Disorganized Attachment Style – Is it Something Worth Changing?

Do you remember your childhood memories?

Love, cheers, laughter, care, and attention; mostly, these are the words we use to explain or childhood.

But, unfortunately, not everyone grows in a loving home under the supervision of caring and loving parents or caretakers.

It is incredibly difficult to come out of childhood trauma of abusive behaviors, but only love and compassion can help to heal the childhood wounds.

An adequate bonding that initially develops out of a search for care, safety, and well being is called attachment. Various attachment styles of infants construct the layout of attachment types in adults.

When a child is in danger, he naturally looks to their guardians or parents in search of a safe place. The children who are abused not feel comfortable even when they are around their caregivers.

When a child fears a parent, but seeks out this parent to quell their fears also, a distressing situation for the child appears. This is the critical point at which any issue with attachment figure transforms into avoidant or insecure disorganized attachment.

Also Read: Basic Human Emotions

What are we going to cover today?

In today’s post, we will discuss disorganized attachment style with various personality disorders in adults. Here we also try to understand the differences between organized and disorganized attachment.

We will also discuss the disorganized attachment symptom and how to deal with it in terms of the attachment theory spectrum.

Before discussing the disorganized attachment style, it is better to understand organized attachment in infants:

Organized attachment develops when parents or caregiver respond to infants needs inconsistent, sensitive, and warm ways. Holding, talking and rocking all promote devotion to the baby. This attachment gets stronger when the baby is upset, sick, or distressed.

With every new day, this attachment between child and caregiver gets stronger in daily routine. Organized attachment is all about two people connecting, sharing, and interacting in a consistent and caring way.

It is not about always being together, it is about connecting to each other from a distance too and soothe.

Ainsworth Theory of Attachment:

According to Ainsworth, different attachment styles can be characterized by a few specific behavioral changes. In the child that causes them to avoid or seek the proximity or comfort of the first attachment figure.

From all the attachment styles for infants and adults, the disorganized style of attachment is the most problematic that goes hand in hand with personality disorders.

The theory of Ainsworth reveals, ’people with organized or secure attachment style contribute their best in the world. Still, the people with insecure attachment style often face issues in their relationships throughout their lives.’’

Also Read: Self-Destructive Behavior

Let’s understand attachment:

A personal, deep, and sensitive connection of a person with other people is called attachment. Infants get attached to their parents, grandparents, and caregivers.

Adults also remain to attach with their parents. Still, as the priorities change, they also get close to their close friends and romantic partner.

Disorganized Attachment definition:

Disorganized disoriented attachment is a problematic condition in attachment behavior that develops in a person as a result of an abusive environment around and insufficient care and support in early childhood. This deficiency of proper love and care makes a person shy and alone.

So, they get away from their caregivers/parents instead of clinging to them in times of danger or insecurity.

Understanding Disorganized Attachment?

So now it is pretty much clear that Disorganized (type D) attachment is associated with an unhealthy childhood environment. Different forms of physical or emotional abuse with the child in the family are motivators of this attachment style.

The child becomes the victim of violence, physical and emotional abuse and may find trouble relating to people. The anger and frustration developed in children when they are young probably incorporate in some way into their personalities.

Their behavior and mood come under the influence of the negative emotional charge, and they cannot control their mood swings and emotional changes. This entire situation increases the risk for them being violent and aggressive.

Also Read: Self-Defeating Behavior

Is it abusive all the time?

Disoriented attachment style is often associated with abuse, but this is not the situation every time.

Loving caregiver or parents who experience some kind of trauma themselves show unexpected behavioral responses that are so confusing to a child. Their inability to control their emotions in front of their child causes a sense of insecurity.

Traumatized parents are not abusive or neglectful, but they fail to provide a sense of security to their child.

Can a child with disorganized attachment become an abuser?

Yes, it could be obvious!

Children are innocent souls who initialize the punishment, disproportion and abuse very profoundly. They consider their parents or caregivers as role models. Behaviors, especially, coming from their role models usually turn out their second nature.

These behaviors impact their childhood and critical areas of a child’s development. This entire situation can potentially impact their future emotional, cognitive, and social development.

How is a disorganized attachment in adults different than in children?

Infant attachment style always influences the adult attachment, but it can change during the lifespan. Infants and adults with disorganized attachment style have the same root cause for consistent acceptance they don’t rely on others.

As an adult, they have a chance to choose their friend or partner who fulfills their demands about attachment.

An adult with disorganized attachment is unable to self-soothe and finds trouble interacting and opening up to anyone. They struggle in social interactions and feel difficulty with emotional regulation and making friends.

Also Read: Burnout Symptoms

Symptoms of disorganized attachment style:

People with disorganized attachment show certain kind of general disorganized attachment symptoms with particular patterns in their thinking and behaving:

General symptoms of disorganized attachment style:

People with a disorganized style of attachment show following actions and reactions in general conditions:

  • They consider emotional attachment with a romantic partner is dangerous.
  • They feel frightened in distressing situations.
  • Additionally, they feel uncomfortable with their romantic partner and try to take advantage of romantic relationships.
  • They never trust anyone easily and remain fearful of being cheated.
  • They feel more relaxes with strangers than being with their closer one.

