Anxious Attachment in Adults

What is an Attachment? How many Types of Attachments are there? What is the Anxious Attachment in Adults and its Signs? How to Convert an Anxious attached into a Securely Attached?
anxious attachment in adults

Attachments are the common instinct in living organisms. You get attached to your relations, pets, things, and even your favorite movie characters. But not all attachments have healing effects, and an example of a disturbing attachment is an anxious attachment in adults and children. You will get to know about anxious preoccupied attachment signs and anxious preoccupied attachment in adults as you continue reading the article.

1. Define Attachment

Understand Attachment: anxious attachment in adults 4

Your ability to make and develop bonds with another person is known as attachment. You are emotionally attached to a person like your parents, friends, pets, caregivers, etc. The insecure feeling and a strong bond that you share with them is termed attachment. It is your biggest strength as well as your biggest weakness. (See Internal Vs External Locus of Control)

2. Types of Attachments

Broadly, attachments are classified into 4 types,

3. Define Anxious Ambivalent Attachment

Anxious Ambivalent Attachment

It is a type of anxious attachment and people with such kind of attachment have difficulty trusting others. They are very clingy because of the constant fear of abandonment. (See What is Personalization Cognitive Distortion?)

4. Define Anxious Avoidant Attachment

People having this form of attachment face difficulties getting intimate. They are hardly interested in investing emotionally in their relationship. Like a child who is emotionally attached to his mother and even clings to her tightly, but hardly expresses his feelings and does not make eye contact with her. (See How to Stay in the Present?)

5. Traits of Disorganized Attachment

It is a mixture of different types of attachment with irregular patterns, you will find it hard to determine what could be their next behavior. (See What is a Positive Mindset?)

6. Define Secure Attachment

Secure Attachment: anxious attachment in adults 3

In anxious attachment in adults, a securely attached person is filled with the feeling of trust and safety. The person feels secure being surrounded by their loved ones, like kids feeling secure around parents and caregivers, adults feel secure having that relationship and person in their life. (Also read How to Know if Someone Loves You Psychology?)

7. Traits of Anxious Attachment in Adults

It includes both ambivalent and avoidant attachment. A person may have one or both of them. It makes adults behave, affects their confidence level, and self-esteem, and causes behavioral disruptions. Such people face lots of difficulties with their relationships. (See Psychology Behind Vicarious Embarrassment)

8. Define Anxious Preoccupied Attachment in Adults

It is a part of the anxious attachment style that a person experiences with their relations where trusting, feeling safe, and secure are lacking. John Bowlby, a British Psychologist, mentioned this type of attachment along with the other 4 attachments, in his attachment theory. (See How to Be Loved By Everyone?)

9. Causes behind Anxious Attachment

The attachment theory talks about the various causes that led to this situation. But one major cause is the experiences of childhood. The way you handle your kids while they are infants or toddlers is going to shape their personality. Some other causes may include sudden trauma or lifestyle changes and any physical or mental disbalance. (See Importance of Child Behavioral Psychologist)

10. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment Signs

Anxious attachment Signs: anxious attachment in adults 1

A person with an anxious preoccupied attachment will have the following symptoms.

  • They always want to stay close to their partner.
  • They are always in the fear of being rejected.
  • They fear constantly being abandoned.
  • They are always trying to please everyone around them.
  • Trusting is hard for them.
  • They are hypersensitive to your mood and your actions influence their mood and actions too.
  • They have a negative impression of their self-worth.
  • They will be too dependent on you ( or their partner). (See Benefits of The Elevation Experience)

11. More Signs of Anxious Attachment

  • Role of pursuer: It is because they have negative self-worth and positive views about others, like their parents, partners, etc. They evaluate their self-worth by relying on their partner. 
  • Get resentful: This may seem common among partners, but an anxiously attached person will become resentful even if their partner is not being attentive to them for a short period. Like if you are busy cooking and he wants to show you something but you are not paying enough attention to it, it will be a part of anxious attachment in adults. 
  • Over-expressing or Suppressing the anger: According to these people, expressing their anger and anxiety more dramatically will generate a response from you, immediately. But some anxiously attached people try to suppress and hide their anger or anxiety and rarely express it. Because they fear their partner will leave. But suppressing emotions is going to turn out more problematic because there will be occasional outbursts of anger. 
  • Falling prey to depression: The constant fears lingering in my mind and continuous efforts to make things right lead to serious emotional disturbances. And prolonged mental disturbance leads to depression, which can be more fatal in their case. Such that they can try to harm themselves or even attempt suicide. (See 6 Negative Health Effects of Self Harm and Cutting Habits)

12. Impact of such Attachments on Relationships

An upset lady inside the tub.

The result is the one which they fear the most. In several cases, the partner finds it difficult to deal with their clinginess and prefers to separate their paths which in turn makes their insecurity deeper than before. (See 20 Reasons People Break Up)

13. Define Inconsistent Parenting

It is a form of attachment with your children which does not follow the correct pattern of parenting. Sometimes you are overly attached. But the other time, you are emotionally unavailable. All these things leave a lasting impact on their mind. In anxious attachment in adults, as the child grows, their confusion also grows because he is unable to figure out what reaction to expect from you. This makes them insecure because they feel they have no reliable resources. If they get that support from their caregiver, they get anxious at the thought of losing them. (See What Is Parentification?)

14. How to Convert the Anxious Attachment into a Secure Attachment?

A person with a secure attachment habit plays an important role in this. Such a person can help anxious people by making them feel more secure. In anxious attachment in adults, combining secure attachment with psychotherapy can show a promising impact on the person. (See PhD Vs PsyD in Psychology)

15. Role of a Counselor

Role of a Counselor: anxious attachment in adults 6

This method also involves a third person, a partner, a counselor, or a psychiatrist. Because you have to tell them how your story makes sense. You have to tell them the right way to make them able to predict your childhood experiences. An effective way of doing so is to write a coherent narrative mentioning how childhood experiences are affecting adult lives. This way, their emotional resilience will be improved. (See Importance of Marriage Coaching)

Now, you know about anxious attachment in adults and anxious preoccupied attachment signs. It is time to spread this information about anxious preoccupied attachment in adults with others and create awareness about this psychological issue. (See 8 Types of Good Emotional Support Dogs)

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