In a previous piece, we outlined all attachment types seen in loving relationships. Here we detail Anxious Preoccupied Attachment. Previous readers will remember it all begins in our infancy and ultimately manifests itself in adulthood- especially in our intimate relationships.
Attachment Theory began in the 1950s and has since amassed a small mountain of research behind it. Two researchers named Bowlby and Ainsworth independently found that the nature in which infants get their needs met by their parents will determine their “attachment strategy” throughout their lives. Your attachment strategy probably explains a great deal of why your relationships have succeeded/failed in the manner they did, why you’re attracted to the people you are attracted to, and the nature of the relationship problems that come up again and again for you. (Ainsworth, M. S., & Bowlby, J. (1991). An ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46(4), 333. Cited by Mark Manson.net)
In the Beginning; Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
People of the anxious-preoccupied type (who we will call the Preoccupied) are the second largest attachment type group, at about 20% of the population. Because their early attachment needs were unsatisfied or inconsistently satisfied, they crave intimacy but tend to feel doubtful about their own worth, making it harder for them to trust that they are loved and cared for. At the extremes, and with a more secure or dismissive partner, they are viewed as “needy” or “clingy,” and can drive others away by their demands for attention. Many have never been able to come to terms with memories of parental failures: (jebkinnison, type-anxious-preoccupied)
People with an anxious attachment tend to be desperate to form a fantasy bond. Instead of feeling real love or trust toward their partner, they often feel emotional hunger. They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. Although they’re seeking a sense of safety and security by clinging to their partner, they take actions that push their partner away.
Even though anxiously attached individuals act desperate or insecure, more often than not, their behavior exacerbates their own fears. When they feel unsure of their partner’s feelings and unsafe in their relationship, they often become clingy, demanding or possessive toward their partner. They may also interpret independent actions by their partner as affirmation of their fears. For example, if their partner starts socializing more with friends, they may think, “See? He doesn’t really love me. This means he is going to leave me. I was right not to trust him.” (Lisa Firestone Ph.D. Compassion Matters)
The good news is that, failing to find a supportive partner, and not being one yourself, your relationship can improve toward a highly satisfying one… with a bit of effort and tenacity.
This is why online www.counselingondemand.com is here for you. Our counselors will work you through Anxious Preoccupied Attachment dynamics to repair and/or enhance your relationship.
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