Ambivalent Attachment: 7 Signs, Causes + Steps To Heal


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Sarah Regan

Healing an ambivalent attachment style and reaching a place of security can be particularly confusing, especially if you’re doing this work while trying to navigate an existing romantic relationship. After all, you may not even be sure what a loving relationship really looks like—and it could overwhelm you when you do get it. As such, Richmond says, it’s going to take some soul searching to figure out what your standards really are, and noticing when your old hardwiring is playing out.

Learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and fear that creep up when you’re triggered, she suggests, adding that when you start to notice these patterns more and more, you can make the conscious choice to let yourself be vulnerable and open. “And then it becomes a practice,” she adds.

And speaking of fears, Page also notes that it’s really important “not to just pathologize ambivalent attachment styles and assume that our perceptions are incorrect.” As he explains, “Even if we know that we have an ambivalent attachment style, we should still honor and dignify our feelings. In most cases we are feeling some thing real, even if we are exaggerating or misinterpreting it.”

To that end, he says, the task is still the same: “To understand, with compassion and care, why we are feeling the way we feel, to give that feeling space and understanding, and to be able to communicate with our partner to work things through.”

As you work to uncover the conditioning that’s lead to your ambivalent attachment style, it can also be valuable to work with an individual or couples therapist. There are also a number of attachment books and online resources for improving attachment styles—like our guide to developing a secure attachment style.

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