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Sometimes the parent is warm and accepting and at other times cold and rejecting…the key is that you never know what you are going to get.Because children need to feel safe in their relationships with parents (see my February post for a description of the secure style and optimal parenting), those children will learn to closely monitor their parents so that they can tell if it is a good (hug) day or a bad (go to your room) day.Top attachment researchers Mario Mikulincer and Phillip Shaver look at this style as reflecting a “hyper-activation” of the attachment system wherein the person’s social-threat-detection apparatus is always stuck in the on position.
Your thoughts then tell you that you have to fix the situation and you enact behaviors to do just that.
This monitoring enables the child to shift his or her behavior in order to head off painful rejection. The problem is that with consistent practice it becomes automatic.
Over the course of childhood, the anxiously attached person becomes “hypervigilant” for threat cues and “preoccupied” with his/her close relationships.
Now you might ask: “What the heck just happened?!!! But, more often than not, it was something about them and not about you at all.
And even if they were a little irritated with you about something…so what!
Most likely it was an made likely because of the way your personality and emotional system got wired in childhood...because you have an “anxious attachment style.” If you do have an anxious attachment style, you can learn to recognize and understand it, capitalize on the strengths that it gives you, and override the parts that cause you problems.