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Anxious Attachment

Signs of Anxious Attachment

 

  • I seek a lot of closeness in my romantic relationship - often more than my partner/ close loved ones want to offer. I like the idea of completely merging with my partner, becoming 'one'

  • I avoid conflict - I am afraid of my partner becoming angry at me or leaving me so I try to just keep the peace 

  • The idea or being abandoned by my partner is terrifying. I'm afraid of ending up alone.

  • I am sensitive to signs of rejection. I notice easily when my partner is 'off' - reading between the lines, little body language… I feel really anxious when I notice my partner subtly pulling away

  • I put my romantic partner on a pedestal and question whether I am worthy of them  

  •  I often want reassurance that the relationship is safe and that I am really loved 

  • I find it hard to express my feelings and needs - sometimes I suppress how I feel and it comes out in an outburst of crying or anger 

  • I really like being in a relationship - it feels natural to be together and I often feel lonely between relationships 

  • I am always looking for 'the one' (if not partnered) 

  • Sometimes when I feel hurt I use protest behaviours to try to get my partner to be more responsive to me and repair the relationship. For example threatening to leave the relationship whilst secretly hoping it will lead to a declaration of love/ apology/ changed behaviour, or  withdrawing my attention hoping that they will chase me, or demanding, manipulating, keeping score, trying to make them jealous.( Protest behaviours as a symptom of anxious attachment exists on a spectrum - some anxiously attached partners are more mild and undemanding whereas others become more expressive of their anger when hurt). 

  • My protest behaviours disappear when closeness in the relationship is restored. When my partner/ closed loved ones are willing to be close and connected or I am in a relationship with a consistently emotionally available partner I feel calm and like a totally different person to how I feel with a partner/ closed loved ones who are being distant. 

  • I usually go with the flow and do what my partner wants. Sometimes I try to become who I think my partner will want e.g. agreeing with their beliefs even though I have a different opinion or changing my lifestyle in ways that don't really feel good for me.

  • I am willing to sacrifice a lot in order to make a relationship work (sometimes I have even neglected my own needs and goals and values to try to save a connection) 

  • Setting boundaries is not something I'm good at. I feel guilty and usually just go along with what others want from me. Sometimes this leads to burnout and resentment. Sometimes I set boundaries but then I let other people cross them - I find it hard to hold firm with my standards. 

  • During arguments I am usually the first one to apologise. Sometimes I even beg and plead with my partner because I'm scared of losing the relationship.

  • If my partner is uncontactable I get really anxious. I create worst case scenarios in my head such as they are going to ghost me or they are cheating on me or they stopped loving me.

  • I am prone to making frantic attempts to reestablish contact e.g. calling/ messaging multiple times.  

  • I often attract emotionally unavailable partners - sometimes I feel like I just have to accept the scraps of love I get because I've never actually had someone who was truly emotionally available. 

  •  I am attracted to these emotionally available partners because I admire their confident demeanor  and independence.

  • In my experience relationships are unstable and end easily. I'm usually the one trying to fix things and keep the relationship together - doing the work of two. 

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Path To Growth

Anxious attachment is built upon having a negative perception of self and a positive (sometimes overly/distortedly so) perception of others.


To heal your attachment wound, there are two aspects to work upon:

  • Learning to love yourself, by honouring your feelings, letting go of shame and obligation and allowing yourself to put yourself first in a healthy way

  • Taking others off their pedestal and looking at their actions realistically

©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.