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How to Fix Anxious Attachment Style


Reading time:

6 min


Published on:

Thu Mar 14 2024


Last updated:

Wed Apr 24 2024


Written by:

The Personal Development School

Are you curious to know how to fix your anxious attachment style?

It’s one of the most common questions we get asked at The Personal Development School.

And it makes sense.

The anxious attachment style can profoundly affect your life and relationships. Unfortunately, when people discover they're anxiously attached, they just accept it without any thought.

But people can heal an anxious attachment style.

Here’s how…

What Causes Anxious Attachment?

Firstly, let’s look at where the anxious attached style (also known as the anxious preoccupied attachment style) originates.

A person with an anxiously attached style grew up in inconsistent households where there was absenteeism and a lack of an emotional connection between the child and the parents.

There are two types of inconsistent households when it comes to anxiously attached people:

  • The child lives in a household with two incredibly busy parents, and while their relationship is excellent, they don’t see them much.
  • The child has a closer connection with one parent than the other, so they become reliant on one parent.

This creates deep-seated fears of abandonment for the child, where they unwittingly seek reassurance and love when in a relationship in adulthood. It becomes a trigger for them.

And it's most notably seen when they're in a relationship.

What Do The Anxious Attached Want?

Anxiously attached individuals crave and desire to be in a loving and caring relationship.

Whether you’re an anxiously attached person or dating one, understanding what they want in that relationship is key to fixing the anxious attachment style.

It can help them meet their needs, manage triggers, and set realistic expectations and goals.

Firstly, this is what anxious preoccupied people need in a relationship:

  • Love, intimacy, closeness, and connection
  • Validation, reassurance, approval, and importance
  • Certainty, consistency, and presence
  • To feel seen, heard, and understood by their partner
  • Inclusion, community, collaboration, and teamwork

These desires are entirely normal and, honestly, very fulfilling.

Who wouldn’t want a relationship where love, intimacy, validation, and consistency are met?

That’s why anxiously attached people are so great in relationships – they truly desire them, will commit to their partner, and work together as a team.

anxiously attached person

However, these desires can lead to unrealistic expectations, which can cause friction. These include:

  • My partner should soothe my emotions and give me certainty at all times
  • My partner should know how I feel without me having to explain
  • My partner should be available and responsible for meeting all of my needs
  • Our romantic relationship should be my partner’s highest priority
  • Romantic gestures in a relationship should be frequent

And when these expectations aren’t met, anxiously attached partners tend to act out.

That’s why if someone (even yourself) showcases these signs and coping mechanisms, they might have an anxious attachment style.

  • Struggle to set boundaries in relationships
  • Feel unloved or emotionally abandoned when others put up boundaries
  • Self-sabotage their own boundaries because do maintain proximity
  • Clinging to someone to maintain closeness
  • Testing a partner’s devotion by making them do tasks
  • Trying to provoke an expression of care or attention-seeking behaviors
  • Expressing panic, anxiety, or neediness when separated from someone
  • Criticizing or fawning over a partner

Now, it might seem intense that people with an anxious attachment style act in this way.

But that’s because their fears are deeply rooted in their subconscious mind. And that leads to one of the most common questions we can get asked the most at The Personal Development School:

Can You Heal Your Anxious Attachment Style?

And here’s our answer…

Can You Heal Your Anxious Attachment Style?

Yes, you certainly can heal your anxious preoccupied attachment style.

You can overcome these patterns and coping mechanisms while changing their beliefs (expectations).

You can do it by addressing your core wounds, meeting your personal and relationship needs, and reprogramming your subconscious mind.

Let’s start with the first concept:

Core wounds are subconscious beliefs you have and project about yourself, formed through repetitive emotional experiences.

Understand those, and you’ll know what you have to change.

Here are the core wounds for anxiously attached people:

  • I will be abandoned
  • I am unsafe
  • I will be alone
  • I am not good enough
  • I will be rejected
  • I am unloved
  • I am excluded
  • I am disliked

As for needs – the essential requirements you need to feel fulfilled with yourself and in a relationship – well, we already touched on those above:

As for reprogramming your subconscious mind, that’s the answer to how to fix an anxious attachment style.

How to Fix Anxious Attachment Style

Use the BTEA Equation The BTEA (Beliefs, Thoughts, Emotions, Actions) equation tracks your actions from a triggering event to recognize your beliefs.

By uncovering these, you can work to reprogram any limiting beliefs and behaviors.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Identify the triggering event (e.g., your partner didn't go out with you).
  • Recognize your action or coping mechanism (e.g., You became clingy and started calling your partner non-stop).
  • Label the emotion you felt when engaged in that event (e.g., betrayed and abandoned)
  • Untangle the thoughts (e.g., consider what you thought about yourself during this interaction).
  • Establish your core wounds (e.g., assess the beliefs about yourself during that moment and focus on which one you want to reprogram -- I will be abandoned).

Use Autosuggestion Re-Programming Rituals Autosuggestion rituals reprogram the subconscious mind in the quickest and most impactful way. Through repetition and emotion, you can rewire your beliefs to change your core wounds.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Think of a core wound – I will be abandoned.
  • Find 10-15 examples of where, why, and how you are doing enough to change that core wound.
  • Check in with the seven areas of life (Career, Financial, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Mental, and Relationships) to find 1-3 more examples.
  • Try to feel the emotion in your body and anchor it into the nervous system when thinking of your response.

Thought Upgrading & Emotional Processing This exercise aims to question the stories you tell when you notice you’re triggered. This way, you can recognize and strategize to meet your needs.

Here are the steps:

  • Think of an unresolved event with any person, conversation, or situation, and write your thoughts or beliefs about it.
  • Then, challenge that story by finding three pieces of proof opposing the original belief.
  • Next, write about what you need in this situation to create relief for yourself.
  • Then, think about a healthy strategy to get this need met.

Update Your Coping Mechanism Strategies Now that you have a healthy strategy, it’s time to implement it by moving away from your current coping mechanisms and look towards self-soothing.

To do this, look back at all your strategies and see how can make them healthy so you can meet your needs.

  • Write down your autopilot coping mechanism (e.g., you started binge watching Netflix)
  • Updated the mechanism to ensure you get what you want (e.g., you get active by exercising and then meditating)

The Next Step for Anxiously Attached…

These are just a few powerful subconscious reprogramming tools to help you fix your anxious attachment style. If you apply these tools for 10 minutes a day for 30 days, you’ll notice substantial changes in your life and relationships.

The most important is that you can heal your anxious attachment style. You don’t have to be stuck with the same patterns, beliefs, and expectations for life. It will require work, time, and patience, but you have the potential to do it.

The best place to start is with our Stop Abandonment & Rejection in A Relationship (Anxious Attachment Style Reprogramming) Course.

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