Anxious attachment is a psychological term used to describe a set of behaviors of people who didn’t receive the reassurance and emotional support they needed from their caregivers growing up.
This attachment style often comes with lots of relationship insecurity. This article will teach you how to self-soothe anxious attachment issues.
What is Anxious Attachment?
Think you or someone you know may have an anxious attachment style? It commonly shows up as jealousy or fear of abandonment in relationships.
Anxiously attached people have a hard time feeling secure in their relationships. They may be clingy, need constant reassurance, and lack boundaries.
The most common signs are:
- A deep yearning for intimacy with another
- Are afraid of their emotions and intimacy
- Are hyper-vigilant to what they perceive as emotional unavailability
- Become anxious or overly communicative when away from their partner
- Disregard other people’s feelings
- Engage in stalking
- Fear of abandonment or rejection
- Have a hyper-fixation on a person
- Inability to trust others
- Low self-esteem
- Display separation anxiety and clinginess
It’s important to remember that just because people have anxious attachment doesn’t make them wrong in their feelings—they just have different emotional needs than other attachment styles.
What Causes Anxious Attachment?
An anxious attachment can form from growing up with an inconsistent parenting style. This inconsistency creates a lack of trust in others and the anxiously attached have a hard time feeling emotionally safe in their relationships as they have not mastered feeling emotionally safe within themselves.
Anxious attachment can be formed from:
- A caregiver with depression or anxiety
- Early separation from parents
- Inconsistency in parenting and emotional response
- Inexperienced parenting
- A long period of hospitalization
How to Move from Anxious Attachment to Secure
The first step to breaking your anxious habits is to be aware of them. Speak with a licensed therapist who can help you become aware of patterns and teach you healthy self-soothing techniques to overcome anxiety.
The second thing you can do is take a closer look at your intimate relationships and evaluate whether they are showing you consistency and security. Choose partners with a secure attachment style who can help you become more secure. They will provide more emotional safety than other attachment styles as well as improve co-dependency patterns.
Some tips on helping you move from an anxious attachment style to secure include:
- Practice not taking things personally
- Work on being more assertive
- Learn to identify your emotional needs and speak up clearly and compassionately
- Be direct. Don’t play games
- Be less reactive. Identify when you are feeling triggered and try to discern what causes it rather than reacting
- Read and watch material on how to self-soothe and self-regulate your emotions
- Improve your self-care
- Engage in healthy conflict resolution rather than avoiding speaking up about what’s bothering you or running away from criticism
- Approach any problems in a relationship as we vs. the problem
- Learn to slow down the dating process and manage your expectations
With self-awareness, secure connections, and therapy you can soothe your anxious attachment. Anyone can move into a secure attachment style with the right support.
Moving into a secure attachment style means that you have empathy for others, but you set strong boundaries. When you are operating in secure attachment, your relationships are a place where you feel secure and safe to express your needs and to give and receive support freely.