When I felt insecure I sought to get closer to her. When Crystal felt insecure, she distanced herself from me, which lead to a roller-coaster relationship. The closer I got, the more she distanced. As a result, we exacerbated our insecurities which lead to more clingy thoughts, feelings, and protest behavior on my part. This made the relationship worse for both of us.
This is much different than the relationship I’m in now. My partner and I cherish each other, support each other, and team up to work through our problems. We’re far from perfect, but I know without a doubt that she is there for me through thick and thin. The trust and security we have built make it easier for me to reach out for reassurance in a calm way when I’m feeling insecure, and since my partner is responsive and caring, my attachment alarm goes silent and we reconnect. My clingy attachment alarm has actually brought us closer because I am able to express my needs in a productive way that gives my partner clear directions on how to calm me down and make me feel loved.
What I’ve come to learn is that my clingy attachment insecurity was a byproduct of two things: how I thought and behaved in a relationship, and how my partner chose to respond. By taking responsibility for improving on my end, I was able to, with difficulty, walk away from partners who did not value my needs and find partners who were responsive to my relationship needs.
As a result, I was able to transform my insecure thoughts, feelings, and behaviors into something that could strengthen my relationships.
7 Lessons to Transform Clingy Insecurity into a Superpower for Healthier Relationships
“Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship and there won’t be an end.” – Anthony Robbins
After four years of therapy, reading hundreds of relationship books, and creating a long-term healthy romantic relationship, I have come to view my insecurity as a superpower designed to strengthen my relationship. Here are the 7 lessons I learned on my journey.
1. Find Secure Sidekicks.
Even superheroes need sidekicks to support them during difficult times. On your journey, I would recommend finding a sidekick, if not multiple, who will give you positive experiences to help you with building strong relationships.
As the research highlights, a secure attachment style is a result of internalizing multiple experiences of comforting individuals who help foster a sense of security, positive self-esteem, and the ability to calm oneself in order to reach out in a healthy way. (13)
Lucky for clingy folks like me, our current relationships can support us in earning security and rewiring our brain in such a way that we can regulate our emotions and be direct about what we need to be happy in a relationship.
2. Trusty Sidekicks:
Therapist/Coach: Looking back, investing in a therapist has been the best decision I’ve made in the past five years. My psychoanalyst has help me develop a more balanced perspective on my relationships and insecurity.
With his support, I took risks to assert my boundaries, left unhealthy romantic partners, and took ownership of what I needed in a relationship to be happy. All of this work was extremely difficult, but it’s changed my life for the better.
Secure Romantic Partner: A loving, caring, and emotionally available romantic partner will respond to insecurity with attentiveness and care. The trust built in that relationship will encourage you to be more direct about your feelings and needs rather than using protest behavior. If you are dating and find yourself attracted to potential partners who are unavailable, read this article.
If you are married and feel insecure on a regular basis, I’d recommend recruiting a couple’s therapist/coach who can guide your relationship to a more secure place. Three therapeutic models I trust include: The Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy.