Kyle Benson June 10, 2020February 9, 2021 attachments Theory, Clingy Lover, Trust, Commitment, & connection Security


All superheroes have weaknesses that deserve to cripple them. Prefer Superman’s kryptonite, my clingy insecurity in mine relationship five years ago brought me to mine knees.

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When ns met Crystal, I fell head over heels instantly. She provided me just enough to show she to be interested. Yet not enough to display that she was as invested as I was in our relationship.

The mixed signals drive me crazy.

Weeks turned into months.

I uncovered myself addicted to thoughts of her and also ways to store her interested in me. In ~ work, i struggled to focus. I would certainly freak out if she no respond come my message messages in ~ a few hours. I would look increase what to message her. I’d even buy “How to it is in Funny and also Keep she Interested” varieties of books and also devour them.

I would certainly hang out at locations I knew she frequented in wishes of “accidentally” running into her.



I to be starving because that love.

The Kryptonite of defense is Inconsistency

Ken Page, writer of deeper Dating,claims, “All the us space attracted come certain types that have the right to knock united state off balance: a physical type, an emotionally type, and personality type. This ‘iconic’ attractions have the right to make us weak in the knees, and also they trigger our insecurities.”

These insecurities have the right to stem native painful experiences from childhood caregiving relationships or former adult relationships.

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My prior experience of unpredictable caregiving and being cheated on in prior relationship heightened my clingy insecurity and sensitivity come abandonment and also rejection. I had internalized the feelings of frustrated, and also at time unavailable, parents and romantic partners. This led me to exhibition a clingy attachment style in mine adult relationships.

This attachments style and the internal ideas I had around myself together unlovable lead me to be attractive to someone who validated that id system. Becker-Phelps, writer of Insecure in Love, proposes that civilization seek to validate their self-views. Specifically their unworthiness around love.

At the time, i was unaware of the “magnetic allure” of my partner’s inconsistency. That reinforced my belief of being as well needy to it is in loved.1 research study has uncovered that clingy lovers are much more likely to day distant lovers, i beg your pardon reinforces this insecurity.2

Since i felt a journey to prove my precious to Crystal, i invested an ext in the partnership than she did. I saw her emotionally unavailability as a difficulty with me, quite than our opposing intimacy blocks colliding. For more on intimacy blocks and also how we sabotage intimacy, take it a look at this.

Blame her Ancestors for her Clingy Insecurity

Our feelings and also behaviors in relationships today are not an extremely different from those the our early on ancestors.” – Levine and also Heller, authors of Attached.

Our ancestors, cavepeople Cee-Cee and Bam-Bam, endured in the shelter of one another. They combated off predators, famine, and natural catastrophes together. Continuing to be close come one one more increased chances of survival.

As a result, you and also I inherited one attachment mechanism that is draft to safeguard each of us from danger by preserving proximity to caring and supportive people. Because that example, parents during childhood or a romantic partner as one adult.3 Clingy insecurity creates a compelling urge to seek out these crucial individuals.

Essentially, insecurity is an beneficial survival tool.

When you end up being attached to someone, her attachment system constantly monitors their access and the defense of your link with them. The moment you sense a threat in your an individual life or in the relationship, actual or imagined, her attachment alarm walk off and also motivates you to look for out her romantic companion for safety and also comfort.

When your partner is distant, unavailable, or enemy in response to your insecurity, the evolutionary and neurologically hardwired attachment alarm fills your head, unconsciously, with the fear that you will certainly be abandoned uneven you reconnect. Because that our ancestors, abandonment supposed death.


When my companion dismissed mine insecure feeling or blamed me for having them, my attachment alarm went into hyperactive mode and also hijacked my brain. It filled it v thoughts and also feelings to seek closeness, including:

Obsessively thinking around my partner’s unavailability, making it an overwhelming to emphasis on other things. When i was at work-related or also out with friends, ns would check my phone every 3–5 minutes to view if mine partner had actually responded to my messages. Mine mind to be addicted to seeking closeness because I rarely obtained the reassurance ns needed.Highlighting mine partner’s good traits and also neglecting come take keep in mind of her negative ones. My friends, that talked through me around my partnership problems, regularly responded to my complaints with, “Why are you through her? What she did to be messed up!” I would certainly respond with, “I know yet she’s for this reason interesting and also attractive.” My caused attachment device prevented me from seeing a realistic picture of mine partner. And my low self-esteem (common in clingy lovers) prevent me from creating and also enforcing healthy boundaries to create a partnership that met my needs.

