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Anxious attachment

Anxious attachment

Principles of attachment theory show that the way we act in our relationships called our attachment styles. It is a reflection of how we were treated like babies. If you are a kind of insecure partner in your relationship and need validation from your partner in every matter, it may indicate an anxious attachment style. It is one of the four types of attachment styles a child develops according to attachment theory.

This article is all about the anxious attachment style. You will be able to know about anxious attachment definition, how it affects your relationships or friendships, what some triggers are and how you can deal with it. So let’s get started:

Anxious attachment definition

Research shows that about 19% of people have an anxious attachment style. Here is a proper anxious attachment definition to clear your concept:

“Anxious attachment is a type of insecure attachment style rooted in fear of abandonment and insecurity of being underappreciated. People with an anxious attachment style, also called preoccupied attachment disorder, often feel nervous about being separated from their partner.”

Anxious attachment triggers

As people with anxious attachment style have general insecurities, paticular incidents intentionally or unintentionally can trigger them. Here are some anxious attachment triggers:

Unresponsive attitude

According to Lippman–Barile, unresponsive attitude from the partner, for instance, not replying texts or returning calls for a long period can act as a trigger for the person with anxious attachment style. If they do not know why their partner is not answering their calls it can make them worry about what has gone wrong or wondering what they did to push their partner away. In the start of the relationship, a little anxiety is common because we do not know much about the person, but an anxiously attached person carries this anxiety throughout the relationship.

Conflicts and Issues

Conflict levels can be healthy for most people and it is natural for conflict to occur now and then. They discuss their conflicts and find a way to deal with them in a healthy environment. But those having an anxious attachment style may not be able to talk about issues in the relationship in an authentic way. It can trigger abandonment fears, as Wegner explains. When they see that their partner is trying to communicate fears or doubts about the relationship, they automatically assume that their relationship is at a dead end. Sometimes they self-sabotage their relationship.


Distance is one of the significant anxious attachment triggers. People having an anxious attachment style always need validation from their partner in every small matter. They want their partner to be around them. But when their partner has work or family commitment and cannot be there for their partner, this can be a trigger. Things become problematic and stressful and the other partner does not realize it is an issue.

Partner acts more independent.

Initially, relationships are romantic, and partners tend to spend more time together, but this honeymoon phase ends when practical life starts. They may don’t have as much time for each other because of work issues and personal commitments. But an anxiously attached person cannot handle this when their partner starts engaging themselves somewhere else. If the partner picks a new hobby or makes new friends, it can also trigger abandonment and fear, and the person may feel no longer important or interesting anymore for their partner. Lippman-Barile gives an example that, attending a port game or joining a new book club alone can make their anxiously attached partner think that their partner wants to leave them.

Unpredictable attitude

Not everyone has their priorities clear, but they figure out what they want with time. But when an anxious person does not know what to expect from the relationship, it can be a trigger. It can create a lot of anxiety and insecurity. Mainly it is related to their relationship with the caregiver. This partner may seem to be acceptable in many ways, but you will notice that the individual just vanishes unexpectedly sending the anxious partner into a frenzy.

Anxious attachment dating

As their parent-child relationships were not conducive to closeness or vulnerability, anxiously attached people looking for love and deep connection. However, with terrible childhood experiences, it is really difficult for them to trust people around, including their romantic partners, so this creates an extreme sense of insecurity about relationships. So anxious attachment dating can make your life hell. According to psychologist Nicole Lippman-Barile, PhD, this insecurity can lead to overly dependent; possessive can cling personality towards their partner. They may try to hold onto their partner, but their overly possessive nature may end pushing them away. Anxiously attached people often appear to be emotionally needy.

Dating is fun, but anxious attachment dating can ruin the essence of the whole experience. Instead of communicating their needs with their partner, they try to act on these. This usually leads to a relational pattern to act out, leading to require soothing. For instance, if their date starts going out with their friends more often, they may have a panic attack. The worst thing is this will happen every time, and the other person may feel annoyed and frustrated.

For achieving a healthy relationship, an anxiously attached person must look for the partner who has a secure attachment style or someone who is willing to work with them to create an emotionally secure environment. Unfortunately, this happens very rarely as their actions tend to attract people with avoidant styles, which confirm their fear of rejection and abandonment.

Anxious attachment friendships

People having anxious attachment friendships styles crave for close relationships, but they are always worried that others are not interested in friendship at all. For assuring your anxiously attached friends make sure to tell them that they are valuable to you. According to Dr Tyson:

“Friends who are anxious-preoccupied may need more reassurance from you to build their self-esteem in genuine, meaningful ways.”

