Insecure Anxious Attachment

Struggling with jealousy, feeling insecure, and feeling nervous about being separated from your partner are all possible signs of anxious attachment. Rooted in childhood fear of abandonment and feelings of being underappreciated, anxious attachment can affect your adult relationships in a number of ways, often causing trust and intimacy problems. 

If you worry that you have an anxious attachment style, you can learn how to build trust in your relationship by attending a workshop tailored to your unique needs. If you learn more about how anxious attachment comes about, you’ll be able to regulate the difficult emotions triggered by your childhood wounds. Understanding how your early experiences shaped who you are today is the first step in building healthy behavioral patterns and mechanisms. 

Keep reading to learn what anxious attachment is, what may trigger it, and how you can work on changing unhealthy survival patterns.  

What Is Insecure Anxious Attachment?

What Triggers Anxious Attachment

As a kid, you were completely dependent on your parents or caregivers for protection and nurture. If you were denied an appropriate emotional environment in your childhood, you may have developed an insecure attachment pattern. Anxious attachment, in particular, tends to come about in children who get inconsolable when their caregivers neglect and abandon them.

Do you struggle to feel secure in your relationships? Do you experience a deep fear of abandonment and constantly worry about your partner leaving you? Does your complete inner world feel uncertain, as well as your relationships with others? These may all be signs that you  have an anxious attachment style.

What Does Anxious Attachment Look Like?

Not sure if your attachment style could be anxious at times? This may be the case if you: 

  • Struggle with trusting others. Do you often feel like other people don’t have your best interest in mind? Or struggle sharing secrets? Do you expect other people to lie, cheat, or betray you? 
  • Have low self-worth. People with anxious attachment often have low-self esteem and struggle with confidence. 
  • Constantly worry that your partner may abandon you. Do you consider yourself to be clingy? Are you afraid that your partner doesn’t love you or think that they are cheating even if you don’t have a good reason to believe so? 
  • Crave intimacy and closeness. You want to be loved and valued in your relationship, yet often overstep boundaries when seeking intimacy. 
  • Seek frequent reassurance from your loved ones. It is perfectly natural to seek validation and appreciation from others. However, anxious attachment may take this to another level, causing a compulsive need for reassurance. 
  • Are highly sensitive to the moods and actions of your partner. How easy is it for you to differentiate between your own moods and your partner’s? Do you focus on their emotional state more than your own?  
  • Tend to be impulsive, moody, and highly emotional. Individuals with anxious attachment often experience shifting and unstable moods. They may act without thinking and struggle with self-regulation

What Triggers Anxious Attachment?

While it is not entirely clear to define everything that may cause anxious attachment, inconsistent parenting seems to be an important contributing factor. 

If your parents or caregivers were nurturing and loving at some times and emotionally unavailable or cold at others, it may have caused you to become insecure and confused. As a child, you didn’t know what to expect from your parents and their actions therefore if can leave you with a feeling of unmet longing.  craved their love and protection. 

Parents who struggle to respond adequately to signs of distress in their child may also contribute to anxious attachment. For example, they may consistently not pick up their crying child because they don’t want to “spoil” the child. Other inconsistent parenting patterns may include harsh criticism, insensitivity, and ambivalence. All of this may cause the child to become “whiny” or “clingy”, and transfer these learned behaviors into adulthood. 

As your attachment style is adopted in a critical period of your upbringing, it can be difficult to overcome, just like it is to break free from dysfunctional family patterns in general. However hard it may be, it is possible to heal your inner child and adjust your behavioral patterns in a beneficial way. 

You can learn how to value yourself and meet your own needs. Awareness and understanding of your survival patterns can help you create stronger relationships and create your own set of values and goals. 

How Do I Change My Anxious Attachment Style?

While it may not be possible to change the attachment patterns you developed as a child, you can learn how to feel safer and more secure in your romantic relationships. Self-awareness and conscious effort are a big part of this. Try the following steps: 

  • Try to observe and become aware of your typical modes of interaction in relationships. 
  • Identify the emotions underlying your insecurity and anxiety as well as your reactions to them.
  • Practice self-regulation strategies and work on controlling your impulses.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. This can help you control your impulses and reactions in a calm, thoughtful manner. 
  • Contact an experienced relationship coach who can provide you with effective strategies for healing your childhood wounds. 

