How to express your relationship fears - for each attachment style

Due to popular request, here are some templates that you can use to support you in expressing your fears about relationships!

Expressing your fears at the start of a developing potential relationship (or even an established one) might be something you haven't ever done before.

I know that for me there were layers of shame I had to unpeel before I felt able to do so.

Having examples of radical honesty from others has also been enormously supportive for me in my own vulnerability journey.

We get to learn that's it's okay to say this stuff! As we grow we find it easier to share this from an empowered place and we are able to explain our patterns as a neutral observer - neither judging ourselves or the other person but simply letting them know:

"These are some road bumps I've run into before and I know it's likely that these patterns will come up again (or are already) - here is an opportunity to understand me and see whether you are willing to work with me"

Sharing this information when you are not in the heat of a trigger is ideal. (Although if you're triggered and stuck you could pull up this post and share it directly with your loved one!)

Sharing how our attachment has affected how we show up can be immensely healing for your connection, clear up misunderstandings and help your person hold space for you during future triggers ♥️

(Or if we are dating and sharing this information, we get practiced at being okay with people letting us know if they realise you are not a good fit for one another based on your attachment styles).

We can also invite the other person to share their own fears and to work out whether you are able to work with them and their patterns - it's a two way street!

I highly recommend always having this conversation before getting into a commitment.

Anxiously attached:

"Relationships can be a distressing experience for me. it feels really natural to be connected and clothes but I worry that love is unstable and I'm going to be abandoned. I worry if I'm good enough and feel like I need to overcompensate for my floors. I know sometimes I can even abandon my own needs and feelings trying to avoid conflict in order to keep a relationship. when I explore my childhood history I've come to understand why I do that. my caregivers were inconsistent and I didn't know when I would feel abandoned by them to. Sometimes they would be available and comforting when I turn to them and other times they would act in ways that really upset me such as dismissing my feelings or ignoring me. I learnt at the best thing I could do to get love from them was to become really hyper-vigilant of their body language And to not ask for very much for myself. And that's something that I have taken into my adult relationships. I can over focus on how the other person is feeling and trying to please them because if I didn't do that in childhood I was scared I would get no love at all it feels really hard to trust that someone could really want me and that rejection isn't coming. I'm working on my self-esteem and realising that my parents actions and everyone's weren't personal and only reflected their level of emotional development. In the meantime it really helps me if you can remind me from time to time that I am loved and valued and to invite me to share my feelings and needs. I'm so used to focusing on others and being invited to focus on myself helps me to feel so loved. I know so I can also sometimes become emotionally distressed as nobody taught me how to self soothe it was always about focusing on soothing others. Emotional warmth empathy not trying to fix me but letting me know you care there's a world of good I know that I can sometimes jump to conclusions and not trust your intentions to know this is not intended as an attack but because I care about our connection and I want to know that I'm safe. Thank you so much for allowing me to open up and share this with you."

Fearful avoidant:

"Getting close to someone romantically is sometimes really scary for me. I know I can give out mixed messages I can dive head first into the connection because the passion is there only to withdraw suddenly when my fears come up. sometimes in the past I've not even been aware of why I run. I feel overwhelmed and panicked this Instinct kicks in. Since I've been noticing this pattern and learning more about myself I've realised why I've been stuck in this push and pull cycle. when I look back at my childhood it all makes sense I had a really unstable upbringing I never knew whether it would be safe to connect or not. sometimes my parents responded warmly and other times the response would be really distressing. so I learnt that the same thing that can feel so good can also harm me. When things are going well my mind panics and thinks that the bad part must be coming soon. my parents also put so much responsibility on me I get scared that all relationships require a lot out of me and I won't be able to meet your needs and keep you happy with me. I feel so guilty about disappointing you you deserve so much but I get afraid that I won't be able to offer enough for you I can also find it hard to set boundaries and express my own needs at home it was all about what my parents wanted of me. I didn't feel like I really had a voice expressing what I want can feel scary because I don't want to be a burden and I anticipate rejection I know that the journey is learning to communicate what I need and trusting that relationships can be more understanding and adaptable than the ones I have experienced. Thank you so much for being patient with me as I learn and overcome these fears I know it must be really confusing for you to witness me shift from warm and maybe even worried about abandonment too cold and distant. What would really help me out is if that you would notice that I'm slipping into an axis or avoidant pattern that you check in with me ask me how I'm feeling and remind me it's safe to express my needs. If flexible and allowing me to take space and reassure me you're not going anywhere. Would that stability I find it much more easy to come into my centre and allow myself to be consistently available and vulnerable too."

Dismissive avoidant:

"Getting close is something that feels really hard for me. it's unfamiliar for me to have someone to want to get to know me so deeply. Sometimes I question whether there is a hidden motive. I am weary of being manipulated or controlled as those have happened to me before. I know that I create a tough exterior and really it's just a mask to try to protect myself from getting her. it feels hard to talk about this and it's a really big thing for me to share but I never really experienced much emotional closeness in childhood full stop when I was feeling vulnerable my parents would usually shout at me or ignore me. and realising that I still carry some shame around that I think there's a part of me that wonders if the reason they did that was because there might be something wrong with me. I don't want others to see me too deeply in case they discover my floors to and reject me just like my parents did. It feels so much safer to just keep a distance I pretend I don't care by turning my emotions off. I've gotten really good at distracting myself from what I feel feeling my painful emotions wasn't helpful back then because I didn't have anyone to soothe and I didn't understand them. It's something I'm working out for myself knowing what I feel and even when an emotion is painful it's still has a purpose and it's trying to tell me something useful. I'm sorry if I dismissed your emotions I've only been doing to you what my parents did to me and I've been doing to myself for all of my life just to try to cope I also struggle to let people close because I'm afraid that I won't have enough resources left for myself I've always taken care of myself I had to it's hard to trust anyone else to support me when I've been that done so many times the idea of supporting someone else emotionally as well as caring for myself can feel overwhelming taking care of myself can feel hard enough. I'm not very good at reading subtle emotional Cues either again as I've had to focus on caring for myself. it doesn't come naturally to me to notice body language or check in how others are feeling. please do tell me directly how you're feeling I want to know so I can be thoughtful of that. understand it must be hard for you that I move so slowly please understand that it's hard for me too I want to get better a met this - your appreciation and understanding would mean the world to me."

If you would like some extra support with healing your attachment style, you can book a 1-1 session here

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