Anxious attachment friendships are not easy on others too. It is very important to tell them that you care about this friendship and miss spending time with them. But it is not easy to repeatedly assure them that you care for them. You can’t be available for multiple texts, calls and Face Time all the time. In that case, it would be better to send a single text letting them know where you are and let them know you will get back to them once you are available. If you can’t spend time physical time together, try using technology to watch your favourite movies or series together ie Netflix Party which is a google chrome extension.

How will you know you have anxious attachment style?

Both adults and kids can show signs of anxious attachment style. A kid who has an anxious attachment with their caregiver will act anxiously when you separate them from the caregiver. The child will also be hard to console when the caregiver returns. In the case of adulthood, a person may need constant reassurance from their partner and affection. The individual may also find it difficult to be single or alone.

Signs in children

  • Inconsolable crying
  • Becoming extremely upset when parent or caregiver leaves
  • Clinging too hard to attachment figures
  • Exploring less as compared to children of the same age
  • Appearing anxious generally
  • Avoiding interaction with strangers
  • Unable to control and regulate negative emotions
  • Poor peer interaction
  • Aggressive behaviour

Signs in Adults

  • In adults, you might notice the following signs:
  • Unable to trust others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Abandonment fear
  • Craving intimacy and closeness too much
  • Being overly dependent
  • Always looking for reassurance that their partner cares about them.
  • Being extremely sensitive to a partner’s moods and actions
  • Being highly impulsive, emotional, moody, and unpredictable

Young people and adults having an anxious attachment style have an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders. According to a study conducted on 160 young adults and adolescents in 2015, researchers found out that the history of antipathy during childhood was linked with anxiety disorders in later life. These disorders can include panic attacks, social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder. These disorders are more common in women than in men.

Anxious attachment style quiz

It is not easy to know on your own if you are suffering from an anxious attachment style or not. But you can have an idea. If you feel like you are noticing some signs, take help from the online anxious attachment style quiz. With this quiz’s help, you can have an idea, but still, you have to visit a doctor to make sure. These quizzes are made after considering symptoms and some other factors related to anxious attachment being prevalent in your actions. There are several anxious attachment style quiz available online; answer these questions, and they will share results with you at the end of the quiz.

If you are wondering what types of questions are included in an anxious attachment quiz, here is an example for you:

  • Do you prefer committed relationship or casual sex?
  • When you are presented with problems, do you feel stumped and immobilized or that these problems are irresolvable?
  • When you give more then you get, do you feel resentful?
  • Do you often feel insecure in your relationship?
  • Is it difficult for you to be alone?
  • Do you face paralyzing fear of losing your partner when you see them engaging in a new activity or making new friends?
  • Is it difficult for you to set healthy boundaries in a relationship?
  • Do you call and text your partner a lot?
  • Do your friends think of you as a clingy person?

Different quizzes available online consist of different questions. Results will be based on your answers. But make sure to consult a professional as only a professional can diagnose and tell you the real issue and will also suggest some useful ways to deal with the problem.

How to self soothe anxious attachment?

Dealing with an anxious attachment style is not easy, but these patterns are not healthy. So you need to work on your attitude. If you are wondering, how to self soothe anxious attachment? Here are some tips for you:

Become mindful of your attachment style

According to Campbell, attention to connection styles assists with disclosing our expected squares to trust, close association, and closeness in adulthood. Understanding why you act somehow while seeing someone is the initial phase in breaking those certain patterns. Each change begins with self-reflection and mindfulness.

Change your behaviour

In the wake of being aware of how this conduct prompts issues in your connections, you can begin settling on more informed choices. Anxious behaviours you routinely take part in don’t bring about what you genuinely need, as Lippman-Barile says. Picking unexpectedly, in the scary or awkward situation can help you begin to make changes that will prompt a safe relationship. It is very important to recognize when a particular behavioural pattern has not served you in your relationships and life only causing problems and sadness.

Connect with somebody you trust

How to self soothe anxious attachment? Defeating an anxious attachment style will, for the most part require taking help. Contacting loved ones you trust might be a beginning. Since individuals with anxious attitude think that it’s hard to confide in individuals near them, Wegner likewise suggests seeking out treatment. Having a restless connection style is truly normal and something most advisors can assist with, she says. Accomplishing a little work presently can save a ton of sorrow and pain down the line.

Since connection styles are created in light of our juvenile comprehension of association, it tends to be hard to defeat these instinctual behavioural patterns. In any case, it’s certainly conceivable to recuperate connection wounds. With mindfulness and work ie coaching and therapy, these undesirable practices can be survived.

How to move from anxious attachment to secure?

