Anxious Attachment

anxious attachment style

Attachment is a fundamental aspect of human development, reflecting the emotional bond that develops between a child and their caregiver. This bond influences the nature of your relationships throughout life, serving as a blueprint for how you connect with others.

Among the various attachment styles identified by psychologists, anxious attachment can profoundly impact your interpersonal relationships in adulthood.

Identifying Attachment Styles

Attachment theory, developed by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, suggests that the nature of the bond formed between a child and their primary caregiver lays the groundwork for future relational patterns. A secure attachment fosters confidence and a positive self-image, whereas an insecure or anxious attachment can make it difficult for you to relate to others.

Attachment styles fall into three categories.

  1. Secure: People with a secure attachment feel comfortable with trust and intimacy in their relationships.
  2. Anxious: People with an anxious attachment style fear abandonment. They frequently seek approval and reassurance from their partners.
  3. Avoidant: People with avoidant attachment may prioritize their independence and self-sufficiency over intimacy. They tend to be emotionally distant and reluctant to form close relationships.

Characteristics of Anxious Attachment in Adults

Anxious attachment in childhood occurs when caregivers are inconsistently responsive or overly intrusive, confusing the child about what level of care and affection to expect from adults.

In adulthood, this attachment style can manifest in the following tendencies.

  • Heightened sensitivity to your partner: Anxiously attached people may walk on eggshells around their partner, fearing rejection or abandonment even from minor actions.
  • Need for constant reassurance: They often seek validation and approval to quell their insecurities.
  • Fear of being alone: You may stay in unhealthy relationships longer than you should to avoid experiencing extreme distress when a relationship ends.
  • Jealousy and possessiveness: Anxious attachment can result in controlling behaviors, stemming from fears of infidelity or loss.
  • Emotional volatility: Your mood may shift rapidly in response to perceived threats to the relationship or changes in your partner’s responsiveness.

Can You Change Your Attachment Style?

If you have an anxious attachment style, you can work on changing it to a more secure relational pattern. Here are strategies to foster security within yourself and your relationships.

  1. Build self-awareness: When you recognize your attachment style, you can start identifying patterns that may influence your behavior in relationships.
  2. Seek therapy: A therapist can help you identify and address the root causes of anxious attachment and develop healthier ways of relating to others.
  3. Express yourself: Learning to communicate your expectations and desires can foster trust and intimacy.
  4. Increase your self-esteem: Exercise and other practices that enhance your sense of self-worth can reduce dependency on others for validation.
  5. Practice mindfulness: Meditation and other stress reduction techniques can help you manage the emotional upheaval associated with an anxious attachment style.

Support at Amend Wellness

At Amend Wellness, we understand that many obstacles may prevent you from living your best life. We have created a healing sanctuary where you can fully rest and receive expert treatment for your well-being.

When you arrive, our clinicians will evaluate your mental, physical, nutritional, hormonal, and emotional state and customize a plan that restores your equilibrium. Our mission is to enable every client to regain their optimal state of well-being and thrive in their daily lives. We address anxiety, PTSD, and other conditions that may impact your daily function with evidence-based approaches. Contact us to learn how you can overcome an anxious attachment style and improve your relationships.