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Insecure Attachment: The Different Types and How They Affect You

insecure attachment

People come to relationships with different attachment styles. A mixture of your past and childhood, some, like insecure attachment, are not healthy.

Human beings are wired to need other human beings. We all have the drive to want to attach to those around us. That does not always mean that we do so appropriately. The way we attach to other people becomes a mixture of our childhood experiences and past hurts or successes. Sometimes those things form a secure attachment style. Other times, they form an insecure attachment style.

An insecure attachment style is not only hard for the person who has it, but for anyone who tries to get close. They crave nothing more than being loved. But they self-sabotage and work as hard against themselves as possible. That ends in a self-fulfilling prophecy continuing throughout their adult relationships.

Often hard finding peace, those with an insecure attachment style, avoid the very thing they want most of all, connection. Unlike the secure attachment, there are three different types of insecure attachment styles. They all lead down the same path to relationship destruction if not recognized and sorted through. [Read: The 15 phases of a healthy relationship]

The three types of insecure attachment

The secure attachment style is someone who tends to find more satisfaction in the relationships in their life. Starting in childhood, children who develop a secure attachment style learn they can venture out into the world. They always have the security and unconditional love of their parents to return to if they need reassurance.

Securely attached people care greatly when their partner feels distress, and they seek to provide help and support to share the burdens in a relationship. They are independent and have their own sense of identity, but they also have a loving attachment with the partner in their life. [Read: 15 ways to tell if your love is real or unhealthy]

#1 The Anxious Preoccupied Attachment Style. One type of insecure attachment is the anxious preoccupied attachment style. It is when people want to form something called a “fantasy bond” or an unrealistic bond, that gives them a false sense that they are unconditionally safe. Not trusting their partner, they often experience emotional hunger that drives them to always need more from their partner than anyone can supply.

They are the damsels in distress always looking to be saved or to find that one person to “complete” them. They tend to cling too hard, which has the reverse effect on those they are in relationships with. Their neediness usually pushes the very people they try to hold fast to, away.

Their anxious behaviors of push and pull tend to lead to a cycle that only further perpetuates their feelings of instability in a relationship regardless of the reality of that relationship. They become way too demanding and clingy and are often only possessive.

The anxious preoccupied attachment style is constantly looking for confirmation that their suspicions that someone doesn’t love them and will leave, are real. Looking for clues where there often aren’t any, they see their relationship from a different perspective and tend to create a whole lot of conflict continually with others. [Read: Critical signs of an unhealthy relationship you MUST get out of]

#2 The Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Style. Although we all have a need to be attached to other people, the dismissive avoidant attachment style acts as though they need no one. Instead, they put emotional distance between themselves and their partner intentionally.

They are only “pseudo-independent.” They often take on the controlling role of a parent in the relationship. Highly focused on themselves, their own basic needs come first at all costs, and they tend not form caring bonds with others.

The pseudo-independence, however, is only an illusion constructed because every human has a basic need to be attached to one another. But, the dismissive avoidant attachment style tends to lean more inward. Denying their need to be loved or to love any else.

They use defense mechanisms to protect themselves from the psychological feeling of being connected to another, often shutting down and shutting their partner out. Instead of reaching out when their partner is in need. They turn their emotions completely off and not react at all and say things like “I don’t care” if someone tells them they are hurt or need them. [Read: 12 ways to bring you back to life]

#3 The Fearful Avoidant Attachment Style. This individual lives in a constant flux state. Both afraid to be too distant and too close to someone at the same time. They work tirelessly to keep their emotions in check but are unable to.

When they can no longer shut their emotions off, they explode emotionally. They have unpredictable moods and send mixed signals. They believe that you should reach out to others to have your needs met. When they get too close to someone, they are fearful of being hurt. Then they push the other person away. [Read: The hardships of being afraid of love]

The fearful avoidant attachment style has no “plan of action” for getting their emotional needs met. In fact, they are in a constant state of anxiety, pulling and pushing other people away.

People with a fearful avoidant attachment style tend to have tumultuous relationships that are overly dramatic and with extreme highs and lows. So afraid of being abandoned, their struggle is automatic and subconscious. When they feel potential rejection, they cling to their partner harder. Then they feel smothered and push the other person away.

The way that you form an attachment to other people has a significant impact not just on how your relationship starts, develops, but, in some instances, why it ends. If you can’t seem to be in a stable relationship, examine what type of attachment style you have. See if there is a glitch in the way you seek to get your emotional needs met.

The good news is that your attachment style will change if you put the effort towards figuring out what you want. Learn how to effectively get your needs met instead of being on attachment autopilot.

[Read: 10 signs you need help for your love addiction]

Form a secure attachment if you can recognize where you are now and where you want to be in a stable and healthy relationship. Finally, let go of insecure attachment for good.

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Julie Keating
Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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