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Which Attachment Style Are You? Disorganized/Fearful-Avoidant

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In part 4 of our series on attachment styles, we’ll take a look at the Disorganized/Fearful-Avoidant attachment style. Folks with this attachment style tend to waver between the traits of both anxious and avoidant attachment depending on their mood and circumstances. An adult with this attachment style tends to show confusing and ambiguous behaviors in their approach to relationships. For adults with disorganized attachment, the state of the relationship can be confusing because the partner and the relationship themselves are often the source of both desire and fear. In other words, they want intimacy and closeness, while at the same time, experience trouble trusting and depending on others. People with the disorganized attachment style often struggle with identifying and regulating their emotions and tend to avoid strong emotional attachment due to their intense fear of being hurt.

How do people with the disorganized attachment style foster a more secure attachment? First, it is important for people to learn how to self-regulate their emotions via different tools, and in turn, grow in their ability to be sensitive to their own and others’ emotions. Gaining the skill of self-regulation helps people with a disorganized attachment style feel comfortable and secure in their romantic relationships as well as when they’re by themselves. Some ways to develop self-regulation skills are writing/keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings, trying mindfulness meditation, physical exercise, practicing being aware of thoughts when emotions arise, and lastly trying therapy. Secondly, it is important to identify the triggers of unhealthy emotional responses, which may include: behaving inconsistently, seeming distant or distracted, acting unpredictably, and requiring dependence in the relationship. Recognizing the triggers and practicing open and honest communication with their partners, where needs are expressed clearly and effectively are important.