You’ve figured out that you have an anxious attachment style, which is fantastic. That signifies you’ve already taken the first step toward resolving your uneasy attachment.
When you’re confronted with worry and concern in adult relationships, the next step is to recognise it. You can begin to self soothe anxious attachment if you are consciously aware of it cropping up and able to detect your own concern and preoccupation.
I am well aware of the sorrow that anxious attachment can create, having fought with it for the first 21 years of my life.
As you can see, both men and women can have an anxious attachment style. Men are more likely to report more avoidant attachment, while women are more likely to report higher ambivalence, according to some data.
This comes as no surprise to me, as I’ve known for a long time that this was the case.
Although men experience worried attachment as well, the worry appears to be magnified for women, owing to the fact that women tend to attach earlier than men when dating.
Not only do they form attachments earlier than males, but they also require more emotional connection and reinforcement during the courting era. This is due to the fact that men are more disconnected by nature (until they fall in love).
Men’s perception of detachment, on the other hand, intensifies a woman’s neediness by amplifying her need for reassurance and stability.
You’ll be able to overcome anxious attachment if you have a compelling reason to do so.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve figured out how to go from anxious attachment to secure attachment.
I was able to do it because I had something outside of myself that I genuinely cared about and that motivated me to improve.
My relationship was the catalyst for that’something.’ When she tried to reach out to me and form a link with me, I could no longer bear seeing the sadness in her eyes.
Not only did I have the desire to heal on my own, but I also had the support of an educated, creative, and passionate partner who gave me the room to do so.
I can’t express how much my union with a secure-attached woman aided in the healing and soothing of my uneasy attachment.
In this essay, I’ll explain how to recover from nervous attachment and why it’s doable!
What Is Anxious Attachment
When you emotionally bond with and get close to someone, anxious attachment (as I understand it) is a default mode of heightened uncertainty that causes anxiety.
The official definition of anxious attachment from WebMD is: Anxious attachment is a type of insecure relationship that children have with mothers or caregivers. Having this attachment in childhood can affect your relationships later in life.
The important thing to remember is that when you grow closer to someone, your nervous attachment style is amplified.
If you don’t become close to people, you’ll likely feel more in control, and your insecure attachment pattern will be less active.
How To Cope With Anxious Attachment Style: Know This…
You should be aware that if you have an anxious attachment style, you will often relate to a romantic partner in the same way you did to your mother and/or father.
You’ll repeat the same patterns of opening up or closing, as well as getting closer to or further away from individuals.
Which means you must always be open to the possibility that your reactions to events involving your romantic partner do not always represent his or her intent or the severity of what he or she actually did.
You may be angry at your partner for anything he or she did, but some of that anger may be repressed rage at your caretakers/mother and father.
This was one of the most difficult aspects of attempting to heal and grow as a result of my anxious-avoidant attachment style.
Because your propensity is to see any sign of dispute with your partner as a threat, you can become excessively angry and vigilant as an anxiously attached person. And that puts your relationship’s safety at jeopardy.
You can see your partner’s healthy independence as a harbinger of approaching doom, even though independence is merely a sign that they have their own personality outside of the partnership, which is both healthy and desirable.
See, it was from your mother that you learnt how to communicate and relate to other people (or not). This is where you developed your pattern for interacting in a close relationship.
As a result, you can’t really expect yourself to interact any differently from how your caregivers conditioned you to engage.
So, be gentle with yourself while also being conscious of how your actions are seen by others in our relationships.
Healing Anxious Attachment Style: You Must Have An Adjustment Period First
…And a grieving period.
People who have an anxious attachment style have a deep-seated belief that they are unworthy.
It’s difficult for most people to accept, but it’s true.
Because you had emotional needs as a newborn, and those needs were either not met (or half-met), condemned, or neglected, you felt unworthy and low in self-esteem.
As a result, you learned at a young age that your demands for attachment, warmth, and affection were unattractive and undesirable.
You essentially learnt that you aren’t deserving of being cared for and acknowledged.
As a result of your mother and father’s emotional abandonment, you had wrath and dread that had been building up for decades. Not to mention the embarrassment you feel deep inside.
You may not have been adopted, but you certainly have a fear of being abandoned. So you’ll have sentiments of humiliation, but perhaps not to the amount that my did.
So, while not everyone with anxious attachment experiences this level of shame, everyone with anxious attachment experiences shame on some level.
People who are solidly bonded, by the way, nearly never feel shame. This was equally difficult for me to comprehend.
People who are anxiously attached have a higher level of rage, fear, and shame. Before your partner’s trust in you is shattered, you must grieve and feel your wrath and guilt.
Because if it isn’t mourned, it will always manifest itself in disproportionate levels towards your partners (and even friends).
As a result, learning to cure anxious attachment style and self soothe anxious attachment is the most important component of learning to heal anxious attachment.
First, let go of old anger, hurt, and shame. You cannot – and must not – abandon yourself today because you were emotionally abandoned by those who were supposed to love you.
It’s also a good idea to figure out if you have any abandonment issues. You can achieve this by becoming aware of the indicators that you are afraid of being abandoned.
How to Cope With The Loss Of A Safe Attachment
In order to grieve, you must first identify the presence of five key feelings that persons with anxious attachment experience on a regular basis.
Here are the five primary feelings that arise (whether you want to recognise them or not):
These are the five emotions you must recognise and give space to, because what you reject continues.
If you don’t take responsibility for working through problems, no one else will, and your relationships will suffer as a result.
So go ahead and confide in someone you trust to listen to you and sit with you while you work through your feelings.
How to Self-Regulate by First Letting Go of Old Emotions
You can use a journal to help you process and grieve these emotions if you don’t have anyone you can trust. Alternatively, you can just use old photo and video recollections of your mother and father to assist revisit the repressed memories and feelings.
