Insecurity can manifest itself in a variety of ways including developing an anxious attachment style. Anxious attachment, also known as an ambivalent attachment or anxious-preoccupied attachment, is part of the three insecure attachment styles that affect people’s social behaviours. It refers to anxiety experienced about relationships with loved ones such as parents, friends, and partners. This leads to an unhealthy attachment to the other person to offer you the extra comfort and assurance you need.
You may find yourself constantly questioning whether your partner really likes you or you may take some comments they make a little too personally. It’s important to identify such issues so you can learn how to deal with them. Here’s a guide on the anxious attachment style.
Parenting Style: According to experts, our attachment style is influenced by the relationship we had with our mothers or primary caregivers. Children seek the comfort and approval of their parents or guardian. Therefore, when a parent is neglectful, overly controlling, or abusive, they may not develop a sense of security in future relationships. A Beginner’s Guide To Gentle Parenting
Preference: While there is often trauma associated with anxious attachment, at times, it could just be an attachment preference. Some people are simply clingy by nature due to fear of rejection or abandonment. When this fear is elevated, it turns into anxiety.
Genetics: Anxiety can also be a genetic component. Children as young as 4 months of age can show signs of a generalized anxiety disorder (such as a fast-beating heart and fear of strangers), which can develop into separation anxiety later in life if parents don’t learn how to manage their child’s anxiety. Anxiety In Children – Symptoms And Strategies To Help
Trauma: Traumatic experiences such as abuse, violence, and divorce can lead to high-stress levels and trigger this attachment style. this may explain why people in abusive relationships stay with their toxic partners. A study conducted on a group of young girls found that those who had an anxious attachment style also had higher cortisol levels – a stress hormone – than those with a secure attachment style.
Children and adults have different signs of anxious attachment. A child develops anxious attachment toward their caregiver and becomes inconsolable when they are separated from them. On the other hand, adults tend to be always worried about their relationship thus making them develop an unhealthy attachment to the other person. Some of the symptoms can be as follows:
- They need constant reassurance and affection from their partner to make them feel loved and cared for.
- They may also have trouble being alone or single. Adults with an anxious attachment style are often afraid of or even incapable of being alone and move from one relationship to the other.
- Low self-esteem is another symptom of anxious attachment. The person doesn’t feel good enough or worthy of love probably because they experienced rejection during their childhood.
- Anxious adults can be intensely jealous in relationships due to the fear of rejection and abandonment.
- They can also become desperate and clingy.
- They seek intimacy and closeness and are highly emotional and dependent on others. The presence of the loved one appears to be a remedy for their strong emotional needs.
Some events might seem normal to other people but to someone with anxious attachment, they might trigger them. A trigger is something that magnifies your emotions and causes an increase in anxiety. Wondering what situations can cause you, your partner or your loved one to show signs of anxious attachment? Here are some.
- Fear of relationship loss
- Meeting new people How To Overcome Social Anxiety
- Cliquey groups of people
- People making harmless jokes about you
- Something reminding you of a previous abandonment
- A friend being distant
- Your partner not calling or talking to you
- Your partner talking to someone else
- People avoiding you
- A reminder of the attachment figure from your childhood who traumatized you and abused you
- Being around other people who are anxiously attached
- Use affirmations. You can keep an affirmation journal to remind yourself to stay positive and appreciate yourself. How To Use Affirmations To Rewire Your Brain And Change Your Life
- Have goals and focus on them. Decide to move forward and make new choices that support the life you want now, instead of focusing on how you’ve been treated in the past
- See a therapist who has experience helping people with anxious attachment develop healthier relationships. You can also try family therapy if any family issues are preventing you from moving on with your life.
- Knowledge is power. Research and learn more about attachment anxiety so you have a better understanding of the issue.
- Recognize the people and events that are likely to trigger your attachment anxiety.
- Tell your partner if you’re anxiously attached and strategize on ways to deal with it.
- Find a partner who doesn’t minimize your feelings but provides reassurance.
- Encouraging a partner with anxious attachment to seeking help.
- Attend couples’ therapy.
Parenting: Anxiety In Children – Symptoms And Strategies To Help
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