What is Ambivalent Attachment And How Does it Affect Me? | BetterHelp (2022)

Children are born into this world with an intrinsic need to have love, affection, and security from their caregivers. When they get these things, the result is a secure attachment between the child and the caregiver. However, when these fundamentals are missing, it can result in trauma to the child, beginning at an early age.

With ambivalent attachment, the child may receive love, affection, and security, but not in a way that develops healthy relationships and attachments. But how can the way you were treated as a baby affect you now as an adult? Why is this important? To answer these questions, we must first look at the ambivalent attachment and what it is. We'll also look at how online therapy can improve the attachment between parents and children.

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Concerned About How Ambivalent Attachment Is Affecting You?

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(Video) Ambivalent Attachment

What Is Ambivalent Attachment?

When infants or children receive love and affection sporadically in infancy and childhood from their mother, father, or caregiver, it can result in long-lasting problems for the infant and child. When the parent is inconsistent in their behavior and attitude towards a child, the child cannot understand why love and affection get taken away or dished out randomly. This unpredictability can create fear and confusion within them because they don't know when they'll get love and when they'll get neglected. They are not secure in their environment. As they grow up, this fear and belief that love and affection are fleeting, sporadic sentiments continue into adulthood. It may result in them feeling anxious, hesitant, nervous, or shy. They may cry, feel emotional separation from their mom or dad, or be afraid of touch.

The child comes to believe that just because they are loved one day, does not mean they will still be loved the next. As a result, they develop a fear that those they love will leave them and see everyone as a stranger or strange situation. They desire to love, strive for affection and crave attention, but they are terrified those things will not stay. They feel unsafe in their relationships —romantic or social— since they don't know if their significant other or friend will continue to want them around in a week, a month, or a year from now. This insecurity leads them to look for problems even if there are none, and as time goes on, it results in an internalization of the problem.

A child in this type of family dynamic will come to believe they are the problem. Because they cannot understand specific situational reasons for the change in feelings, they start to believe it must be their fault—that their behavior, personality, or looks are the cause for their parents' inconsistent affections. They start to feel and become convinced they are not good enough to receive the love and attention they want, or that they are not properly communicating their needs. As a result, they tend to have difficulty navigating many things within their relationships with others—the types of things most people don't even think twice about.

Attachment Styles

It is becoming increasingly evident just how important the early, formative years are for a child. Raising a child goes beyond providing food and shelter. Parenting patterns give love and instill values and discipline significantly impact what kind of adults these children will become, and what kind of relationships they will form. There is a theory that this causes them to develop a character or pattern of disorganized attachment styles and symptoms such as disorganized attachments and avoidant attachments.

According to psychology studies and the work of psychologist Mary Ainsworth, there are four styles of attachment, discussed below with definition.

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(Video) The Attachment Theory: How Childhood Affects Life

  1. Secure Attachment: Approximately 60% of the population falls within this style of attachment. They tend to have a secure childhood; they were able to rely on their parents and had the courage and confidence to venture out on their own. When they grow up, they tend to feel secure in their relationships, connected to their partners, and confident in their love and support, yet they still feel free and independent.
  2. Ambivalent / Anxious Preoccupied Attachment: This happens to children who inconsistently receive love and affection, and they can never rely on whether their parents will be available to them or not. This leads to feelings of anger or jealousy in some people, and passive acceptance for others; and it results in a child who is filled with insecurity and constantly looking to fill the void left by inattentive parents. They tend to need their partners to rescue them, or they need their partners to make them feel complete. Even though they are constantly looking for safety and stability, their behavior yields the opposite effect. To make sure their partner is always around, they may become clingy and overly dependent, which in turn serves to drive the partner away.
  3. Dismissive Avoidant Attachment:People who fall within this category deliberately distance themselves from their partners emotionally. They prefer being isolated and not relying on anyone. They are very independent and are dismissive of the idea of needing anyone. They choose to remain detached and unemotional.
  4. Fearful Avoidant Attachment: People in this category live in limbo. They are scared of getting too close to someone, and they are also scared of becoming too distant and being alone. This leads to an unpredictable and reactive attachment emotional state, and their relationships tend to be overly dramatic and very up and down.

Ambivalent Attachment Concerns

Children who grow up in ambivalent homes tend to feel extremely emotional. They have difficulty being alone and struggle with a fear of abandonment and being abandoned. They tend to be very clingy when they are in relationships, to an extent where their partner may have problems with it; and they are even insecure in their friendships. They want intimate relationships and yearn for increased intimacy at all times; however, they may struggle to form these types of relationships as a result of their insecurities. They are very concerned about being rejected by others and seek out support at times when they feel distress. In their eyes, personal achievement and success in a classroom are not as significant as finding and maintaining close relationships with others.

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(Video) ISTDP - Ambivalent Attachment and how it is affected by Covid-19 | Dr Sia

These individuals are constantly seeking out love and affection but require proof of these feelings as well. They have difficulty trusting others, and they may even put their relationship in jeopardy because of their attachment behaviors and attempts to get their partner to prove their feelings. They may become overly obsessed with the relationship, which results in self-sabotage over time. Their relationships tend to break down as a result of their clinginess and their over-fixation of all aspects of it. And when that happens, it only serves to confirm, in their minds, they were right to be doubtful all along.

Moving Forward

If you were raised in a household where ambivalent attachment was created, you may have gone through life holding on to insecurities and struggling to find unconditional love and acceptance in your relationships—whether it's in your friendships, your romantic partnerships, or even in the workplace.

Does this mean you are doomed to feel unhappy for the rest of your life? Not at all. Quite the opposite. A big first step towards healing from anything is understanding there is something to heal. By reading this article or trying to understand your actions, you have taken that first critical step to attachment reassurance.

Another key thing to keep in mind is that you are not the first one to be going through this, and it is very possible to move past what happened in your childhood and develop healthier habits. This is critical if you want to find success in your friendships and intimate relationships.

The best way to learn more— and develop positive coping strategies for the future— is to connect with a therapist who can help. Often, our attachment styles intersect with other difficulties such as depression and anxiety. For example, if you’ve been living with undiagnosed anxiety or depression, you may feel as though you have spent your whole life struggling without ever really knowing what’s going on.

If you seek therapy to learn more information about your attachment style to heal your inner child, you may discover that your attachment style and mental health are more closely linked than you realize. A therapist can help you unpack your feelings and provide you with valuable insights into your attachment style and its impact on your life. And as you work through these struggles, you may learn a lot of unexpected things about your mental health and the resources that can help you work through your depression and anxiety!

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(Video) Ambivalent attachment in: childhood, adulthood and love

Understanding Attachment Theory With BetterHelp

Research shows that online therapy is a useful tool for those dealing with the fear of rejection, or other emotions that may have arisen out of their attachment style. One study found that internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) was effective in dealing with feelings of loneliness (along with social anxiety and depression), which researchers note can be due to a fear of rejection. With CBT, the individual can target the negative thoughts that may lead to self-sabotage in a relationship, allowing them to understand the source of feelings of rejection, loneliness, or fear of loss. Online therapy is also widely considered a more accessible mode of treatment than most traditional therapy methods, as there are no geographical restrictions, scheduling is often more flexible, and costs are generally lower.

As discussed above, online therapy can be an effective way of working through attachment issues and experiences related to ambivalent attachment. If the idea of walking into a therapist's office makes you uncomfortable or you fear judgment and a lack of understanding from others, consider connecting with a therapist through BetterHelp. BetterHelp is a mental health provider which is dedicated to making online therapy accessible for everyone. They have licensed professionals who can assist you from the comfort and privacy of your own home. You can even participate in counseling completely anonymously. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people who experience similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Natasha is a very insightful, kind, and compassionate counselor. Her gentle, professional approach to guiding you through a problem shows her empathy and understanding. She helped me see some childhood issues that I hadn't addressed in years."

"I enjoyed my sessions with Dr. Anstadt. He helped me see how one issue was affecting multiple aspects of my life. He has greatly improved my relationships with the people I'm closest to and even the way I approach work. I have seen a huge difference in my relationships already, and I have several tools to help me manage the issues I started seeking therapy. I cannot express how thankful I am to Dr. I Anstadt!"

(Video) Understanding an Ambivalent Resistant Attachment Style & How it Affects a Loving Relationship Part 1


People who have had difficult or unusual childhoods tend to grow up craving intimacy, trust, support, and love. It can be difficult for them to get those things, especially when they have a difficult time believing they deserve them. It is not at all unusual for these individuals to sabotage their relationships. If this sounds like you, and if you are tired of living life in this way and are tired of being resistant to change, then do it today. By seeking out professional help and going through counseling, it is possible to work through the trauma, the insecurity, and the fear. With some time and effort on your part, you can change the way you approach all your relationships and come to peace with your past. Truly fulfilling relationships are possible—all you need are the right tools to begin the process. Take the first step today and return to healthy closeness, independence, and attachment patterns.


What is Ambivalent Attachment And How Does it Affect Me? | BetterHelp? ›

An ambivalent attachment is a type of insecure attachment. According to attachment theory, it's characterized by a child's feelings of preoccupation and anxiety regarding their caregiver's availability and typically results from inconsistent responses from the caregiver.

