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Painted Brain | How Emotional Insecurities Affect Adult Relationships?
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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How Emotional Insecurities Affect Adult Relationships?

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A lot of people suffer from insecurity or anxiety that stems from how individuals see themselves. Some people tend to resolve these insecurity issues by avoiding relationships or anxiously clinging to people to get a sense of self-worth and confidence. 

Others even go as far as altering and modifying their appearances through cosmetic procedures to boost their self-esteem and confidence.

A deeper understanding of how these insecurities affect people and their connections with others may help manage and change these negative behaviors.

What Is Emotional Insecurity?

Insecurity can produce anxiety from uncertainty and thinking that you are not good enough. It is a measure of the stability of a person’s emotional state triggered by factors like self-image and ego.

Emotional insecurity is one of the biggest hindrances to building a solid relationship. Insecurity plagues our minds and traps us in an endless cycle of self-criticism and doubt.

An individual with emotional insecurity is incapable of coping and working with their own and other people’s emotions. It limits the way one communicates with other people, restricting the flourishing of healthy personal relationships. 

The emotional connection you formed as an infant with your mother or primary caregiver often influences how you relate to other people and respond to intimacy throughout your life.

Factors that may affect your self-security include:

  • Your caregiver’s lack of necessary parenting skills.
  • Your caregiver’s experience with depression, isolation, or other mental and emotional problems.
  • Your caregiver’s inconsistent care and support. 
  • Your primary caregiver’s abuse of alcohol or drugs.
  • Your traumatic experiences in early childhood, like physical or sexual abuse. 
  • Your early separation from your primary caregiver.

Types of Attachments and their Effects on Relationships

How you behave in a relationship, especially when it is threatened, is called attachment types. There are four types of attachment: secure, ambivalent, avoiding, and disorganized.

People who have a secure attachment type may be open to seeking support and sharing how they feel. Those involved in insecure attachment types may behave selfishly and in manipulative ways.

If you are aware of your attachment style, you can make sense of your own behavior and adjust it for your relationships. This awareness affects your response to intimacy and the perception of your partner or the people you connect with. 

Your primary caregiver connection usually shapes your attachment type. However,  this is not the only element to consider regarding your attachment strength and stability. 

Attachment types can also be developed through the nonverbal emotional communication between you and your caregiver. 

Let us delve deeper into the different attachment types and how it affects your current relationships.

  • Secure Attachment 

People with this type of attachment are empathetic and know how to set healthy boundaries with other people. 

If you are secure about yourself, you feel stable and satisfied with your relationships. You don’t fear being alone, and you thrive in meaningful relationships.

Having this attachment type gives you an advantage in building and maintaining connections. But feeling secure in your attachments doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. You simply know how to take responsibility for your limitations and failures. 

With this type of attachment, you have the willingness to seek support and help when it is necessary.

Since you are secure and confident with your self-worth, you can build an intimate relationship with openness, support, and comfort for other people.

When there are problems and misunderstandings in the relationship, you are comfortable asking for help and openly seeking what you need without being overly anxious.

You are happy and smiling when you help other people grow in the relationship, and you can maintain a balanced and healthy way to manage conflict. 

You do not dwell on disappointments and setbacks. Instead, you are resilient enough to recover from these misfortunes.

  • Avoidant Attachment

This attachment type is also known as the dismissive insecure attachment. This type of insecurity results in wariness towards closeness or intimacy. 

These people avoid emotional connection with others. Avoidant people tend to isolate themselves, fearful of others relying on them or their reliance on others.

If you are a person with an avoidant attachment style, you value your independence and may tend to choose to be unattached and alone. You are content in taking care of yourself.

You avoid emotional investments, making it hard for you to build stable relationships and connect with others. Because you don’t like showing your own emotions, you are often accused of being rigid, distant, and cold. 

Clingy people tend to irritate you, and you’re inclined to disregard other people’s feelings. You may prefer casual, short relationships to long-term ones. 

You may gravitate towards people with the same independence as you and value their freedom more than their emotions.

  • Ambivalent Attachment 

People with the ambivalent attachment style are the complete opposite of people with avoidant attachments. 

Ambivalent or anxious attachment is characterized by anxiety, lack of self-esteem, and need for emotional intimacy. 

However, this attachment style often comes with the fear that others don’t like to be with you. So, at the same time, you’re ashamed of your constant need for attention, love, and clinginess.

Your craving for intimacy and connection may hinder your relationships because you tend to fixate yourself on it. You need constant reassurance and attention from the people around you. 

Since you think that distance is a threat, you may also have trouble setting boundaries with other people. Space is a trigger for you and may provoke panic, fear, and anger. 

Sometimes people may view you as controlling and manipulative because you want to keep your relationships close. 

  • Disorganized Attachment 

This type of attachment may be a result of neglect or childhood trauma. People with disorganized or fearful-avoidant attachments may feel that they don’t deserve intimacy or love in their relationships.

If you are an individual with disorganized attachment, you feel that your relationships and the world are unsafe and frightening. 

When you are in a relationship, intimacy may make you feel confused and unsettled. You may exhibit abusive behaviors towards the people around you due to the trauma you may have experienced as a child.

You tend to be selfish, controlling, and insensitive towards other people’s feelings. Antisocial and negative behavior patterns, like refusal to take responsibility for your actions, may damage your relationships.

The feeling of unworthiness and insecurity may prevent you from having a meaningful relationship.

Reference

Help Guide, (n.d.), How Attachment Styles Affect Adult Relationships, retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/attachment-and-adult-relationships.htm#:~:text=Infants%20with%20insecure%20attachment%20often,build%20or%20maintain%20stable%20relationships

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