Healing anxious attachment= treat yourself as equally important


I see a pattern where often, when an individual finds out they have anxious tendencies in their attachment style, a lot of work goes into reducing their protest behaviours: understanding that their (perhaps avoidant) partner feels overwhelmed by intensity of expression, realising that sometimes their distress can come out as anger and be perceived as criticism or control... You become more self aware of you and your s/o's differences and take their needs (which you now understand better) into consideration.


It's so beautiful that you are thinking about the impact on your person... & it's only half the equation! Healing anxious attachment involves moving from a negative view of self to a positive one, where you realise you are worthy of receiving and no longer choose relationships that are one sided. (Platonically also).


When we learn about how our feelings are our responsibility, as style with a negative view of self, we can distort what that means and think that we shouldn't 'bother' others, or that it's not okay to ask for support and affection from our partner.


A secure partner communicates their feelings and needs. Are you able to regularly say things like...

  • "When you did X, I felt really sad".

  • "Would you be able to do Y before tomorrow morning? I've been feeling so stressed, that would really help me out."

  • "I'm feeling upset about what happened yesterday. When you walked away when I wasn't finished speaking,it really hurt. I felt invisible and unloved. I know that you didn't mean for me to feel that way - would you be able to explain how it looked from your perspective? It seemed like a fear of yours might have come up that got in the way of us being able to understand each other in the moment. If we understand each other better, we can prevent that happening again :)"

  • "I've missed spending time with you this week. I know we have different preferences for how much time it feels natural together, but sometimes I worry that it means that you don't care about the relationship as much. Could we work out a plan so that I feel valued and you don't feel overwhelmed so we both win?"

A helpful habit to get into is to communicate really well from the beginning of the relationship, in the early stages of dating. Instead of trying to conceal your true self and impress your person, communicating your feelings and wants from the beginning quickly weeds out potential partners who are emotionally unavailable. When we begin expressing our feelings consciously, we may be pleasantly surprised that our loved ones are more responsive than our anxious thoughts feared - they actually love us and want the best for us! With practice it also becomes more natural to communicate openly, as the conversations we have had have increased our understanding of how behaviour that upset us in the past really wasn't personal - the friend we were upset didn't care about us because they stopped talking actually was struggling with depression, our partner got angry because it reminded him of his controlling mother and he was afraid of feeling small and trapped again etc... We recognise that if someone doesn't respond favourably to us expressing our feelings from a compassionate space, that's their problem and we don't have to absorb their feelings and make it about our value - we are always valuable, always worthy, no matter how conscious or unconscious someone else's response to us is.

©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.