How does ambivalent attachment affect adults? ›

People with an ambivalent attachment style (also referred to as “anxious-preoccupied,” “ambivalent-anxious,” or simply “anxious attachment”) tend to be overly needy. As the labels suggest, people with this attachment style are often anxious and uncertain, lacking in self-esteem.

How does ambivalent attachment affect relationships? ›

Adults who have an anxious/ambivalent attachment style often rely on others to help them regulate their emotions. When they do find a relationship, they can feel intense emotions such as rejection, abandonment or anger because their partner does not live up to their preconceived notions of how they should behave.

How does ambivalent attachment affect development? ›

Children who have a resistant (ambivalent) attachment pattern are thought to maintain proximity to their caregiver by 'up-regulating' their attachment behaviour: when they are separated from a caregiver, they may become very distressed and may be angry, and resist contact when the caregiver returns, and not quickly ...

What is ambivalent attachment? ›

Definition. Ambivalent attachment is a form of insecure attachment characterized by inconsistent responses of the caregivers and by the child's feelings of anxiety and preoccupation about the caregiver's availability.

What do you do if you have ambivalent attachment? ›

Five ways to overcome attachment insecurity
  1. Get to know your attachment pattern by reading up on attachment theory. ...
  2. If you don't already have a great therapist with expertise in attachment theory, find one. ...
  3. Seek out partners with secure attachment styles. ...
  4. If you didn't find such a partner, go to couples therapy.
Feb 13, 2014

What is ambivalent attachment caused by? ›

Ambivalent attachment is caused by inconsistency from the caregiver. Put shortly, the caregivers behaved inconsistently in response to their child's needs.

How do you love someone with ambivalent attachment? ›

Here are 5 ways you can help your ambivalently attached partner feel secure in your relationship:
  1. Reassure and connect with them. ...
  2. Be consistent with them. ...
  3. Don't suggest their needs aren't "right"
  4. Understand it's not up to you to "fix" them.
Aug 26, 2020

What are the signs of ambivalent attachment? ›

Here are the statements that describe those with an ambivalent attachment style:
  • I really like sharing my feelings with my partner, but they do not seem as open as I am.
  • My feelings can get out of control quickly.
  • I worry about being alone.
  • I worry about being abandoned in close relationships.
Sep 17, 2016

What is ambivalent behavior? ›

Ambivalence is a state of having simultaneous conflicting reactions, beliefs, or feelings towards some object. Stated another way, ambivalence is the experience of having an attitude towards someone or something that contains both positively and negatively valenced components.

How do you improve ambivalent attachment? ›

Jackson says some steps you can take to develop a secure attachment style are:
  1. Actively working on your relationship with yourself.
  2. Purging toxic or counterproductive relationships.
  3. Building your self-esteem.
  4. Healthily expressing your emotions.
  5. Lean on the support of friends and family.
Feb 14, 2022

How do you overcome anxious ambivalent attachment? ›

Some strategies for overcoming an anxious attachment style include: Developing a better understanding of your own attachment style and being aware of how you behave in relationships. Looking back at your attachment history and understanding why you relate to people in the way you do today.

Can you fix ambivalent attachment? ›

Ambivalent attachment, according to attachment theory, can be treated in therapy by addressing the root causes in therapy and individuals learn how to become securly attached. Forming new secure attachments can be healing for those who did not have them as children.

What are the examples of ambivalence? ›

An example of ambivalence is struggling with whether to invite someone to an event because she has a positive relationship with you but not with the other attendees. The definition of ambivalence is a state in which you lack certainty or the ability to make decisions.

How do you deal with an ambivalent partner? ›

What if your partner is showing relationship ambivalence?
  1. Here are some tips when your partner is being ambivalent:
  2. Listen to your partner. Allow them to express their fears and confusion. ...
  3. Give it some time. ...
  4. Revisit your needs. ...
  5. Draw a line. ...
  6. Accept that you can't control your partner's feelings.
Jul 29, 2015

How do you deal with an ambivalent spouse? ›

  1. Be aware if anxiety is taking you away from yourself, and return to a healthy sense of who you are.
  2. Be willing to take the long view. ...
  3. Dont play the role of therapist with your partner.
  4. Dont pressure your partner or try to solve their dilemma for them.
  5. Avoid numbing or self-defeating behaviors.
Jan 21, 2019

Can ambivalent be avoidant? ›

Yes. The ambivalent- avoidant attachment style in relationships is one of the MOST common styles of attachment.