The attachments System

These thoughts and also emotions ended up being worse the much less responsive my companion was. While the attachment mechanism is designed to keep you close to others, it also has a dark side that leads you to beat you yourself up. It cares more about your momentary survival by maintaining closeness to her romantic partner than about your irreversible well-being.

As Levine and also Heller state in Attached, “Even if your rational mind knows you shouldn’t be v this person, your attachment mechanism doesn’t always comply.” 9

Research on Adult Attachment claims the clingy lovers battle to regulate their thoughts and can come to be tortured by overwhelming thoughts and feelings that negativity. 10 This includes bringing increase old memories of your companion not being easily accessible or responsive and also mixing lock in with present problems, therefore compounding distress.

As clingy lovers we reaction with an ext intensity to any kind of thoughts of ns and, simultaneously, struggle to calm ourselves. This deserve to lead to reacting to ours thoughts and feelings and also an over-dependence on our lover for reassuring our emotions.

What room Protest Behaviors?

The worse my think became, the crazier ns behaved. Because I couldn’t accomplish my score of getting the defense I essential in mine relationship, i resorted come Protest Behavior.11 Protest habits unhealthily protest the relationship’s link in hopes of obtaining your partner’s attention.

Types that Protest Behaviors12


Excessive initiatives to Reconnect. This has calling, texting, emailing, desperately waiting for a phone call. Or trying to “accidentally” run right into your partner. Ns remember a day as soon as I dubbed my companion 9 times and also texted her 22 times in the span of 5 hours during a work day. She to be mad. Ns felt ashamed.Pretending to be preoccupied as soon as you’re not. Such behaviors include saying you have plans when you don’t, acting busy or unapproachable even though you want to it is in approached, or ignoring call calls since you desire to “get back” at your partner.Keeping a Scorecard. People who keep score counting the number of minutes the takes because that their partner to return a message or contact back, and then wait simply as long to return the contact or text. This likewise includes not leaving voice messages, or exhilaration distant and waiting for your partner to do the very first “make-up” move.Threatening to leave. I would threaten to end my relationship in wishes that my companion would protect against me native leaving and “prove” exactly how much ns mattered come her. The difficulty with this tactic is the other human may desire to rest up and so they might just end it.Trying to do a far-ranging Other Jealous. This may incorporate talking around someone hitting ~ above you, attending a singles event, or make plans with someone else with the single intention of do your partner jealous. For example, as soon as I deliberately missed mine partner’s football game. Climate I comprised a story about walking approximately with a woman i met in a coffee shop. This made my companion sick to her stomach. As soon as I observed her reaction, I first thought, now you recognize what that feels like. And then as she started acquiring physically sick ns felt disgusted with myself.Exaggerating the trouble and your distress, also unconsciously, to acquire your partner’s attention.Behaving in Childish and Excessively Needy Ways to emphasize her vulnerabilities, helplessness, and dependence, in wishes of receiving support and also care.

Clingy Insecurity leads to Sacrifice 

Not come mention, our deepest insecurities have the right to motivate us to keep emotional and/or physics closeness come our companion at all times. Together a result, we often sacrifice our autonomy and can become intrusive of our romantic partner’s life, which have the right to lead to much more relationship problems.

While protest actions may get your partner’s attention from time come time, castle encourage intrusive, coercive, and aggressive behavior towards a relationship partner. This leads to connection dysfunction, dissatisfaction, and also eventual denial or abandonment. In other words, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I will tell you from experience, it’s terrible to feeling so overwhelmed v the are afraid of being exit by your companion that you behave in this crazy ways only to have your fear end up being true due to the fact that of just how you behaved.

I feel shame for behaving in the methods I walk in that relationship. The was totally out of character because that me. And my insecure behavior came to be a big motivator because that me to improve my relationships.

You’re only As Insecure as the relationship You’re In

For many of us, myself included, being unaware of just how our clingy attachment device works avoids us from producing or recognize a secure relationship. My attachment mechanism was constantly set off in my connection with Crystal due to the fact that of her emotional unavailability and also opposing attachments strategy.

When i felt insecure i sought to gain closer to her. As soon as Crystal feeling insecure, she distanced herself from me, which cause a roller coaster relationship. By the way, this rollercoaster deserve to be one authorize of a toxic relationship. Click right here to learn around others.

