Updated: Oct 17
What are Anxious Attachment Styles?
Anxious attachment is one of four attachment styles that are thought to develop in our childhood and continued through our adulthood. These are based on patterns of behaviors that people have in relationships with others.
An anxious attachment style is characterized by a person who has a negative view of themselves and a positive view of others. Typically, this style develops when people have had their needs met inconsistently. Due to the inconsistency, they may worry about their needs being met in the future or if they are loveable enough to have these needs met.
Knowing your own attachment style and your partner/s is extremely valuable when learning how to communicate, how to resolve conflict, and how to have a healthier relationship. At Lone Wolf, our skilled team of therapists is here to help you understand and grow in your relationship by gaining a better understanding of your attachment styles.
How Can I Tell if my Partner has an Anxious Attachment Style?
Common signs that your partner might have an anxious attachment style:
They seek constant reassurance:
Because your partner did not get their needs met consistently, they are always in a state of worry that you will leave them or not be emotionally available. They may need you to remind them that you love them and are committed to them frequently.
Are hyperaware of others’ emotions:
People with an anxious attachment style become very attuned to other’s emotions as a way to detect if you are upset with them. They may even notice that you are upset before you even realize it! The trouble is that they typically attribute your emotional state to something they did wrong, and this may not be accurate. For example, if you have had a rough day at work and are a little short they may then think you are mad at them instead of frustrated with work.
Worry about others being upset or mad at them:
Due to an anxiously attached person’s fear that they are unlovable and their partner will leave them, they are always worried that they have upset others. The fear is that love is conditional and if they are not perfect other’s will reject them.
Can be more outwardly emotional:
Someone with an anxious attachment style may have learned that if they are not loud and persistent with their emotions they will not be heard. This may look like overreacting to even small issues. Remember that your partner is not trying to create problems or be dramatic, their nervous system is conditioned to easily go on high alert.
Constantly tries to ‘raise the bar’ to test if people love them:
If you are in a relationship with an anxiously attached partner you may feel like nothing you do is good enough to prove you love them. They may ask for you to buy them flowers occasionally to show you are thinking of them, and then become upset when you didn’t also buy chocolate. Due to their insecurities they desire regular shows of love.
Are people pleasers:
If your partner has an anxious attachment style, they may have learned to ignore their own needs and put the needs of others first as a strategy to earn and maintain love and affection. This can leave you feeling like you are in a guessing game to figure out what they are needing and wanting.
What should I do if my partner has an anxious attachment style?
First of all, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a very healthy relationship! Relationships take time and effort and learning about your partner’s attachment style can help you understand how they perceive the world. It is like a map to their thoughts and behaviors. Thankfully, there are many steps and resources you can use to better decipher this map and develop and maintain a meaningful relationship. Below are a few examples.
Learn about your own attachment style
One of the best ways to understand your partner’s attachment style is to understand your own! There may be ways that your own attachment style triggers a more anxious response from your partner and vice versa. Attachment styles don’t exist in a vacuum.
If you enjoy journaling, consider using a couple’s guided journal to focus more on your relationship. Awareness is one of the first steps to increasing love in any relationship.
Give your partner consistent reassurance
People with an anxious attachment style are consistently looking for reassurance and for good reason. Those with anxious attachment styles tend to feel more insecure in relationships than others, so consistent reassurance is key for building a safe environment for the relationship to grow. It doesn’t cost you much to give a compliment!
Understand that they are not attacking you, but instead might need more reassurance than other people.
Avoid minimizing their problems
Sometimes it seems as if they are making a ‘big deal’ out of nothing, but for them, it is a big deal. Be empathetic towards your partner and remember that when their attachment style is triggered it is difficult to see a situation clearly.
Anxious attachment style or not, relationships take effort (on both sides!). Take a deep breath. Conflict is bound to happen in all relationships, and is actually a sign of a healthy relationship! When one or both members have an anxious attachment style it can make conflict feel more intense. Have patience and empathy for the insecurity that’s influencing the emotion in the disagreements
Attachment-Based Therapy in Denver, Colorado
Even with the best of intentions, we can struggle to understand our own and our partner’s relationship triggers. This does not mean that you have a bad relationship or that the relationship should end. All couples should seek professional support at some point in their relationship to make sure their relationship is well taken care of! If you find yourself consistently forming unhealthy relationships, our skilled therapists at Lone Wolf Psychology can help you understand the behaviors behind those unhealthy choices. Follow the steps below to get started.
We encourage you to get to know a little bit about our therapists, their specializations, and their credentials. Get to know our therapists here.
If you think Couples Counseling is for you, reach out to us! You can use our convenient online therapy scheduling form found on our home page.
Begin the exciting journey of understanding your relationships to forge a lasting, healthy, and fulfilling relationship!
We hope to hear from you soon.
Other Counseling Services in Denver, CO
Not only does our therapy practice in Denver offer Attachment-Based Therapy, but we also offer a wide variety of services for every relationship stage. Each relationship is unique in its personal journey and we are here to provide, insightful and productive Relationship Counseling, Divorce and Break-up Recovery Counseling, Couples Counseling, LGBTQ+ Counseling, Kink and Poly Friendly Therapy, Trauma Therapy, and Premarital Counseling as well. We also offer Self-Help Resources to help supplement your therapy or to better prepare for upcoming therapy sessions!
Schedule a free consultation with a trained couple’s counselor to see if therapy is right for you.