Ready to learn how to self-soothe anxious attachment?
It’s no walk in the park — but it leads to lasting freedom and connection which is difficult to even comprehend.
What you need are tools, commitment, and self-reflection. Plus, a willingness to heal the root cause of your anxious attachment.
The steps below will give you the skills to calm your anxieties and build resilience. This all enhances your relationships and cultivates a greater sense of security within.
#6 is going to make a massive impact on any insecure attachment styles.
Table of Contents
What is anxious attachment?
People with anxious attachments tend to be needy. They want people close but are anxious about being overbearing.
It often develops from inconsistent parenting or trauma. They didn’t have their needs met with consistency.
With anxious attachment, you may have difficulty regulating your own emotions. As a result, many struggle with intimacy and trusting their partner.
Esther Perel describes how it plays out in romantic relationships:
“An anxious attachment style can lead people to ‘protest’ their partner’s absences and be overly demanding, suspicious or clingy.”
Psychologist Amir Levine notes,
“People with an anxious attachment style crave intimacy, but their actions often push their partners away.”
A threat to a relationship triggers the nervous system into a “fight or flight” response. This leads to heightened anxiety for those with an anxious attachment style. That’s why it’s essential to know and utilize techniques that regulate the nervous system.
Types of attachment styles
Attachment theory is the joint work of psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth (1969).
It contains four attachment styles. These are ways we relate to others that develop in childhood. The adaptations stem from our interactions with our primary caregivers. The four main attachment styles are:
Secure attachment style
You feel comfortable expressing emotions and forming close relationships. You trust your partner and can give and receive love.
Anxious attachment style
You often worry about your relationships. You also experience a strong link between connection and insecurities. You may find yourself becoming clingy or demanding in an attempt to seek reassurance. There are ways to overcome emotional dependency.
Avoidant attachment style
You tend to be distant or turn away emotional support. You may have difficulty forming close relationships. As an avoidant person, intimacy avoidance is common. You may also downplay the importance of relationships in your life.
Disorganized attachment style
Also known as the anxious-avoidant attachment style. You display contradictory behaviors, such as seeking closeness while pushing others away. Past trauma or neglect in childhood is common here. These experiences can make forming stable relationships as an adult more challenging.
It’s important to note that insecure attachment styles can be fluid and can change over time. Therapy, self-reflection, and self-awareness tools and techniques help create secure attachment.
By understanding your attachment style, you can identify relationship patterns. And from there, you’ll be able to work to create healthier connections with others.
Self-soothing: why it’s essential for a secure attachment style
Why we assume adults don’t need self-soothing techniques is mind-blowing.
Self-soothing is essential for developing and maintaining a secure attachment style.
And if you have an anxious attachment style, it’s even more so. Struggling with regulating your emotions forces you to seek external reassurance and comfort. It’s common to feel like a burden. Unfortunately, this causes even more emotional distress, creating a vicious cycle.
So what does self-soothing look like?
It’s effective practices, such as mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing. These work to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety.
Inner child work is another crucial component. Here we nurture the wounded parts that may have developed from past traumas or neglect.
Once you understand your attachment style, a mentor can give you the tools to self-soothe. This will open your future up to create a stable, sexy relationship with your partner.
What are the signs of anxious attachment?
Your anxious attachment style signifies you crave close connections with others. But you tend to also struggle with insecurity and fear rejection or abandonment.
Here are six common signs of this insecure attachment style:
- Becoming clingy or demanding in relationships.
- Feeling anxious about the status of the relationship, even when things are going well.
- Being hypersensitive to cues suggests a partner is losing interest or becoming distant.
- Seeking reassurance and validation from others often.
- Feeling insecure or unworthy in relationships.
- Feeling intense emotions, such as jealousy or anger, towards perceived threats to the relationship.
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How to self-soothe anxious attachment: 12 ways
Here’s how to self-soothe anxious attachment — improving your mental health and love life.
We’re drawing on professionals in the field of attachment theory. This will help you get to a place of earned secure attachment.
Feeling anxious or tired of people pleasing and self-doubting in relationships? If so, this list will be a transformative read.
1. Take time for yourself
Time to reflect and introspect is the first port of call.
Otherwise, your anxious attachment is going nowhere.
This includes looking into your past relationships and your ability to self-care. Spend time with your thoughts and emotions so they lessen their need to overpower your sense of self.
Therapist and author Stan Tatkin emphasizes reflecting on one’s anxious attachment style. He states,
“It’s essential that anxious individuals take time to reflect and identify what triggers their anxiety and how they can self-soothe. This allows them to take control of their attachment style and not let it control them.”
