The relationship of parents and their children is sacred and parents are responsible for providing their children with love, attention and support. Unfortunately, life isn’t unfair an parents have their own problems and short comings.
These short comings are sometimes manifested through their inconsistent and toxic parenting.
Love. Affection. Validation – These are the 3 vital elements that we require since our birth because they make us feel alive. It’s completely normal to have the desire to feel loved, supported.
But what happens when these emotions turn too strong to be fulfilled by anyone? Most importantly why do people develop such a personality?
In today’s blog post you’ll learn everything that you need to know about Anxious Attachment Style. Keep reading!
Anxious Attachment Style – Quiz
Wondering what kind of attachment style you have? Try out this quiz for precise results.
What is Attachment Style?
Attachment style theory was Introduced by John Bowlby, a psychologist, and psychoanalyst.
He worked on this theory for over a decade before coming to the conclusion that the caregiver-child bond influences the future of the child from all aspects.
In simpler language, Attachment style refers to the way a person bonds with people around them. It influences the cognitive, social, and emotional development of a person.
Based on his observation, Bowlby identified 4 types of attachment styles:
- Secure Attachment Style
- Anxious-Ambivalent / Anxious Attachment Style
- Avoidant Attachment Style
- Disorganized Attachment Style
Definition – What is Anxious Attachment Style?
As obvious as the name suggests, anxious attachment is when a person has an anxious personality. This personality is developed due to the fear of abandonment or being unloved by close ones.
And because they are insecure about people abandoning them, they overthink about their relationships with others and try to stabilize themselves by becoming clingy and super affectionate.
Remember that friend who adopts same interests as you just to be with you? Or the one who is very sensitive to your behaviour towards them?
Well, chances are that they have this kind of attachment style.
Anxious Attachment Style (also known as preoccupied attachment), is a toxic and repulsive behaviour. But the good news is that it can be changed with patience and consistent efforts.
Now, the most important question that arises is,
How Anxious Attachment Style is developed?
The caregiver (parents or guardian) play the vital role in developing a child’s attachment style. When the relationship between them develops lots of anxiety, the child subconsciously develops anxious attachment style.
The question arises, who are at the risk of developing this attachment style? It would be people who have endured either of the following:
When the caregiver is conditional about their love and affection.
That is, when caregiver is super attentive one moment and misattuned the other moment. This can be confusing for the child and they become unsure of their relationship with their caregivers.
Because this child has had an inconsistent parenting, they fear the abandonment and reciprocate by actions by aggression or by becoming agreeable to the caregiver.
Gradually, the child either develops the idea that they will receive love and affection only when they live according to their loved ones or they use aggression as the way to accomplish their needs.
2. Tough Parenting
Tough parenting is when the caregiver does not give age-appropriate freedom to the child by being over-protective of them.
This over-protectiveness can arise from their own insecurities such as losing control of their children or their image in the society.
Trauma of being separated from the caregiver, violence, poverty, sexual abuse, physical abuse etc. can also lead a person to develop preoccupied attachment style.
4. Emotionally Unavailable People
Remember that roller-coaster relationship where the person is rarely present in the life to provide love and support? Or one who appears out of no where once in a blue moon?
This is a classic example of an Emotionally Unavailable person.
People can develop anxious attachment style when their caregiver or close ones are mostly emotionally absent form their life.
Never the less, These 4 situations give rise to anxious attachment style in people. Their fear of being unloved subconsciously makes them overcompensate their insecurity of separation and the idea of not being loved.
Thus, giving birth to people-pleasers.
It is important to note that such caregivers are simply following the way they were raised and feel that it is the right thing to do.
Signs of Anxious Attachment Style
So, How do you identify people with anxious attachment style in a room full of people?
If a person can relate to most signs on this list, chances are that they have this kind of attachment style.
# Children with Anxious Attachment Style
- Children who don’t stop crying when separated from the parents
- Children who are over Clingy to their caregivers
- Children who don’t explore as much as other kids their age
- Children who are scare to interact with strangers and get anxious quickly
- Children who are aggressive and have no control on negative behaviors
#Adults with Anxious Attachment Style
- Difficulty trusting other people
- Low self-esteem
- Place others on the pedestal and lower themselves
- Scared of being left behind, or being unloved
- Have Separation anxiety
- Overly dependent on relationships around them
- Need frequent reassurance
- Craves intimacy but don’t feel their desires fulfilled
- Sensitive to others actions and moods
Anxious Attachment Style Person in Relationship
People who have anxious attachment style require lot of intimacy and frequent reassurance that they are loved by others. No matter how much they try, they can’t think good of themselves and easily get jealous of others.
Their fear of being left behind or being unloved multiplies their insecurities. In an attempt to overcome these insecurities, they try to do everything to make their partners happier. Unfortunately, in most cases these partners just pull away.
This grows their insecurities even more and they demand more reassurance from people around them. For the other person, the relationship starts feeling like a cup with a hole at the end where all the efforts seem to drain away quickly.
