Supporting a partner with Disorganised Attachment Style

Children are wired for survival. To survive, they will adapt to their environment to get their needs for food, love, and security met. In children who show disorganised attachment, the primary caregiver has been erratic, unpredictable and sometimes abusive and neglectful.

As adults, these people want intimacy, but when they get close, it terrifies them and reminds them of their past trauma, which makes them back off and often dissociate. They have not learnt to self-soothe, so they will struggle to regulate their emotions. They can be aggressive when they are stressed or threatened.

Know that a relationship with someone who has a secure style for these people can seem boring because they are used to intimacy feeling unsafe. They will be hypervigilant in a relationship, looking for dangerous triggers, so be as consistent and safe as possible without losing your natural spontaneity. 

If they act out, make sure you have loving, healthy boundaries with them. Include them in creating these boundaries at a time they are not triggered and emotional. 

People who have a disorganised attachment style will often re-parent in the same manner, never having learnt another way. They usually have unresolved childhood trauma. The most healing thing for them is to do some work with a trained therapist to work towards ‘earned secure attachment’. You can be a big part of their healing journey if you work together and you are willing.

They CAN move into secure attachment with professional help and support from a loved one they can trust.

I hope this is helpful.

Love, Jen