Growing up, anxious attachment is rooted in abandonment fears and care-related inconsistencies. It frequently develops when children are reliant on untrustworthy caregivers. They are repeatedly taught that their caregivers may or may not show up when they are needed. This article will show more light on anxious attachment, triggers, and how to self-soothe (detailed guide).
What Is Anxious Attachment?
Anxious attachment is one of three types of unhealthy attachment, the others being an avoidant attachment and disorganized attachment. Anxious attachment is caused by erratic caregiver responses to children.
What Is the Source or causes of an Anxious Attachment?
Anxious attachment emerges during childhood. The interactions and relationships you have with your parents or other primary caregivers ultimately lay the groundwork. Therefore, If those interactions are frequently anxiety-inducing, then you’re likely to form an anxious attachment. The following are some examples of interactions that can lead to anxious attachment:
1. Inconsistency: When a parent’s actions vary, such as switching between loving and neglectful, it leaves the child anxious and unsure if their needs will be met.
2. Parenting styles on the extremes: On one extreme, there may be a parent who is overly controlling and does not allow for age-appropriate independence. On the other hand, it could be a parent who isn’t paying attention to their child and isn’t present in their lives.
3. Trauma or distress: This attachment style can be triggered by abuse or stressful situations such as a messy divorce, violence, or extreme poverty.
These events and interactions can be stressful, which is why people who have anxious attachments tend to be more stressed and have a harder time in future relationships.
Attachment Anxiety Preoccupation
Anxious preoccupied attachment is an attachment style in which a person experiences anxiety in their relationships with significant others. It is based on attachment theory, which contends that our childhood experiences have an impact on our relationships later in life.
Those who have an anxious–preoccupied attachment style typically have low self-esteem and a more positive outlook on others. They also seek security and intimacy from others, particularly romantic partners. They can, however, become overly reliant on relationships, which can result in overwhelming panic and worry about their partner’s behavior and intentions.
Anxious Preoccupied Attachment Symptoms
The following are some of the most common symptoms of an anxious preoccupied attachment style:
1. Loss of self-esteem
2. A constant desire for intimacy and closeness
3. Being concerned that your partner will abandon you
4. Being overly reliant on your partner
5. Persistent anxiety about rejection and abandonment
6. A constant desire to please and gain the approval of others
7. Difficulty putting your trust in your partner
8. Needing frequent reassurance that you are being cared for
9. Extremely sensitive to your partner’s actions and moods
Anxious Attachment Disorder
So, here are some bad habits to avoid if you want to keep your anxious attachment disorder under control.
- Do not undervalue yourself in order to make someone else happy.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating or drinking, as well as not eating or sleeping enough.
- Avoid making yourself too accessible to others. You are neglecting and abandoning yourself and your needs by doing so.
- Do not succumb to negative thinking.
- Avoid the savior complex, which is an extension of the childhood fantasy of being rescued from your miserable situation. You give others power over yourself when you put them on a pedestal.
- Do not feel the need to impress others. You are exposing yourself to manipulation and exploitation by doing so.
- Avoid going into fight-or-flight mode. This is counter-productive.
Triggers of Anxious Attachment
So many incidents, whether intentional or unintentional, may intentionally or unintentionally trigger someone with anxious attachment due to their general insecurities, including:
1. Lack of responsiveness can triggers anxious attachment:
An anxiously attached person may be triggered when their partner does not respond to texts or phone calls for an extended period. Because they don’t know why their partner isn’t responding, they may become concerned about what may have happened or what they may have done to push their partner away.
2. Perceived relationship threat or loss:
Certain levels of conflict can be beneficial to many people. Genuinely discussing issues, on the other hand, may trigger fear of abandonment in people who have anxiety attachment. If they hear their partner express doubts or fears about the relationship, they may catastrophize and assume the relationship is falling apart, sometimes self-sabotaging it.
3. The partner begins to act more independently:
If an anxiously attached person’s partner begins making new friends or taking up new hobbies, it can cause feelings of abandonment and a lack of interest.
4. Unpredictability of behavior:
When an anxious person does not know what to expect from their relationship, it creates a lot of insecurity for the person, which is very much linked to their early attachment with their caregiver. This could be a partner who says all the right things but then abruptly disappears.
Distance, even if perceived, can be triggering for people with anxious attachment styles who require constant validation. This can manifest as a partner going out with friends, connecting with others, or being unavailable due to work or family obligations.
How to Self-Soothe Anxious Attachment
Understanding how to deal with stress and anxiety is critical for one’s mental health. However, It is critical to understand how to develop a skill set for yourself to deal with daily and situational anxieties.
Try some of the following techniques to help raise your awareness and self-esteem while also improving your stress-relieving techniques:
- Recognize your fears
- Be open to the possibility of developing self-healing techniques.
- Experiment with various approaches and methods for calming yourself.
- Experiment with things that are outside of your comfort zone; you never know what might work for you.
- Keep track of your progress.
Insecure Anxious Attachment
An insecure anxious attachment style is a way of approaching relationships marked by fear or uncertainty. This attachment style, one of several, can make it difficult for people to form deep emotional and intimate connections with a partner.
What Are the Causes of Insecure Attachment Styles?
Attachment styles emerge during childhood and are shaped by caregiver-child relationships. It essentially refers to how we were emotionally cared for or neglected as children. People with insecure attachment styles experienced a lack of consistency, dependability, support, and safety as children.