Attend A Relationship Building Skills Workshop & Gain Awareness Of Your Attachment Patterns 

What Does Anxious Attachment Look Like

At PIVOT, we understand how hard it can be to change learned behaviors and create more secure relationships. We want to provide you with resources and strategies for understanding your survival patterns and effectively managing difficult emotions. Our experience and expertise-based relational modules and tailored workshops for couples are designed to enable your healthy adult to emerge and repair the actions that are no longer serving you. 

Remember that you can bring your highest self to consciousness and choose healthier mechanisms for creating connections in your life. The compassionate team at PIVOT will show you how to think rationally (THINK), develop emotional intelligence (FEEL) and take healthy action (DO) to improve your well-being and eliminate drama. Contact PIVOT now and start your journey to becoming a healthy adult! 

Why Feeling “Not Enough” Is Impacting Your Relationship

Do find yourself thinking, “I’m not enough,” “feeling like I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy of love?”
Or do you feel that you work hard to be the best, but you should be more, do more or be better? Otherwise, you don’t measure up.
Maybe feeling not good enough triggered if your friend didn’t call when she said she would, or someone rejected your ideas or perhaps your relationship ended.
If this is you, then you may have childhood wounds that haven’t been healed.

Why Do I Feel Like I Am not Good Enough for Anyone?

As children, we are completely dependent on our parents and caregivers for food, safety, and boundaries. Most importantly, we want and need to feel loved and accepted by our primary caregivers.
Imagine a baby who’s desperate for attention, but his mother ignores him. Think about how impressionable that is for him. When babies and children don’t have a proper connection, they will crave this and grow up feeling that they are not enough.
For example, if this child was raised by a dysfunctional family, say with a narcissistic parent, then the child does not understand why that parent is not capable of empathy or love. Or an alcoholic parent who is sometimes available and other times is not able to function.
Children who live in these situations may try to fix the problem, by thinking “if I were a better child, my daddy wouldn’t drink.”
This leads them to feel that they need to be better and that somehow, they are not good enough as they are.
As they get older, they’ll continue to feel like they’re not enough, and in later years, they may turn to fixing others, food, alcohol, porn, relationships, or drugs to fill that void.
The good news is that there is hope for changing the negative self-talk of feeling like you’re unworthy or feeling insecure and not good enough.
But first, if you’re in a relationship, here are five signs that feeling this way is impacting your relationship:

Five Signs That Your Relationship Is Affected

If you rely on your partner to feel like you’re ‘enough’ — attractive enough, fun enough, smart enough, kind enough — then you’ll never be entirely happy. And it can impact your relationship because you look to your partner to fix this you.
Here are five signs that your “not good enough” thoughts are impacting your relationship:

1)   You can’t totally trust your partner

Although you crave love, you may be experiencing trust issues that make you unwilling to attach to someone emotionally. If you don’t fully trust your partner, then it’s difficult to open up emotionally, which can stop your relationship from growing.
Trust issues typically come from past hurts or unhealthy family relationships during childhood.

2) You compare yourself to your partner’s ex

It’s natural to be curious about your partner’s ex. But if you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to them or worrying you don’t measure up, then that’s a sign that your feeling of “not good enough” is taking over your relationship.
Remember, your partner chose you. They are not with their ex any longer.

3) You expect your partner to reassure you continually

Everyone wants some reassurance from their partner now and then. But if you constantly need them to validate you, their love or your relationship, then that’s a sign that negative thoughts are taking over your relationship.
This can lead to an increased fear of losing the relationship because you feel dependent on your partner as the “fix.”

4) There’s distance in your relationship

Being in a relationship is healthy when it provides the feeling of being loved, supported and emotionally close with your partner. Healthy relationships give your relationship an intimate connection for you both.
If you have trouble with building emotional intimacy and communicating, or you feel alone, and keep your partner at a distance, then this may be due to you feeling like you are not enough and therefore your relationship will not be healthy.

5) You assume the worst about your partner

No matter what happens, you assume the worst about your partner. If they haven’t answered their phone, it’s because they’re cheating. If they’re not with you, then they must be betraying you.
Feeling not good enough for a partner can make you believe that If they don’t say they love you all the time, then they’re “not into you.”
This changes the focus of your relationship for your partner to need to prove their feelings and their actions.

Am I Good Enough? Healing the Wounds

If you recognize any of the signs above, then just know that you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle with feeling not good enough for someone.
The good news is that you can heal yourself and experience self-acceptance so that you can have a healthy relationship.
As certified relationship coaches and therapists, we encourage our clients to not be hard on themselves. You are not “broken” or flawed.

