August 25, 2021

Sometimes it’s Good to have an Insecure Attachment Style.


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I have an insecure attachment style—it’s disorganized, in fact.

I’m not the only one in this world who struggles with this.

In fact, 40 percent of people are said to have an insecure attachment style.

While not appearing to be of benefit to someone at first glance, one might ask how we have evolved to have such a large percentage of people with an insecure attachment style. 

The answer is that it once served us. 

Take a child who is being abused by a parent: do we want them to securely attach to their caregiver?

No, we do not. 

The difficulty with having such a style, though, is that we are likely to grow up ambivalent or distrusting. 

From time to time, a therapist may ask how old we are or where we are because we are responding to the present as if we are in the past. 

Earned secure attachment is something to work toward, but we should not cast judgment toward the insecurely attached. 

They are responding the best way they could as children—detached. 

We are quick to label those who struggle with emotional regulation and relationships—as if their pain isn’t real.

It’s quite odd that this happens today in clinical work.

The pain of these individuals is quite real.

The pain of not being securely attached to caregivers cannot truly be understood unless felt.

To those with a secure internal working model of attachment, maybe this population looks “disordered.”

To those who have this same attachment wound, though, their pain makes sense.

When the attachment to a primary caregiver is disrupted in some way, cracks form in the foundation that is supposed to serve as the ground we walk on for the rest of our lives.

When this foundation has cracks in it, self-soothing is difficult.

When this foundation has potholes, we’re likely to feel everything deeply because we walk around with no skin.

We burn, often, when we don’t have the necessary sunscreen to protect ourselves from the world’s fire. 

I’ve written on here before that secure attachment is a privilege. Some have written me to let me know they believe it is a human right. I believe it should be, but it is not.

Having an internal working model of secure attachment is vital for flourishing, but not all of us have it. 

Many of us, instead, have cracks in the foundations we walk on because we needed to protect ourselves for various reasons as children.

It’s okay to have an insecure attachment.

It’s okay to struggle with regulating emotions.

Anyone who feels this pain is not “bad.”

They are only showing the world what it feels like not to have one of the most vital ingredients for well-being.

Let’s help each other heal.

Let’s drop the labels and finger-pointing and try to make this world a better place.

Next time we think about labeling someone “Borderline” or any disorder—dismissively—let’s reconsider their behaviors as adaptions to abnormal early-life situations. 

Let’s see them as trauma survivors.

Let’s see them for what they are: human beings walking their own path with trauma histories—people who are trying to make it without a solid foundation in this thing called life.

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