Do you have an insecure attachment style? What it means + How to treat (2023)

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Updated August 23, 2022

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August 23, 2022

The fear of abandonment and the struggle to seek help may seem like two separate character traits, but they actually have a common thread.

Most people who identify with these behaviors share the same insecure attachment style, called the insecure attachment style.

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What is insecure attachment?

An insecure attachment style is a way of approaching relationships with fear or insecurity.

One of manyattachment styleThis attachment style can make it difficult for people to form deep emotional and intimate bonds with their partner.Chamin Ajjan, MS, LCSW, A-CBTsays mbg.

“A person with an insecure attachment to another person tends to feel anxious about the relationship and whether the other person can meet their needs and desires.” – Holistic PsychologistNicole Lippman-Barile, δρ. sc., He says. "They may expect the person to leave them or hurt them in some way."

Insecure attachment is a general term for all insecure attachment stylessecure attachment style.

The three types of insecure attachment are anxious, avoidant, and anxious-avoidant, also known in children as ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized.


Insecure attachment means that someone suffers from fear or insecurity in relationships.

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Types of insecure attachment:

  1. Anxious attachment:It is also called the anxious-ambivalent attachment style and is characterized by itanxiety and uncertainty1in relationships. “These individuals can be busy and attached, so they need validation and reassurance,” says Ajjan.
  2. Avoiding attachment:It is also called the anxious-avoidant attachment style and is characterized by rejecting behavior. These people avoid emotional closeness and intimacy and often have difficulty asking for help.
  3. An attachment that prevents fear:It is also calleddisorganized attachment style;2characterized by unpredictable and erratic behavior. According to Ajjan, these people lack strong coping strategies and struggle with relationship problems.

What causes insecure attachment?

Attachment styles develop in childhood and are shaped in the caregiver-child relationship.

"Basically, it's about how we were emotionally nurtured—or not—when we were growing up as children," explains Lippman-Barile.

Ajjan says that people with an insecure attachment style generally lacked consistency, reliability, support, and security during childhood.

(Here's ourscomplete guide to attachment theoryand how to configure each attachment style.)


Attachment styles often develop in childhood and are shaped in the caregiver-child relationship.

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Examples of behavior:

In childhood

  • He attaches himself to the guardian
  • Active avoidance of caregivers
  • She often cries helplessly
  • Hiding or repressing emotions
  • They get nervous or panic when a parent leaves them
  • They act independently and secretly crave attention
  • Fear of research, especially in a new situation
  • Bad emotional regulation
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In adulthood

  • Low self-esteem and self-esteem
  • A race for help
  • Pushes others away
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Too dependent or attached to a partner
  • Too independent or resistant to intimacy with a partner
  • The constant search for security in a relationship
  • Jealous and threatened by the partner's independence

How insecure attachment affects adulthood

"Typically, these attachment styles (if not addressed) emerge in adulthood," says Lippman-Barile. "Being insecure in childhood is similar to insecurity in adulthood in the sense that anxiety and fear of abandonment are still present."

For example, a child who is attached to his caregiver will generally be attached to a romantic partner later in life.

Similarly, a child who learns that they cannot rely on their caregiver may end up never wanting to rely on their partner as an adult.

Regardless of the partner's behavior, a person with insecure attachment may never feel secure in a relationship, she explains.

Ajjan argues that in addition to disrupting romantic relationships, insecure attachment can also lead to poor emotional regulation, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.


Struggling with insecure attachment as an adult often stems from childhood insecurities. A person with insecure attachment often feels insecure in a relationship, which can lead to serious problems with a partner.

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How to fix an unsafe attachment

In order to recover, it is important to understand your own attachment style.

It may be usefulTake a testto determine what type of insecure attachment style you have, whether it is anxious, avoidant, or anxious-avoidant.

"Knowing why and how it may have developed is helpful for you to start working on these feelings and behaviors in your relationship," says Lippman-Barile.

Ajjan adds that therapy can help people discover these underlying factors, learn new coping skills, and become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and needs.

It's also important to invest in healthy, supportive relationships, whether with friends, loved ones, mentors or a partner.

"Working with your partner and communicating about it is also helpful so that you both are aware of these patterns and have a strategy to work on them," says Lippman-Barile.

He says that in order to build a secure relationship, both partners should do itconfidenceeach other and feel secure as independent individuals.

While people cannot change the way they were raised, it is possible to develop healthy coping strategies into adulthood.

The first step in this process can be awareness of attachment styles.


To deal with the problems of insecure attachment, you need to understand your own attachment style. It is also important to focus on communication and trust in relationships. Therapy can be a great tool to get to the root cause of problems.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most common signs of insecure attachment?

As an adult struggling with insecure attachment, they may often become withdrawn from others, suffer from low self-esteem, become overly dependent on others, and constantly look to others for comfort.

How do you love someone who struggles with insecure attachment?

If your partner struggles with insecure attachment, the best thing you can do is be patient and let him know how you feel. Try to be positive even in difficult times and give them as much emotional support as possible. Therapy can also be helpful in dealing with issues related to insecure attachment.

What causes insecure attachment?

Insecure attachment often originates in childhood and is shaped by the caregiver-child relationship. Adults experiencing insecure attachment often lacked consistency, support, and dependability during childhood.

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If you find yourself approaching relationships with fear or anxiety, you may be dealing with insecure attachment, a form of attachment that comes from an unstable childhood.

To develop safer relationships, you need to understand your own attachment style.

The tips above, as well as therapy, are great ways to discover some of these underlying issues and learn the exercisessecure attachment.


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