This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Attachment theory was developed to attempt to explain how newborns react when separated from and reunited with their primary caregivers.
When it comes to romantic relationships, this theory has been widened to include adults. According to attachment theory, secure, avoidant, anxious, and anxious attachments are all forms of attachments.
In this article, we’ll be focusing specifically on anxious attachment and how to either change your attachment style or better manage the the behaviors and effects of anxious attachment style in romantic partnerships.
What is Anxious Attachment?
Anxious attachment in childhood is thought to be the outcome of inconsistency in child care. This means that there’s a factor of unpredictability to a child’s necessities, and the immediate and attentive response of a parent or primary caregiver is not always possible for these children. Stress, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion are all possible causes of this erratic behavior.
Children who are not consistently cared for may see attention as valuable, but they may also see it as intangible. As a result, children may engage in both good and negative attention-seeking activities. Adults who suffer from anxious attachment tend to be perceived as needy or clingy because of their need for frequent reassurance in their relationships.
Anxious attachment can show up in many different ways, some of which are shown below:
- Worrying about the possibility of your partner rejecting or abandoning you
- Your partner’s approval is a constant source of motivation for you.
- Worrying about betrayal and abandonment
- Aspiring for intimacy in a relationship, while having doubts about your partner’s reliability
- Being overly preoccupied with your relationship and your partner to the point where it takes up the majority of your waking hours
- Attention-seeking and reliant on reassurance
- It is tough to set and respect boundaries in relationships.
- Being threatened, furious, or jealous when your lover isn’t around for what most people would consider an acceptable amount of time; using manipulation to get your partner back into your arms.
- Relationships can be tied to one’s self-worth.
- Reacting irrationally when you perceive a danger to your connection
How Can You Recognize Anxious Attachment In Your Partner?
Because you don’t know your partner’s thoughts, identifying an anxious attachment style in them may be more difficult than in yourself. An anxious attachment style is also known as preoccupied attachment, where your partner is worried about how they are regarded by you, rather than actively contributing.
Anxious attachment partners may be too possessive and need regular confirmation of your feelings and dedication to the relationship. To spend even more of your time together, they may start adopting your routines and interests. They may also appear to always agree with you out of a fear of arguments leading to disinterest or departure.
They can also be aggressive, lashing out if threatened. Even if they are not violent, they can be extremely emotional and stir up trouble. And while they act emotionally, they are often unable to express their feelings because they are out of touch.
Your spouse may not exhibit all of these features if they have an anxious attachment style, and these issues are certainly possible in partnerships with people who prefer stable attachment styles as well. However, if you feel that most of your issues stem from your partner’s relationship insecurities, they probably have an insecure, anxious attachment style.
Tips On How To Cope
This is how you can counter the effects of anxious attachment in your relationship:
- Keep a diary and write down your personal feelings. This is a good activity for releasing emotions and identifying thought and behavior patterns. Bring your journal to therapy so you can talk about it with your therapist.
- In a relationship, someone with an anxious attachment is more likely to succeed if coupled with someone with a secure attachment style, so look out for this if you’re entering the dating pool.
- Engage in regular mindfulness exercises to learn to handle your emotions and anxiety.
- Couples counseling allows you to have a dialogue with your partner led by a trained professional. They can help you process your feelings and provide you with methods to communicate outside of sessions.
- With individual therapy, you don’t need to be in a relationship to address an anxious connection. Working on yourself is a terrific way to identify attachment patterns, analyze self-esteem, and develop healthy connections with others. Learn more about the benefits of counseling at https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/attachment/.