What is anxious attachment? Every relationship is about balancing the needs and wants of both partners, including the needs for closeness and distance. Often we identify someone as having an anxious attachment when that person prioritizes the needs/wants/emotions of the other over their own. A person with anxious attachment is motivated for toward greater closeness, since distance often causes them anxiety. In some cases this can lead to a loss the person's own identity, relying too heavily on their partner, or relationship, to define who they are. Overcoming anxious attachment is possible, and therapy can help.
Causes of anxious attachment Our early childhood experiences imprint attachment patterns in all humans. These attachment patterns exist on a continuum, they are not fixed traits. People who are more inclined toward anxious attachment likely learned to check in with the emotional states of other people in an effort to sooth, or regulate, their own emotions. Over time this pattern imprints, laying the ground work for a person's preference for closeness and distance within relationships later in life. An anxious attachment is not always problematic. However, in some cases, an anxious attachment can be experienced as a loss of self, in an effort to maintain a relationship. This is also sometimes referred to as codependency. We know is that individual therapy is a helpful to address an anxious attachment style.
Signs and symptoms of anxious attachment Wanting to be close to your partner does not mean you have an anxious attachment style. Prioritizing your relationship is not a bad thing. Here are some questions you may ask yourself if you are concerned that you, or your partner, are showing signs of a problematic anxious attachment: -Do you feel like you cannot exist without your partner? -Does your mood change to match your partner’s mood? -Have you lost your own interests and adopted your partner’s? -Do you feel anxious or scared when your partner is not around? -Are you preoccupied with losing your partner? -Are you scared to make mistakes in your relationship? -Is there open and honest communication between you and your partner?
Treatment for anxious attachment- how we can help It is possible to have a fulfilling relationship. Balancing the needs for closeness and distance between two partners can be challenging, but it is possible. We are here to help. Individual therapy can provide you with the skills to manage any anxiety caused by relationship stress, enhance self-awareness, speak up for what you need and want in your relationships, and help you feel whole within yourself.