What is Disorganised Attachment?
As soon as we are born, we try to form an attachment with our parents or caregivers. We depend upon someone entirely to nurture us, feed us and protect us from a new world; this connection is known as a secure attachment. However, when that trusting bond is violated or abused, we as children form attachment issues that tend to follow us for the rest of our lives. When this occurs, a disorganised attachment is created.
There are many different forms of attachment issues; however, disorganised attachment can be the most challenging and complex form of attachment to understand. The complexities arise as disorganised attachment stems from abuse, with fear the leading cause of this attachment issue developing.
The difficulties of this disorder also stem from contradicting behaviours from the parent/guardian of the child. If, on one day, the child feels love and care, but the next is subject to abuse, they grow to fear and not understand the role of their caregiver. On the other hand, a child may not be a direct victim of abuse; instead, they may witness a traumatic event that also confused their ideals of the role of their caregiver. Either way, the trusting bond between child and carer is broken, leading to a fractured relationship and disorganised attachment issues.
Identifying Disorganised Attachment in Adults
Signs of disorganised attachment can be identified as:
- Fear of emotional intimacy
- Struggling to believe themselves worthy of love and intimacy
- Self-sabotaging tendencies
- Often choosing a partner that induces fear – the self-fulfilling prophecy
- Negativity towards themself and others
- Behave unpredictably when faced with emotions
Potential triggers to invoke disorganised attachment issues:
- A partner behaving inconsistently
- A partner seeming distanced
- Someone forgetting important events
- Partner coming home late
- Arguments with a loved one
Can disorganised attachment be treated?
Living with disorganised attachment can be challenging and exhausting. As a result, you may find yourself isolated from the people around you or putting yourself through toxic relationships. Either way, it’s time to recognise if you are suffering from disorganised attachment. Or, if you believe you know someone suffering from disorganised attachment, you may find it hard to be around that person.
It is important to come to understand the deep-rooted issue causing your emotional attachment before you pass it on to your own children or eventually push everyone in your life away.
How can you manage disorganised attachment?
All is not lost; however, there are a variety of different ways you can manage disorganised attachment. The following methods have proved beneficial:
- Resist the urge to suppress emotions
- Resist using anger to mask emotions
- Express how you feel to others
- Try to trust others, start small and work your way up
- Make healthy choices
- Challenge your inner critic
- Take some time alone to cool down
- Try therapy sessions
All of the above are great first steps at learning to manage your disorganised attachment so that it does not rule your life. However, consulting a therapist will be your best bet if you are after a long-term solution. These sessions can also help provide answers as to why you may be feeling disorganised attachment. A therapist will be able to not only help you channel any anger you may be feeling but also help you understand what may have happened as a child that triggered feelings of disorganised attachment.
You may think that since these problems all stem from trusting others, it is best to avoid others and never form any trusting relationships. This outlook on life is extremely damaging and will only end up causing more problems. Soon you may find there will be no one left to turn to. Starting by forming a trusting relationship with your therapist is a significant first step towards trusting others. Over time, you will understand that most people genuinely want to support you.
If you feel you may be struggling with disorganised attachment, or perhaps you want to understand yourself better, please head over to my website at Liddy Carver. I offer Zoom and in-person appointments to best suit your needs and allow all my clients to talk from a safe space.