If someone does these 9 things, they probably have an anxious attachment style

Now, we all have ways of connecting with others. Even those who glide through social interactions with ease and grace find themselves placing a foot wrong or making an ill-thought out joke. However, for some, these patterns are far more fraught with worry and insecurity than others.

Welcome to the anxiously attached individual’s handbook. For those who haven’t yet come to terms with their attachment style, or are trying to suss out how their partner/friend/parent sees them.

You might be reflecting on your relationships and interactions, questioning if your reactions to situations are typical, or a sign of deeper issues.

And how exactly do you determine if your attachment style is rooted in anxiety, or know if it’s just part of the common fluctuations most people experience?

If the questions above linger in your mind, the list below of the 9 behaviors will be helpful. These little quirks and habits tend to indicate a more anxious attachment style, and could help you understand your own attachment tendencies. 

And if these ring true to you, it might be time to explore potential undercurrents of anxiety

1) Constantly seeking reassurance

One of the most common behaviors in people with an anxious attachment style is the relentless and slightly frenzied pursuit of reassurance.

Do your fingers itch to type out the following?

“Do you still love me? 🙁”

“Do you miss me???”

“Do you think I’m pretty?!”

“…are you mad at me?”

You might find yourself constantly seeking validation from your partner, friends, or family, needing to hear that they still care for you and value your relationship. 

(Even if you don’t act on these urges).

“Would you still love me if I was a worm?”

This often stems from a deep-seated fear of abandonment that can be traced back to childhood experiences. Being reassured quiets the demon (albeit temporarily), and until that happens, it’s as if a part of you is always on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And even though short term words reassuring you feeds this demon, know that it’s not healthy – living your life in a way that allows text to make or break your day..

2) Overanalyzing every interaction

People with anxious attachment styles often have a tendency to overthink and overanalyze every detail of their interactions. A simple text message can become a source of worry, with hours spent deciphering the underlying tone or implications at 3am, shivering in bed.

These individuals may also frequently replay and replay conversations in their heads, trying to find hidden meanings or cues that could indicate potential problems or rejection. 

They often attach significant weight to minor comments or actions, seeing them as indicative of larger issues within the relationship.

It’s important to note that although everyone occasionally overthinks things, a mind which constantly analyzes every word, gesture, or silence from others could hint at an anxious attachment style.

3) Hyper independence or codependency in relationships

As someone with an anxious attachment style, I’ve often found it challenging to let go of my independence in my relationships. 

I yearned to be stuck to my boyfriend at the hip, but when it came down to actually asking for help or letting down the big walls I’d built around my heart, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

It’s as if a part of me was constantly yearning for closeness, while another part of me understands the importance of individual space and autonomy.

I would find myself feeling excessively anxious when my partner would go on business trips, but claustrophobic over weeks spent alone in each other’s company.

If you lean towards both too much independence as well as a desire to be with your partner every waking moment, this constant internal tug-of-war may be indicative of an anxious attachment style.

4) Hypersensitivity to changes in mood

For people with an anxious attachment style, it’s as if we walk on eggshells around those we love.

Still, if my boyfriend sighs deeply or acts even a tiny bit off, the warning bells blare in my mind.

It’s as if I have a highly sensitive radar susceptible to any changes in the moods of those around them, able to perceive even the slightest shift in demeanor.

And that radar isn’t always right; which can lead us to over-interpret these cues and believe that a sigh = we’re going to break up.

5) Relationship anxiety

Although I’ve come far in my own journey in easing my relationship anxiety, the persistent fear that somehow, something will go wrong and the person I care about will leave me still lingers.

Every disagreement feels at times like a potential deal-breaker, every good day like it’s the last. 

This all despite the fact that my partner was supportive and understanding, my anxious attachment style kept feeding into my insecurities, making it difficult for me to truly enjoy the relationship.

If you find yourself regularly worrying about your relationship’s stability despite having no concrete reason to do so, it could suggest that you also have an anxious attachment style.

6) Self-esteem issues

Anxious attachment styles are often interwoven with low self-esteem. This can be a vicious cycle because low self-worth can feed into the fear of abandonment, which in turn fuels the anxiety.

Not a pleasant cycle, is it?

These feelings of unworthiness, the constant fear of not being good enough means if anything that you’re more susceptible to getting anxious and moving heaven and earth for a partner who only drives your anxiety up the walls. 

The worse your self-esteem, the more you want to beg for love and reassurance – a snippet of which makes you feel good for all of 10 minutes before the anxiety starts spiraling again.

7) Fear of conflict

People with anxious attachment styles often fear confrontations, as they associate it with potential rejection or relationship termination. 

As a result, they might suppress their needs or concerns to maintain harmony.

This also leads them to become prime victims for manipulators or narcissists, who find the lack of ability to stand up and say when something isn’t okay a smooth ride for their manipulative tendencies.

8) People-pleasing 

Individuals with an anxious attachment style sometimes overcompensate by giving excessively in relationships. Whether it’s time, energy, or resources, they tend to give more than is sustainable out of fear that not doing so might lead to rejection.

“The more I give, the more they’ll love me!”

And this overextending in relationships, constantly putting the needs of others before their own, and inability to set healthy boundaries leads to this individual becoming exhausted and feeling resentful both of themselves and their partner.

9) Difficulty trusting & jealousy

Trust (or a lack thereof) is a struggle for those with an anxious attachment style, often coupled with intense (just unexposed) jealousy.  

Even in the absence of any betrayals or dishonesty, they may still find it hard to fully trust their partners due to their intrinsic fear of abandonment. They might grow green and envious of anyone their partner’s mentions – even the colleague who kindly dropped a squashed cupcake on his desk after lunch.

They’re having an affair. The cupcake is an omen. It’s time to sound the alarms and dive into full anxiety-mode.

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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