Wave Your Insecurities Goodbye with PIVOT

The first step to overcoming insecurity is recognizing you feel this way. We recommend that you seek support from professionals to help you explore childhood abandonment issues and focus on healing your wounds with self-love and self-acceptance.
Remember, you are worthy of love, happiness, and a healthy relationship. You don’t need to look outside yourself for happiness and self-worth.
If you are ready to heal your feelings of not enough, then contact PIVOT. We can also help you if you’re struggling with depression, experiencing feelings of anxiety or need help overcoming codependency issues in your relationship.
Apart from individual and personalized solutions, we also provide intensive relationship coaching at our retreat center, The Glass House. We’re here to help.

Are You Repeating the Abandonment Cycle?

Healthy, loving relationships are a haven for love, happiness, joy, and security. But what if you find yourself moving from one relationship to another, or feel dissatisfied in your current relationship?
Maybe you’re asking what’s the point of being in a relationship, especially when it seems one-sided or too much like hard work.
Before you decide if relationships are for you or not, consider if you’re caught in a cycle of abandonment anxiety in the relationship. If so, there’s a solution.
But first…

What Is Abandonment?

Feelings of abandonment in a relationship are often thought of as being physically left. It also relates to emotional neglect, brought by not having our needs met in a relationship – including our relationship with ourselves.
But what is abandonment fear exactly and where does it originate? In a nutshell, abandonment feelings can start in our childhood because of the way we were raised. This is often referred to as the abandoned child syndrome.

What causes fear of abandonment?

As children, we are entirely dependent on our parents and caregivers for food, safety, love, and boundaries. Most importantly, we need to feel loved and accepted by both parents.
However, if you didn’t have your basic needs met because you were raised by a workaholic, alcoholic, divorced or absent parent, then you may have suffered neglect and abandonment trauma. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy in relationships, as well as a range of other issues, including severe anxiety symptoms and problems committing to a single partner.

How Does Abandonment Affect a Person?

A story about a recent client of mine perfectly illustrates abandonment issues in relationships.
He’d left his wife and children to pursue a relationship with an old high school crush; however, it didn’t end well.
The new relationship started by sending Facebook messages because he felt abandoned by his wife. This led to him “falling in love” and leaving his family. The hole he felt inside from untreated trauma, was in need of being fulfilled by the attention and feeling of belonging that a new relationship can give temporarily.
The relationship was brief. When it fell apart, he felt abandoned by the woman who he thought was his “soul mate.”
On a deeper level, after the relationship ended, he felt lost and destabilized. After all, he’d flipped his life around to be with this new woman, but once it ended, he still felt the same feelings he had before he started the new relationship… abandoned.
We discussed his childhood, and he revealed that his father left him when he was a little boy. He’d felt abandoned for decades.
Unfortunately, he unrealistically expected another person to heal his deep abandonment wound. When his wife couldn’t, he left her for a new relationship, hoping this would fix him.

The Abandonment Cycle

As adults that have experienced abandonment in childhood, we become scared of intimacy.
To deal with this, we create distance by avoiding being close to others (abandon relationships), or we get into a relationship with someone who avoids intimacy (and feel abandonment).
Either way, we distance ourselves from our partners, which leads to feeling unloved, hopeless or creates perceptions that you are not enough in the relationship. The strange thing about this is – it is familiar and we are drawn to what is familiar regardless of merit.

An endless cycle of fear

When the relationship ends, we feel alone and rejected, which creates more fears of abandonment and intimacy.
This creates a cycle of loneliness, fear of intimacy and abandonment.
If this sounds like the relationships you have, then you may also be experiencing anger, guilt, grief, fear, and shame.
The good news is that you can break the abandonment cycle.

Breaking the Abandonment Cycle

While healing abandonment issues is definitely not easy, it can be done with a bit of courage and a lot of patience. The best way to break the abandonment cycle and release the pattern from childhood is by exploring childhood issues and focus on healing your wounds. Remember, these wounds are deep and often remain hidden, so be patient.

Heal Your Abandonment Wounds with PIVOT

We recommend that you seek support from professionals to help you examine the abandonment pain so you can heal from the impact of the parenting you received.
Break the cycle by being a good parent to yourself. Remember, you are worthy of love, happiness, and a healthy relationship. You don’t need to look outside yourself for happiness and self-worth. You can attach to others securely, without feelings of abandonment, anxiety and depression.
If you are ready to create meaningful connections and break the abandonment cycle, then contact PIVOT. Apart from our individual and personalized coaching that can effectively tackle issues such as abandonment anxiety and codependent relational behaviors, we also provide intensive workshops at our relationship coaching retreat, The Glass House. We’re here to help.

