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  • Dr. Andre Blaylock

The Anxious Attachment Style

The main factor in a child developing an anxious attachment pattern is the inconsistent response in the relationship with their primary caregiver.

Research suggests that parent's child-rearing practices mirror the specific attachment pattern they developed as children with their parents. Thus, parents who grew up with an anxious attachment are inconsistent in how they relate to their children, which their children react to by forming their own anxious attachment patterns.

Here are a few of the traits that manifest in adults with an Anxious Attachment Style:

* They tend to be self-critical and insecure.

* They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt.

* In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting.

* They act clingy and feel overly dependent on their partner.

* Their lives are not balanced: their insecurity leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in their relationships.

* They assume the role of the “pursuer” in a relationship.

* They often have positive views of other people, especially their parents and their partner, and generally have a negative view of themselves.

* They rely heavily on their partner to validate their self-worth.

* They are rejection-sensitive.

* They anticipate rejection or abandonment and look for signs that their partner is losing interest.

Anxious people often engage in strategies that attempt to avoid being rejected. However, their excessive dependency, demands and possessiveness tend to backfire and precipitate the very abandonment that they fear. They feel resentful and angry when their partner doesn’t provide the attention and reassurance they feel they need, but many are reluctant to express their angry feelings toward a partner for fear of potential loss or rejection. When they try to suppress their anger, their behavior tends to vacillate between outbursts of anger and pleas for forgiveness and support. In some cases, the fears and anxieties can lead to more serious emotional disturbances, such as depression.

How to transition from Anxious to Secure.

Fortunately, a person’s style of attachment can be revised through new experiences. An effective way to develop secure attachment in adulthood is by making sense of one’s story. The key to “making sense” of one’s life experiences is to write a coherent narrative, which helps you understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting your life today.

One method is to identify and challenge the critical inner voices that promote expectations of rejection and that fuel their feelings of anger.

This approach provides the impetus for exploring new, more positive ways of relating, and frees people to experience genuine loving feelings and real security in their intimate relationships.


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