What Are the Signs of an Anxious Attachment Style?

As adults, we all have an attachment style, usually shaped by upbringing and past experiences. There are four different attachment styles: secure, avoidant, anxious, and disorganized. Here’s a closer look at the four types:

  • Secure: Able to connect with partners on a deeply emotional level, but not too reliant on them for feelings of self-worth and importance. (The healthiest of all the attachment styles.)
  • Avoidant: Prioritizes independence and freedom over deep emotional connections, often afraid of getting too close to someone.
  • Anxious: Insecure and overly reliant on their partners, often worried about rejection and abandonment.
  • Disorganized: Craves emotional closeness as a need for validation, but is deeply fearful of abandonment, resulting in erratic, disorganized behavior.

The last three types are considered insecure attachment types. Here, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the anxious attachment style and how it can affect your relationships:

Identifying Anxious Attachment in Yourself

One of the biggest signs you have an anxious attachment style is your constant insecurity about the status of the relationship. Do they like you? Will they end it? You read too much into their emotions, take things personally, or overanalyze off-handed comments (when you shouldn’t!).

You might even find yourself being controlling towards your partner in order to make yourself feel more secure. Maybe you force them to call you at certain times or send texts to check in. Overall, you’re not likely to see or value your self-worth, which hinders your ability to feel comfortable in the relationship.

Addressing Anxious Attachment in Yourself

If you’ve noticed signs of anxious attachment in yourself, it’s helpful to determine the root cause. Did an ex cheat on you? Are you still recovering from a time when someone broke your trust in a serious way?

Identifying the root cause of these problems can help you make a plan to move forward. The best way to address it in your relationship is through communication. Talk to your partner about your concerns, no matter how insecure or emotional you think they sound. If your partner understands where your behavior comes from, they can find ways to help you feel more secure.

Identifying Anxious Attachment in Your Partner

Identifying an anxious attachment style in your partner might be a little different than trying to identify it within yourself, but there are definitely signs. For example, they might act extremely clingy and require constant reassurance that you’re committed to the relationship, or their hobbies start to align with yours as they try to find ways to spend more time together. They can also be combative, often lashing out if they feel threatened. Even if they are not aggressive, they may be overly emotional, which can cause arguments.

Addressing Anxious Attachment in Your Partner

Confronting your partner about their anxious behavior isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for the relationship to thrive. Because of their hypersensitivity, they might have trouble accepting any fault for their behavior. A great way to bring up anxious attachment is to suggest taking an attachment style quiz (which you can access for free on Relish).

Knowing which types of things cause your partner anxiety is essential for understanding their actions. It’s also necessary to create healthy boundaries to limit behaviors that are hurting the relationship. Above all else, it’s important to show an anxious partner affection and love, since it helps reduce their fears of rejection and abandonment.

Attachment Pairings

It’s important to note that some attachment styles pair better than others. For example, people with secure attachment styles can pair in a relatively healthy way with any other attachment style, often serving as the stable rock in the relationship.

On the other hand, if you have an insecure attachment style, dating a different insecurely attached person can create a lot of problems. A double dose of insecurity can result in extreme jealousy, volatile fights, and damaged self-esteem. It’s definitely possible for two anxiously attached people to have a good relationship, but they need to be able to communicate their emotions.

Ultimately, understanding the attachment style of yourself and your partner is a key way to determine compatibility. If you and your partner are committed to making it work, taking a deeper look into each other’s attachment styles is the first step to a happy, healthy relationship.

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