Anxious Attachment Style Signs

Attachment is a fundamental human need. It is the strong emotional bond that develops between the child and their caregiver. It is through this attachment that children learn their self-worth, social skills, self-esteem, and social relationships. Attachment styles can be described as a set of youthful behavior patterns that develop as a result of early-caregiver interactions.

Anxious attachment is one of the four types of attachment that has been identified by psychologists. It develops as a result of inconsistent caregiving, where the child may receive intermittent attention and affection from their caregivers. Anxious attachment style can have a significant effect on the child’s ability to form healthy relationships and can lead to several problems in adulthood. Below are some of the signs of an anxious attachment style:

1. Fear of abandonment

People with an anxious attachment style often experience intense feelings of anxiety and insecurity regarding their romantic relationships. They typically have a profound fear of losing their partner and are always seeking reassurances from them. They tend to cling on to their partner and get overly attached, even if they know that the relationship is not good for them. The fear of abandonment can lead to extreme behaviors, such as emotional blackmail, jealousy, and controlling behavior.

2. Co-dependency

Individuals with an anxious attachment style have a tendency to become co-dependent with their partners. They are always seeking validation and attention and can quickly become overwhelmed by the feeling of being alone. This often leads to them over-relying on their partner to fulfill their emotional and physical needs. In some cases, people with an anxious attachment style may even enable their partner’s unhealthy behaviors to maintain a sense of attachment, which can be dangerous.

3. Excessive need for approval

People with anxious attachment tend to have an excessive need for approval from their partner. They feel the need to prove themselves worthy of love and attention, which can lead to over-compensation in the relationship. This often makes them overly accommodating to their partner’s needs and can lead to neglecting their own needs and desires. The constant need for approval can lead to an unhealthy relationship dynamic, where the anxious individual is always trying to please their partner at any cost.

4. High emotional reactivity

Individuals with an anxious attachment style tend to have a high level of emotional reactivity. They can become emotionally dysregulated during conflict, which can escalate even minor disagreements into larger issues. This high level of emotional reactivity can make it challenging to resolve conflicts and maintain healthy communication. Rather than discussing the issue, people with an anxious attachment style often react impulsively and emotionally, which can lead to misunderstandings and relationship conflicts.

5. Difficulty trusting

People with an anxious attachment style tend to struggle with trusting their partners. They are often suspicious and can believe that their partner is withholding information or lying to them. This can lead to constant questioning and the need for reassurances from their partner, which can become exhausting for both parties. The inability to trust can make it difficult for individuals with an anxious attachment style to maintain healthy relationships, as trust is the foundation of any successful partnership.

6. Negative self-image

Finally, people with an anxious attachment style tend to have a negative self-image. They often believe that they are not good enough and can struggle with feelings of inadequacy. This negative self-image can make it challenging to form healthy long-term relationships, as they may not believe that they deserve love and affection. They may also be more prone to negative self-talk and engage in destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, to cope with their feelings of low self-worth.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that an anxious attachment style does not have to be permanent. It is possible to overcome this attachment style through self-awareness, therapy, and strong personal relationships. If you or someone you know shows signs of anxious attachment, it may be helpful to seek support from a therapist or counselor. Through building self-awareness, it is possible to create healthy relationships based on trust, love, and respect.

FAQs

FAQs about Anxious Attachment Style Signs

Q: What is anxious attachment?

Anxious attachment is a relationship style characterized by a fear of abandonment, a need for constant reassurance, and a tendency to become overly attached and dependent on romantic partners. People with an anxious attachment style may feel insecure and crave intimacy, but also experience anxiety and doubt in their relationships.

Q: What are some signs of an anxious attachment style?

Signs of an anxious attachment style include constantly seeking validation and reassurance from partners, feeling intense anxiety and fear when a partner is away or not responding, and feeling jealous or possessive in relationships. People with an anxious attachment style may also be quick to label relationships as “perfect” or “terrible,” and may fear being alone.

Q: Can anxious attachment be changed?

Yes, with self-reflection and therapy, it is possible to modify attachment styles. Strategies include exploring attachment patterns and triggers, improving communication skills, and building self-esteem and independence. It is important to remember that change takes time and effort, but can lead to more fulfilling relationships and a greater sense of security.


References

1. Collins, N. L., & Feeney, B. C. (2004). Working models of attachment shape perceptions of social support: Evidence from experimental and observational studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(3), 363–383.
2. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. Guilford Press.
3. Schimmenti, A., & Bifulco, A. (2015). Linking lack of care in childhood to anxiety disorders in emerging adulthood: The role of attachment styles. Child Abuse & Neglect, 42, 30–40.