I know how it goes… You’re living your life to the fullest, spending time with friends and crushing it in your career. You feel confident, stable, and secure in yourself and everything you have to offer.
Then you meet someone, go on a few dates, and you feel like you’ve met the person of your dreams. You are CONVINCED they are “The One.” Your conversation flows naturally, you feel the “spark,” you’re wildly attracted to them, and you can’t stop smiling and laughing when you’re with them. It feels like you’ve known this person forever.
Then… that high starts to wear off and suddenly you are absolutely consumed with anxiety. It’s horrible. You haven’t heard from them in a few hours or maybe even a few days – this is when the overthinking from your takes over. Your anxious attachment style makes you replay everything you said that might’ve turned them off, stalk their social media, try to figure out what went wrong. And even when you’re out there living your life, they’re always in the back of your mind.
You feel obsessed and wonder what’s wrong with you. Am I coming on too strong? Did I scare them away? And the worst part is deep down you KNOW your worth… but that incessant voice on your head is telling you that you’re not good enough, you’re too much, you’re too needy, or you’re crazy.
The good news that you’re not broken and there’s so many people like you – you just have an anxious attachment style. The bad news is it totally sucks being trapped in this cycle.
What is An Anxious Attachment Style?
An anxious attachment style is a way of relating to others in which a person tends to experience heightened levels of anxiety and insecurity in close relationships. People with an anxious attachment style often feel a deep need for emotional closeness and validation from their partners, but also worry that their partners may not reciprocate these feelings or may abandon them.
People with an anxious attachment style may be particularly sensitive to perceived signs of rejection or disinterest from their partners, and may engage in behaviors like seeking excessive reassurance, being overly accommodating, or becoming overly preoccupied with their partner’s thoughts and feelings. These behaviors can sometimes create a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the partner feels smothered or overwhelmed, which can lead to further anxiety and insecurity for the person with the anxious attachment style.
It’s important to remember that having an anxious attachment style is not a character flaw or something to be ashamed of. It’s simply one way of relating to others that can be shaped by past experiences and relationships. With awareness and effort, it’s possible to develop more secure attachment patterns and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
Should You Hide Your Anxious Attachment Style So You Don’t Scare People Away?
Conventional dating advice tells you to play it cool, let them come to you – chase don’t attract. And while I agree you don’t want to be blowing up someone’s phone or telling them you love them after 3 weeks… I don’t recommend this tactic.
Why? Because you’re ignoring your own needs and perpetuating a cycle by attracting avoidantly attached individuals. Trying to convince someone of your worth will only lead to greater insecurities, frustration, anxiety, and heartbreak. You are already worthy of love, commitment, care, and stability – and you can find that! So, by being straightforward with your needs, you can weed out potential partners who aren’t ready for the level of commitment you are looking for and seriously believe people when they say they aren’t looking for a relationship!
By being open and honest about your anxious attachment style, you can attract partners who are more compatible with your needs and who can support you in your healing and growth. It can also help you break free from old patterns and develop more secure attachment patterns over time.
How To Heal An Anxious Attachment Style
Healing an anxious attachment style is a process that can take time and effort, but it’s definitely possible with the right mindset and strategies. Here are a few tips:
- Learn to self-soothe: Those of us who are anxiously attached never learned to self-regulate due to inconsistent or unavailable parents growing up. This is why we constantly look to others to regulate our nervous system– evidenced by how much relief you feel when they finally text you back. We are meant to heal in relationship and co-regulate, but we also need to feel secure in our own bodies. It’s a balance of soothing yourself and also reaching for support.
- Practice self-compassion: Recognize that your anxious attachment style is not a flaw or a personal failing. Be gentle and kind with yourself as you work through the healing process.
- Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs: Anxious attachment styles are often driven by deep-seated fears of rejection or abandonment. Identify these negative thoughts and try to reframe them in a more positive, realistic light.
- Develop healthier coping mechanisms: Instead of engaging in behaviors like seeking excessive reassurance or becoming overly preoccupied with your partner’s thoughts and feelings, try to develop healthier coping mechanisms like mindfulness, journaling, or self-care activities that help you feel more grounded and centered.
- Communicate with your partner: Be open and honest with your partner about your attachment style and your needs. Practice healthy communication skills like active listening, empathy, and assertiveness.
Remember, healing an anxious attachment style is a journey, not a destination. With patience, persistence, and self-compassion, you can develop more secure attachment patterns and build stronger, healthier relationships.
Now that you have this awareness of your anxious attachment style, you can begin to heal and develop a more secure attachment, developing rich, fulfilling relationships with yourself and others.
I recommend working with a professional counselor to dig deeper into the traumas you’ve gone through. These patterns are engrained into your nervous system and play out subconsciously – that spark you’re feeling is actually anxiety from your attachment system being triggered. So, when you finally meet someone who is securely attached, meaning they’re available and open to love, you might dismiss them because you weren’t feeling it right away. Learn to love yourself first and give the nice ones a chance! I promise it’s worth it.
Reference: Attached : The new science of adult attachment and how it can help you find- and keep-love. Amir Levine (Author), Rachel Heller (Author)