Anxious-Avoidant Attachment Style

  • They are also known as the "fearful type."
  • They are afraid of intimacy and commitment, and they are distrustful.
  • They spend much of their time alone and miserable, or in dysfunctional relationships.
  • They often suffer from emotional problems in other areas of their life.
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Attachment theory is an area of psychology that describes the nature of emotional attachment between people, starting with your parents. The quality of how well you were cared for will then influence the nature of your relationships later in life.

There are four attachment strategies: secure, anxious, avoidant, and anxious-avoidant.

  • People with this style are comfortable showing interest and affection. 
  • They are comfortable being alone and independent.
  • They can correctly prioritize their relationships.
  • They are able to draw clear boundaries and stick with them.

50% of the population is secure attachment types.

Anxious Attachment Style
  • They are often nervous and stressed about their relationships.
  • They need constant reassurance and affection from their partners.
  • They have trouble being alone or single.
  • They are often in unhealthy or abusive relationships.
  • They have trouble trusting people.
  • Their behavior can be irrational and overly emotional.
Avoidant Attachment Style
  • They are highly independent.
  • They are self-directed.
  • They are uncomfortable with intimacy.
  • They complain of not enough personal space when people try to get close to them.
  • They have an exit strategy in every relationship.

Our attachment styles are influenced by how we related to our parents as infants and set the pattern for how we perceive relationships as we mature.

As we get older, we continue to build on this pattern when we form relationships with our peers and other people.

Different attachment types tend to configure themselves into relationships in predictable ways.

  • Secure types can handle both anxious and avoidant types in a relationship.
  • Anxious and avoidants regularly end up in relationships with one another and less frequent with their own types.
  • Anxious-avoidants only date each other or the least secure of the anxious types or avoidant types. These relationships are often very messy.
Changing Your Attachment Style

Your attachment style can change over time to a more secure style or an insecure style if they're not careful.

An extreme negative event, such as divorce, death of a dear one, a serious accident, etc. can cause a secure attachment type to move into a more insecure attachment type.

Anxious types can work on developing themselves, creating healthy boundaries and fostering a healthy self-image.

Avoidant types can work on opening themselves up to others and share more about themselves.

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RELATED IDEAS

How Attachment Styles Affect Adult Relationships

Whatever your specific relationship problems, it’s important to know that your brain remains capable of change throughout life.

By identifying your attachment style, you can learn to challenge your insecurities, develop a more securely attached way of relating to others, and build stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships.

8

IDEAS

You have an eye on the exit

You avoid anything that leads to a bigger commitment. You're always wondering: "if it goes wrong, how can I extricate myself easily from this relationship?

Because commitment reduces your ability to leave a relationship without financial or emotional consequences, you tend to avoid it.

Falling in love

To us, being loved in a relationship is perhaps the highest ideal. It gives our lives meaning and purpose. Being loved validates our sense of self-esteem and soothes our fears of loneliness.

Our brains are also wired to fall in love. Dopamine provides a natural high and ecstatic feeling that can be as addictive as cocaine. 

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