Tools For Attachment Styles

In part one of my previous blog with covering attachments, I discussed the different attachment styles and how they originate. The variety of attachments differentiate on how caregivers responded to our needs as children. This blog will be more of a helpful guide on how to help yourself and others through the hindering patterns of attachment styles. This guide could help someone or you, alter attachment style or change to a more securely attached.

Anxious Attachment Style

Anxiously attached are individuals who crave constant closeness and attention. They are chronic worriers/overthinkers as well, which can keep them from feeling secure in relationships. This can result in them being unhappy with themselves and others.

How to help your anxiousness?

Those who have an anxiously attached style can help themselves by:

  • Letting go of the fear of being abandoned

Abandonment issues trace back to our childhood when there wasn’t enough physical and emotional support being given. These issues can continue circling back around in many different relationships and in a variety of ways. The thought of a partner or friend leaving can trigger those who fear being abandoned. The thought of being alone can also keep individuals in relationships that don’t truly satisfy them and thinking there is nothing better out there for them.

  • Let go of the need to control

Those with anxious attachment can be in a constant state of worry which can lead them to try to control others and situations. It might not always come off as intentional, but when someone is insecure about themselves and the fear of someone leaving them, it can come off as controlling.

To understand why you’re controlling it is important, to be honest with yourself and why you feel the need to control something or someone. Where does this feeling come from?

It’s also important to live in the present moment and practice mindfulness. There is power in the present, be fully in the moment. People tend to try and control when their afraid of what’s to come next. Not wanting anything to go wrong or repeating a past mistake is normal, but constantly worrying about it isn’t healthy. Try to put the “what if’s” to rest and focus on what is currently happening.

  • Practice taking responsibility when you’re triggered and act in hurtful ways.

When triggered, anxious individuals can act out in ways that hurt their relationship. They might be spiteful and say something hurtful, do something to make others jealous, cut off communication, etc.

It’s important to know when you feel triggered and when someone or something is bothering you. It’ll help to communicate that in a healthy way with individuals who take your thoughts and feelings into consideration. If you have already acted out in a hurtful way towards someone, it’s okay. Acknowledge your actions, take responsibility for your part, and become aware of your triggers.

How others can help a loved one who has this attachment style

Dismissive Avoidant

RECAP: A person who is dismissive-avoidant, avoids being too emotionally close in different relationships and this causes them to distance themselves from others.

How to help your dismissiveness

  • Give compassion to the parts of you that you had to shut down as a child

Dismissive avoidants can find it difficult to be intimate with others because they did not experience a healthy intimate and close relationship with someone. As a child, dismissive avoidants were taught to suppress their needs and vulnerability because it would likely get ignored or dismissed. Since they could not count on their caregivers to fulfill their needs it makes it hard for dismissive individuals to count on others, especially in adulthood.

It’s completely normal and healthy to have needs. It can be difficult to navigate through different relations because you were taught that your needs and expressions weren’t important, but that is so far from the truth. Extend yourself compassion and grace to the parts you had to hide when you were a child. Circumstances were different then and now you can create a safer and vulnerable environment.

  • Practice vulnerability 

Dismissive avoidants usually protect themselves from vulnerability so they do not have to go through disappointment or end up hurt. They like to have an independent and in control image. They can also seemingly “get over” things quickly.

Although it’s tempting to want to avoid difficult feelings, that holds back from deep connections and self-understanding. In order to create deep and lasting connections, it’s okay to let others into your world. You don’t have to rush anything; if you rather go at a slower pace that could be the start of directly communicating your needs to someone.

  • Practice acknowledging when you dismiss the needs of others

It’s common for dismissive individuals to dismiss other’s needs/feelings because their needs/feelings were ignored as a child.

 In adulthood, it’s important to be aware when you are dismissing the needs of others. Avoiding conflicts and issues can only create bigger problems or create a loss in connection with someone you might hold close. If you have to take a step back in order to analyze the conflict at hand it’s okay to communicate that and come back when emotions aren’t so high.

How others can help you or a loved one:

Fearful Avoidant

RECAP: People who have a fearful-avoidant attachment, desire connections, and close relationships, but have a difficult time trusting others. They suffer from a lot of abandonment issues and much inner conflict not knowing if they should get close to others or push them away.

How to help your fearfulness

  • Let go of that negative view of yourself and others

  It’s okay to take time to reflect and develop yourself. Since you fear closeness as well as intimacy, there might be some open wounds that need to be addressed. Rejection and abandonment are the most common causes of fear when entering relationships. Most people have experienced rejection and abandonment in various relationships throughout their life, but that doesn’t mean that all relationships end that way.

Don’t be afraid to make different relations from fears of being rejected or abandoned. Remind yourself that you are worthy and not everyone is undeserving of your trust. Take time with your connection with others to see who is trustworthy. Also, it would help to take time and self-examine the patterns and behaviors that you repeat on your part.

  • Practice setting firmer boundaries when you began to over give or start to feel used

From the fear of abandonment, fearful avoidants tend to be there for others at their own expense in order to feel safe.

It’s healthy to set boundaries in order to determine what is yours and what is not; also, to determine what you will and what you will not tolerate from others (even yourself). Boundaries help people from being used by separating your feelings from another’s feelings, sacrificing your own needs to please others, letting someone else’s feelings determine your own, etc.

Having boundaries creates strong self-esteem and help your identity as an individual so that you are not enmeshing yourself with others. You are not responsible for other’s choices only your own. What others choose to do has nothing to do with you.

  • Acknowledge when you start to withdraw when you start to feel rejected or afraid

Past relationships might have caused fearful avoidants to run or push away from uncomfortable situations. Closeness can trigger high anxiety in fearful avoidants in future relations and this can keep them from forming close bonds with others.

It’s important to pay attention to when anxiety begins to arise. Notice when you feel the need to withdraw from relationships. Is it from a lack of boundaries? Has someone proved to you that they are untrustworthy? Has the pace begun moving too fast in a certain relationship? OR have you begun to build a defensive wall from past experiences that aren’t based on the present? It’s important to know that emotions do not give accurate feedback in relationships.

When you’re in a calm and healthy space, take time to figure out what you need from your relationships, and effectively communicate that with others.

How others can help you or a loved one:

It’s not your fault that your caregivers did not give the security and emotional stability that you needed when you were younger. They did the best they could with the best they knew how. You coped the best way you could with the circumstances you were given. As you get older you start to see the patterns you once used aren’t working anymore. It’s okay, to be honest with yourself, embrace where you are, do the work, and move forward.

Your past relationships, do not determine your future relationships…unless you let them

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