2. Discover your anxious attachment triggers
Childhood trauma can be the initial trigger for your attachment style. Navigating a relationship with an avoidant or toxic partner can have enormous consequences. They can impact how you relate to others and yourself.
As an anxiously attached person, you’re looking for current relationships to turn sour. Or to be heartbroken and alone again. The cycle will only perpetuate.
Identify the root cause. And then determine events and experiences that trigger your anxious attachment. This sounds straightforward in theory, but the process is often complex.
Understand that not having a more secure attachment style right now is not your fault. And by doing this work, you’re on the way to building self-esteem and honoring your own needs.
3. Nurture your inner child
Too many adult relationships get torn apart by people’s early childhood experiences. If their emotional needs were unmet, the impact is long-lasting without intervention.
To create lasting romantic relationships, you need to nurture that inner child.
In The Gifts of Imperfection, Dr. Brene Brown, research professor, and author, reveals:
“Nurturing your inner child is about giving yourself permission to play, explore, and be curious without fear of judgment or criticism.”
You can see how this work lends itself to healing anxious attachment. The work generates a profound sense of ease and belonging within yourself.
4. Face and acknowledge your attachment style
You can’t move forward without accepting your fear of abandonment. Or your insecurities within relationships.
Otherwise, you’re trapped in the revolving door of anxiety.
After facing your unhealthy internal patterns, you’re ready to learn healthy coping mechanisms.
And guess what?
You can self-regulate. This is the route to re-establish your masculine energy and boosting low self-esteem.
A man who works on developing his masculine energy trusts his partner. He communicates his emotions and experiences. This is all possible once you slow down and listen within.
5. Become aware of the cycle of negative thoughts
We all deal with negative thought patterns. It’s very normal to have days where you’re blue and feel like the world is against you.
Constant negative thoughts can destroy your mental health and aggravate anxiety.
A lot of things in life are out of our control. Our thoughts are not one of them. We choose which thoughts we feed and which we don’t.
This is a powerful story from the Native American tradition. It gives insight into how you can become aware of negative thoughts. And through this, you can find the balance between the light and dark within.
This self-awareness gives you more internal freedom. It also improves all aspects of your life, including your love life. Emotional connections rely on both people finding the present moment. And for that, you need the 3 C’s to shift negative thoughts: Change, Commitment, and Consistency.
The only thing that changes overnight is your resolve; the benefits come with time.
6. Retrain your neutral pathways
How do you respond to her staying out with her girlfriends?
What’s your knee-jerk response when she says she needs space?
If it’s not how you want to be in a relationship — it doesn’t have to be this way.
Science tells us that.
You can hear the neediness in your voice. Or feel that deep-seated panic when your mind convinces you she’s no longer interested. Anxiety spikes once your mind convinces you the relationship is sinking.
This is a sign that you need to reprogram your subconscious mind.
It’s the only way to achieve a lasting change to your attachment style.
Fresh techniques, rational concepts, and new approaches. These are the paths to modifying your neural pathways and associations.
After that, it’s about repetition. This solidifies these new neural pathways and connections within the brain.
7. Up your self-development routine
Following on from the last point, what are your anxious attachment pitfalls? To step around these, here are new techniques and strategies that work:
- Pranayama: Pranayama, or deep breath control techniques, are essential aspects of Tantra Yoga. Practicing pranayama can help regulate the nervous system and calm the mind. This prevents anxious attachment from ruling your life.
- Grounding: Tantra Yoga is excellent for grounding and centering in the present moment. This is an ancient technology of expanding consciousness. And you can learn beginner’s Tantra solo and couples practices.
- Explore Shakti: Shakti is the divine feminine energy within each person. Harness the power of Shakti, and it will empower you to commit to yourself and open your vast inner strength.
- Cultivate self-love and acceptance: These are essential for development. Practice self-care and self-love techniques, such as self-massage and affirmations. These help manage how anxious attachment can take over.
- Meditate: Practicing full presence is incredible both for yourself and your romantic partners. Regular meditation reduces ruminating over negative thoughts. And also increases awareness of your thoughts and emotions. It is vital to self-soothe anxious attachment.
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8. Learn to let go of assurance and validation
No one needs to validate your ticket of life.
No one — except you.
And that’s the key for how to self-soothe anxious attachment.
Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese Taoist philosopher, wrote:
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
You have your own internal morals. And they will guide you once you stop trying to please every Tom, Dick, and Harry in your life.
Be comfortable in your own skin, and cast away from seeking constant reassurance. Learn how to skyrocket your self-esteem. You won’t recognize the confidence in the mirror after practicing these techniques.
You can finally see all that you’ve accomplished. All that you’ve risen above, and also see the changes you need to make.