What Is Attachment Dysregulation? (Formerly Known As Love Addiction)

If you’ve ever felt like the world was coming to an end, depressed or in despair when you’ve let go of a relationship, then you may have experienced withdrawal, or what the Behavioral Health industry has been calling “Love Addiction.”
In the PIVOT Process, we define this as Attachment Dysregulation, to highlight the severity of the condition.

What Is Attachment Dysregulation (Formerly Known As Love Addiction)?

Attachment Dysregulation is a condition that is typically created by adopting survival patterns to tolerate feelings of abandonment or neglect.

What Causes Attachment Issues?

Often individuals that have Attachment Dysregulation have experienced unresolved abandonment and neglect in childhood. This leads them to be challenged with attachment wounds and can make them feel lonely, empty, and lifeless.
The result?
When in a relationship, the default behavior is to cling to another person because of a deep fear of abandonment and neglect. Until the attachment wounds have been treated.

What Are The Most Common Attachment Styles?

There are several ways that our relationship with our caregivers in childhood can affect our adult life. As kids, we tend to manifest the following four attachment styles:

  • Secure: this style of attachment is considered to be the healthiest. It comes about when parents give their children sufficient care, protection, and emotional support.
  • Anxious-ambivalent: this attachment occurs as a result of unpredictable parenting.  The child is in distress when the caregiver is gone and ambivalent when they return.
  • Anxious-avoidant: kids with an avoidant style tend to ignore their caregiver and show little emotion. It occurs as a result of a neglectful or unresponsive parenting style.
  • Disorganized: a child that exhibits disorganized attachment shows no clear attachment behaviors.

How Attachment Disruption Leads To Dysregulation

A secure attachment can become disrupted for a great number of reasons, leading to a series of difficulties for the child later on in their life. A child with attachment wounds is likely to experience issues with forming and maintaining relationships in adulthood.
For example, an adult with attachment issues may struggle with expressing their emotions to their partner and communicating with them in a healthy way. Bottling up emotions and withdrawing emotionally can take a great toll on any relationship and cause great distress for both parties.

The dangers of traumatic attachment and affect dysregulation

There are many ways in which childhood trauma can affect your adult relationships. Our attachment style is, in fact, one of the most important factors that influence our ability to form and maintain healthy intimate relationships. Some of the most common attachment dysregulation patterns we see are:

  • If we’re rejected or neglected by our parents when we’re young, we may develop a tendency to avoid commitment, keep our partners at a distance, and show little genuine emotion for fear of being rejected once again.
  • If we’re hurt or abused by our caregivers, we can develop an attachment style where we struggle to trust our partner, fear abandonment and rejection and have trouble showing our emotions freely.
  • If our parents are inconsistent in tending to our needs, we tend to be clingy in our relationship, crave lots of attention and intimacy and be paranoid about the relationship falling apart.

How Do You Know If You Have Fear of Abandonment?

If you feel overwhelmed that your partner will leave you, it may be the case that you have a deeply rooted fear of abandonment that is a result of a traumatic emotional experience from your childhood. But how do you know for sure that that’s the case? Look out for these signs:

  • Are you sensitive to criticism?
  • Do you have trouble trusting your partner?
  • Do you find it hard to make friends?
  • Have your relationships been predominantly unhealthy?
  • Do you get attached quickly, but also move on quite soon?
  • Do you blame yourself for anything that goes wrong?
  • Do you do everything in your power to please your partner?
  • Do you tend to stay in the relationship even though you know it’s not healthy?

If these sound familiar, it’s very likely that you’re struggling with fear of abandonment that probably comes from emotional abandonment you experienced when you were a child.

How Do You Know If You Have Attachment Issues?

Individuals who have unresolved childhood abandoned issues are in a destabilizing position – they feel anxious and depressed. In most cases, they are unable to show up for commitments, work, and family.
This anxiety and depression lead to feeling relationally challenged with people and when relationships don’t work or end, they experience relational withdrawal.
Anxiety can create a pattern of addictive relationships and result in Attachment Dysregulation (formerly known as love addiction) and codependency.
If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Attachment Dysregulation, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for:

Most Common Signs And Characteristics Of Attachment Dysregulation:

  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
  • Highly manipulative and controlling of others
  • Unrealistic expectations of others in relationships
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
  • Hidden pain or denial
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
  • Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
  • Need for positive regard
  • Tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
  • Using others, sex and relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
  • Confusion of sexual attraction with love at first sight
  • Trading sexual activity for “love” or attachment
  • Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
  • Existence of a secret “double life”
  • Refusal to acknowledge the presence of a problem
  • Leaving one relationship for another and the inability to be without a relationship

