HOW ANXIOUS ATTACHMENT STYLES EXPERIENCE CODEPENDENCY Having an anxious preoccupied or anxious attachment style can be tough and those who have an, anxious preoccupied attachment style often struggle with codependency as well. In this FREE training, learn these powerful new secrets to be codependent no more, stop enmeshment as well as understand more how a disorganized attachment style affects a codependent relationship. Enjoy! ?
Would you like to discover the five ways how anxious attachment styles experience codependency?
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You may have an anxious attachment style and you don't know if you are in a codependent relationship. Is this a codependent dynamic or not? Are you deceiving yourself? So here are five ways, so you can be sure.
5. They Collapse Into The Other Person
Point number five, they collapse into the other person. Hold on one second, what does that actually mean? Picture this, have you ever noticed that after a while, when you connect with a person you're actually entering more of their world. In other words, you're experiencing more of their feelings. If they feel anxious, if they feel disappointed, how their day went, you're just kinda following along and feeling those same things as if you're on a journey with them. The problem here is you're so focused on this other person that there’s no focus on yourself. If I ask you in that moment, are you in your body, meaning, do you feel your feet? You would not be able to find yourself in that scenario, because you are in a totally different world and you would actually need quite a bit of time to come back to your own world. Meaning, how are you feeling? Do you enjoy it?
I'll give you examples, when I was dating, before I met my husband, there were so many times I was so focused on the other person, I barely even realized if I even liked the date I was on or not. I particularly remember one day where I was seeing this professor of history. Now, I'm not really the biggest history buff to say the least, but he was telling me all those historical stories and he was really dry about it. So it wasn't like “Oh, this is entertaining, this is interesting.” It was actually really dry but I kept entering his world and going along with it. Then at the end of the day I was like, “wait a minute, did I actually enjoy the date?” Never mind if he wants to have a second date with me, how about I actually see if I want to go on a second date with this person. So this is a typical sign that I had collapsed into his world.
So ask yourself, are you collapsing to somebody else and into their story, their feelings, even their physicality? So maybe you even feel the pain that they're feeling. That's fully a sign that you are in a codependency.
4. They Rely On The Other Person For Their Feelings Of Self Worth
Point number four, is of course anxious attachment styles particularly in codependent situations really rely on the other person for their feelings of self worth. They can only really get that sense of self-worth through other people.
Now that's of course extremely challenging because you don't know what agenda the other person has. What if they are actually, for example, a narcissist (check out my articles on narcissism and narcissists especially with an anxious attachment style). So let's say you're meeting more narcissists, they actually feel this need that you have for self worth and they will play you. They will use this to their advantage, manipulate you, they will diminish the emotions that you had, the truth that you had inside of yourself. They will make you question essentially everything. It's really important to see if you are actually sourcing your own self worth through other people?
The other problem with that is also that not everyone is going to like you, you cannot account for all the different people and their opinions and the stories that they've experienced in their past. For example, you may remind them of a schoolmate that they had in third grade that they didn't like so you have those attributes, and they're projected onto you. You cannot be accountable for that. What you can be accountable for is your own emotion.
So that's why it's really fatal, to gain that emotional approval only through other people. This is really important to hear because it's about you finding that self-confidence inside of yourself. You're approving of yourself. My Reverend said years ago, “I don't need anybody's approval, I already made my decision. You support me or you don't support me, but it has nothing to do with me approving of my decision.” And this is the same path that you want to go down to as well.
3. They Have Difficulty Setting Boundaries
Point number three in the anxious attachment style is being afraid of, and has difficulty setting boundaries. Here's why, the anxious attachment style doesn't even know what their own boundaries are. Where do I end? Where does the other person begin? And I really mean that. So you may feel something and you're “Wait, is the other person feeling this? Or am I feeling this? ” “Am I just picking up what they're thinking, what they're saying, or are they my thoughts?” So it may actually take a while for you to understand, realize where your boundaries are, and I'm actually talking about all levels of boundaries.
The emotional boundary, which is about really honoring yourself in an emotional way, knowing when you're emotionally full, knowing when you can't emotionally take on more. If somebody is toxic or negative, they may have an emotion that you can't currently deal with because you simply don't have enough resilience in your own system. That would be an emotional boundary, I also have an article on boundaries, so you can read more about that. I'm also looking at mental boundaries and physical boundaries. What that really means is really understanding, is my boundary three feet out from me? Or is it alright when you come in here? What is your safety zone? When do you start to feel a little uncomfortable?
The reason why you have difficulty setting boundaries is because it's so hard to hold your own in a relationship. Now what happens is, in an anxious attachment style, they leak energy. So imagine you have a container and that has holes in it, what happens is you can never hold your own energy because it's constantly leaking out from the holes and other people can feel that. You give them more attention, more emotions, more of your mental resources, and of course of your physical ones as well. So make sure that you learn how to set boundaries.
2. They Prefer To Be Liked Rather Than Respected
Point number two, is you rather be liked than respected. I know that's a really hard pill to swallow. As a matter of fact, I used to have a sticky note on my refrigerator that said “it's more important to be respected than to be liked,” because here is the thing., we don't necessarily trust people long term when we like them. Think about it this way, if you always give your power away, you always agree, you always collapse (we talked about that in point number five), then the other person will say, “Wait a minute, that can't be right. I know she has an opinion.” or “It wasn't right how it treated her or what I just said, she should say something.” If you don't say something, the other person stops trusting you. The man is going to think, this is strange and that you are not honest with him or that you don’t honor yourself. So then the trust towards you goes down and men can feel when it's more important to you to be liked than to actually be honest. This is really important because when you're more interested in being respected you're actually telling the truth more (there’s more about that in my boundaries articles). Short term, you may not be liked instantly but long term, they will overcome this because that's their own resilience and they will be grateful because they know that there was some truth in that and that they can actually trust you.
1. They Have a Delayed Emotional Response
Finally, point number one is so important – you have a delayed emotional response. Now, have you ever had an argument with somebody, maybe even a surprising conflict, you thought it was going to be a great phone call but all of the sudden there's this confrontation. Somebody told you something you didn’t expect, and in that moment, you're actually just agreeing, you're saying “yeah, I totally agree. I can see it from your perspective” But then you actually get off the phone and you're like, “wait a minute, that wasn't all right, this is really emotional.” Maybe you’re actually angry because she didn't do this or that, sad because she didn't see it this way and didn't acknowledge those things.
This is a perfect case of a delayed emotional response. Another one is actually when somebody is angry or sad but they don’t realize it in the moment, but let's say a week later when you're out of the situation, even a few days later you realize that you’re not actually okay with how things went down. “No, that was a totally selfish move that he made, and I didn't say anything.” Not being able to see those emotions or those situations until you’re removed from them is very typical for an anxious attachment style because remember, they're more melting into the other person. They're collapsing into the other person which means they're forgetting their own container and who they really are.
So those are the five ways how you can really see how the anxious attachment style experiences codependency. So maybe you can find yourself in this, because we're really good at deceiving ourselves.
The question of the day is, which of those ways do you resonate with the most that you either have experienced yourself or that your partner is actually displaying? Leave me your comments below, and of course, if you feel you really resonate with this content and you really want to dive a little bit deeper then I invite you to take my Magnetize Your Man quiz by clicking the button below.