Anxiety Avoidant Attachment: What Is It and How to Deal
In This Article
There are a few types of attachment that you may develop as a child that will dictate how you act in relationships throughout your life. One type is anxious avoidant attachment. If you want to learn more about this type, read this article for a full explanation.
What is attachment theory?
Attachment theory has been around for many years and was described first by John Bowlby. He was interested in seeing how children react to the treatment they receive from their parents or caregiver when they are a baby.
Your attachment style is essentially how you relate to the first person that took care of you. If they were attentive to your needs and comforted you when you needed
For further details on the attachment theory, check out this video:
Types of attachment styles and what they mean
There are essentially 4 main types of attachment styles. There are also a few types that have characteristics related to multiple types, including fearful avoidant, anxious avoidant, and anxious preoccupied attachment.
When an individual has a secure attachment style, this means they are both able to give and receive love and affection.
A person with anxious attachment will likely be anxious in all relationships. Even if they are in a healthy relationship, they may be afraid that things will change in an instant.
As the name suggests, those with an avoidant attachment will sometimes get close to others and then feel the need to separate themselves from the person they grew close to.
Fearful avoidant attachment
A child may develop this type of attachment if they are abused or mistreated when they are a baby, which can cause them to be unable to form healthy bonds with others.
What is anxious avoidant attachment?
When a person has anxious avoidant attachment, this means that they have a deep need to connect with others, but once they are able to connect, they may try to leave the situation.
This could be because their needs weren’t met on a consistent basis when they were a baby. These inconsistencies can affect someone throughout their entire lives and through many relationships, both platonic and romantic.
Due to a child’s treatment in their early life, they will want to be intimate with another person, but they will be unable to hold up their end of the arrangement once they meet this goal.
This may cause a person to be unable to have close friends or healthy relationships. They might date a lot but never get serious with someone.
How is the anxious avoidant attachment style formed?
The anxious avoidant style traits are formed when a child is very young, under 2 years of age. As a child starts to learn to lean on their caregiver or parent for having their needs met as well as support, it is important for a parent to always behave in the same manner.
A child should be comforted when they are upset, and they should be given supplies when this is needed.
When this doesn’t happen, it can cause a child to develop an insecure attachment style. In the case of anxious avoidant attachment, this will likely form when a child’s caregiver has little regard for what a child needs. They may refuse to provide them with these needs or simply ignore them.
What are signs of anxious-avoidant attachment?
You may notice that a child has anxious avoidant insecure attachment because they are often quite independent. They may do a good job governing themselves.
If they are around other children, they can often take or leave their friendship. It is a matter of choice.
A child will also not need much from their caregiver after they develop this style but still may be a bit anxious when the caregiver is gone.
It may seem like they have to be close to their caregiver but don’t actually want to be in the same space once they get close to them.
As an adult, a person may not be able to gain intimacy with another person. They may also think that they are never good enough for another person.
Additionally, they may harp on small issues with a mate, so they have a reason to run from a serious relationship with someone they care about and that cares about them. There may also be a large amount of drama in all of their relationships.
When an individual has anxious or avoidant relationships, it is not impossible for them to end up in a committed relationship or married. However, this by itself doesn’t mean that they won’t still see effects of this type of attachment.
For instance, someone that has anxious avoidant attachment and ends up as a parent themselves may still experience issues when it comes to the attention their baby is getting. They may think that it is taking away from the attention that they should be getting.
What causes an anxious-avoidant attachment?
All children need to be cared for properly. They must have a caregiver that is attentive to their needs and willing to give them what they need at the proper times.
Sometimes, a caregiver doesn’t behave the same way when it comes to giving a child support and comfort, which can cause the child to feel like they can’t trust their caregiver.
When they stop trusting their caregiver, this can cause them to determine that they are only able to trust themselves and rely on only themselves for support.
When it comes to anxious attachment style and avoidant behavior, this occurs when a caregiver is not providing support all the time. They may provide it sometimes, and in other instances, they may expect the child to take care of themselves or act more grown up than is possible for their age.
Once a child notices that their caregiver won’t nurture them or offer support when they need it, they may feel like they won’t be able to get anything from their caregiver.
As you can imagine, this can be problematic for the child and affect their behavior for the rest of their life. This may be the case if they are ridiculed when they need something or if their caregiver is a child themselves, and cannot address their needs properly.
As they get older, the way they feel and behave can change, but it may also cause them to experience issues when it comes to dating and with their mental health.
How do you deal with anxious-avoidant attachment?
There are a few ways to deal with anxious avoidant attachment, depending on if you are the person experiencing the effects of it or someone that cares about them.
1. For the partner of someone with anxious avoidant attachment
If you are the partner of someone that has this type of attachment, there are ways that you can protect yourself and help them, as well.
Talk about it
One thing that you need to do when you are in a relationship with someone that has an insecure attachment style is to talk to them about what is going on.
While they may not want to discuss how they are feeling, you may feel better when you try to get to the bottom of how they are acting.
For instance, if you and your partner have grown close and it seems like they are trying to leave the relationship and you aren’t sure why, it may be helpful to talk to them about how they are feeling and what they are experiencing.
