Mt Lawley Counselling Centre, Perth - Western Australia

Perth Counselling · Individual Psychotherapy · Couples Therapy · Sex Therapy


Home Page
Contact Us

Perth Counsellors
arrow Elyse Frankel
arrow Hank Glorie
arrow Samantha McLaughlin
arrow Julia Pemberton
arrow Daniel Mills
arrow Fiona Owen
arrow Matt Tilley
arrow Adele Wilde
arrow Rebecca Lyon
arrow Sherry-Lee Smith
arrow Sandra Manessis
arrow Katrina Alilovic
arrow Kate O'Donovan
arrow Jeannie Minchin
arrow Dylan Lewis

Counselling Articles
arrow Adolescent Depression
arrow Adolescent Self-harm
arrow Adolescents & Young Adults
arrow Adults Who Grew Up Unhappy
arrow Affairs
arrow After an Affair
arrow Anger Management
arrow Anxiety
arrow Anxiety, Trauma & Relationships
arrow Becoming a Parent
arrow Being Easily Overwhelmed
arrow Betrayal in Intimate Relationships
arrow Binge Eating
arrow Binge Drinking
arrow Body Image and Body Dysmorphic Disorder
arrow Childhood Attachments
arrow Child & Adolescent Anxiety
arrow Child & Adolescent Grief
arrow Childhood Sexual Abuse
arrow Children & Separation/Divorce
arrow Commitment Phobia
arrow Chronic Pain
arrow Confidence, Motivation and Self Esteem
arrow Coping with Fertility Problems
arrow Coping with Trauma
arrow Couples Counselling for a Healthier Relationship
arrow Couples: Distance and Distress
arrow Depression
arrow Eating Disorders
arrow Family Estrangement
arrow Fear of Rejection
arrow Homesickness in Adults
arrow How Therapy can help Trauma
arrow Insecure in Love
arrow Insomnia
arrow Internet Pornography
arrow Identifying Problems in Marital Relationships
arrow Jealousy
arrow Life After Divorce
arrow Menopause & Relationships
arrow Mental Health
arrow Mindfulness and Letting Go
arrow Motherless Daughters
arrow Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
arrow Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
arrow Postnatal Depression
arrow Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
arrow Recovery after Psychosis
arrow Recovery from Depression
arrow Redundancy: The Emotional Impact
arrow Relationship Counselling: What's Involved?
arrow Separation
arrow Self Esteem & the Inner Critic
arrow Sex, Intimacy & Love
arrow Sexual Assault
arrow Sexuality and Sexual Concerns
arrow Shame
arrow The Fly In Fly Out Lifestyle
arrow Trauma
arrow Working with Anger in Therapy
arrow Workplace Stress & Anxiety
arrow Young Adulthood - Issues and Challenges

Insecure in Love

Sandra Manessis

Psychologist, Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth, WA

Many of us believe that happiness in love is unattainable. We may think that we are not interesting or attractive enough, too needy, or may be unsure of the reason our relationships never work out well. We may fear that our partners will leave once they know who we “really are”.

WHERE DOES THIS BEGIN?

The behaviour of babies and young children is designed to keep an attachment figure close to them in order for them to survive. Ideally, the attachment figure will be warm and emotionally available to allow the child to thrive. Attachment bonds developed in this way are felt as love, both in childhood and adulthood. Children, and adults, can experience intense anxiety and sadness when the existence of their primary relationship feels threatened.

When we are really upset, we tend to seek the comfort and love of our attachment figure. Once this figure is found to be readily available and responsive, we feel calm and comforted. This is what is required to develop a secure style of attachment. Those with an insecure style of attachment struggle to fully, or consistently find comfort in their partners, or in others.

ATTACHMENT STYLES:

Attachment styles are fundamentally based on two underlying working models – a model of self (how worthy you feel of being loved), and a working model of others (an expectation of whether or not others will be emotionally available to you). For some of us, there is an almost constant and unquenchable need for reassurance from, and contact with an attachment figure. Symptoms can include continually seeking reassurance from an attachment figure, feeling alone, rejected or in fear of rejection, and fearing being unable to handle rejection.

There are some who feel that others won’t be there for them, often feel uncomfortable with intimacy and want to avoid it. There are those who are so certain of the emotional unavailability of their attachment figure that they determine to be fully self-reliant and avoid feeling the need to rely on others. They neither recognize nor acknowledge their need for comfort or closeness. These insecure styles of attachment tend to cause pain, confusion and greater anxiety.