If you’ve gone through any of the situations described when your relationship ends, then you may experience withdrawal symptoms of Attachment Dysregulation such as:

Common Withdrawal Symptoms Of Attachment Dysregulation:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Having a hard time with a spiritual connection
  • Spending money that you don’t have
  • Not able to show up for other relationships
  • Unmet longing
  • Missing deadlines at work
  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dramatic changes in weight
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Rage
  • Loneliness
  • Irrational thinking
  • Irritability
  • Extreme grief
  • Restlessness
  • Anger
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Emotional instability
  • Inability to care for yourself or others such as children
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Denial
  • Despair

What does withdrawal from love addiction look like?

For a person experiencing attachment dysregulation, a withdrawal from a relationship looks a lot like recovering from any other addiction. It’s a highly emotional and stressful experience that may leave serious consequences without effective relationship addiction counseling and other forms of care.
The recovery process tends to be long and tedious, with a number of intense highs and lows. What’s more, the experience of emotional dysregulation attachment can sometimes include physical symptoms such as vomiting and stomach aches, as well as extreme psychological symptoms like severe depression, anxiety, and distress.

What To Do If You Experience Attachment Dysregulation
(Formerly Known As Love Addiction)?

If you think you are in withdrawal from love addiction, you must give yourself time to heal.
The good news is you’re not stuck with this forever. You can heal and create secure attachments in the future.

How To Deal With Love Withdrawal

Recovery starts with being aware of and recognizing the symptoms. It is about getting the right help and being motivated and accountable to the process.
Healing allows you to reconnect to yourself with self-compassion and self-love and have a different outcome…
Remember, you are worthy of happiness and love and a healthy relationship. You can have relational freedom.

Freedom From Love Addiction: How We Can Help

At the Glass House, located in Northern California, we offer a 5 day retreat program, which is designed to repair and restore relational challenges and heal old attachment wounds. For those of you who are unable to visit the Glass House, we also offer remote, one on one relationship coaching with a certified PIVOT advocate. We’re here to help!

What Is Avoidance / Ambivalence Attachment?

For some individuals, thinking about being in a relationship can activate feelings of wanting to run away. Why? Because they feel that the needs of a partner, family member, or employer are overwhelming.
Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves attracted to avoidant or ambivalent partners. This often leads to a series of unhealthy patterns which cause a great deal of pain for both sides in the relationship. If this is the case with you and your partner, consider love avoidance coaching or intensive workshops which can give you the tools and resources you need to heal your attachment wounds.
Read on to learn more about love avoidance and ambivalence.

What Is Avoidant Attachment?

Avoidant attachment is the inability and fear to show love. Individuals will carefully guard themselves when in relationships and avoid real intimacy… to protect themselves from rejection, loss and pain. Often they are not even aware of the behavior and it can be misunderstood as selfishness.
Unfortunately, denial and avoidance become habits, which keeps the individual from being seen, feeling connected and loved.
Paradoxically, the individual will often want more but will go outside the relationship to get what they want, because it feels safer. 
People with avoidance issues have difficulty trusting others and will distance themselves if a relationship feels too close. Experiences in early childhood are usually the cause of this, and they use avoidance to try to feel safe within an intimate relationship.

How Do You Know If You Have an Avoidant Attachment Style?

Do you think you or your partner have avoidance issues? That may be the case if you notice that you tend to be uncomfortable with intimacy in your relationship and have a way of escaping commitment when you start to feel stifled or suffocated. 
If you worry your partner is avoidant, you may want to look for signs such as: 

  • Not returning your texts or calls
  • Idealizing a past relationship
  • Sending mixed signals
  • Keeping secrets 
  • Childish and sullen behavior
  • Showing mistrust 
  • Escaping commitment 

Of course, these are just some of the signs your partner may exhibit in your relationship. However, if you feel like most of these signs ring true, you may want to consider professional couple counseling or relationship therapy workshops. 

Do Avoidants Fall In Love?

Despite the name, love avoidants actually crave love and affection, just like everyone else. But because of their childhood wounds, they find it more difficult to face disappointment and betrayal than other people, so they tend to guard their feelings and do all they can to avoid being hurt in their relationships. They are not running away from love, they are running away from pain. 

Why Are Love Avoidants Attracted to Love Addicts?