What are the signs of ambivalent attachment? ›

Here are the statements that describe those with an ambivalent attachment style:
  • I really like sharing my feelings with my partner, but they do not seem as open as I am.
  • My feelings can get out of control quickly.
  • I worry about being alone.
  • I worry about being abandoned in close relationships.
Sep 17, 2016

How do you love someone with ambivalent attachment? ›

Here are 5 ways you can help your ambivalently attached partner feel secure in your relationship:
  1. Reassure and connect with them. ...
  2. Be consistent with them. ...
  3. Don't suggest their needs aren't "right"
  4. Understand it's not up to you to "fix" them.
Aug 26, 2020

What does insecure attachment look like in adults? ›

Signs of disorganized attachment include: Depression and anxiety. Frequent outbursts and erratic behaviors (which stems from the inability to clearly see and understand the world around them or properly process the behavior of others or relationships) Poor self-image and self-hatred.

What does anxious attachment look like in adults? ›

Individuals with an anxious attachment exhibit a preoccupation with the availability and responsiveness of significant others, such as parents, friends, and romantic partners. Such individuals crave intimacy but also remain anxious regarding whether other romantic partners will meet their emotional needs.

Attachment issues begin in childhood and carry out into our adult lives. Read more about the power of attachment and its profound impact on our mental states.

Is ambivalent attachment the same as avoidant attachment?. Anxious attachment, also called anxious ambivalent attachment, or anxious-preoccupied attachment, is one other common attachment style.. Secure Attachment Secure attachment is the optimal attachment theory, where a person feels confident in themselves and secure about their relationships with loved ones or romantic partners.. These fall under many categories, and can be called insecure ambivalent attachment, anxious preoccupied attachment style, or anxious ambivalent attachment, among other names.. People with insecure attachment behaviors or anxious attachment styles can sometimes have difficulties forming and maintaining healthy relationships.. Whether you have a secure attachment, anxious ambivalent attachment, or avoidant anxious attachment, you deserve to feel comfortable and confident in your relationships, whether they are friend, family, or romantic.. According to attachment theory, it is possible for anyone to change their attachment style or move into a secure attachment style.

Additionally, the scandal brought into light the ethical responsibilities of influencers when advertising goods or services.. Generally, a user first has to fill in a questionnaire, including personal details relating to his life, problems, and preferences regarding his treatment.. Therefore, BetterHelp does not provide the mental health service itself but merely links the user with a professional.. It only connects the user with a therapist, who, in theory, should be licensed to be included in BetterHelp's network.. Influencers and advertising of the BetterHelp platform. Their campaigns have now expanded over several social media platforms such as YouTube or Instagram.. Affiliate links Affiliate links are the equivalent of a retail clerk earning a commission for the sales they close, but in a digital way.. The allegation is that some of these mental health problems are fake or over exaggerated and that they are using mental health to promote a site.. Many people were complaining that the therapists were being unresponsive or unhelpful and some people alleged that after filling out the BetterHelp forms, BetterHelp told them to go somewhere else.. In the UK, for example, the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code), requires that an influencer who promotes a particular product and thus acts as the marketer is clearly identifiable as such and does not falsely act as a consumer of the product.. Influencers who used affiliate links to the BetterHelp app were accused of capitalizing on their followers' mental health, as they earned a commission for every subscription to the therapy services.

BetterHelp is easy to navigate, convenient, and offers a variety of services that will fit many people’s mental health needs. We compared its services to Talkspace.

TalkspaceBetterHelp Accepts InsuranceYes (some plans)No% Users Rated Excellent or Very Good 69% 72% Session Platforms Messaging, live text, live video, live audio Messaging, live text, live video, live audioPrice $260–$400 per month $240–$600 per month Offers Psychiatry YesInitial session is $199Follow up sessions $125No. BetterHelp offers only one subscription plan, but the amount you pay monthly can range from $240 per month to $600 per month, depending on your location and therapist preferences.. Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: Includes text, video, and audio messaging; therapist responds daily, up to five days per week Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium : Includes text, video, and audio messaging; therapist responds daily, up to five days per week; includes one live video session per month (30 minutes) Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate: Includes text, video, and audio messaging; therapist responds daily, up to five days per week; includes four live video sessions per month (30 minutes). While users surveyed reported fast response time with both companies, BetterHelp users reported hearing from their therapist slightly faster than Talkspace users.. That said, less than half of both BetterHelp and Talkspace users said they’d heard from their therapist within two days.. At BetterHelp, 80% of the users we surveyed said therapists’ qualifications were an important reason to choose an online therapy service, and 75% said they found the therapists’ qualifications at BetterHelp to be either very good or excellent.. Talkspace keeps all its services under the same company umbrella, while BetterHelp separates specialized services into smaller companies.. Seventy-three percent of users from Talkspace and 78% of users from BetterHelp reported that their therapist’s speed of response was either very good or excellent.. Seventy-two percent of BetterHelp users said the services were either very good or excellent, whereas only 69% of Talkspace users said the same.. Ninety percent Talkspace users reported they were either likely or very likely to still be seeing a therapist within the company a year from now, compared to 83% at BetterHelp.. Having to self-pay for both services through Talkspace can get expensive, so this works best for those who have insurance plans that are in-network with Talkspace, or an employer in-network with Talkspace that can offer lower rates and help cover costs.

