Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
July 4, 2023

Attachment Issues in Adults

Attachment theory was first introduced by John Bowlby, who believed that the attachment between a child and their parents was crucial to their emotional and social development. In adulthood, attachment issues can arise when a person has experienced trauma or neglect in childhood, resulting in difficulties forming and maintaining healthy relationships in adulthood.

Adults with attachment issues may struggle with trust, intimacy, and emotional vulnerability. They may also have a fear of abandonment and struggle to express their emotions effectively. Understanding attachment issues is the first step in overcoming them.

Causes of Attachment Issues in Adults

Attachment issues in adults can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Childhood trauma or neglect
  • Inconsistent or absent caregivers during childhood
  • Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual
  • Separation from parents or caregivers during childhood
  • Medical conditions or illnesses during childhood
  • Genetics

It is important to note that not all adults who experience these factors will develop attachment issues. However, for those who do, it is important to seek help and support to overcome them.

Symptoms of Attachment Issues in Adults

The symptoms of attachment issues in adults can vary significantly, but some common signs include:

  • Fear of abandonment or rejection
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Avoidance of intimacy or emotional vulnerability
  • Insecurity in relationships
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Need for constant reassurance or approval
  • Overdependence on others
  • Difficulty with boundaries

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be a sign of attachment issues that require attention and treatment.

The Impact of Attachment Issues on Relationships

Attachment issues can have a significant impact on relationships. Individuals with attachment issues may struggle to form healthy relationships, and their fears of rejection and abandonment can create feelings of insecurity and jealousy. These feelings can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings in relationships, ultimately causing them to break down.

Additionally, individuals with attachment issues may struggle with emotional intimacy, making it difficult for them to connect with their partners on a deeper level. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, further exacerbating their attachment issues.

Overcoming Attachment Issues through Therapy

Fortunately, there are various types of therapy available to help individuals overcome attachment issues.

These therapies are designed to help individuals understand and process their emotions, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve their relationships.

Some common types of therapy for attachment issues include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family therapy

It is important to work with a trained and licensed therapist who specializes in attachment issues to determine which type of therapy is best for you.

Tips for Self-Help and Self-Care for Attachment Issues

In addition to therapy, there are steps individuals can take to help themselves overcome attachment issues. These include:

  • Practicing self-compassion and self-love
  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise or mindfulness practices
  • Building a support system of friends and family
  • Setting healthy boundaries in relationships
  • Being patient with yourself and the healing process
  • Seeking professional help when needed

Remember, healing from attachment issues takes time and effort. Be kind to yourself and take the steps necessary to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

Healing from Attachment Issues in Relationships

Healing from attachment issues in relationships can be a challenging process, but it is possible. It is important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about your struggles and work together to develop healthy relationship habits.

Additionally, both partners can benefit from therapy, either individually or together.

Couples therapy can be particularly helpful in addressing attachment issues and improving communication and intimacy in the relationship.


Attachment issues can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, but with the right support and resources, it is possible. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and impact of attachment issues, seeking therapy, practicing self-care, and working on healing relationships, individuals can overcome their attachment issues and lead happier, healthier lives.

Remember, healing is a journey, not a destination. Be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.

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