Insecure Attachment Style: Signs, Causes, And Coping To Look For!

Last Update on April 21, 2023 : Published on April 13, 2023
cope with Insecure-Attachment style

It might look simple to evaluate that insecure attachment comes from insecurity but you might not know the mental health impacts of such an attachment style. An insecure attachment style should be avoided by everyone because it also impacts reliability, consistency, and safety in adults. Talking, insecure attachment in adults, usually starts developing from childhood and it can stay throughout the life if not coped with! The most important point is patterns can be both insecure and secure!

It’s a fact that when “excessiveness” gets added to any issue, it provides more salt to the issues. Therefore, everything that looks excessive needs to be controlled especially when it comes to insecure attachment styles and relationships. In this blog, let us explore insecure attachment style, important signs of insecure attachment, causes of insecure attachment, and how to fix insecure attachment. So, let’s get started.

What is Insecure Attachment in Psychology?

Insecure attachment is a negative type of relationship pattern that causes someone to feel insecure. Because of such a self-doubting attachment style, people might face difficulties developing positive adult relationships with partners and other important relations as well.

According to psychology, an insecure attachment style often leads to anxiety about losing people they were rejected or loved by, avoiding forming close relationships with people, feeling discomfort forming closeness or intimate relationships, forming negative self-image, reduced self-esteem, suppressing emotions, and distrust.

Insecure attachment and relationships are hard to determine because such relationships have to go through a set of challenges that hinders us from finding or forming a successful relationship in our life.

Types of Insecure Attachments

According to psychology, insecure attachment style can be divided into three main categories. Each category characterizes specific behavioral patterns based on excessive secure or insecure behavior. Let’s discuss them in brief.

1. Ambivalent

Ambivalent is also referred to as ambivalent anxious or anxious-preoccupied. It is a type of insecure attachment wherein a person craves intimacy but struggles to form trust or reliability with the partner. It basically means that in this type of attachment, an individual might be open to intimacy or closeness but scared of forming trust with the person they care about.

2. Avoidant

Avoidant attachment revolves around trouble tolerating emotional closeness or intimacy with people. People struggling through avoidant type scare getting actively involved in intimate connections. Moreover, they also face difficulty in forming romantic or social relationships, are unwilling to speak or express their feelings or emotions or suppress emotions so that they don’t feel discomfort. Such people value their independence over expressing themselves and strive to remain strangers in a relationship.

3. Disorganized

Disorganized behavior revolves around conflicting behaviors. People struggling with this type want to be loved but avoid love to mentally protect themselves. They may get confused or erratic in forming successful relationships with people.

They often feel anxious or scared to form new social connections because they feel it’s not safe to form such bonds. Such people often struggle with negative self-image, reduced self-esteem, negative self-talk, extreme loneliness, self-doubt, distrust, and fear of rejection.

Important Signs of Insecure Attachment Style

People struggling with insecure attachment styles have to go through an emotional roller coaster ride because their aggressive, unpredictable, and uncontrollable behavior not only hurts others but also negatively impacts them. According to research, such difficulty forming successful relationships relates to a lack of love and affection in childhood.

Psychologically, each category of insecure attachment is specified by different behaviors and negative patterns in the relationship. Below listed are important signs of insecure attachment based on its types:

Ambivalent Attachment

Below are the common signs of ambivalent attachment style:

  • Craving close relationships but difficulty forming trust
  • Overly focusing on romantic relationships but losing focus on other important aspects of life
  • Problems honoring or recognizing healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Feeling anxious or jealous when separated or lonely from your partner
  • Using blame-game, guilt trips, or other manipulative tactics to excessively control the partner
  • Seeking constant reassurance

Avoidant Attachment

Below are the common signs of avoidant attachment style:

  • Avoiding or fearing commitment
  • Avoiding making friends or socializing with others
  • Struggling to accept criticism
  • Struggling to express feelings or emotions
  • Accusing others or their partners of being needy or clingy
  • Disliking touch, intimacy, or physical closeness
  • Preferring to be alone when they are upset or stressed
  • Avoiding investing emotionally in the relationship or wanting to remain independent in the relationship

Disorganized Attachment

Below are the common signs of a disorganized attachment style:

  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Frequent erratic behaviors or outbursts
  • Self-hatred or poor self-image
  • Feeling traumatized due to negative childhood experiences

Stages/Patterns of Insecure Attachment Style

Usually, when an individual starts developing the signs of insecure attachment, it can be seen in three main forms:


The first stage of developing an insecure attachment style is the avoidant form wherein a dismissive attitude can be seen and a person might be seen having difficulty reaching others, especially in times of mental needs. Additionally, in this phase, a person might start avoiding intimacy.


The second pattern to be observed while developing insecure attachment is the ambivalent form. Herein, people often feel preoccupied and anxious. This pattern is also observed as being needy or clingy as they require constant reassurance and validation.


In this pattern, people are often seen forming disorganized attachments due to traumas experienced during childhood. It is not a mixture of ambivalent or avoidant attachment wherein a person is unable to deal with or accept any type of coping strategies used.

Causes of Insecure Attachment Style

It’s a psychological fact that our experiences related to childhood shapes our adulthood and when it’s full of trauma, we might be at risk of developing an insecure attachment style. Let us see how differently insecure attachment can develop in different types of insecure attachment styles:


Ambivalent attachment is usually caused when a parent gives inconsistent focus on the emotional needs of children. This could mean that parents or caregivers were not available to the child when they needed them. This situation can also be related to inconsistent emotional love and they don’t understand receiving love or support occasionally and not every day.


Insecure attachment in adults can be commonly seen in an avoidant manner due to childhood experiences. When the parents or caregivers are not available to the child during childhood, it may result in feeling rejected or unloved in adulthood. Some parental actions like telling the child to strengthen up, ignoring fears or cries, putting a distance, or making a child feel ashamed can also lead to avoidance of insecure attachment issues.


Disorganized attachment takes place when a child’s emotional needs are consistently neglected. It can be a major reason behind the distress. Additionally, some parents use manipulation tactics that make the children abstain from expressing their feelings or emotions. Disorganized attachment can also be developed due to physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. The main reason behind this is that the child still feels connected and this results in a constant swing for wanting love.

Examples of Insecure Attachment

Certain situations experienced during childhood can lead to the development of insecure attachment such as:

Avoidant Attachment

A common example of avoidant attachment is a child not seeking anything emotionally from the parents as they wish to cope with their feelings on their own due to negligence.

Ambivalent Attachment

A common example of ambivalent attachment can be a romantic relationship wherein one partner is experiencing separation anxiety for seeking comfort.

Disorganized Attachment

A common example of disorganized attachment can be a child spending a lot of time hiding out in the room to avoid confrontation or a child coming out aggressively due to fear of safety.

How to Fix Insecure Attachment

Some psychologists believe that attachment issues cannot be changed especially when they are in the form of secure or insecure. When people take their attachment issues to adulthood, they might permeate all of their romantic relationships. However, some psychologists have proven that insecure attachment styles can be coped with or managed during adulthood as well.

With the help of psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful in distorting negative thoughts and behaviors. In such cases, group or couples therapy can also be effective.

Along with psychotherapy, you can also take the help of the below-mentioned self-help strategies to fix the insecure attachment style:

  • Understand your childhood experiences so that you can determine the root cause
  • Consider the impact of childhood experiences on your current relationship
  • Look out for solving issues that are driving your relationship into a problematic one
  • Work on the issues and build new healthy habits to form a successful and healthy relationship

I hope this blog helps you understand insecure attachments in adults and how to fix them. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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