BetterHelp Online Therapy Review

As a result, many people experiencing mental health issues turned to online therapy platforms like BetterHelp.. BetterHelp counselors are available via text messaging and live chat, as well as video and phone sessions.. It offers counseling through online messaging, live chat, and video and phone sessions.. BetterHelp offers professional counseling from accredited psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and board-licensed professional counselors.. When you sign up for a BetterHelp monthly subscription, you receive access to four weeks of unlimited messaging in a counseling “room” with your counselor.. You can also schedule one 30-minute live phone, chat or video session a week, although longer sessions can be approved by each counselor.. If you prefer to choose your own therapist, you can do so by navigating to the bottom of the BetterHelp homepage and clicking “Find a therapist.” However, this choice isn’t explained in BetterHelp’s FAQs page.. Once you’ve paid for your first month, week or quarter, BetterHelp assigns you an online “room” where you can exchange private messages with your counselor.. BetterHelp matched me with a therapist with more than 25 years of counseling experience who specialized in depression, anxiety and family conflict, as well as other areas of mental health and wellness.. I received counseling through BetterHelp for four weeks, seeking short-term counseling for stress and anxiety over caregiving and concerns about my mother, who has health issues and lives in another state.. I didn’t use messaging, live chat or phone sessions for counseling, but my therapist advised me during each session that those options were available and encouraged me to use them.. While I didn’t use BetterHelp’s live chat, phone or text messaging options, those services are easily accessible, secure and could be equally beneficial for the right person.. BetterHelp is an excellent option for people seeking online counseling for certain mental health issues.. Online therapy platforms connect you with licensed providers, which can include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers and licensed professional counselors.

Do you agree with BetterHelp's TrustScore? Voice your opinion today and hear what 4,633 customers have already said.

If therapy is something that you feel you need, I would most encourage you to try using BetterHelp since all of your needs and search for a therapist are all one window.. My experience at Betterhelp has been rewarding and helpful, they catered for therapists that would be suitable for my issues and the kind of guidance I would need.. Best therapy ever!The platform made it easy to find a great therapist as well as help me out when communicating with them.. I came across Betterhelp and was matched with a therapist half way around the world.. It’s an absolute blessing that I found Betterhelp and my therapist.

Talkspace vs. Betterhelp

For instance, only Talkspace offers psychiatry services and sleep therapy, while Betterhelp’s services are generally a bit more affordable, with the base plan including both messaging and live sessions.. Talkspace is an online therapy service that allows you to connect with a licensed therapist by live video, over the phone or by text.. You can also reach out to your therapist at any time through text, audio, picture and video messages, and get a guaranteed response daily, five days a week, according to the company.. Talkspace offers a range of services including the following:. Therapy Services Cost The exact cost of Talkspace depends on your location and the subscription service you choose.. Psychiatry Services Cost The platform’s psychiatry services do cost more, and you will pay $199 for your initial session, and $125 for follow-up sessions.. One differentiator of Talkspace is its sleep therapy service, which is an eight-week program during which you will work with a licensed provider who is trained in treating sleep disorders, including insomnia.. Betterhelp also allows you to send messages to your therapist any time.. However, Talkspace does offer more in terms of options.. At the end of the day, it really comes down to whether you’re willing to pay more for a wider offering of services with Talkspace.. BetterHelp Online Therapy


1. Ambivalent Attachment [Powerful New Relationship Insights]
(Power Couples Education)
2. Ambivalent attachment & black lives matter - 3 ways the ambivalent are affected | Dr Sia
(Dr Sia)
3. What Is Your Attachment Style?
(The School of Life)
4. ISTDP - ambivalent attachment - How come everyone judges me? | Dr Sia - Final Session
(Dr Sia)
5. How to Cope With an Avoidant Partner
(The School of Life)
6. Understanding an Ambivalent Resistant Attachment Style & How it Affects a Loving Relationship Part 2
(Online Couples Counseling)

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