Both love addicts and love avoidants often carry deeply ingrained fears and insecurities that stem from their childhood. On one hand, addicts crave affection and love that they rarely received from their parent or caregiver. Love avoidants, on the other hand, typically try to run from intimacy to avoid getting engulfed and hurt once again. 
While the relationship may work initially, it is bound to come with its own set of challenges. As the love addict showers the avoidant with love and affection, the avoidant will inevitably start to pull away. The distancing of the avoidant will lead the addict to seek even more reassurance and affection as proof of the avoidant’s love. This cycle often repeats itself. This is what many refer to as a love addicted tango.

How Do You Deal With A Love Avoidant?

Being in a relationship with an avoidant partner can be extremely challenging, especially for a love addict. But despite the challenges, it is possible to create a deep connection with an avoidant, but only if they are willing to put in some effort, too. Here’s how you can improve your relationship with an avoidant partner: 

  • Be patient and show your partner that they can trust you 
  • Give your partner some space instead of chasing them 
  • Keep in mind that their love avoidance is not your fault 
  • Be understanding and dependable without overwhelming them
  • Learn the differences between the wants and needs for the relationship between you and your partner 
  • Recognize your own unhealthy survival patterns 
  • Set healthy boundaries 
  • Don’t neglect your own needs 

What Is Ambivalent Attachment?

Another way attachment shows up is if the individual is unavailable for intimacy. This means they are caught up in feeling anxious and also at times avoidant. This is the type of person that communicates “come here – go away”. This is known as being Ambivalent
The coping strategies that are avoidant or ambivalent which people use relate to creating an intensity in other activities outside the relationship, such as non-intimate sex, work, shopping, drugs and alcohol. 
Among all of the attachment styles, ambivalent attachment seems to be the most chaotic. This is because ambivalent attachment tends to come from a childhood in which the parent or caregiver was inconsistent in providing love and affection. 
A child who never knows when they will receive attention or love ends up being fearful of it but still craves it desperately. They never feel secure in a relationship and will live with a constant fear of abandonment and an intense need for validation. 

How Do You Know If You Have an Ambivalent Attachment Style?

Being ambivalent in your relationships or living with an ambivalent partner can be exhausting. If you’re worried that your partner has an ambivalent attachment style, look for the following traits: 

  • Is your partner constantly critical or picky? 
  • Do they have a history of short relationships? 
  • Are they confused about what they want from the relationship? 
  • Do they always seem distant or busy? 
  • Are their actions unpredictable? 
  • Are they hesitant to make long-term plans? 

If you never feel sure of what your partner feels or thinks, it’s likely that you feel lost and confused about the nature of your relationship. If that’s the case, it would probably be a good idea to seek expert help if you want to salvage the relationship and improve your mental health. 

Link Between Attachment Style And Depression

The Glass House helps avoidant and ambivalent individuals find their voice and use it. 
When the avoidant or ambivalent behavior is defined and understood, it becomes a starting point to treat the underlying causes that create love avoidance. If this isn’t treated, then it often leads to depression.
When an individual has difficulty deciding whether to leave a relationship, this indecisiveness can lead to a combination of feeling anxious and depressed. 

Why Is Attachment Important To Physical And Mental Health?

Avoidant and ambivalent attachment behaviors can significantly decrease the quality of your life, especially when it comes to your interpersonal relationships. In fact, the style of our attachment is a key factor in our physical and mental health. Here’s how: 

  • The relationship with our caregivers will shape our intimate relationships. 
  • Unhealthy attachment can result in difficulties with understanding our emotions.
  • In turn, we may struggle with relating to the emotions of other people.
  • Without healthy connections with others, we may struggle with anxiety and depression.
  • Our attachment style can make it hard to bounce back from disappointment and failure. 

As you can see, your attachment style is a key factor in determining your personal relationships. Because of this, working on your attachment can be incredibly useful for improving your intimate relationships and overall wellbeing. 

What Causes Love Avoidance and Ambivalence?

Individuals need love and connection with others. However, if you have suffered from feelings of abandonment or loss as a child, then you are likely to have difficulty forming healthy attachments in adulthood, which can lead to avoidance or ambivalence. 
Avoidance or ambivalence can also occur from experiencing abuse or neglect as a child from parents, siblings, other family members, teachers, coaches, bullies and friends. 
If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Avoidance behaviors, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for.

