What is an anxious relationship style?
We all experience varying degrees of the four relationship styles: secure, anxious, avoidant, or fearful. Let's take a closer look at an anxious attachment style.
When we experience an anxious attachment style, we feel unloveable, which induces a fear of being left alone. This anxiety can result in repetitive requests for assurance of love.
What causes an anxious relationship style?
The treatment we receive from our first caregivers forms our relationship styles. If our first caregiver gives us inconsistent attention, we can develop an anxious relationship style.
A caregiver who is inconsistently responsive to a child's need for affection lays the groundwork for the anxious attachment style. The child will not know when to expect affection or support, so he or she will feel anxious. Behaviors like tantrums, crying, and clinginess ensue as they seek affection.
The Anxious Relationship Style In Adults
Many of us carry an anxious attachment style into adulthood. We may not feel comfortable with compliments, we may stifle our own needs to satisfy the needs of others, or we may develop a distrust of our partners. These and many other behaviors are indicative of our inner child's need for love. There is a part of us that still feels the intermittent rejection of our caregiver.
Can this relationship style change?
Therapist-guided reflection can be a huge help. We may not realize how deeply the behavior of our first caregiver has affected our current relationships. An outside perspective can help pinpoint and communicate our needs.
Once we understand the source of the anxiousness, we are better equipped to express our needs to relationship partners. Communication brings us closer to healing the wounds from our childhood experiences.