TYPES OF ATTACHMENT STYLE:

(i) Secure attachment (happy in love)

Securely attached individuals are comfortable with a range of emotions. They tend to connect with partners who are emotionally there for them and who they regard as well intentioned. A high priority is placed on emotional intimacy and fidelity. Sex can be discussed comfortably and the pleasures that it has to offer are enjoyed.

(ii) Preoccupied attachment (desperate for love)

People with a preoccupied style tend to overreact to problems and underestimate their ability to cope. Those who do this habitually can feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and needy. Their sensitivity to any possible sign of rejection unintentionally instigates fights and creates distance in their intimate relationships. They are apt to see their partners as unloving (or not consistently available), untrustworthy and possibly unfaithful. This leads them to being possessive and unrealistically jealous. Sex is similarly approached as a way to gain reassurance and avoid rejection. There is often discomfort in talking with their partners about their sex lives.

(iii) Dismissing attachment (no need for love)

Those with this attachment style are proud of their independence and supposed self-sufficiency. Requests for intimacy by their partners are regarded as demands. It is very characteristic of people with a dismissing attachment style to actively minimize and avoid their feelings. This places them at risk of depression and anxiety. They are also prone to believe that their partners will not be reliably there to support or comfort them. They protect themselves by denying their attachment needs. In this way, they avoid being in the position of feeling a need to rely on an undependable partner. They remain distant, limit their interactions and intimate conversations and often denigrate their partners. Even though they engage in relationships in a self-protective way, people with a dismissing style still need comfort and connection.

(iv) Fearful attachment (conflicted in love)

A conflict between an intense fear of rejection and a desperate need for reassurance and closeness is typical of people with a fearful attachment style. They either avoid relationships or behave in contradictory or confusing ways in relationship. Prone to seeing partners as emotionally distant, they can at times try desperately to get their partner’s approval and attention by using strategies such as exaggerating their distress. This is done often without awareness. When they perceive their partners are getting too close however, they feel vulnerable and instinctively use strategies to avoid intimacy. There is a constant tension between being too close or too distant, and fearfully attached people are often left feeling chronically distressed and insecure. As a result, they are also at high risk of anxiety, depression and other emotional struggles.

It is important to note that various characteristics from a number of these categories may fit any one person,and that attachment styles can change with different experiences. Intimate relationships serve as an opportunity to revise attachment styles. Research has shown that a supportive partner can help an anxiously attached person feel less anxious and depressed, and experience greater satisfaction in their relationship. It should not be assumed that a secure attachment is necessary in order to be in a happy relationship. Certainly though, it is better to be at the more secure end of the continuum.

WAYS TO DEVELOP HAPPY RELATIONSHIPS:

There are two intertwined pathways to developing happy relationships. Firstly, it is important to establish a relationship with at least one emotionally available figure, such as a family member, friend or better still, a therapist who can be more objective and unconditionally supportive. It is known that therapy can help people develop more secure styles of relating to others. Having good rapport with a therapist is essential to being able to develop a sense of the therapist as a safe haven and secure base. The more you experience being accepted and protected, the more you will believe that you are worthy of love and that capable others can be available to truly love and comfort you. Also, you become more capable of being able to find and maintain a good relationship yourself.

The second way is to learn how to become more aware of your experiences (feelings and beliefs), and to respond to these experiences in a compassionate and accepting way. These two processes make it possible to be open to reassurance and support from others, to feel their support even when you are alone, and so eventually become an available attachment figure to yourself. The path to healthier relationships then, includes a more positive relationship with both yourself, and others.

If you are interested to find out about this subject, please contact Sandra Manessis either by emailing sandra.manessis@gmail.com or contacting her on 0407859413.

Mt Lawley Counselling Centre
13 Alvan Street
Mt Lawley WA 6050

Click here to go to Sandra Manessis's page

Click here to go back to the main page



Elyse|Hank|Samantha|Julia|Daniel|Fiona|Matt
Adele|Rebecca|Sherry|Sandra|Katrina|Kate|Jeannie|Dylan
© Mt Lawley Counselling Centre - Perth, Western Australia
Counselling · Individual Psychotherapy · Couples Therapy · Sex Therapy
Web Design Perth