faith communities. For some individuals, people in their faith communities were models of secure attachment.
Spouses, mentors, and friends. Individuals found that their relationships with others helped them increase security. These surrogate attachment figures served as models of what attachment security looks and feels like.
Using therapy, education, and self-help. Individuals engaged in therapy, ranging from trauma healing to attachment-focused therapy, and relationship education were supported in increasing security.
2. Making “Intrapsychic” Changes
Redefining identity and realizing one’s own worth. Reframing individuals negative self-views into strengths was key. Learning to embrace your own value, which leads to treating others better creating improved relationships.
Relinquishing the victim mentality. Many individuals have experienced trauma, abuse, and parental illness in childhood and see themselves as victims. Learning to take accountability is an important step in doing away with this stagnant mindset and turning it into a growth mindset.
3. Making Interpersonal Changes
Making peace with the past. Stopping to seek parents’ approval and revising an understanding of the family was integral to making peace with the past.
Revisiting caregivers through a new window. Gaining a new perspective allows individuals to break away from the past and redefine their identities as they moved forward into the future.
Taking small risks with trust. Individuals leaned on extended family members, therapists, and romantic partners for support while they made intentional steps to experience the world from a more secure stance.
Advanced steps to earning security. As individuals feel more positively about themselves, behavior in relationships is different. Instead of constantly needing something from others, individuals gave more and strove to be a good friend. Connections with people that shared the same interests and values were made. They were now prepared to be a surrogate attachment figure for others on their own earned secure attachment journey.
Best wishes on knowing and understanding yourself with a growth mindset.