How to Overcome Anxious Avoidant Attachment Style‍

Regarding intimate relationships, people tend to fall into one of two categories based on their attachment style. Anxious-avoidant attachment is when both partners have some degree of insecurity. However, one partner tends to be more fearful of abandonment and will do things like being clingy or needy. The other partner will want to avoid being smitten so much that they become detached or unresponsive. Read on to learn more about overcoming an anxious-avoidant attachment style in your relationship.

Know the signs of an anxious-avoidant dynamic

If you are in an anxious-avoidant attachment dynamic, you will see the following signs: 

  • Your partner frequently wants to make sure you know they love you and want to be with you. They may be overly eager to commit to you or ask you to move in together/marry soon after meeting you. 
  • You often feel like you can’t live without your partner and can’t survive without them. 
  • You get very upset or clingy when your partner goes away on a short trip or takes a vacation. 
  • You have a very difficult time setting boundaries with your partner. 
  • You have difficulty getting your partner to commit to future plans. 
  • Your partner engages in much less physical affection than you would like.

Try couples counseling

Couples therapy can be very effective in helping to break the anxious-avoidant attachment dynamic. In couples counseling, the focus is less on fixing your partner and more on you becoming a more secure person and being able to set healthy boundaries in your relationship. However, your partner may not be ready for couples therapy, and that is okay. It is important that you set boundaries for yourself and take care of your mental and physical health. Going to therapy or joining a support group may be a good idea. You may also want to consider reading some books that can help you better understand your anxious attachment style and learn new ways to cope with it.

Have a secure-communication ritual

People with anxious-avoidant attachment tend to have difficulty communicating effectively and setting healthy boundaries. One way to break this pattern is to have a ritual for communicating with your partner. Many people who regularly engage in secure communication find it helps reduce their anxiety and stress. 

When engaging in secure communication, remember these three rules: 

  • No interrupting. 
  • Use “I” statements. For example, say, “I feel anxious when you call me during dinner,” instead of, “You shouldn’t call me during dinner.” 
  • Be sure to listen empathically. Avoid being defensive and try your best to understand what your partner is saying to you.

Develop trust by practicing empathy and self-awareness

Empathy means understanding and putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Self-awareness is recognizing and understanding your own triggers, motivations, and feelings. You can increase both of these skills by spending time with your partner, and also by spending time alone with yourself. To spend time with your partner, you can do anything together as long as you are present and fully engaged with them. You can go on a walk together, or have dinner together. To spend time alone, you can meditate, journal, or take a bath. Spending time alone with yourself is to engage in an activity that will help you be more fully present with yourself and understand yourself better.

Take care of yourself physically and emotionally

  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a great way to help you calm your mind, relax your body, and release negative emotions that may be triggering you.
  • Exercise. 
  • Spend time in nature. Many people find that nature helps them relax, feel better, and be less triggered. 
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