Movies can also be used to process and connect with previous feelings of abandonment.
Why would you want to do something like that? Because it provides your body and mind something with which to connect and share your fury.
That’s better to do it with a movie scene because you’re actively resonating with another human who is experiencing the same sensations of hurt that you are (and it feels as though they also resonate with you).
It only takes one moment from a movie to help you access and release a certain emotion. It doesn’t have to be a scenario between a mother and a daughter or a father and a child; all it needs to do is allow you to access previous feelings of sadness, anger, hurt, or abandonment.
The cathartic process of releasing old feelings is all we’re after here.
Now, I can’t promise that these movie scenes are the finest examples because everyone is different, and you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. However, here are some movie scene choices to get you started:
In the film Interstellar, her father is forced to leave to complete his mission, and his daughter begs him not to…
Closer movie depicts Alice and Dan’s breakup, and Natalie Portman is enraged because she was never able to truly feel his love.
Why Should You Be Sad About Bad Things That Happened to You?
Grief is something you should do all of the time. You can’t rejuvenate yourself or break free from the cage of insecure attachment established by childhood neglect and trauma until you grieve. It’s much more difficult to change an anxious attachment style.
Grieving allows you to be emotionally empty and free. Being empty allows you to better regulate your emotions so you don’t have unbalanced outbursts of rage or become paralysed by shame or dread.
How to Relieve Anxious Attachment in Yourself: 2 Ways
To self-soothe anxious attachment, we established at the outset of this essay that you must first become aware of the concern when it arises.
You must be aware of your anxieties and recognise them when they arise. This is the most critical period because it is the only time you have to help yourself and make a change.
There are two basic strategies to self-soothe nervous attachment after that. Let’s have a look at these two options right now…
1: Find secure attachment anchors and return to them on a regular basis.
These are quite personal, and they must be in order for them to work for you.
Essentially, you look for movie moments, music, or meditation recordings that you associate with emotional safety.
If you haven’t already, you might wish to search up and use these tunes…
2: Develop Your Own Maternal Voice to Become Your Own Mother.
…and speak to yourself through this voice.
When it comes to achieving earned stable attachment, there is one way I’ve discovered that actually works.
This technique came to me one day when I was in such a panic and believed there was no way out. When you’re dealing with severe anxiety, it’s as if you’re stuck in a prison of your own emotions and body, and you can’t get out.
It makes you go in circles and makes it impossible for you to function normally.
I’ve used it before when I was overthinking and fretting about someone not responding to my text, as well as when I was suffering from severe sleeplessness (insomnia that was so bad I thought the lack of sleep would eventually kill me).
Here’s how it works: you imagine the most maternal mother you can think of, then you visualise her acts and speak to yourself in her voice when you’re afraid.
When you’re frightened and can’t get away from your sentiments, here are some things you can say to yourself in her voice…
These mantras will assist you in achieving your goal of becoming your own mother.
When Healing Anxious Attachment, Use Self-Regulation Mantras
These mantras should be used whenever you discover yourself succumbing to clinginess or when you find yourself unable to be vulnerable and feel.
People who are nervously attached often believe they are being vulnerable when they are not. So, while persons with anxious attachment often feel vulnerable on the inside because they feel out of control, they don’t necessarily appear weak to others, particularly men.
I have a guide for you if you’re worried about not knowing how to be vulnerable. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about high-value vulnerabilities.
Being your own mother, by the way, restores your maternal nature, which is crucial because being raised by a woman who isn’t maternal can sometimes deprive you of your own maternal potential.
Isn’t it brilliant?
Here’s something else to think about…
You’re probably avoidant if you have anxious attachment.
Here’s something I didn’t realise for years:
If you have anxious attachment, you almost certainly have avoidant attachment as well. Anxious avoidant attachment style is what they call it.
What is the reason for this?
Because anxiety and stress consume a lot of your body’s available energy.
When you have a preoccupied attachment style or an anxious attachment style, you are prioritising anxiety and stress over bonding and connection.
This, as you can see, cannot be sustained in the long run. As a result, you swing the pendulum from being hyper-vigilant and afraid in a relationship to completely disconnecting from it.
You’re purposefully avoiding emotional connection by being hyper-vigilant around the clock, since you’re avoiding attunement.
People who are securely bonded do not waste their energy worrying. They concentrate their efforts on attunement.
If you’re working on repairing anxious attachment, keep this in mind, because avoidance has a high cost in your relationships. You can’t have a relationship without attunement.
You should also be conscious that your spouse, particularly if they have a secure bond, may perceive you as a ‘cold’ person at times.
Be Aware Of Being Cold
Avoidant people can come across as cold and uncaring at times, so it’s a good idea to zoom out and consider how your behaviours might appear to your lover.
Avoidant people have never felt at ease in a bonding situation, and to be fair, they probably haven’t in their lives. As a result, when they don’t feel comfortable hugging and cuddling someone, they don’t think twice about it.
Not hugging someone makes them feel safer. Distancing oneself physically and emotionally, rather than cuddling and bonding, feels a lot more like ‘love’ and’safety’ to them.
Similarly, they do not consider it strange to abruptly disregard their loved ones or to treat their partner silently.
So, if you have uneasy attachment, be aware that you are likely to exhibit some avoidant behaviours as well, and strive to self-regulate.
How do you go about doing that?
Anxious Avoidant Behaviours Can Be Healed in Two Steps:
- Make a point of hugging your family, lover, and friends. Relax into the embrace.
- When dealing with your loved ones, practise relaxing every muscle in your body.
When people who are avoidant are asked to connect, interact, or be intimate, they tend to be stiff. You’ll never be able to fully modify your attachment style to a more secure one unless you adjust this’ stiffness.’