The difference is that you no longer see the changes as failing but as a compass for growth.
9. Embrace honest, real love
Honest, real love is deep and genuine.
And it’s built on trust, respect, and authenticity.
True love’s simplicity is often difficult for those with anxious attachments to embrace.
You need to be vulnerable in this love. You need to share your true self with your lover and accept them for who they are, flaws and all. You need to show your true self also.
What can you do to feel safe? To express your thoughts, feelings, and needs without fear of judgment or rejection?
How can you both work together to be each other’s rock?
Love is a journey of growth and discovery. It’s two people working together to build a strong and fulfilling partnership. One that brings out the best in each other.
10. Externalize your feelings
Writing out your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful way to externalize them. As author and journalist Joan Didion said:
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see, and what it means.”
Share with a trusted friend
Sharing your feelings can help you feel heard and validated. Carl R. Rogers in, On Becoming a Person, explains this perfectly:
“When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten. I think, in some real sense, he is weeping for joy. It is as though he were saying, “Thank God, somebody heard me. Someone knows what it’s like to be me”.
Engage in creative expression
Artistic expression is a cathartic way to externalize feelings. These include painting, drawing, journaling, or writing poetry. As poet Maya Angelou said,
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
11. Lean into intimacy
Does emotional closeness send panic or fear through your body?
This is a challenging pattern to be stuck inside. You can see how enormous a barrier it is for intimate connections.
Confronting this fear rather than avoiding intimacy is going to be uncomfortable. But return to the root cause and healing. You’ll find these commitment fears will diminish, and more self-awareness will follow.
To help, here are relationship questions for better intimacy. These will help you lean in when your default attachment style is telling you to run a mile!
12. Forge healthy, lasting relationships
Those with anxious attachment tend to feel a deep desire to keep someone close. Many want to create a utopia for their partner. Of course, this is unachievable and can feel suffocating.
And the need to control impacts emotional closeness in intimate relationships.
With attachment anxiety, you’re likely very caring and sensitive. Likewise, you’re attuned to your partner’s needs. Doubt and insecurity might override your feelings of worthiness in the relationship.
Otherwise, inadequacy gets triggered if your partner doesn’t respond as you’d hoped. And if you’re root hurt is feeling unlovable — it will all come back up again.
These feelings of inferiority — of not being enough for your lover — lead to a disconnect. If you’re not able to connect, have sex, and communicate as equals — it’s not going to work.
ASK your partner about their behaviors and reactions. You’re doing yourself and your partner a disservice every time you overthink. Or when you try to preempt the next time you’re going to let them down.
Practice mindful communication with your partner for a healthy relationship.
We’ve learned how to self-soothe anxious attachment by nurturing your inner child, leaning into intimacy, becoming aware of negative thought patterns, and actually facing your attachment style, among others. And exactly how the anxious attachment style fits into attachment theory with its strong association between connection and insecurities.
We’ve also explored how anxious attachment, which involves difficulty in giving and receiving love, differs from the free flow of love within oneself in a secure attachment style.
Knowing that you have an insecure attachment style can feel daunting at first. But facing it and healing is better than ignoring your relationship blindspots.
While this in-depth article has held nothing back. It holds the tools and guidance you need to move forward in a tangible and fruitful way, but there is a missing piece.
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How do you calm down an anxious attachment system?
Calm an anxious attachment system by practicing mindfulness. Challenge negative thoughts, and seek support from a friend or mental health professional. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and self-care. These include yoga, meditation, or journaling. Over time, all this helps reduce negative emotions and promote a sense of calm.
How do I free myself from my anxious attachment style?
Free yourself from being anxious attachment by becoming more self-aware. Take note of your attachment patterns and triggers. On top of this, practice self-care and empathy. Next, learn healthy communication and conflict resolution skills. These will help you to build secure, heart-centered relationships.
Can you heal anxious attachment?
Yes. You can heal anxious attachment patterns with awareness, effort, and practice. Developing a more secure attachment style and enjoying fulfilling relationships is possible. Compassion, self-awareness, and consistency are vital in making this change.
How do you rewire an anxious attachment?
To rewire an anxious attachment, address the underlying causes. These tend to cause low self-esteem and insecure attachment formed in childhood. Practicing self-compassion and identifying and challenging negative beliefs and behaviors are helpful. Building healthy relationships can help rewire anxious attachment. Inner child work can also help heal past wounds and develop a more secure attachment style.
What are anxious attachment triggers?
Anxious attachment triggers are situations, behaviors, or events that can evoke insecurity in an anxious person. These triggers often include perceived threats of abandonment, lack of responsiveness from a partner, or a perceived loss of connection in relationships.
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