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Malminder Gill MNCIP
Integrative Psychotherapy Counselling & Hypnotherapy for individual & corporate clients
96 Harley Street, Online & Home Visits (UK & Internationally for intensive work)

Anxious Avoidant Attachment: Looking For Love But Scared Of Getting Hurt?

Do you struggle to trust others but wish you could get closer and build stronger, more meaningful relationships?

When John Bowlby, leading relationship psychologist, first developed his attachment theory, there were three categories: avoidant, anxious, and secure. However, after analysis, there is a fourth, rare attachment style known as anxious avoidant. Other names for this attachment style include; unresolved attachment style, disorganised and fearful-avoidant.

In this post, we’ll be uncovering the key traits and reasons behind an anxious avoidant attachment style.

What Is An Anxious Avoidant Attachment Style?

This style of attachment focuses on a desire to be loved and seek romantic relationships. At the same time, they may struggle to form strong bonds with people and will feel uncomfortable with getting too close.

Those with an anxious avoidant attachment style are likely to enjoy dating as they crave affection. But, they will not progress relationships further. If they do, they are likely to remain guarded and will avoid emotional intimacy.

Key traits of an anxious avoidant attachment style include:

  • Struggles to trust others
  • Forms few close relationships
  • Worry about partner’s commitment and fears being hurt
  • Black and white thinking around relationships
  • A negative perception of themselves
  • Can find it difficult to regulate emotions and may respond poorly to negativity

Where Does Anxious Avoidant Attachment Come From?

According to researchers, a primary cause for an anxious avoidant attachment style is trauma during childhood. However, it can also be because a caregiver in their childhood was not reliable or a source of reassurance.

In many cases, this attachment style comes from the child seeking comfort from a caregiver but has learnt that they cannot fully trust that caregiver to provide comfort. It may be that the child fears the caregiver and may never know whether they’ll get a positive or negative response from that caregiver.

How To Tell If Your Partner Has An Anxious Avoidant Attachment Style

They may:

  • Have a history with lots of sexual partners but few relationships due to a craving and fear of connection
  • May be unpredictable and confusing in their behaviour, seemingly without a trigger
  • Can have pessimistic views about relationships, romance and love
  • End a relationship on a whim or assume that a relationship is over after a disagreement
  • Struggles with boundaries, refusing to open up and may find other people’s boundaries difficult.

How To Improve Your Relationship

Work On Mindfulness

Being present and mindful of the moment can help to increase self-awareness. This can help you to make decisions in your relationship based on response rather than reaction. So, if you feel that you’re getting too close to a partner and have an urge to run, then working on mindfulness and understanding how you feel in that moment can help you make decisions based on reality rather than history. Working on being less reactive can help you move to a more secure attachment style.

Practice Self-Compassion

With an anxious avoidant attachment style, you can often feel unworthy of love, or you may assume a partner wants to leave you. Working on your self-compassion and self-love that builds your confidence and independence can help you look for healthy relationships and the nourishment they can bring, rather than from a need.

Find Ways To Heal

If trauma has caused your attachment style or you’re struggling with self-worth, it can be important to heal and break up with a negative mindset. Hypnosis can be an effective way to heal from unresolved trauma and move towards a more secure attachment style. If you’d like to learn more about how my bespoke blended therapy can help you, I’d love to chat. You can book a free consultation call with me by emailing [email protected].

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