4 Ways to Heal an Anxious Attachment Style

How to heal anxious attachment style
By: Sasha Freemind / Unsplash copyright 2018

Anxious attachment style is one of the major issues in relationships nowadays. Though it is found in adults, its roots mainly go to childhood.

Let’s first try to know what is an anxious attachment style and the causes behind it. We will also talk about how it can be cured.

When talking about the different approaches to relationships, human nature comes into play first.

They tend to behave differently due to their social upbringings. And the major aspect of life is personal relationships.

There are many styles of attachment in interpersonal relationships such as secure attachment style, anxious preoccupied attachment style, avoidant attachment, dismissive attachment and so on.

They are products of a person’s mental and emotional upbringing and thoughts. What’s important is the way they affect our intimate relationships and mental health. 

Anxious attachment style
By: Transly / Unsplash copyright 2018

1. Anxious Attachment Style in Adults

Adult relationships are quite complicated, aren’t they? Sometimes they would test you for your commitment; other times they would test you for your loyalty, it’s our responsibility to manage and nurture our relationships in different ways.

What Does Anxious Attachment Style Mean?

Anxious attachment issue is a type of insecure attachment style which is based on fear of isolation and nervousness in romantic relationships.

People with anxious attachment issues tend to feel quite underappreciated. They are afraid of their romantic partner leaving them and ending up alone.

This issue creates quite an instability in relationships thus leading to breakups. It’s necessary in adult relationships to practice mindful communication to get rid of attachment anxiety.

Have you ever wondered why that person is introverted? Scared of expressing your own needs? The reasons might lie in childhood and the way they are being treated by people.

Someone with an anxious attachment style is insecure in romantic relationships. They want to have emotional closeness but they might be clingy and possessive causing them to take constant records from their partner.

They are afraid of rejection. And they would need constant reassurance. This type of relationship pattern is alarming and people should notice the above attachment patterns.

2. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory

John Bowlby was a psychoanalyst. He gave a theory on how anxious attachment develops. He believed that attachment behaviours were based on parenting style. His theory described it as “Lasting Psychological Connectedness Between Human Beings“.

He suggested that human’s first emotional bond forms in childhood with their primary caregiver. Therefore it has a major impact on the person’s life. As a result, the primary caregiver is responsible for the child’s emotional health.

Bowlby’s main argument was that caregivers who are emotionally available to their children would let them develop a sense of security.

The role of a caregiver would be prominent in making the child emotionally secure. A close connection between them is required to make the child more comfortable.

The two primary factors in his attachment theories are nourishment and responsiveness.

Bowlby viewed attachment as a product of the evolutionary process. He thought of attachment as a congenital force.

Anxious attachment style
By: Josh Hild/ Unsplash copyright 2020

3. Signs of Anxious Attachment Styles in Adults

Although the roots of anxious attachment are in childhood, the drastic effects can be found in adulthood. An anxious attachment style person might be stubborn and clingy and you may need to reassure them.

3.1 Fear of Rejection

A person with an anxious attachment style has low self-esteem. They can’t ask people out easily due to their fear of rejection. Therefore, they repeatedly try to express themselves. 

Sometimes they would be in constant confusion about whether to express something. For example, the fear of rejection is quite common in them.

3.2 Afraid of Being Alone

Loneliness is one of the main factors in their life. When in a relationship, they are too scared to let you go due to their fear of being alone.

This motivates them to be quite aggressive at times, creating an image of dominance. But in reality, they are afraid of being left out.

3.3 Overthinking and Overanalysing

Photo of a Man in a Black Suit with His Hand on His Head
From Pexels

Overthinking has been a rather common sign in recent times. It has been linked to various conditions and reasons. One of them is the anxious attachment style.

People who overthink tend to plan their relationships in a far-stretched manner, often causing them to panic by assuming everything.

They also have a weird habit of interrogation if the overthinking is persistent. A person with an anxious attachment style would regularly analyze and judge things without having any conversation, making it prejudiced, finally creating a big hurdle in a relationship, leading to a breakup.

3.4 Inferiority Complex

When you can’t communicate and improve self-regulation strategies effectively, things start to pile up in your head.

You start to notice how everyone is doing better than you, which forces you to view yourself as someone inferior.

People with inferiority complexes can’t appreciate themselves. They would question and overtly judge. They live in unending self-criticism. These behaviours would further allow other negative emotions to develop.

An inferiority complex hinders the normal way of behaving with others. When they reach out to a person, the inferiority complex kicks in and they can’t express themselves directly.