How to move from anxious attachment to secure is it even possible? Well, It is possible to move from an anxious attachment style to a secure style which is a good thing. Although it is not a quick or easy thing to do, changes are never easy to make, whether big or small. And here we are trying to change our mindset completely. If an anxiously attached person has a long term relationship with a partner of secure attachment style, their attachment style will eventually move towards secure style. So it would be better if you consider someone with a secure attachment style to be in relationship with.

How to move from anxious attachment to secure? Read more about your own style and secure attachment style; this way, you will be able to understand the whole concept and how you can move forward towards a more secure style You need to work on your self-esteem as it is very important. Therapy is the best option for this but make sure to consider a professional. Keep in mind that it will take time, so there is no need to rush things. Move forward slowly and ambitiously. BOOK FREE CONSULTATION

Possible treatment options

Here are some possible treatment options for anxious attachment style:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves an approach that helps to identify negative thoughts and their changing patterns. What people think affects their behaviour. Sometimes we make up a lot of false situations in our head and get scared, which are far from reality, so with the help of CBT, these thoughts are identified and then treated.

A simple CBT technique involves saying “STOP” either aloud or in your head when you are experiencing a rush of irrational baseless thoughts. It is suggested that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, combined with Systematic Desensitization Therapy, can bring remarkable results in Neurosis treatment.


Medication is not recommended in early stages to deal with mental problems as these can be handled better with the help of therapies. But in some cases, medications, in addition to therapy, become necessary to treat severe emotional and physical symptoms. Doctors may prescribe some medication when the condition is really bad. Here are some medications recommended by doctors for neurosis. But this does not mean you can take them on your own as some of them have side effects too. You cannot take them without the recommendation of a doctor. In the case of an anxious attachment problem, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are used that reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Anxious attachment Reddit

Many people go to Reddit to share their emotions and problems to find out reliable solutions. But not all of these suggestions are useful; trying some tips with no logic behind them can ruin your relationship. I have looked for the some of the best anxious attachment Reddit suggestions for you, so that you may not find yourself in trouble. Here is what people have to say about anxious attachment:

“Therapy! This is my attachment style to and having a neutral party to unpack my anxious thoughts and call me our when I enter familiar behaviour territory has helped me tons. They reassure where you need it and can offer tools based on your temperament.  Also, treating the confidence and anxiety; what do you do to interrupt the thoughts? Do you have consistency in your social life? Do you have self-care activities? Hobbies? Do you journal? I’d suggest reading Gottman’s 7 principals for sure.”

Another anxious attachment Reddit suggestion by a user is as follows:

“As someone who literally used to be the highest end of the spectrum, a fearful, anxious attachment style. I’m going to tell you that it takes a lot of time and a lot of therapy. It also takes a lot of self-confidence and love to yourself and healing from your childhood. After about three years of constant therapy, I can finally say that I feel like I am more securely attached now. Good luck to you. I know how difficult it is to feel this way.”

Here is how a person with a secure attachment style deals with an anxious partner:

“I have a secure attachment style, and my girlfriend has anxious tendencies. Mostly it means I get to cuddle more and say all the sweet nothings I can come up with and not have to worry about scaring her away. It’s so much nicer than having to deal with avoidance behaviours.”

Another user says that:

“Having an anxious attachment style often means you’re thinking about the relationship WAY more than the other person, which for me means I end up emotionally investing myself very quickly. Now, I’m a very logic-driven, low blood pressure type person in nearly every other facet of my life, so when I take a look at my emotional reactions in relationships from that lense, I realize that while I like the things I know about that person so far, and while my gut says “yes” and I trust that instinct, there’s still so much to learn about them to be getting this worked up about their attention.”


Having an anxious connection style can be tiring. It could feel like you are on an emotional ride constantly. It may cause uneasiness, stress, despondency, and low-satisfaction. With regards to grown-ups with anxious attachments, relationships may be both ‘life-saving’ and ‘hazardous’. The dread of being separated from everyone else or being rejected can lead to uncertainty and stress. Then again, the presence of the adored one, and all the more critically, their showing of love, is the cure.

An individual with an anxious attachment style may be unreliable about where they remain in a relationship and whether their partner loves them as much as they do consequently. The smallest dissatisfaction or indication of dismissal from the partner could be destructive to their all-around low confidence.

But if you are willing to change your attachment style and willing to do work on it, there is nothing better than that. Take help from friends, your partner, and most importantly from professionals. I have tried my best to provide you with useful information about anxious attachment style, hope that you will find it helpful. If you need more support you can BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION NOW or call 03333443853 to speak to a coach.

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