Do you ever wonder why your relationship with your partner doesn’t feel deeply fulfilling? Your way of attaching to others, your attachment style, is a blueprint for how you connect in close relationships. Your attachment style is shaped by your early experiences with caregivers and is often your default mode of connecting with others.

Attachment theory, pioneered by John Bowlby, provides a framework for comprehending human connections. Bowlby found that there are four main attachment styles. 

  1. Secure attachment: You feel pretty comfortable with intimacy and trusting others. 
  2. Anxious attachment: You might worry deeply about abandonment or not getting enough love. 
  3. Dismissive-avoidant attachment: You tend to keep your distance from others and might even downplay the importance of relationships.
  4. Fearful-avoidant attachment: You want closeness but also fear getting hurt. This attachment style is a mix of anxious and avoidant traits.

If you think you may have an anxious attachment style, it’s like having an inner fear that if you’re not constantly checking in with your partner or seeking their validation, they might just up and leave. As a result, you might overanalyze texts or get really anxious when your partner doesn’t respond immediately. Even when things are going well, this nagging voice in your head tells you it will all fall apart.

Despite wanting to feel secure in your relationships, worries and insecurities can sometimes push people away or create unnecessary tension. If you are unsure of your attachment style or the description of the anxious attachment style resonates with you, below are some therapist-approved resources to help you better understand and shift your relationship into a more secure and trusted one. 

Podcast: On Attachment

This resource is most helpful for someone who is curious about the anxious attachment style. Episodes S1 E135 and E136 are very informative. 

Stephanie offers 20 concrete examples of characteristics, beliefs, and traits that are more characteristic of anxiously attached individuals, and she does so in a non-judgmental and compassionate way.

Top takeaways from therapist Dr. Faith Drew
Stephanie Rigg, relationship coach, hosts the podcast On Attachment. What I like about these two specific episodes is the listicle approach to naming various traits of the anxious attachment style. Each episode is less than 30 minutes and bite-sized to listen and pause to think through what she shares before moving on to the next one. On Attachment is an approachable and understandable podcast for those learning about attachment styles. 

Stephanie’s voice is warm and empathic, and she communicates these traits in a non-critical or shaming way. Besides the list, she provides relatable examples and real-life scenarios, so listeners can see themselves in her examples, which can feel validating. If someone needs a supportive and informative resource on attachment, follow this podcast.

Book: “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie

This resource is most helpful for someone with an anxious attachment who feels they have lost themselves in the relationship or cannot express needs without fearing their relationship will end. 

Top takeaways from therapist Danae Kauffman

Author Melody Beattie does a great job normalizing the codependent behaviors that can accompany an anxious attachment style. Shared exercises, practical advice and personal experiences can be an asset for anyone to connect and grow by recognizing codependency and overcoming it.

“Codependent No More” is available in book and audiobook form.

Book: “Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

This resource is most helpful for those who have an insecure or anxious attachment and want to move to a more secure attachment.

Top takeaways from therapist Karen Naegel 

This is a great resource book because it provides steps to get out of all the insecure attachments. It also defines secure attachment well to help an individual see what the end goal to healthy connectedness looks like.

This book is available on Kindle, paperback, and Audible.

Podcast: The Place We Find Ourselves, Episode 40, “Love and War: Attachment in Intimate Relationships”

This resource is most helpful for someone who is trying to understand how their  insecure attachment style, specifically anxious/ambivalent and avoidant styles, interact in adult relationships.

Top takeaways from therapist Kelsee White

Podcast guest Rachel Blackston reads an essay she wrote about the interactions of her and her husband’s attachment styles in conflict. Listeners will feel like they’re getting a play-by-play of what this type of interaction can sound like, which many couples can relate to. Blackston is a licensed therapist who offers clinical insights that help make this episode very normalizing and insightful.

The Place We Find Ourselves podcast covers a variety of subjects related to mental health, relationships, and trauma. It offers a mix of science-based perspectives with some spiritual/religious underpinnings.

Book: “Anxiously Attached: Becoming More Secure in Life and Love” by Jessica Baum, LMHC

This resource is most helpful for those who are or have been engaged in therapy but are still finding themselves stuck in persistent unhealthy relationship patterns stemming from their anxious attachment style.

Top takeaways from therapist Anna Malles

Baum’s book feels therapeutic as it guides you through self-reflection on where your deepest anxiety and attachment wounds come from. It also provides actionable strategies for how to become more “self-full.” 

She describes “Being Self-full® is a process of learning where your core wounds are and how you are recreating them in your relationships. Learning to gain awareness and changing your beliefs allows you to have the freedom to express yourself in healthy ways, leading to balanced relationships.” 

In this book, you can expect guidance on connecting with and nurturing your inner child (“little me”) and learning how to shift your mindset away from anxiety towards security. Even though your anxious instincts may always be present and won’t go away entirely, they will be less intense and more controllable.

After you order your book, you can access some of her free resources via her website or explore her excellent paid online courses.

Book: “When The Body Says No” by Gabor Mate

This resource is most helpful for someone who is anxiously attached and neglects their own needs for others.

Top takeaways from therapist Dr. George Bitar

The book does an excellent job of describing the impact of stress on the immune system and body that often stems from neglecting one’s own needs and unresolved childhood trauma, a common dynamic with an anxious attachment style. The body and mind are inseparable, and being healthy involves maintaining solid boundaries, processing our emotions within secure relationships, and taking steps to resolve past trauma. The book also includes specific practices to help improve our emotional and physical well-being and describes the societal forces that undermine individual and collective health.

This book is available in paperback and via Audible.

You can address and heal anxious attachment style. 

Ultimately, understanding your attachment style can empower you to cultivate more fulfilling and authentic relationships with yourself and others. If you discover you have an anxious attachment style, the resources provided can provide you with a runway for healing. These resources can help shed light on why you relate to others the way you do, why particular patterns repeat in your relationships, and how you respond to intimacy, trust, and vulnerability. 

Fostering healthier connections with others by recognizing and addressing any underlying insecurities or patterns can be complicated. If you need support navigating this process, our therapists at Connect Couples Therapy would be happy to help you on that journey.

Our practice offers in-person appointments in Charlotte, NC, and Carefree, AZ. We also have virtual sessions available for those who live in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Texas. Contact us to get started.