What Is Attachment Anxiety, Triggers & Treatment Options
According to British psychologist John Bowlby, the kind of attachment we show growing up is deeply impacted by the way we were tended and cared for during childhood. As children, we are more inclined towards our caregivers, and in times of distress, we look forward to them for alleviating the problem.
When our caregiver is understanding and mindful, we adopt a sense of security in our personality. Considering we were always conditioned with love and promptness, we remained calm and safe.
On the other hand, if the attachment figure is unsupportive and inattentive, we become insecure and often fear while coming across problems. We will always be doubtful of support as we haven’t had much as a child. Also, we will be insecure and anxious because the situation has repeated for years, and that is how we have learned to act/react.
4 Patterns Of Attachment In Adults
Our relationship opens up our strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Considering relationships involve give and take, how we talk, how we behave is largely related to our attachment style.
Therefore, it is important to understand the attachment pattern in order to figure out how it can affect the relationship and what can be done to cure it. Check them out:
1. Secure Attachment
People with a secure attachment style are content in their relationships. There is no avoidance or anxiety. Just like the person comfortably depended on their parents in childhood, they are comfortable depending on their partner in the relationship without any hesitation or fear.
2. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
People facing anxious preoccupied attachment are always anxious and dependent on their partner. They are desperate for love and often worry that their partner will abandon them, on the slightest account of neglect or assumptions of distance. They constantly seek their partner’s support and it often pushed people away.
3. Dismissive Avoidant Attachment
Such people are emotionally shut from their partners. They tend to avoid their partners and often take a parental role for themselves, without letting their partner participate in their lives. They are naturally defensive of themselves and focus on themselves in the most emotional situations.
4. Fearful Avoidant Attachment
Fearful avoidant attachment means when the person is fearful of getting too close to the partner but at the same time, is fearful of having a distance. Fearful-avoidant relationships mean that such a person finds comfort in their partner but tends to avoid them. However, such an avoidance also leads them to be hysterical about the distance.
What Is Attachment Anxiety?
Attachment anxiety is the feeling of insecurity and abandonment towards our partner and other relationships we have in our life. It is the anxiety that negatively impacts our relationships and stems from our childhood treatment.
Such anxiety disorders, as aforementioned, occurs due to parental antipathy and hostility during infancy,, and it changes our response to relationships later in life. The defining idea of any relationship is comfort and security, but people suffering from attachment anxiety tend to be insecure and fearful.
Symptoms Of Attachment Anxiety
When it comes to an understanding what is attachment anxiety, it is important to keep in mind what is the behavior of the person suffering from the problem. This helps identify the issue easily for an immediate cure.
Also, note that attachment anxiety is evident in both children and adults and they show different symptoms. Let’s check them out
Here are a few symptoms of attachment anxiety in children:
- Inconsolable crying
- Clinging to the caregiver at all times
- Looking anxious all the time
- Not being as active as children of their age
- Not being able to control negative emotions
- Inability to interact with other children
Here are a few symptoms of anxious attachment disorder in adults:
- Trust issues
- Declined self-esteem
- Over-observance of partner’s behavior of not paying attention
- Constant need of support
- Constant need of being in contact
- Requiring regular reassurances of love & care from partner
- Fear of partner leaving after the fight
- Negative mindset even in a healthy relationship
- Over-dependence on the partner
- Low self-confidence
- Mood-swings and unpredictable behavior pattern
Causes of Attachment Anxiety
Childhood experiences majorly owe to what is attachment anxiety or what causes anxious attachment.
A child depends on its parents for support and security, and when such things are absent due to inconsistent parenting, a child can become prematurely exposed to the fear and feelings of abandonment which will eventually show later in life in friendships and relationships.
Therefore, neglected parenting is one of the major causes.
Besides, overprotective parenting can also lead to attachment anxiety as a child will not be able to learn to deal with anything less than overprotection and later end up being fearful or dissatisfied with relationships later in life.
What Are Anxious Attachment Triggers
There could be many instances that could trigger the problem and lead to anxious attachment relationships.
Let’s find out what triggers anxious attachment:
Assumptions of losing a person or relationship
What is attachment anxiety reflects deeply in the triggers as to when the person perceives that they might lose their partner. If the partner expresses certain concerns in the relationship (despite it not having any relation to separation or breakup), the sufferer could assume abandonment, making this one of the biggest triggers.
Unlike the person suffering from attachment anxiety, the partner behaves more independently or is self-dependent. When this shows, it can be difficult to digest, and the person may feel they are no longer needed in the relationship.
The distance can act as one of the essential triggers of attachment anxiety as being away will deprive the person of constant reassurances that they are loved and cared for and lead to separation anxiety in couples. This might lead to fear and mood swings, eventually impacting the relationship negatively.
If there are certain instances of neglect in the relationship or there have been cases of neglect in childhood, attachment anxiety can become very obvious and can reflect in a variety of ways over the course of time.
How Does Anxious Attachment Affect Relationships?
Attachment style plays a vital role in shaping an adult because it determines a person’s behavior with their partner, and if people face insecure attachment styles, this can gravely affect their adult relationships.
If you understand what is attachment anxiety, it will help you analyze if your relationship is affected by it or not.
Here are a few ways how anxious relationship style affects the relationship:
- Constant fear
- Worry about unresolved past issues
- Stress in the relationship
- Constant burden of relationship health on one partner
- Negative outbursts
- Unstable relationship
How Can You Help A Partner With Anxious Attachment?
If your partner is suffering from anxious attachment, it is important to be aware of it and take the necessary steps to help them remain secure and keep the relationship healthy. Here are a few tips to support your partner with attachment anxiety.
- Understanding your partner’s anxious attachment style
- Showing more appreciation and gratitude
- Focusing on the positive qualities of the partner
- Reassuring them of your love
- Visiting relationship therapists for setting the right relationship patterns
Can You Prevent Anxious Attachment?
Are you facing attachment anxiety, and this is coming in the way of your happy relationship? Does your attachment anxiety bar you from living your relationship to the fullest?
Well, there is a solution to prevent anxious attachment:
- Understand your attachment style
- Learn as much about your attachment style
- Seek partners with a secure attachment style
- Talk to a relationship therapist
- Practice positive talking with yourself
- Make new choices to support your new life
- Recognize people/ things that are your triggers and stay away from them
Treatment Options For Attachment Anxiety
Once you understand what is attachment anxiety, you become more responsive to various types of treatments. Here are a few ways to treat anxious attachment:
This is one of the primary treatments for attachment anxiety. Once you learn self-care and what kind of self-care you respond to, you can work on it with the passage of time.
A therapist helps understand anxious ambivalent attachment psychology, insecure-ambivalent attachment, past traumas and sets the right approach for treating attachment anxiety. If there are any mental health issues that need to be addressed, a therapist provides the coping strategies.
You can always connect to these helpline numbers for your mental health concerns:
Also, check out this video that helps solve anxious attachment:
Attachments in any relationship need to be positive and empathetic. Insecure attachment patterns in early childhood can lead to distressed relationships throughout their life. However, by understanding what is attachment anxiety, coping strategies, and treatment, the problem can be resolved.