April 24, 2023

What is Disorganized Attachment Style? How Does It Affect Your Relationships?

Attachment is the bond that develops between a caregiver and a child. This bond is crucial to a child’s development, as it influences their behavior, emotions, and ability to form relationships throughout their lives. But what happens when a child’s attachment experiences are inconsistent or frightening? This is where disorganized attachment style comes into play (a).

What is disorganized attachment style?

Disorganized attachment style is a pattern of relating to others that can develop in childhood as a result of abusive or frightening experiences. People with disorganized attachment style may struggle to form healthy relationships later in life because they have not learned how to trust others or regulate their emotions in response to stress or conflict.

Difference between disorganized & avoidant attachment style.

Disorganized attachment occurs when a child has experienced inconsistent, unpredictable, or frightening responses from their caregiver. These experiences may cause the child to have conflicting feelings about seeking comfort from their caregiver, leading to disorganized behavior. Children with disorganized attachment may exhibit both avoidant and anxious behaviors, such as freezing, appearing dazed or confused, or exhibiting contradictory behaviors like approaching the caregiver but then backing away.


On the other hand, avoidant attachment occurs when a child has experienced a consistently unresponsive or emotionally unavailable caregiver. In this case, the child learns that their caregiver is not a reliable source of comfort or support and may develop a strategy of self-reliance and emotional detachment. Children with avoidant attachment tend to avoid seeking comfort from their caregiver and may appear indifferent to their caregiver’s presence or absence.

Emotions across attachment styles

Do I have disorganized attachment style?

Here are a few questions to help you figure out if you have a disorganized attachment style. Keep in mind that these questionnaires are rather a general checklist helping you identify disorganized attachment style. You may need to see a therapist to verify your type of attachment style (b). 


  • Fear is a common feeling in close relationships.
  • I believe that romantic partners often try to take advantage of each other.
  • I find romantic partners to be rather scary.
  • It is dangerous to trust romantic partners.
  • It is normal to have traumatic experiences with the people you feel close to.
  • Strangers are not as scary as romantic partners.
  • I could never view romantic partners as totally trustworthy.
  • Compared to most people, I feel generally confused about romantic relationships.

Answering yes to a several of these questions may indicate that you are suffering from disorganized attachment style. However, professional testing and assessment is needed to confirm your precise attachment style.

How does disorganized attachment impacts adult relationships?

The impacts of disorganized attachment on romantic relationships can be significant. People with this attachment style may struggle with trust and intimacy, leading to a pattern of inconsistent and unstable relationships. They may fear getting too close to their partner, while also feeling a strong desire for emotional closeness. This can lead to behaviors such as push-pull dynamics, where they alternate between being clingy and distant. The result can be a confusing and painful experience for both partners.


In addition, individuals with disorganized attachment style may have difficulty communicating and resolving conflicts, leading to misunderstandings and hurt feelings in relationships. They may have difficulty expressing their needs and emotions, leading to a breakdown in communication and a lack of emotional connection with their partner. This can make it challenging to build and maintain healthy relationships over time (c).

How this attachment style affects other areas of our lives.

The impact of disorganized attachment style goes beyond just romantic relationships. People with this attachment style may struggle with a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can lead to impulsivity, self-destructive behavior, and a sense of feeling overwhelmed (d).


One of the biggest challenges for people with disorganized attachment style is maintaining relationships. They may struggle with feelings of isolation and loneliness and find it difficult to connect with others on a deep and meaningful level. They may also have difficulty trusting others, which can make it challenging to form new relationships or maintain existing ones.

What to do if you are suffering from disorganized attachment.

The good news is that with therapy and support, individuals with disorganized attachment style can learn to develop more secure attachment styles and improve their mental health and relationships. Therapy can help individuals explore and understand their attachment patterns and develop new coping strategies to manage their emotions and form healthier relationships.


If you are struggling with disorganized attachment style, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore your attachment patterns, and help you develop new strategies to manage your emotions and form healthier relationships.



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