Thinking patterns in disorganized attachment style:

Kohn, Paetzold, and Rholes had devised a test to measure disorganized attachment. According to them, the way a person thinks about attachment influence the type of attachment within a relationship. In both romantic and non-romantic relationships, a person with disorganized attachment style keeps thoughts like:

  • A person may have a lack of empathy.
  • Feels the world as an unsafe place
  • Dissociate their self from reality
  • Finds no sense in their experiences
  • The person runs hot and cold emotionally.
  • Anxiety and depression are common issues for people with disorganized attachment style.

Behaving patterns in disorganized attachment style:

The behavior of a person with disorganized attachment style can be summarized in only two words:

‘’Aggressiveness and anger’’

These people show behavioral signs of their mental condition by:

  • Being unpredictable, and if someone provokes them, they hit them.
  • Behave in an odd way
  • Show poor social skills and have a hard time establishing a stable relationship.

Consequences of disorganized attachment:

Disorganized attachment style shows the following common consequences:

  1. A person with this style of attachment usually has a bad self-image. They consider their self bad, dangerous, and incompetent. In reality, they fail to understand rules and regulations and are not capable of acting according to the situation correctly.
  2. They were abused in their childhood, so they often have feelings of inferiority and shyness that leads to fearful behavior. On the other hand, they can also become hyperactive and overreact to get attention and importance of people around them desperately.
  3. They are not able to regulate their negative emotion. Depressed mood, lack of motivations, feelings of being a loser, and self-destructive behavior make them unexpectedly dangerous.

Some Other Consequences:

  1. The behavior of people with disorganized attachment style significantly oscillates between nervousness and positivity. On keen observation, you will realize that they are hyper-vigilant and have disoriented or unfinished movements without clear intentions.
  2. These people with D-type attachment style are commonly associated with more behavioral and anti-social problems. In reality, they reproduce similar relationship patterns they had experience with their caregivers and peers.
  3. They are so confused about the reality and depth of a relationships. They are not clear and remain confused even about their own emotional needs, and they don’t trust any physical contact.
  4. Children with D-type attachment style have significant lapses in their speech or reasoning when anyone talks about abuse or losing closer ones. The traumatic experiences of their life may cause disconnection in their brain.

How to treat Disorganized attachment style:

Usually, this attachment style appears as a result of trauma, and by working and understanding about the causes of trauma, it is possible to develop a sense of emotional well-being and a secure attachment style.

Treatment of D-type attachment style in early age is more helpful for an individual to develop trust in life and others. Early age treatment aids a person to make healthy relationships. But it is never too late ever. Even with increased age treatment is difficult, but it gives positive results. 

Also Read: Importance of Psychology

How to treat this untreated issue?

Disorganized attachment style is due to so many deficiencies and childhood issues that remain untreated. Attachment-based therapy is a way to deal with this kind of attachment style.

This therapy is an attachment style that anyone can create for their self at any age and the right help. So, it can be of great help.

In this therapy person with D-type attachment style forms a secure attachment style with their therapist. The therapist helps that person to learn more adaptive ways of being in a close relationship.

Moreover, they work as a stable and consistent caregiver for that person to help them to deal with their thoughts and behavior beneficially.

Initially, it is a hard practice for a person with a d-type attachment style to believe and understand this treatment. But with time, a person creates the incredible secure attachment of their life. The therapist works in the following directions to treat a disorganized type of attachment:

Identifies the source:

Generally, this style of attachment is because of disorganized attachment with primary caregiver or parents. The therapist teaches you to accept reality and understand the disorganized attachment from their childhood. To create a secure attachment in the life person need to face their old, childhood memories that will help to cope with coming challenges in life.

Resolves maltreatment issues and past trauma:

If the disorganized attachment style is a result of a trauma experienced in the past therapist tries to resolve that issue. The therapist makes a person realize that everything that happened with them was their past, and they can’t change the past. So, to accept reality and dispelling their confusions, they can make a new start in their life and make their future better.

Bring change in thoughts:

Therapist motivates a person to develop positivity in their thought patterns about their self and others too. Therapy for a disorganized attachment style mainly deals with thoughts and brings changes in thoughts. Also, it helps to develop positive thoughts about self and about others.

This therapy also helps people to express thoughts and feelings in a much better way.

Also Read: Self care ideas


Secure and healthy attachment style sets a bright foundation of life that allows us to explore the world. It helps to trust people, make relationships, and cope with some unexpected situations of life. Also, healthy attachment helps a child to handle every kind of situations as they become elder.

This organized attachment helps all of us to separate from loved ones according to the requirements of life and to develop self-control.

Disorganized attachment style snatches confidence, trust, and hope from a person’s life. Whatever the reasons behind this attachment style, but it simply smashes the identity and personality of a child and turns them into a scattered, fearful, and problematic adult.

Attachment-based therapy is a way to cope with the fears and ugliness of the past to be strong and confident for the coming future. Today’s LKKG was all about leaving the bitterness of past behind and planning for a better tomorrow.

Have you seen people around you coping with disorganized attachment style? Do share with us your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box.

Log Kya Kahein Gay: Log Kya Kahein Gay provides a platform to discuss ideas and opinions about the culture and social ethics of our society.
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