Moreover, talking to others that you trust for advice on this may also be handy. They may provide you with a perspective that is helpful and unique.
Related Reading: What to Talk About in Therapy and Tips on How to Open Up
Take care of you
Something else that you must do is take care of yourself. Even if you are worried about your partner and your relationship, it is necessary to put yourself first, in terms of your health and wellbeing.
This means that you need to stick to a routine, where you are able to sleep enough at night, and you should also make sure that you are exercising.
If you need to clean up your diet a bit, make small changes, so you are able to eat a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals.
These things can help you prevent illness and can go a long way in helping you take care of your overall health.
When you think there may be something a bit off about your relationship or how your partner is acting towards you, make sure that you trust your instinct. You don’t have to ignore red flags if they are occurring.
Anytime you notice something that seems uncharacteristic of your partner, talk to them about this.
If they aren’t willing to talk, this may give you enough information to know what you want to do about your current relationship. In some instances, it may be worth it to work through any issues you are having, and in others, you may want to move on.
Work with a therapist
Talking to a therapist can be beneficial in a number of different ways. One way is that they can help you learn more about your relationship and how to interact with your partner. If you have trouble communicating or getting along, you can work together to bridge this gap.
You can also talk to a therapist about your attachment style as well as your mates, and they will be able to explain what can be done to change certain behaviors. It is possible that your attachment style is affecting you in the same ways that your partner’s is.
You may even consider couples counseling, if you want to work on these issues together with your partner.
2. For the person with anxious avoidant attachment
If you experience traits related to being anxious avoidant, there are things that you can do to address these behaviors as well. Here’s a look at where to begin.
Be open with your partner
While it may be your first instinct to cut and run when things get too serious, if you really care about another person, you owe it to yourself to reconsider this tendency.
Think about talking to your partner first about how you feel. Even if you feel vulnerable or scared about the relationship, your mate will likely understand. There’s a chance they are even feeling some of the same things that you are.
When you give yourself an opportunity to talk about it, you may be able to make changes and stay in the relationship. You may even be able to strengthen your bond with one another.
Try to address things you don’t like
In some cases, you may be aware of how you behave in relationships and want to change things. It is important to understand that it is possible to change traits related to your attachment style when this is what you want to do.
Think about how you act in certain situations and whether this has caused issues in your relationships. There may be things that you do that you would like to stop doing because they have caused you stress or heartache. You might not even know why you behave a certain way.
If this is the case, ponder how other people may act in these situations or how you would like to change your behavior. You may be able to make these changes over time.
Process your feelings
Something else that you need to take stock of are your feelings. It is okay for you to feel things. When you care about someone, it is fine to have feelings for them, even if they make you uncomfortable or your first reaction is to get away from them.
This is not something that you have to do. Instead, you should try to work through your feelings and process them, which may be easier than you think.
For instance, if you feel like you are in love with someone, instead of thinking that you must end your relationship with them, consider what would happen if you didn’t. If you were able to love them back, would you be happy? It may be worth thinking about further.
Along with processing your feelings, you may want to learn more about attachment styles. They can tell you a lot about who you are and why you behave a certain way.
Related Reading: 15 Ways to Help Your Partner Understand How You’re Feeling
Seek professional help
Something else that you should think about doing is working with a therapist. Not only can they help you overcome some of the effects of your attachment style, but they may also help you understand more about relationships.
If you developed this attachment because of trauma or abuse you experienced as a child, a therapist may be able to help you overcome this, so you can begin to feel more like yourself again.
You can talk to them about whatever you need support with, and they will likely have expert information to provide for you. If you want to make any changes to the way you behave, a professional may be able to offer you a treatment plan to address these things.
This could make it easier for you to develop relationships and interact with others.
Important questions to ask!
We hope you’ve got a fair idea of what anxious avoidant attachment means and how to deal with a person having this type of attachment. Now, let’s try to answer some more questions around it.
What’s your attachment style?
Your attachment style is essentially the way you attached to your first caregiver when you were child.
Depending on how your parent or caregiver responded to your needs and wants as a baby, this could cause you to develop different types of attachment, which can affect you through many of the relationships throughout your life and into adulthood.
If they gave you the things you needed each time or nearly each time, this will lead to a different attachment than if your caregiver ignored your cries or was unable to care for you properly.
Can your attachment style change?
While some aspects of your attachment style may stay with you for much of your life, it is possible to change your attachment style.
If there are certain aspects of your personality that you don’t like and want to address, it is possible with a bit of time and effort. You may also see benefits from working with a therapist.
It’ll be fine!
If you are someone that has traits related to anxious avoidant attachment, this could cause you to experience problems when it comes to closeness with others. It is likely that these traits developed early in life and have been present since you were a baby.
However, it is possible for you to change these things, if you want to. You can talk to your partner about how you feel, and you can work with a therapist for more support. Getting the professional support you need may be able to change your life for the better.
If you don’t know what your attachment style is, you may want to do more research into this concept. It may help explain why you act in certain ways when it comes to relationships.
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