Most Common Characteristics And Signs Of Avoidant Attachment

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style tend to exhibit a number of characteristic behaviors, including: 

  • Avoid intimacy in the relationship by creating an intensity in other activities outside the relationship
  • Craving independence at all costs
  • Emotional withdrawal and bottling up emotions
  • Avoid being known in the relationship
  • Distance themselves from intimate contact to keep from feeling engulfed
  • Over-controlling parenting when young
  • Secretive behavior – hiding feelings
  • Need to be seen and adored and then escape
  • Refusal to acknowledge the existence of a problem
  • Tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Denial that there is a problem 

Most Common Characteristics And Signs Of Ambivalent Attachment

If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Ambivalent behaviors, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for:

  • They let other things outside of the relationship get in the way, i.e., hobbies, work, friends, lovers, addictions—anything.
  • Typically, they had one anxious and one avoidant parent attachment style
  • They have a “come here, go away” relational pattern
  • Crave love and fear it
  • Avoid intimacy by obsessing about love through romantic fantasies about unavailable people
  • They sexualize relationships such that emotional intimacy is non-existent and then become addicted to the sex or the relationship—often both.
  • They become addicted through romantic affairs rather than committed relationships
  • They struggle to open to a deeper level of emotional intimacy, and yet they are unable to let go of the relationship.

Can Avoidance or Ambivalence Be Treated?

The first step starts with being aware of and recognizing the symptoms. It is about healing yourself and being committed to being able to attach securely by knowing what you want and need in a relationship based on your personal storyline and background.
The process includes dealing with feelings and healing from past wounds. Healing allows you to reconnect to yourself with self-compassion and self-love. 
We recommend that you seek support from professionals and talk about the pain that’s inside of you. 
Remember, you are worthy of happiness and love and a healthy relationship. You can have relational freedom.

How can you deal with ambivalent or avoidant attachment?

Coping with their attachment style is a long and stressful process for most people. This is because we’re often unaware of the exact issues that stem from our relationship with our caregiver in our early childhood and finding out exactly how much it has affected us can be both eye-opening and terrifying. 
The first step to overcoming your insecure attachment is to get acquainted with your past. Understanding exactly how you became the person you are now can help you accept and reconcile with your childhood experiences. 
This is best done through professional therapy and attending different workshops and programs designed to help you improve your relationships and your overall well being. But if you want to take some steps on your own, here’s what you should do: 

  • Start by identifying your emotions and expressing your needs without fear. 
  • Strive to be as authentic in your communication as possible. 
  • Combat your shame and work on your self-esteem. 
  • Try not to criticize yourself and accept your flaws. 
  • Work on compromising and seeing your partner’s perspective. 

Of course, these are just some of the steps you can take to start on your path to recovery. In addition to these general coping techniques, you should also seek professional support if you want to improve your relationships and the quality of your life. 

How To Overcome Insecure Attachment: Our Love Avoidance Intensive Workshops Can Help!

We provide support and healing for these individuals by providing a personal PIVOT coach or coming to The Glass House and taking a 5-day deep dive into the PIVOT process. We provide defining attachment styles, one on one sessions, group process and experiential therapies to encourage individuals to be seen, respected, and understood.
In addition, we offer intensive programs designed to repair and restore relational challenges. Learn more about the PIVOT process and our programs. We’re here to help.

Think You Might Be A People Pleaser? Here’s How To Stop

Many of us find it hard to find a balance between being nice and putting our feelings aside to make the people around us feel good. While it may not seem like such a big deal, being a people pleaser can cause a series of issues in your interpersonal relationships and other areas of your life.
If you keep accommodating other people’s needs without fulfilling your own, you may start to harbor resentment, anger, and hurt towards the ones you love the most. In many cases, these unresolved inner conflicts result in emotional withdrawal and unhealthy relationships that may benefit from individual relationship counseling and other forms of treatment.
Read on to find out about the dangers of being a people pleaser and learn how to stop.

Are You A People Pleaser?

If you’re unsure if you’re simply a nice person or a people pleaser, you should take a look at how you tend to interact with other people. If you feel like you have to say yes to every favor that’s asked of you, you may be leading towards the latter option. Either way, the best way to determine whether you are in fact a people pleaser is to understand how this pattern came about.

Why Do Some People Become People Pleasers?

As with most unhealthy patterns, people-pleasing starts in childhood. Some children learn very early on that the only way to earn love and acceptance from their parents is to be good and ready to please.
If your caregivers convinced you, consciously or unconsciously, that you had to do things for them and fulfill their wishes in order to be considered valuable and “good”, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling with creating healthy boundaries and saying no in your adult life.

