If you have a pattern of feeling insecure in your romantic relationships, and you’re worried you’ll never become secure, rest assured. There’s hope for you yet!
(If your partner seems insecure, and you’re wondering if they can ever become secure, the short answer is Yes, but their path is their own. Best to focus on your own security. Accept them where they’re at and decide what level of involvement is most aligned for you, where you’re at.)
Why am I so insecure in the first place?
First of all – you’re not alone.
Many of us did not receive the support and modeling we needed in our formative years to develop a sense of security in relationship with others. Instead, we’re left with an unsettling cycle of insecure relationship dynamics that routinely leave us feeling unmet in our needs. Relationship after relationship.
Our experience is often that there’s either too much or too little space to breathe easy. We rarely feel seen, accepted, and appreciated as we are. There’s no sense of safety to be vulnerable. We feel close for a minute, and then something triggers our fear. In response, we either A) withdraw, ghost, or push the other away; or B) get super anxious, clingy, and stalkery.
This does not mean you’re “broken”. It merely informs the nature of your self-work. Other folks have other kinds of self-work to do.
While we can never change our developmental attachment framework, there ARE things we can do to become more secure.
So what’s this “self-work”?
Nobody is perfect. Not even the ones who seem like they have it all together. Everyone struggles with something. From my perspective, though, this isn’t a problem or some sort of injustice. I see it as one of the many beautiful facets of being human that enriches the experience of Life.
The work that’s needed to become secure in love involves shifting our locus of security from outside of ourselves to inside. This is actually part of the natural maturation process. When we were little, we needed our caregivers to provide us with security (among a vast array of other things). As adults, it’s OUR job to to provide the essential loving support we need.
One of the biggest causes of unstable relationships is looking to a partner to fulfill the specific needs our parents didn’t meet.
When our earthly stewards – in their perfectly human imperfection – miss the mark on security, the step of developing it within ourselves gets missed, too. In these cases, we just have to do some extra groundwork to reorient.
We root our security within ourselves by way of various practices like:
- Establishing and honoring boundaries
- Validating our own emotional experiences
- Developing nonjudgmental self-awareness
- Prioritizing our own approval
- Choosing in alignment with our core values and long-term goals
If I become secure, does my relationship?
When you do the work to anchor your security in yourself, you are able to show up as an integrated individual. From there, you can co-create a mature and stable relationship, built on interdependence, rather than enmeshed codependence. But it takes two to tango, and we can only do our own work.
Fortunately, when one person in an insecurely attached relationship becomes more secure, it does move the center of gravity to a more balanced position. In my experience, the more secure I am, the more safe my partner feels, and the more stable our relationship.
However, this cannot be the goal, or it will backfire. We become secure for OURSELVES. And for more secure relationships in general. But trying to change a specific relationship or person is the antithesis of Love. Love is acceptance. We can only change our own thinking and the way or degree to which we show up.
What I have found is that this work sometimes results in a more secure relationship, and sometimes creates the space for a loving transition out of the relationship. The consistent outcome though is always a happier individual, with more peace and stability in their lives.