Attachment styles and autism

Image added on 10th of April 2022

I am sure most of you heard about attachment styles in relationship. There are main four: secure, avoidant, anxious and disorganised. I am confused about what are autistic behaviours and what are attachment styles. I am well aware I wouldn’t call my attachment style a secure one, but then, a few years ago I was given autism diagnosis and that seemed to be an answer to everything. But I’m also aware of autistic females, who are well into adulthood, married with children and happy.

Obviously, every person is different, but then… oh well, I’m probably the disorganised one. Disorganised is a mixture of anxious and avoidant. But then, wait a minute, maybe I’m not? Is there only one style of a relationship that we all have to fall into?

What I also don’t understand is the fact that not trusting a potential partner is seen as a problem in attachment theory. But then, are we meant to trust everyone? It is actually said in a couple of places that we, autistics, are too trusting. So we have to become less trusting to find the right partner but more trusting to form a relationship. Why all of this is so difficult?

Does that mean that if my dad didn’t have mental health breakdown, I would be living with John now? Or maybe not, because I’d found somebody in my early 20s and marry them instead.

I really don’t know what to do with that piece of information now. A few months ago I posted about acting out my feelings in relationships and believing this is autistic trait. Acting out doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad in that content. It could mean initiating a hug when I need some comfort. But then, possibly, if someone makes me feel bad on a regular basis, I should be able to end it, instead of acting out my frustration.

I don’t know. I’m really confused.

Also, I have mixed feelings about psychological research. Some of them are based on online questionnaires that take 5 minutes to fill in. I am obviously aware that researchers want as many people as possible to participate so they want to make it easy but then, what is the value of that research if people don’t even think their answers through?

So what is autism and what is attachment style? And what I’m supposed to do with all that?

Yesterday I fell asleep on the sofa at 5pm and I didn’t have my usual evening chat with John. I hope he is doing OK and doesn’t feel there’s anything wrong. We had such a lovely time during the weekend and I wanted him to stay longer. But he had to leave and I was ok with that. Is that autism or attachment style? But then if it was disorganised style I’d be fearful about him leaving.

So maybe I’m avoidant? But if I was avoidant, I wouldn’t want him to stay. Therefore maybe I’m the secure one? But then, if I’m secure, why aren’t we moving in together?

It all doesn’t make any sense, does it? But this is what I think.

6 responses to “Attachment styles and autism”

  1. It sounds like secure attachment from what you’ve described, but maybe autism makes having a balance of alone time more appealing than it might be for a neurotypical.


    1. Possibly, that’s a good point.

      I hope you’re coping well in the hospital?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m managing ok, thanks.


      2. Take care. And I really hope you won’t stay there for too long!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. attachment theory really doesn’t address the disabled population very well. It is mostly based on nondisabled child-parent relationships. With regards to disability, if my memory serves (which is, admittedly, several years old. I lost interest a long time ago) all it really acknowledges is that disability makes it harder for parent and child to connect because of the differences and difficulties disability introduces into the relationship. Anything from medical issues and treatment to actual disability impairments. It’s kind of complicated, so I won’t try to go into any of the details here. There is some research on how disability affects attachment, but as with so many things, there are almost as many opinions as there are research articles. I’m sure the research has progressed in the last several years, but it would have to be looked into specifically. Typical education on attachment theory, and typical articles on it don’t address disability. Especially not neurodiversity!


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