Both the people in relationship start feeling drained and exhausted. Unintentionally, growing the cracks in their relationship.
How the partner perceives this relationship depends on the attachment style of the partner as well. Some find it easy to adjust yet others can’t seem to breathe when their partner is close.
Anxious + Secure Attachment
When a person with anxious attachment style dates someone with secure attachment style, the former partner can be clingy, and overly emotional.
As this is contradictory to the personality of secure person, the constant reassurance gets exhausting and energy-draining for them.
Anxious + Anxious Attachment
When 2 people with anxious attachment style pair up, they can be a good match because both the individuals are aware of each others need. They are understanding of each others needs and fulfill them.
Anxious + Avoidant Attachment
When people with anxious and avoidant attachment style combine, it’s a recipe for disaster. This type of relationship rarely works out unless both the partners are ready to put in the efforts.
The reason why I said it out loud is because anxious and avoidant attachment are poles apart. Their needs are completely opposite. People with avoidant personality are highly independent.
If anxious personality lashes out when they are threatened on being abandoned, avoidant personality lash out when their independence is threatened.
They don’t compromise on their independence under any condition. In fact, the relationship can worsen the self-esteem of the anxious partner.
Here’s the good news though!
Anxious attachment style can be changed to a secure one. Continue reading to learn how,
Healing Anxious Attachment Style
Yes, anxious attachment style can be healed with time. But only when the person agrees to address the issue.
If you are reading this blog post for someone else, then you need to ensure that the person you are trying to help recognizes this problem and is ready to work on it.
The process is painful, and energy-draining in itself. So, If the person is uncooperative about it, you’d be watering a dead plant. Moreover, it can leave you dark scars which can perhaps change YOUR attachment style itself.
This is why, I’d advice you to seek out professional help rather than helping out yourself.
But, you don’t wanna give up that easily on your partner. So, here’s what you can do for them –
1. Clear Communication
Open and clear communication is essential to build a healthy relationship. This not only implies to people with anxious attachment style but also for everyone out there.
People with Anxious attachment style tend to overthink a lot. Clear communication ensures that they are not cooking up any stories in their heads and know exactly what’s going on.
People with Anxious attachment style tend to bottle up their emotions. They are scared that if they tell the truth, they would lose their loved ones. So, help them open up.
Be attentive about whatever they share with you, especially if they are vulnerable while sharing something.
2. Set Boundaries
You need to set graceful boundaries between you and your partner. Analyse what triggers both of you and try to work on it. If your partner has an annoying habit, sit and have a peaceful conversation to sort things out.
Instead of saying, “I don’t know why you are crying all the time?”, use phrases such as “I understand how it feels to be overwhelmed. How can I make things better for you?”
3. Give them love and affection
As I mentioned before, people with preoccupied attachment style tend to require more reassurance than the others. Instead of being aggressive and spitting facts, be gentle and supportive in your talks.
Exercise for People with Anxious Attachment
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, close your eyes and try to understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling? Ask yourself whether it is legit to feel that way? Shift your mind from all the negative overwhelming emotion towards positive ones.
This exercise will help you calm down.
Anxious Attachment isn’t a Mental Disease,
Rather it’s a personality type. It doesn’t need immediate attention but it will definitely make you and people around you happier. Imagine a life where,
- You don’t have to worry what others say
- You get to be happy despite of how people around you behave and talk
- You are free from all the emotional conflicts
- You genuinely love yourself and prioritize your needs
Well, this is what you get when you develop a secure attachment style.
How to prevent anxious attachment?
1. Pay Attention to Child’s Distress
A child can recognize the inconsistency from their caregivers from an early age of 6 months. Needless to say, a child develops healthy or secure attachment style, when their distress is handled in a loving and sensitive way.
2. Open Communication
The key problem with people who have anxious attachment style is Overthinking. The person is actively involved in assuming what the mood and behaviour of other person meant.
Having an open communication reduces the chances of misunderstanding and leaves no space for overthinking.
Meditation is the key to peaceful life, trust me. This is especially true when you have an attachment style other than the secure one.
Because turning from anxious attachment style requires self-acceptance, patience, and conscious efforts which is not possible when you are clouded with negative thoughts and Ideas.
Anxious Attachment Style refers to the personality which fears abandonment or being unloved. Such people try to overcome these insecurities by becoming overly clingy and sensitive to other people’s behaviours & moods.
This kind of Attachment style is developed from the age of 6 months to 2 years. The common causes includes – Inconsistent & tough Parenting, trauma, Emotionally absent partners etc.
Relationship can be difficult for people with this kind of attachment style unless they pair up with others who have the same personality. The good news is that it can be healed through,
- Clear Communication
- Setting clear boundaries
- Giving Love and Affection
The journey is not easy. I know this because I have been there myself. Do you have an anxious attachment style or do you know someone with it? How has your experience been so far?
Share in the comment section down below.