Disorganized Attachment in Marriage

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Manage episode 244915690 series 1423957
By Caleb & Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele and Verlynda Simonyi-Gindele. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
A disorganized attachment style can cause a person to feel mixed emotions towards their spouse, which can be confusing if they are not understood in light of the other attachment styles. We’ve looked at anxious attachment and avoidant attachment in the previous two posts. Today we turn to disorganized attachment, or fearful avoidant attachment, which includes elements of both of these styles.[1] People with disorganized attachment fear intimacy but may also seek it out. They are both anxious and avoidant so may have a lot of mixed emotions when approaching relationships. Inconsistency in Marriage In a marriage, an individual with a disorganized attachment may have a negative view of themselves and their spouse. They may feel unworthy of support and may anticipate that their spouse will not support them. In turn, they are likely to feel uncomfortable relying on their spouse despite having a desire to be close and intimately connected to them. Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are really are caught in a dilemma of independence vs intimacy. It can be hard for them to be vulnerable, to ask for help, or to trust their spouse. They may appear to have mood swings but this could just be a reflection of their attachment pendulum swinging between possessive demands of an anxious attachment and the dismissive independence of avoidant attachment. Challenges a Spouse May Face One of the challenging things for a spouse of someone with this attachment style is inconsistency. Their spouse may act differently depending on whether they are responding to the demands of the anxious or avoidant attachment style.[2] This may be frustrating at times, but compassion helps us to understand how to move towards a spouse who may have this attachment style. The key here is to see that those with an avoidant attachment style have very deep internal conflict because they are afraid of needing their spouse, yet also have a deep need for their spouse.[3] This may result in behaviour that appears contradictory or confused: they will seek to approach their spouse in times of distress, but that approach may be interrupted or incomplete. It may appear to be chaotic or hard to make sense of because at the same time that they are making the approach, they are experiencing a desire to distance themselves. They may be combining this with aggressiveness or withdrawing kinds of behaviours that can make it difficult for their spouse to understand their actions. Disorganized Attachment and Abuse Sometimes, you’ll see abusive behaviours in this attachment style because the cycle of abuse requires a honeymoon period with a lot of closeness at one end of the cycle, followed by harsh, abusive behaviour at the other end. It doesn’t mean that all people with disorganized attachment resort to abuse or that all abusive spouses have disorganized attachment: it’s just making the observation that this is one area of overlap between these two constellations of behaviours. Disorganized Attachment and Sexual Infidelity Another thing that is sometimes symptomatic of a disorganized attachment style is a tendency to act out sexually, and in some cases, be unfaithful to their spouse. This certainly doesn’t mean all people with disorganized attachment are unfaithful or that all spouses who have affairs are disorganized in their attachment style. However, because of the desire to be close but not be close, some people with this attachment style tend to have a larger number of sexual partners over their lifetime and they tend to be more sexually compliant. When someone solicits sex from them, they are more likely to say yes.[4] This is part of wanting a connection but also feeling afraid of that connection.[5] In a sense, the hookup culture provides connection without intimacy, so you can see how it might be easier for a person with this attachment style to engage in it. Disorganized Attachment in Marriage

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