3.5 Hard Time Taking Time for Oneself and Making Boundaries

Man in Blue Crew Neck T-shirt and Blue Denim Jeans drawing boundaries around him
From Pexels

A person, no matter how open and extroverted they are, always needs personal space. You must know when to say yes and when to say no.

You need to take responsibility for your actions and also learn how to say ‘no’. That is how a person should behave.

Someone with an anxious attachment style fails to express the need for personal time.

They may allow anyone to step into life without permission because they can’t stand for themselves.

One can’t take time for their own emotional needs. The ability to form relationships deteriorates due to having no time for themselves.

4. How to Heal an Anxious Attachment Style

4.1 Practice Mindfulness

One of the best ways to heal anxious attachment and get rid of negative emotions is mindfulness

There are various sites and applications which can guide with practising mindfulness.

  • Pay attention:

Try to simply observe what’s happening around you. As J Krishnamurthy said, observe it without any thoughts, or judgments.

You can soothe the nervous system by doing this, as a result creating a passage for emotions to pass through.

Also, try to take deep breaths if you can.

  • Live in the moment:

The person needs to live in the present. As the Roman quote says “Carpe diem; Seize the day“.

Live your day with full energy without being anxious or carrying negative emotions. It helps the mind to cope with emotional needs and get rid of anxiety.

  • Practice meditation:

One of the most popular and useful methods to deal with anxiety and heal anxious attachment is practising meditation. It calms you and helps you with your self-esteem.

Anxious attachment style
By: Chelsea Gates/ Unsplash copyright 2020

4.2 Change the Way of Thinking

After all, we are but the product of our thoughts, aren’t we? If you change the way you think, you can also change the way you feel. This is also known as cognitive reframing.

You can try to self-regulate the flow of thoughts. You can do it by trying to remove all the negative thoughts. If it doesn’t go well for you, note down your thoughts. That will also help.

Next time when you are afraid that your partner leave you, just try to have a conversation with them. Don’t overthink about it and get yourself consumed by negative emotions.

Assumption isn’t an answer. If you let them know how you feel, your bond can grow too.

Oftentimes there is a wall of misunderstanding between two partners. One keeps thinking they might leave me if I show them my vulnerable side. It’s not true.

If you can get over that wall of insecurity and be completely open with your partner, then it doesn’t need to happen.

So, one of the biggest ways is to change the way you think. Change the thinking pattern. Your emotions might change too.

4.3 Therapy

The major treatment to treat anxious attachment style is therapy. It helps you with self-regulation.

Moreover, a mental health professional can be your typical listener if you want to open up about something. To clarify, it improves your mental health.

You may just sit with your therapist and try to find ways to overcome the lack of openness in relationships. Also, you can ponder together on how to improve it.

Person in Black Pants and Black Shoes Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair
From Pexels

Couple therapy might be for the pairs who want to uncheck all the misunderstandings developed between them. Be it due to the fear of leaving, jealousy, lack of conversation, possessiveness or anything for that matter.

These are all the concerns of anxious attachment style. So, couple therapy can be your go-to place too.

Overall, therapy makes your brain more open and it treats the emotionally disturbed persona sitting in your mind. It also tries to treat anxious attachment style.

Therapy helps in increasing emotional intimacy. In fact, it gives a sense of security to follow a healthy relationship.

4.4 Increase Trust and Security

One of the major reasons you are not getting along with someone is your habit of doubt. 

If you are an anxiously attached person, you want constant attention therefore demanding your romantic partner’s whole energy which can be off-putting.

When they do something without telling you, you don’t like it. When they go somewhere without asking, you freak out. As a result, these types of conflicts cripple your relationship.

The past is gone. It’s over. You can’t help your past by overthinking and isolating yourself. Not every person you meet is the same.

When in doubt, you should have a clear conversation with your partner. Discuss without hurting your partner’s emotions. Anger is not the answer.

Try to be open and expressive. It can be done naturally without diving deep. And you need to take care of yourself.

Remember your self-esteem and your needs should be the priority. This is the way you can build trust and security with your partner.

5. Conclusion

In summary, you should never give in to this insecure anxious attachment style. The emotional distance may grow even more if you keep overlooking it.

At last, it is humans with whom you need to form relationships. You should always look out for a more secure attachment style.

Keep in mind it’s not easy to tackle insecure attachment. But with proper support and care, you can always improve your mental health and cherish healthy relationships.

Click here for more related articles.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here