Support for unorganized attachment styles | Private therapy practice (2023)

Support for unorganized attachment styles | Private therapy practice (1)

It is well understood in attachment theory that everyone follows a specific attachment style, depending on their upbringing and environmental influences. The biggest challenge in getting along with and supporting someone is the disorganized attachment style, also known as fearful-avoidant. The biggest challenge to work with is disorganized attachment due to the nuances and conflicts involved, often rooted in severe childhood trauma related to abuse, abandonment, and neglect.

What is disorganized attachment?

To provide a succinct explanation of disorganized attachment, those who meet this criteria often have strong desires for intimate connection. However, at the same time, they also build walls around themselves to prevent injury. Therefore, people with this attachment style will oscillate between two very different attachment styles when presented with the opportunity to make new connections. This is a strong need to connect with others, coupled with an innate need to survive, that is, not to be hurt the way they have been in the past. This creates a great source of conflict within that person, which can often see them in a state of limbo where no choice can satisfy them. This leads to a constant back and forth of pulling people towards you, only to push them away at the first sign of harm.

What is disorganized attachment like in adulthood?

For those unaware that they have a disorganized/anxious-avoidant attachment style, it can often manifest in adulthood with "poor coping skills, lack of coping skills, erratic behavior, difficulty dealing with relationship problems And in real life". life "showing problems of life." And it is this pattern that creates such a challenging dynamic in your interpersonal and romantic relationships. And this applies to all forms of interaction, from friends and associates to colleagues and even children. You will carry the same pattern of behavior in all of these relationships, which is a cyclical pattern of coming and going.

This can make forming romantic partners extremely difficult, even if someone is aware of your patterns. There is still a tremendous need for self-regulation and co-regulation within the relationship. Therefore, there is a much higher demand for partners to be fully present than in a relationship where it doesn't matter. And that's partly because the fearful avoider needs a lot of reassurance that everything will be okay when he shuts down. One of the many conflicting tics of this disorder is that the person withdraws and fears that the person will leave them after pushing them away. This leads to constant mental rehearsals about the validity of the relationship and whether it is worth it or worth it. Ultimately, this means that the path of the individual with disorganized attachment is one of rebuilding trust. And really, it's more about building a trust that wasn't there in the first place, as it often wasn't in the developmental stages of their lives.

The main signs of a disorganized attachment style

  • Chaotic and unpredictable patterns in relationships.
  • Extreme fear of rejection and inability to trust
  • An increased need for closeness associated with a tendency to push people away.
  • Potential for aggressive behavior towards caregivers.
  • Fear of caregivers and people in the context
  • Negative and low self-image and low self-esteem.
  • Deep seated shame
  • Feeling unloved, unloved and unloved
  • anxiety and depression

What causes someone to have a disorganized attachment style?

The reductionist answer to this question is that disorganized attachment is simply caused by the failure to meet the child's needs. And that's completely true, in part, but it doesn't tell the whole story. There are two very different sides of the coin when it comes to developmental trauma: neglect and overt physical and emotional abuse. Both can individually create a sense of disorganized attachment in someone. But it is also quite possible that they occur together and create a more intense form of your attachment style, which can lead to other comorbid factors such as:expected, TEPT-C eBorderline personality disorder(BDP).

And so, again, it all comes down to the main thread of trust that runs through both a neglect and an abuse scenario. Because the parent or guardian figures in question never provided that benchmark of safety, nurturing, nurturing, and unconditional love. That is, this lack of support provides the template for all future relationships. It becomes the benchmark for how fearful avoiders interact with the world. Since no secure attachment style existed in childhood, it cannot be used as an experiment in peer relationships. The social response that we all take for granted is not so automatic for the anxious avoidant. They should be created by a core group of friends and family who can support them in learning these skills.

How to support someone with disorganized attachment

The first thing you can do to support someone with a disorganized style is to remove your ego from all decisions related to your interactions with the person. Most of the time, the things that come up in this relationship dynamic areNoabout you. Even if she has been subjected to intense projection and verbal abuse. It can often be the case that you simply serve as an avatar for the person who hurt you the most in childhood. And this can be especially the case if you unknowingly activated them. When you fall into similar speech patterns or behaviors that were instilled in childhood, you automatically assume the role of that person in the mind of the fearful avoidant. And so the need to detach from what is being said on a personal level is an absolute necessity in order to 1) support the fearful avoidant 2) not add weight to the exchange by projecting onto them, leading to escalations and further dysfunction.

The next key element is trust. You need to understand that you are on a journey with a fearful avoider in order to build trust with them. Trust that probably never existed, or at least to a very small extent. Therefore, you cannot expect a fearful avoidant to open up to you and then stay open. Standardizing this type of binding style means thatWillthey open up to you because they want a connection. But they will also inevitably close. So there is an expansion and contraction in terms of your willingness to open up. It may work well for a week or two, or even a month. And then something might be said to make the walls in fearful evasion rise again. And that, many times, will really restore much of the goodwill that has been established between you. And at times like this, what the fearful avoidant needs most is a lot of reassurance about the validity of relationships and that they are worth connecting with. And with that in mind, by knowing this pattern of push and pull, you can prepare yourself for the inevitable withdrawal and be able to respond constructively instead of leaning on your ego and taking it personally. The idea is that with each expansion and contraction cycle, you build more and more confidence so that, over time, withdrawals and disassociations become less frequent.

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