In an ideal situation, children come to rely on a consistent, loving presence to keep them safe and model positive behaviors. Because their attachment needs are met and the nervous system learns (and remembers) how to regulate emotional pain in the context of a healthy relationship, they develop a secure attachment style.
But what happens in a less-than-ideal situation?
If a primary caregiver fails to meet a child’s needs or there is some other interruption to the bonding process (like an illness or absence), the child quickly learns to adapt in order to survive.
These adaptations are called insecure attachment styles, or the different ways we interact and behave in a relationship in order to have our needs met.
It’s important to remember that having an insecure attachment style isn’t inherently bad. An insecure adaptation style is simply the tool your brain and body utilize as a response to less-than-ideal conditions.