The closer ns got, the much more she distanced. As a result, us exacerbated our insecurities which lead to more clingy thoughts, feelings, and also protest habits on mine part. This made the connection worse because that both that us.

This is much different than the relationship I’m in now. Mine partner and I cherish every other, assistance each other, and also team up to work-related through our problems. We’re far from perfect, yet I recognize without a doubt that she is there because that me through thick and also thin.

The trust and security we have developed makes it much easier for me come reach the end for reassurance in a calm method when I’m feeling insecure. Due to the fact that my companion is responsive and also caring, my attachment alarm goes silent and we reconnect. Mine clingy attachment alarm has actually actually brought us closer due to the fact that I to be able come express my demands in a productive means that gives my companion clear directions on how to calm me down and also make me feeling loved.

What I’ve Learned about My Clingy attachment Style

What I’ve involved learn is that my clingy attachment insecurity to be a byproduct of 2 things:

how i thought and also behaved in a relationship, andhow my partner chose to respond.

By taking responsibility for boosting on mine end, i was able to, v difficulty, walk far from partners that did not worth my needs and find partners who were responsive come my partnership needs.

As a result, I was able to transform my insecure thoughts, feelings, and also behaviors into something that can strengthen mine relationships.

7 great to transform Clingy Insecurity into a supermacht for healthier Relationships

After four years that therapy, reading numerous relationship books, and creating a long-term healthy romantic relationship, i have pertained to view my insecurity as a supermacht designed to strengthen my relationship.

Here space the 7 lessons i learned on my journey.


Find for sure Sidekicks.

Even superheroes need sidekicks to support them during challenging times. On your journey, I would recommend finding a sidekick, if not multiple, who will give you optimistic experiences to help you v building strong relationships.

As the research study highlights, a secure attachment style is a an outcome of internalizing multiple experiences of comforting individuals who assist foster a sense of security, positive self-esteem, and the capability to calm oneself in order come reach out in a healthy way.13

Lucky because that clingy folks choose me, our present relationships have the right to support us in earning security and rewiring our brain in such a means that we deserve to regulate ours emotions and also be direct about what we have to be happy in a relationship.

Examples that Trusty Sidekicks


Looking back, investing in a therapist has been the finest decision i’ve made in the past 5 years. My psychoanalyst has help me build a much more balanced perspective on my relationships and also insecurity.

With his support, i took risks to assert mine boundaries, left unhealthy romantic partners, and also took ownership of what I necessary in a relationship to it is in happy. Every one of this work-related was incredibly difficult, but it’s adjusted my life for the better.

Secure Romantic Partner

A loving, caring, and emotionally obtainable romantic companion will respond to insecurity with attentiveness and care. The trust built in that relationship will encourage you come be much more direct around your feelings and also needs fairly than making use of protest behavior. If you space dating and find you yourself attracted come potential partner who space unavailable, review this article.

If you space married and feel insecure top top a regular basis, I’d introduce recruiting a couple’s therapist/coach who can overview your connection to a more secure place. Three therapeutic models i trust include: The Gottman Method, Emotionally focused Couples Therapy, and also Psychobiological approach to Couples Therapy.

Secure Friend

After I check out Attached, I got to out to a friend who I knew to be secure and also started spending time with her. When I texted, called, or requested something she to be responsive, direct, and also clear around what she could and also couldn’t do. I might tell she valued ours relationship and also me.

Over time ns internalized these experiences and was able come replicate these secure thoughts and behaviors in other relationships.

Turn Insecurity into a Superpower.

Clingy lovers have actually a hypersensitive attachments alarm and are often mindful of subtle risks that others space not. The problem is this alarm can also be a false alarm. It have the right to lead to a human misjudging a case or a partner which leads to hurt feelings and relationship problems.14

The research has found that if the clingy partner waited a little longer to react and also gained much more information about the case or their partner’s intent, they have actually an advantage. Lock would recognize when miscellaneous is wrong and could constructively usage that awareness to reconnect in a relationship. 15

Know her Go-To Clingy Thoughts and also Protest Behaviors.

By becoming aware of your clingy thoughts and protest behavior, you deserve to pause. Then ask yourself, “What would certainly be a far better way to respond come this situation to acquire what ns need?”

Ask What would Super secure (Wo)Man Do?

