The last and most complex type of attachment style is disorganized. In “The Power of Attachment”, by Diane Poole Heller, PhD, she explains that this attachment style is entangled with our heightened instinct to survive due to excessive fear in original attachment relationships. Additionally, this style doesn’t present a reliable behavior pattern and displays in a much irregular way making it harder to understand. This disorganized pattern develops as a response to having a parent or guardian that was frightening most of the time. In extreme cases, this pattern may contribute to addiction, psychiatric conditions, personality disorders or criminal behaviors.

Disorganized attachment styles can manifest in adulthood as threat orientation, which means that when we experience too much fear growing up, everything can go off-kilter. Additionally those with this attachment style display self absorption and controlling behaviors due to their extreme level of inner strife and chaos. The hallmark of this attachment style is the freeze response. This response occurs when simultaneously the sympathetic nervous system wants to act strongly and defensively and the parasympathetic nervous system is trying to put the brakes on. 


 Exercises that help you regain a sense of safety and protection are essential for modifying the disorganized attachment style. By learning to relax and teaching your attachment system to connect with safe people can protect you from feeling threatened and endangered.  One exercise that can be helpful to counter the freeze response by breathing deeply and physically moving the body. If this attachment style aligns with you, try incorporating 10 deep breaths and physical movement into your daily life to combat the disorganized pattern.


Contact Safe and Sound Therapeutics for information on how to manage a disorganized attachment style.

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