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Which Attachment Style Are You? Anxious/Preoccupied

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In today’s post, we’re going to focus on the anxious/preoccupied attachment style. For adults with an anxious attachment style, the thought of living without a partner (or being alone in general) causes high levels of anxiety. Often people with this attachment style have a negative view of themselves while having a positive view of others. In fact, they may see themselves as less worthy of love in comparison to others and they deeply fear abandonment. These adults often seek approval, support, and responsiveness from their partner and experience high levels of anxiety when they don’t receive approval and support. They are also worried that their loved one is not as invested in the relationship as they are. Because of their fear of abandonment, people with this type of attachment prioritize safety in the relationship and attention, care, and responsiveness from their partner soothes their anxiety. The negative aspects may be that these adults are perceived as being clingy, demanding, and overly preoccupied with the relationship. Ultimately, someone with an anxious attachment style believes that as soon as their partners get to know the “real them,” they will lose interest and reject them.

How do people with this attachment style begin to form healthier relationships and a secure attachment style? It is possible to move past the deep-rooted fears and insecurities with understanding and consistent effort. It is important to pay attention to events or actions that trigger insecurity for a person with an anxious attachment style. Some examples of triggers may include: when a partner acts distant or aloof, forgets important events or anniversaries, acts too friendly with someone else, and comes home late or fails to respond to messages/calls. Moreover, it is important to communicate effectively and regulate emotions via tools like keeping a thought diary, relaxation exercises, and mindfulness meditation. For partners of anxious attachers, it is important to set healthy boundaries and to discuss how to help them feel secure in the relationship. Consistency and effort are key–consistent validation and reassurance of how important the person is and providing support are also crucial. Lastly, for some people, the best way of developing a secure attachment style is through a therapist.