Attachment research study highlights that all of us have experiences of people who room secure. Whether the is a friend, a far-off relative, etc. Once I’m working through insecure clients, I regularly ask them, “How would certainly your super secure 16 respond to this?”

Doing this flips the inner script on how to think and behave. 17 at any given moment that identify how world are most likely to think around relationships or be motivated to act.” Source: Gillath, O., Mikulincer, M., Fitzsimons, G. M., Shaver, P. R., Schachner, D. A., & Bargh, J. A. (2016). Automatic activation the attachment-related goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(10), 1375-1388.>.

The more times you ask this and act ~ above it, the much more you combine secure thoughts and behaviors. That has those pertained to expressing feelings, asking for what girlfriend need, and being vulnerable around your fears.

Honor and also Express Your Clingy Insecurity in a Positive, actionable Way.

Clingy lovers often neglect their demands in relationships because they don’t believe they worthy to have actually them met. Together Brene Brown puts the “if we want to completely experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and also belonging.”

Learning to accept what i deserved, placing up boundaries, and asking for what I needed in my romantic partnership was tough initially. However now that feels authentic and has actually boosted my relationships.

The first step is to acknowledge your requirements as valid. The next is learning just how to transform them right into a positive, actionable tool.

For example, if I fear my partner is going to abandon me, I might say “Hey babe, I’m emotion disconnected native you and also would prefer to grab some ice cream with you later on tonight and also just talk. Friend in?” See just how that’s much better than trying to manipulate her?

I’m make a clear request and also taking ownership of what I require in the connection to it is in happy. If girlfriend notice, I’m additionally putting a plan in location so I can make that take place This provides it much much easier for my partner to speak yes. Because that a structure on exactly how to execute this in your relationship, check out this article.

Enhance your Emotional Intelligence.

As Justin Bariso states, “Emotional knowledge is the ability to do emotions work for you, rather of against you.”

While clingy lovers have tendency to be conscious of their emotions, they regularly struggle to manage their emotions in a way that achieves their goal that closeness and emotional connection. Not to cite clingy lovers struggling to regulate their relationship in a way to obtain the most out of your connection.

Improving the two pillars of emotionally intelligence, self-management and relationship-management, can considerably increase the defense in her relationship. If you’re interested in trying out this further, I’d recommend checking out Emotional Agility, EQ Applied, and also Emotional knowledge 2.0.

Improve Self-Compassion and also Self-Care.

Clingy lovers often tend to internalize criticism indigenous others and talk to us in the very same way. I offered to to win myself up ruthlessly. But beating yourself up is never ever a fair fight. That’s why practicing self-compassion will assist improve your self-worth. Then, this improves how you express your emotions and honor her needs. For exercises and also lessons on just how to rise self-compassion check out Self-Compassion: The Proven strength of Being kind to Yourself.

When I supplied to be clingy, i did no take care of myself well. I hardly ever got enough sleep, ns overworked myself (100-hour job-related weeks), i drank alcohol practically every night, and also so lot more. Together I began to become much more secure in an answer to therapy, I arisen healthier habits. I started eating healthier, do a regular bedtime because that myself, and giving myself healthy quantities of exercise.


Our self-worth is regularly reflected in exactly how we care for ourselves.

By enhancing the various methods you care for your body and also mind, you’ll start to feel more loving in the direction of yourself.

As I’ve come to hone my insecurity right into a superpower, i have noticed dramatic differences in my relationship and an individual life. My present relationship is secure, emotionally connected, and also fulfilling, because that both my partner and also me.

From Clingy to Content

Comparing who I was five years back in a connection with crystal to who I am currently with my present partner is choose comparing Mars to Earth. It wasn’t easy to gain here. In fact, I suffered a the majority of pain to grow and also heal. I had actually to challenge myself. To difficulty myself. To reach the end for support. And also I had to try things the were unfamiliar and difficult.

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The reason I did the was since I establish I had two choices. The an option of experiencing in one insecure partnership or the an option of experiencing to enhance myself and my relationships. Ns took the last route and also looking back, ns glad i did.

With love, Kyle

P.S. Even if it is or no you’re in a existing committed relationship, being able to make use of these things while you’re dating can aid you attract and keep a companion who works well through you and provides friend a safe and secure space. Examine out my well-known eBook “Authentic Attraction: 5 tricks to recognize Love the Lasts.”