What causes relationship anxiety?
When it comes to relationships, many people find themselves feeling anxious and afraid. More often than not, this anxiety stems from their childhood and the way they were raised when they were children. This is because the way you are raised and the love that you are shown by your caretakers determines your attachment style in the future. For example, if someone grew up without sufficient love and support, they might feel afraid and anxious to let somebody in when they are adults.
There are four attachment styles:
1. Secure attachment
Those who felt secure, loved, and comforted by their caretakers when they were children would have a secure attachment with others. This means that they are comfortable with who they are and are capable of expressing themselves. According to Marlena Bontas, a writer for Lifehack, ‘in romantic relationships, they feel safe and trust the other person to be there for them in times of need’.
2. Anxious preoccupied attachment
If a person was made to feel as though their emotions and needs were not valid or important, they would have an anxious preoccupied attachment. In this case, their caretakers might have walked away from them when they felt hurt or angry and this made them feel unsafe. Bontas explains ‘when they are taught that emotions do not matter, they become fearful of them’. For this reason, when a person with anxious preoccupied attachment becomes angry, they suppress the emotion because they do not know how to express it. Consequently, they may become overcome by a tremendous sense of anxiety as ‘the mind thinks that they are trying to escape a very dangerous emotion’.
3. Dismissive avoidant attachment
People with this attachment style tend to be emotionally unavailable. What is more, they tend to deny how important the ones they love actually are to them and can even make them feel ignored, dismissed, and unloved.
4. Fearful avoidant attachment
In this case, people tend to feel conflicted as they want to feel loved but are afraid of letting their partners in. This is because they fear intimacy and are afraid that opening up will leave them hurt and disappointed. Taking this further, those who have been disappointed by their caretakers may fear that they will be made to feel the same way if they let someone in again. As a result, they push their partners away and create distance between them even though they crave love.
How can you overcome relationship anxiety?
First and foremost, you must recognize that you have a problem. It is only once you do so that you will be able to begin the journey to overcome it. Once you recognize that you have a problem, ask yourself where it stems from and find out what your attachment style is. This can be a painful process as you might have to look back at painful moments from your childhood. When you understand why you feel the way that you do, try to challenge yourself to trust people and understand that not everyone will hurt you the way you have been hurt in the past. In many cases, people find it helpful to speak to a therapist who can help them work through unresolved issues that are affecting their current lives and the relationships they have.
Admittedly, overcoming your relationship anxiety and coming to terms with your past will not be easy; however, it will allow you to have a brighter future – one that is built on happiness of love.