How It Affects Your Relationships (And How To Fix Anxious Attachment)
As children, we learn to form our first meaningful relationships, starting with our parents, siblings, guardians, or caretakers, and those connections we form help us develop secure and strong relationships (as well as personalities).
But what happens when our basic needs aren’t met? What if the relationships we form are fearful and anxious?
Fearful, nervous, and anxious relationships and personalities can determine how our future relationships will pan out. Here, we’ll be exploring more about another insecure attachment style, Fearful-Avoidant Attachment or Anxious-Avoidant Attachment.
An individual who develops an anxious-avoidant attachment style often desires close connection with others but also feels anxious and fearful of intimacy. Why?
These people, in childhood, have been through insecure attachment experiences which have made them fearful of intimacy and close relationships. Their personalities drive them to reject closeness. This kind of attachment can cause an individual to enter unstable relationships with emotional ups and downs.
Let’s take a look at what is anxious-avoidant attachment, the signs, and what steps you can take in overcoming fearful-avoidant attachment.
What Is Anxious-Avoidant Attachment?
Anxious-avoidant attachment style is an insecure anxious attachment that causes one to feel nervous and stressed about their relationships. People with anxious attachment need constant reassurance and care from their partners but also fear intimacy and rejection from them.
Anxious-avoidant attachment causes people to enter unstable, unhealthy, or even toxic and abusive relationships, just because they have difficulty being alone.
People with anxious insecure attachment have trust issues and might shy away from opening up, sharing emotions but have no trouble relying on others for their emotional needs. Their actions might even be irrational and extremely emotional.
Signs Of Anxious-Avoidant Attachment
According to attachment theory, the signs of anxious-avoidant or fearful-avoidant attachment can be:
- Extreme trouble controlling emotions in the relationship
- Poor response to negative emotions
- Having poor self-worth
- Viewing others’ support in a negative way
- Having little to no interest in romantic relationships
- Higher tendency to enter casual relationships
- Higher tendency to become anxious and fearful in a relationship
- Higher tendency to withdraw from relationships when things get too personal
- Having a fear of intimacy or being a commitment-phobe
The anxious-avoidant attachment style develops in childhood when a child feels fear towards their caregiver or parent. In simple words, when a child is afraid of their parents when they seek comfort but does not easily trust them is more likely to develop anxious-avoidant attachment.
As an adult, they may seek or desire intimacy but at the same time, might fear the close connection or might even try to escape the relationship, even if the relationship is secure and healthy.
Anxious Attachment In Relationships
Adults with anxious-avoidant attachment are more likely to have unstable, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Such adults prefer casual relationships as they crave intimacy but are anxious when it comes to meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
Adults with anxious and fearful-avoidant attachment often fear being abandoned as well as being controlled in a relationship. This can make them avoid meaningful relationships as their moods often fluctuate.
In a secure relationship, partners take time to get to know each other – their likes, dislikes, fears, and much more, however, in an insecure anxious attachment, a person might feel like they are being pushed out of their comfort and are forced to share their emotions and thoughts. This kind of thinking may cause them to shut or withdraw from a relationship.
Overcoming Anxious-Avoidant Attachment
It can be challenging to understand if you’re struggling with anxious-avoidant attachment without a professional’s help. If you are an adult with an anxious-avoidant attachment, then there are ways you can overcome your insecure attachment style.
One of the most effective and helpful ways is talk therapy. This therapy can help you learn to cope with and gradually change your insecure anxious attachment style to a secure attachment. If it’s your partner who’s struggling with anxious-avoidant attachment, you can try family therapy or couples therapy to learn how to help them cope with their fears.
Other ways you can overcome anxious attachment style in adults can be:
1. Value Your Self-Worth
Adults with insecure anxious attachments have low self-esteem and this can create difficulty when it comes to relationships. Give yourself space to understand your self-worth and know that some relationships are worth it while some aren’t.
2. Vocalize Your Boundaries
Adults with anxious attachment styles often set boundaries, but are mostly hidden. These boundaries they set help them feel secure in emotional circumstances. For your relationship to be long-lasting, you can try to vocalize your boundaries. Tell your partner what triggers your fear and anxiety.
3. Improve Communication
All of us are different and so are our communication styles. If you tend to withdraw when emotional conversations begin, your partner can try to encourage you to share your emotions. If your partner becomes emotional, you can try ways to calm them down.
If your partner is struggling with anxious-avoidant attachment, you can…
4. Encourage Them To Talk
Adults with anxious attachment desire intimacy and closeness but they are also extremely fearful of the same. As their partner, you can encourage them to open up about their fears but don’t force them to talk. Forcing them could make them withdraw or shut down all communication.
5. Be Compassionate
If your partner has an anxious or fearful-avoidant attachment style, they might fear that you’ll leave them or reject them. In that case, you need to be supportive and compassionate. Understand their fears and try to convey to them that they’re safe with you.
Attachment is how we learn to communicate with others. While some people develop healthy, secure attachment styles, others may develop insecure and anxious attachment styles. This can lead to self-sabotaging actions and avoiding intimacy – emotional or physical – in a relationship.
However, you CAN change your attachment style with the right help, support, and effort. To build a secure attachment, you need to understand and be compassionate with yourself and your past while trying to be kind to your partners.
If your partner has an anxious-avoidant attachment style, then you can try to be compassionate towards them and understand that it’s about them and not you.
If you’d like to contact a couples counselor you can sign up below at BetterHelp to connect with trained and licensed counselors. You can also write to us at email@example.com for more.
What is your attachment style? Find out here and let us know in the comments below!