Signs of People-Pleasing 

The first step towards breaking your people-pleasing habit is to recognize how it manifests. Here are some of the most common signs that you may be a people-pleaser:

  • You think you’re responsible for other people’s feelings and try hard to make them happy with your actions.
  • You say sorry all the time and blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life, even if there’s no reason to believe that’s the case.
  • You avoid conflict at all costs and can’t stand when someone is angry or displeased with you or your actions.
  • You feel uncomfortable saying no and accept favors and arrangements even if you would rather not go through with them.
  • You crave validation from people to feel good and tend to base your self-worth on the opinions of others.

Is People Pleasing And Codependency The Same?

Many people are confused by the differences between codependency and people-pleasing. While these two dynamics can overlap, they are different in some key respects. The main distinction has to do with the relationship between codependency and childhood trauma, specifically the role a person assumed in their family as a child.
For instance, a codependent may have had to act as the responsible adult to an addicted family member and, in turn, developed an attraction to addiction-prone and abusive partners. By contrast, people-pleasers tend to come from a family that neglected them or taught them they had to earn their love and attention by being good and willing to help.

The Danger Of Being A People Pleaser

Being a people-pleaser can have severe consequences for your overall well-being. Here are the main dangers of pleasing others to an excessive degree:

  • Resentment and bitterness
  • Losing one’s identity
  • Being taken advantage of
  • Lack of respect from others
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Unstable relationships
  • Addiction to affection and love

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser (But Still Be Nice)

If you’ve realized that you have people-pleasing tendencies, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. Here are some useful tips:

  • Practice internal validation by building up self-worth. Focus on your own qualities and participate in activities that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Take small steps and give yourself time. Instead of rushing and saying no to everything straight away, try starting with small no’s and go from that.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Start showing people how you feel about certain situations and choose to spend your time with individuals who make you feel at ease.
  • Practice self-care. Make sure to spend quality time with yourself every day doing what you enjoy the most, without pressure and feelings of guilt.

Learn How To Put Your Own Needs First With PIVOT 

With over 10 years of success, the PIVOT process is a great way to start changing your life for the better. Whether you’re looking for effective individual coaching or want to attend a relationship therapy workshop, look no further. What’s more, we also offer five-day retreats at Glass House, a residential facility where you can transform your life through the PIVOT process.
Start working on your well-being today!

The Ambivalent

When it comes to addictive relationships, the most common types of people are; those who love too much (Anxious), and those who love too little, (the Avoidant). If you vacillate between the two you are an Ambivalent. It’s not really “love” that we are talking about. It is actually energy that either desires a wound to be healed by filling it up with a relationship (Anxious) or energy that is trying to not be engulfed by keeping relationships at a distance (Avoidant) or both (Ambivalent).
Most Ambivalent individuals are frightened of intimacy and usually pursue unavailable people. This kind of ambivalence, more than any other, feeds on fantasies and delusions.
Often Ambivalent individuals will destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point the fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime (before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up) whenever.
Some Ambivalents run hot and cold. They always come on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become bored or frightened, they begin withholding companionship, sex, and affection, anything that makes them feel anxious. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable in the same relationship, they withhold intimacy. They tend to offer more intimacy each time they come back. They up the stakes with offers of commitment, living together, marriage, children, etc. They rarely keep their promises to change.
Some Ambivalents are simultaneously addicted to multiple partners. Unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, these Ambivalents bond with each of their partners, to one degree or another, even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived. These Ambivalent individuals are often confused with Sex Addicts.
The most complicated kind of Ambivalent is someone who has been labeled a Narcissist. On the surface, he or she is usually aloof, detached, self-confident, self-centered, domineering, and/or afraid of commitment. However, when you leave this individual, what appeared like Narcissism is quickly seen as ambivalent behavior because they can’t handle being rejected. They turn to manipulation, aggression, and even violence to hold on to the relationship even though they remain ambivalent.
It is a common pattern for Ambivalents to obsess when someone is unavailable and then become ambivalent when a healthy person comes along. This happens a lot in recovery for other addictions. For more about this, read Finally Getting it Right by Howard Halpern.
Ambivalents suffer from some form of childhood incest (overt, covert, or emotional) and they fall in love but abort the relationship when it gets too serious. (By incest I mean overt (sexual molestation and rape); covert (sexual energy without touching); and emotional incest (being forced to be a surrogate partner.) Research this for yourself and recommend The Emotional Incest Syndrome by Patricia Love or The Courage to Heal by Laura Davis.
In summary, the Ambivalent is a complicated person. When treated by an experienced individual who specializes in Attachment Disorder, one can change. It takes time, willingness to dive deep into the pain body wound and patience for a new level of relational tolerance to take place.