Insecurity In Your Relationship?  Science Can Help!

Insecurity stems from commitment, trust, and attachment issues. If you ignore insecurity in your relationship, it will eat away at the foundation of your relationship and destroy everything you’ve built over the years. Even in ideal circumstances, it is not easy to sustain a relationship, but a couple that has issues of insecurity will find it that much harder to stay together. 

Over the years, social scientists have delved deep into the dynamics of interpersonal relationships and have developed several attachment theories based on their findings. Here’s what scientists say every couple battling insecurity should know.

Why Do We Feel Insecure?

“A deficiency in trust, intimacy or commitment results in 2 principal forms of insecurity – anxiety and avoidance”

Attachment theory was first developed to study the link between infants and their caregivers, but it was later adapted to explain the bonds in adult relationships. It is theorized that in a romantic relationship, feelings of faith and dependency cause couples to view their partners as their ‘principal attachment figure’. However a deficiency in trust, intimacy or commitment results in 2 principal forms of attachment insecurity – anxiety and avoidance.

In order to deal with your insecurities, you will need to address the cause for the insecurity as well as understand your type of attachment insecurity. There are 4 types of attachments in adult romantic relationships: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. Securely attached adults enjoy a comfortable balance between intimacy and independence and have positive views of themselves and their partners. The other 3 types of attachment fall under the category of “attachment insecurity”. 

Anxious-preoccupied individuals tend to be overly dependent, but less trusting while dismissive-avoidant people suppress their feelings and desire a high level of independence. Fearful-avoidant people desire emotional closeness and yet they are uncomfortable with it and often view themselves as unworthy. Understanding the type of insecurity in your relationship will go a long way in solving your issues and forging a stronger connection with your partner.

How To Overcome Insecurity In a Relationship

“Psychologists and psychotherapists have developed aids for people with attachment problems”

Attachment theory is important as it underpins much of today’s psychotherapy. Over the decades, psychologists have refined this theory in order to develop aids for people with attachment problems. People with attachment insecurity are also more likely to experience depression, neuroses, and social anxiety.

However, you are not alone and like many before you, you will have to wrestle with avoidance and anxiety on a daily basis, but you can prevail! Here are a few methods to overcome attachment insecurity.

Keep Your Lines Of Communication Open

Open and honest communication helps to foster trust and confidence in your partner and so it is important to cultivate a habit of non-confrontational dialogue. While you can and should discuss your insecurities with your partner, you should not use this as an excuse to accuse them of behaviors that are simply a reflection of your insecurity – saying things like, “I know you were looking at that girl” will do nothing to help your relationship!

Take Stock Of Your Value

Every once in a while, we have feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness – this is just human nature. However, if you suffer from attachment insecurity, your feelings of being unworthy and not good enough will persist. Instead of just trying to suppress these thoughts, counteract them with positive ones. Make a list of your strengths and evaluate them objectively in order to realize your self-worth.

Don’t Act On Your Insecurities

Your partner may be empathetic and understanding about your insecurities, but that does not give you the license to act on your insecurities. Checking their phone to see who they’ve called or the messages they’ve received is one of the most common destructive habits of attachment-anxious individuals. Your partner may consent to this because they believe that when you do not find the evidence you are looking for you will realize that your insecurity is baseless. However, this is called enabling behavior – because instead of solving the problem, it only allows you to continue your self-destructive habits.

Our Take

In order to deal with your attachment insecurities, you first need to face them and accept them. A journal is a simple but useful tool and keeping a daily record will help you devise strategies to fight your anxiety and depression. If your partner also has insecurity issues, it would be best to seek couples’ therapy so that both of you can overcome your individual issues and grow more secure, together.

Dealing with an insecure partner can be quite challenging but there ways to ‘buffer’ insecurely attached individuals. Buffering techniques help to allay feelings of insecurity, so that the individual can behave more constructively and improve their relationship. Try different techniques to find what suits your relationship best. Most importantly, never hesitate to seek professional help as this could help save your relationship.

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August 7, 2018

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