What Is Anxious-Avoidant Attachment?

Published 11/26/2020

Everyone has relationships in their lives that mean a lot to them, but some people have issues when it comes to maintaining those relationships. You might have heard some people throwing around the phrase “anxious-avoidant attachment” as of late. Not everyone knows what this term means, but you very well might know someone who has issues with anxious-avoidant attachment. Essentially, the way that people form relationships and seek out relationships helps to define their attachment style. Someone who has an anxious-avoidant attachment style is going to desperately want to be accepted and loved, but they will wind up isolating themselves anyway.

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Those who have anxious-avoidant tendencies will separate themselves from others out of a fear of being rejected. This isn’t because they don’t like others or because they don’t desire love. It’s simply due to the fact that they have a hard time coping with their emotions, and the thought of being rejected by others is too much to bear. In many ways, anxious-avoidant attachment is very sad, and the people who suffer because of it need to be able to find ways to turn things around. Keep reading to learn a bit more about anxious-avoidant attachment as well as what might be able to be done to help you feel better if you suffer from it.

Why Being Anxious Avoidant Is So Hard

Being anxious-avoidant is incredibly difficult because it makes it very hard to form relationships with others. This can be problematic for some people, but it can be completely crushing for others. To understand this better, you’ll need to get acquainted with how a mild type of anxious-avoidant tendencies can impact someone’s life. Then, you’ll be able to compare that to a more extreme example. Once you’ve had the chance to check both of them out, you’ll see that the mild cases are tough while the extreme ones can make it tough to live a normal life.

Someone who has a mild anxious avoidant personality will have a tough time forming close relationships with others. They will generally be too afraid to seek other people out as friends or lovers due to being afraid of rejection. This can usually lead to an unfulfilling social life, but some of these people will form reluctant friendships or relationships with others. Also, many people with anxious-avoidant attachment styles will still be able to function enough in society. They can go to work, find career success, and do many other things. They simply keep people at arm’s length most of the time without putting much trust in others.

Those who have more extreme issues might be so fearful of rejection that they will have trouble with social interactions no matter how minute they are. Certain anxious-avoidant people will have problems getting work because of how rough their social skills are. It can be hard to maintain any type of positive outlook on life when you don’t seem to be able to find a place in the world. Some people fall into a deep depression because of how bad anxious-avoidant attachment makes things for them.

Now, you have to understand that most people with anxious-avoidant attachment do not have things quite this bad. Usually, it’s just tough to form meaningful relationships and let people into your inner circle, so to speak. However, knowing that it has the potential to get these bad drives home the point that anxious-avoidant attachment is no joke. This is a serious problem that many people suffer from, and if you or someone you know is anxious-avoidant, then it’s a good idea to seek help. There are things that you can do to help yourself to feel better and live your life more positively.

Can Your Attachment Style Be Altered?

Many people do think that your attachment style can be altered over time, but it’s not easy to get this done. People usually have to go to therapy and work on the issues that caused them to become anxious-avoidant in the first place. This could involve some issues that stem all the way back to childhood. Setting aside the professional therapy option, you’re going to have two basic ways to move forward. You can learn to cope with your anxious-avoidant attachment style, or you can try to change things through new experiences.

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Coping will involve learning how to get through your day despite your fearful tendencies. You have to learn how to accept your emotions without letting them control you. People who struggle the most with anxious-avoidant issues are often the ones who have difficulties controlling their emotional states. If you can learn how to control your emotions more reliably, then you can do a lot better in many areas of life. This isn’t the same as denying your emotions, though, and you need to learn how to do this over time. It isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, and you might need the help of a professional.

New experiences have the potential to help you change your attachment style in some ways, too. For instance, you could have become anxious-avoidant due to having a parent leave you as a child. Forming a relationship with someone who is very devoted and positive does have the potential to change the way that you think about things. Some feel that your childhood experiences will never be able to be overwritten by new experiences, but you can start to see the world differently over time. You might not eliminate your anxious-avoidant tendencies or fears completely, but opening yourself up to new possibilities could be a very good thing.

Just know that the question of whether anxious-avoidant attachment can be changed is sort of controversial. People are studying it, talking about it, and figuring things out right now. There is no clear answer on whether you can turn anxious-avoidant attachment around completely, but you do have coping options. It also appears to be true that new experiences can help you to slowly change the way that you attach to others. You might not be able to do a complete 180-degree turn in your life, but you can start to see things differently.

Talking To A Doctor

Talking to a doctor can help you in several ways because your anxious-avoidant attachment issue isn’t necessarily unrelated to other mental health struggles. People who experience problems with their attachment style might also have issues with anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental health woes. It’s a good idea to consider going to see your doctor so that you can determine if you need some type of treatment. Doctors have many ways that they can help you out when you’re struggling like this, and it makes sense to reach out.

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re depressed despite being anxious-avoidant, then you might benefit from taking a depression test. You can easily take depression tests or anxiety tests online that will help you to understand what you’ve been going through. These aren’t tools meant to diagnose you with mental health issues, but they can be helpful when you need a nudge to go see your doctor. Consider taking the test if you know you’re having a hard time, but you aren’t sure how to proceed.

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You’ll feel better knowing that you’re doing what you can to get on a better path. It might feel somewhat tough to reach out to your doctor at first, but it’s going to be a smooth experience. Just let your doctor know how you’re feeling, and you might be able to go over several options. It wouldn’t be unusual at all for your doctor to recommend that you go see a therapist, too.

Therapy Might Help

Therapy might help you to make some changes over time if you’re willing to reach out. Many people who have anxious-avoidant tendencies will have a tough time due to social issues that they have experienced in the past. People often become anxious-avoidant because of years of bad experiences that they have gone through, but a caring therapist can help you to work through those issues. Over time, you’re going to be able to come to terms with your emotions and any other mental health struggles that might be contributing to your social issues. Once you’ve made solid progress, you might be able to have an easier time forming friendships and even romantic relationships.

Of course, it takes time to work through such complex emotions even when you have a gifted therapist at your side. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to reach out and get the help that you need. You can seek therapy at a traditional office location in your area, but you should also know that online therapy can be quite convenient. Many people have been able to get help when they’re feeling down due to online therapy convenience. You can connect with a therapist without even having to leave the comfort of home. It’s quite affordable to go this route, and you should consider therapy no matter which method sounds the most appealing to you.