6 Signs You Have An Anxious Attachment Style & How It Affects Your Relationships

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6 Signs You Have An Anxious Attachment Style & How It Affects Your Relationships

Since the 1960s, psychiatrists and psychologists have studied the science of attachment theory and attachment styles. No, this isn't the science of how you can't get off your phone for even a second.

Attachment theory is the study of the relationships between people. It was first presented as a study of the relationship dynamics developed between infants and their primary caretakers. But as research continued to expand, by the 1980s doctors were finding that they could apply ideas behind attachment theory to other relationships, including romantic relationships between adults.

The "style" of our attachment in romantic relationships can be broken down into two categories: secure and insecure.

In the larger categories of secure and insecure, attachment styles can be broken down into four sub-groups. The secure sub-group includes secure attachments alone and the insecure sub-groups include the anxious attachment style and the avoidant attachment style.

RELATED: How To Tell If You Have An Anxious Attachment Style & 7 Ways To Keep It From Affecting Your Relationship

Expert Stan Tatkin makes it even more simple. He explains that when it comes to relationships, we are all one of three categories: islands, anchors, or waves.

We're tackling the anxious attachment style, or as Tatkin would say, today we're talking about the "waves."

Here is what a person with an anxious attachment style looks like:

1. You crave intimacy.

Unlike other types, people with an anxious attachment style want to be in a relationship. They love the idea of connecting with other people and they are absolutely capable of creating real intimacy in relationships. So far so good, right? Keep going.

2. You suppress your needs.

A person with an anxious attachment style focuses on keeping things constantly positive. They believe a successful relationship is one where no one is ever not happy. In order to maintain this happiness, they often go way out of their own way to make sure that every single thing their partner wants, they get.

It's nice in theory to be so giving to your partner, but it's not so nice when the fact that you are constantly pushing back your own wants and desires. It's doubly not nice when the fact that you are pushing down everything you want builds up to leave a person with anxious attachment disorder feeling angry and resentful of their partner.

3. You're obsessed with the relationship.

When a person with an anxious attachment style is in a relationship, it is what they spend the majority of their time thinking back. They are fixated on their partner and their partner's feelings. They worry that they are spending too much time with their partner, or not enough time with their partner.

But most of all, they spend their days dreaming about all of the awful ways their partner is going to abandon them. Instead of savoring a relationship, they treat every day they share being in a relationship with their partner like it's diffusing a bomb.

As Tatkin puts it, because of their past experiences, they have become “allergic to hope.”

RELATED: If You Have An Insecure Attachment Style, You’re Probably Sabotaging Your Love Life (Here’s How)

4. You catastrophize.

A person with an anxious attachment style does not see the glass as being half-full. They see the glass as being half-empty and whatever is left in their might actually not even be water — it could be poison!

To this end, they have a very difficult time not seeing the potential negative outcomes of every situation. What's more, they are more than likely to put a negative spin on anything that happens in their relationship. Their partner has to cancel dinner because of the stomach flu, and the person with an anxious attachment style "knows" that they really canceled because they hate spending time with a person like them.

In fact, there is research that indicates that this isn't something these folks are choosing, it very well might actually be the difference in their brain's chemical make-up.

5. You play games.

You would think a person who is so anxious would want things to be straightforward when it comes to love, but that definitely isn't the case. People with an anxious attachment style are known to "play games" or unconsciously manipulate their partners.

They are not doing this because they are auditioning for the newest Real Housewives franchise, they are doing it to get a reaction from their partner and in so doing gauge whether or not their partner is still as interested in them as they were when the relationship started.

Threatening to storm out of a restaurant or ignoring text messages out of the blue — these are the types of things they are known to do.

6. You get jealous.

After everything you have read until now about people with an anxious attachment disorder, it's probably not exactly shocking to learn that they are prone to jealousy.

They might be angry when you text a friend too much or demand to see your phone, suspecting you of cheating. They are so caught up in keeping you that they miss the fact that this kind of behavior is only going to push their partners away.

Some professionals believe that you can absolutely change your attachment style, but it isn't easy. If you are a person with an anxious attachment style, it didn't just happen overnight. Your experiences as a child and into adulthood are contributing factors.

If you believe you have an anxious attachment style and you want to change that so that you can find love and maintain a successful relationship, the first step is reaching out for help. There are countless social workers, therapists, and psychiatrists who specialize in these issues who can help you make the necessary changes in your life.

The type of partner an anxious attachment style person picks is actually some might argue the biggest crux of their problem. That's because while they might be able to form something with a person with a secure style, they tend to be drawn to those with an avoidant attachment style.

RELATED: How To Change Your Attachment Style For Stronger, Healthier Relationships

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.