Anxious Attachment Style

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Anxious Attachment Style

by Megan Coggins


Attachment to our parents comes about from a variety of situations and scenarios. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, but the behavior and attitude that parents approach parenting with can have a life long impact on their children.

Did you grow up in a home where a parent’s response to situations varied greatly? There were times where your mom was very attentive to your every need, but there were other times when she was preoccupied with your younger siblings and did not seem to have any time for you. Or maybe your dad allowed your brothers to wrestle with you in a rough way, even though you did not want them to? Both of these scenarios can lead to a situation in which a child can feel that their parent is not always readily available to them when they need help. Remember the “Circle of Security” diagram? Children who develop what John Bowlby called an anxious attachment style, start out with a secure base, their parent, but that base is not always available when needing comfort or support. Your parents may have been inconsistently available when you needed them.

As an adult these memories can cloud your interactions with your children, impacting your ability to perceive their signals or interpret their needs. In your adult relationships, an anxious attachment can look like anxiety about whether or not others will be dependable. You may experience a sense of urgency for connection with others, which can cause others to push you away if you come across too forceful or strong in your desire for attachment. Understanding where your attachment style came from and reflecting on how shame may have impacted your early life can help in developing healthy relationships.

Oftentimes, having an anxious attachment style can lead you to believe that you were not worthy of your parent’s attention and concern since it was something that was not always dependable. Conflict can feel scary with this attachment style as any disconnect from your partner can lead you to feel anxious, wanting to quickly fix the disconnect. Learning how to work with your attachment style and develop healthy communication can help in alleviating the anxiety felt in relationships.

Your attachment style not only impacts your interpersonal relationships, but can also impact the way you raise your children. If you are interested in learning how to heal from having an anxious attachment style call 971-808-2686 ext. 700 or email

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