***Video 1 of 5: What is Attachment? | Attachment Theory & Attachment Styles in Relationships - https://youtu.be/8MwEkuwk5PY
***Video 2 of 5: Why is it hard for me to commit? | Avoidant Attachment Style in Relationships - https://youtu.be/ySbhGDPjjdc
***Video 3 of 5: Why do I need Constant Reassurance? | Anxious Attachment Style in Relationships - https://youtu.be/nV4H9_ovr_8
The Anxious/Avoidant Attached Child
Will avoid or ignore the caregiver – showing little emotion when the caregiver departs or returns
Outwardly unemotional but inwardly anxious
Feels desperate for the caretaker to return - may have thoughts that he/she is dying or never coming back - but afraid to tell the caretaker out of fear of judgment or rejection “I don’t want to look weak but I want love too.”
Have everything they need but don’t feel deeply connected to anyone
Learn to act like they don’t care when they’re being punished or are laughed at/criticized when expressing their emotions
Deep down they just want to be held and be told that everything is going to be ok
Often afraid to explore very much regardless of who is there
Parents of Children with an Anxious/Avoidant Attachment Style:
Emotionally distant one minute then loving the next - their patterns can be unpredictable
Mimic pattern displayed to them by their caregivers when they were children
Similar to anxious attachment but difference is that the parent discourages and/or punishes the child for emotionally expressing their needs
Caregiver provides for the child’s needs but is not emotionally present (i.e. parent works 60 hours a week - they are rarely home but able to provide for all of child’s wants and needs monetarily
Actively discourages any expression of emotion either through punishment or simply ignoring the request
Anxious/Avoidant Attachment in Adulthood
Push and pull effect - pull others close then push them away, repeat
Emotional roller coaster - one minute they’re happy, the next they are angry
If the anxious/avoidant partner interprets their partner to be distant they will become clingy and desperate. If the partner is perceived to be clingy, the anxious/avoidant will run away - roles reverse repeatedly, this is how it becomes addicting
Emotional stuffing yet still desperate to be loved
They’re overly attuned to their partners’ needs and moods - if have the slightest sense that their partner is pulling away it feels like the end of the world
How to Develop a More Secure Attachment Style
Recognize that your emotions may not be giving you accurate feedback about what is going on in your relationship - it may not be about your partner but rather they serve as a trigger
Take a long time out before taking action - take time to get clear on your emotions and what is happening then cultivate a mature response
Practice setting healthy boundaries - ask yourself: 1) what do you need in your relationships? And 2) what are you willing to accept?
Don’t overshare until you know the source is trusted
Practice standing your ground and staying through the end - when you start to get close to someone and feel the itch to run away...don’t. Stick around and stick it out and see what you can learn and if it needs to end, then end it completely.
How to Parent a Child with Anxious-Avoidant Attachment
Identify your own attachment style...spoiler: it’s probably anxious-avoidant as well!
Learn how to express emotion - start simple and small, tell a loved one what is on your mind, play games that target emotional expression
Attend therapy - explore your earliest relationships to identify patterns and gain insight on how it all developed and how to manage it
Model emotional expression in your children - speak up for themselves, talk about how they’re feeling, and challenge them to dig deeper
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Blue Sage Counseling and Wellness, and the information provided by Ashley Francis, is solely intended for informational and entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment regarding medical or mental health conditions. Although Ashley Francis is a licensed marriage and family therapist, the views expressed on this site or any related content should not be taken for medical or psychiatric advice. Always consult your physician before making any decisions related to your physical or mental health.