Relationships between each other are often about give and take. Things can be great once we are able to meet each others’ needs and vice versa. But one can easily observe that there may be some individuals who prefer more closeness, while others may need more space.
All these wants and needs can be explained with our early attachment style – that consists of secure, anxious and avoidant style – and by understanding ours and closed ones’ personal styles, we are able understand why some of us behave and react a certain way.
As for individuals with anxious attachment style, they often have a deep desire for intimacy and can be more afraid of rejections, which can lead them to seeking a lot more assurance and validations externally.
They are more likely to have a negative view of self
They generally tend to have positive views of other people, especially when it comes to their parents and their partner (Catlett, 2015). However, they can be very self critical and insecure about themselves due to the inconsistent availability of their caregivers, and because of this, they often seek validations from their partner as an attempt to get rid of their insecurities (Firestone, 2019).
They often worry that partners will leave them
Besides feeling insecure, they tend to be more “rejection-sensitive” whereby they tend to have this gut feeling or pick up subtle “signs” that tell them that they are going to be abandoned soon, thereby causing them to feel helpless and anxious.
When these feelings arise, they would try to validate their feelings by looking for more signs that their partner is losing interest (Catlett, 2015) and automatically assume the relationship is falling apart.
They can be clingy and overly dependent in relationships
Once they are certain that their partner is losing interest, they often seek a sense of safety by holding tighter to their partner, and most often than not, in an attempt to hold onto their partner, their actions tend to push their partner away and gradually become emotionally dependent in their relationships (Hendel, 2020).
They tend to have negative inner voice
Many a times when they sense their partner is withdrawn and distant, they may try to give a benefit of doubt and not believe those subtle “signs” they found. However, while with their best efforts, they are often being “validated” or “supported” by their destructive inner voices that stem from their insecurities, and they are more likely to trust their nagging “instincts” on the matter at hand. These inner voices may sound something like:
- “the world is filled with plenty of uncertainty where they could easily lose those they love”.
- “He doesn’t really love me.”
- “He/she doesn’t love you as much as you love him/her.”
- “If he really loved me, he would have…”
- “I was right not to trust her.” and etc.
They can be reluctant to express their authentic self
They can be reluctant to express negative feelings toward their partner as they want to remain intimate, but afraid of losing their partner the moment they speak their minds. As they give up their needs and suppress their feelings, they become unhappy and their behavior tends to alternate subconsciously, much like a moodwing (Catlett, 2015).
They crave for more intimacy
As they might have grown up in an environment where vulnerability or closeness was not greatly encouraged, they have a tendency to grow up seeking for deeper connection and love externally to make themselves feel more “complete” (Hendel, 2020).
They tend to take on the role of the “pursuer” in a relationship
As they have more tendency seeking intimacy as well as assurance, and coupled with the constant worries that their partner would leave them, they would want to get hold of control of the relationship by trying harder each time (Catlett, 2015).
To identify the type of attachment style, you may use this link to better understand yourself on a deeper level.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking that you dislike feeling like this and would want to change some elements, and hopefully become someone more “perfect”. Well, I am identified to have an anxious attachment style and I definitely felt that way when I became first know of these. I came to a realisation that these information are meant for us to be more aware of the root cause of some of our behaviours, we can try to improve and get rid of those negative thoughts, but should never strive to be perfect because at the end of the day, no one is.
Cafasso, J. (2019). Anxious Attachment: Signs in Children and Adults, Causes, and More. Healthline. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/anxious-attachment#outlook.
Catlett, J. (2020). Anxious Attachment: Understanding Insecure Anxious Attachment. PsychAlive. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.psychalive.org/understanding-ambivalent-anxious-attachment/.
Firestone, L. (2020). How Anxious Attachment Style Affects Relationships. Psychology Today. Retrieved 22 August 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/blog/compassion-matters/201904/how-anxious-attachment-style-affects-relationships.
Lancer, D. (2018). How to Change Your Attachment Style. Psych Central. Retrieved 19 August 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-change-your-attachment-style/.
Manson, M. (2020). Attachment Theory. Mark Manson. Retrieved 19 August 2020, from https://markmanson.net/attachment-theory.
Moore, A. (2020). Anxious Attachment Style: How It Develops & How To Heal. mindbodygreen. Retrieved 20 August 2020, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/anxious-attachment-style.