Here are some examples of behaviors:
- Adherent to caregiver
- Deliberately avoiding caregiver
- Constantly crying uncontrollably
- Hiding or suppressing feelings
- Experiencing distress or panic when a parent abandons them
- Pretending to be self-sufficient while secretly desiring attention
- Fear of trying new things, especially in a new situation
- Ineffective emotional regulation
- A lack of self-esteem and self-worth
- Difficulties in seeking assistance
- Drives others away
- Anxiety about being abandoned
- Overly reliant or clingy on a partner
- Excessive independence or aversion to intimacy with a partner
- Seeking constant reassurance in a relationship
- Feeling envious of and threatened by a partner’s independence
How to fix Insecure attachment Style
It is critical to understand your attachment style in order to heal. It may be beneficial to take a test to determine whether you have an anxious, avoidant, or fearful-avoidant attachment style. Knowing why and how it may have developed is beneficial so that you can begin to work on these feelings and behaviors in your relationship. Therapy can assist people in unpacking these underlying factors, learning new coping strategies, and becoming more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and needs.
Investing in healthy and supportive relationships, whether with friends, loved ones, mentors, or a partner, is also important. Working with your partner and communicating this is also beneficial so that you are both aware of these patterns and have a strategy in place to address them. To build a secure relationship, both partners must trust each other and feel secure as individuals.
How to Fix an Anxious Attachment Style
1. Recognize your attachment style:
An understanding of attachment styles can help explain our potential barriers to trust, close connection, and intimacy as adults. Understanding why you behave the way you do in relationships is the first step toward breaking those patterns. Every change begins with introspection and self-awareness.
2. Modify your behavior:
You can begin making more informed decisions once you are aware of how this attachment causes problems in your relationships. The anxious behaviors you are accustomed to engaging in do not result in what you truly desire. Choosing differently, even if it is frightening or uncomfortable, can help you begin to make changes that will lead to a secure relationship.
3. Speak with someone you trust:
Overcoming an anxious attachment style usually necessitates the assistance of others. Reaching out to trusted family and friends could be a good place to start. Because anxious attachment makes it difficult for people close to them to trust them. It is also advised to seek therapy. Anxious attachment style is common, and most therapists can assist with it. A little effort now can save a lot of heartache and headache later on.
Anxious Attachment Style in Relationships
If you’ve developed this type of attachment, you may find it difficult to feel secure in any type of relationship, including those with family, friends, and partners.
Relationships can frequently be found to be:
You may also be insecure in your relationships and fear rejection or abandonment. Women who experienced anxious attachment as children and were abused were found to struggle with relationships later in life.
Dealing with Anxious Attachments Style in Relationships
If you have an anxious attachment, there are some things you can do.
1. Improve your communication skills. Learning to express your emotions and ask for what you require can help you be more clear in your relationships. Nonverbal cues such as posture and gestures can help you better understand how your partner feels. This can assist you in reaching more appropriately.
2. Attend therapy. If you’re having relationship problems, it’s a good idea to see a therapist. Therapy can assist you in resolving some of the early childhood experiences that provided you with this relationship blueprint.
3. Locate someone who is firmly attached. It may feel awkward at first to be in a relationship with someone who has a secure attachment. This can help you understand what it’s like to be in a stable and safe relationship. Make an effort to make friends with people who have high self-esteem, have good boundaries, and are securely attached.
How to move from Anxious Attachment to Secure
Knowing yourself, developing self-esteem, and discovering self-compassion are typically a series of steps forward and back; however, there are some steps that will not lead you astray:
- Continue to hone the skills you already have and the interests you have, so you can spend more time in flow, or immersed in your favorite activities, living passionately.
Finding the things you love and the zone where you’re brilliant, where time melts away into bliss, can take time.
- Take some calculated risks, but try things that will take you out of your comfort zone.
Building self-esteem necessitates both patience and courage. When you push yourself and discover that you are stronger and braver than you previously thought, you will be proud of your bravery.
- Become physically strong because the process of doing so will strengthen your mind as well.
Taking care of yourself physically, attending to your wellness, and practicing self-care cultivates emotional strength and stability more than you may realize.
- Developing self-esteem and self-compassion necessitates more profound changes.
If your self-talk, or how you talk to yourself in your head, is harsh and critical. It is critical to become aware of this and to begin instilling some new ideas. If you’re harsh on yourself, consider whether you’d speak to someone else in the same way.
- Acceptance is generated by insight, understanding, and awareness, which fuels your journey toward emotional freedom.
Related articles: INTIMACY IN RELATIONSHIP: How To Understand Build & Increase Intimacy
Children who live with neglectful, abusive, or emotionally unavailable caregivers are more likely to develop anxious attachment. This attachment style may increase the risk of anxiety disorders and low self-esteem later in life, as well as negatively impact relationships.
You may be able to restructure your thoughts as an adult to help you move toward a more secure attachment style. This will necessitate a combination of self-awareness, patience, and deliberate effort. Working with a therapist can also aid in breaking the cycle of anxious attachment.
Can anxiety make you attached to someone?
For people who suffer from “attachment anxiety,” or who long to be closer to their partners but never seem to get close enough, the day can be filled with disappointment and feelings of being unloved. Attachment anxiety is the fear that you are unlovable and that your partner will reject or abandon you.
How do you stop anxious attachment?
Creating strong social networks outside of romantic relationships can also be beneficial. You may not feel as reliant on a partner if you have supportive friends and family members, and thus far they will leave. Important: Parents can help their children avoid having an anxious attachment style by taking proactive measures.
Is anxious attachment bad?
This attachment style can lead to anxiety disorders and low self-esteem later in life, as well as causing problems in relationships. You may be able to restructure your thoughts as an adult to help you transition to a more secure attachment style.