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How do I change my attachment style?

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Old 30th September 2018, 11:58 PM   #1
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How do I change my attachment style?

Hey guys. I have been struggling with a breakup, and realize that, while he was the main reason for the breakup, I was not so perfect myself. I learned that I have a severe anxious attachment style. I freaked out and got very passive aggressive when I thought he was pulling away (i.e didnít text me for hours or put any effort into our phone conversations). I played mind games with him, and talked about guys that flirted with me just to make him jealous, so I could see he still cared about me. I used to say horrible things about the girls he saw before me (in the vein of ďsheís a hoe because her dad never loved herĒ kind of horrible) and he knows I got easily jealous. I once told him that if ever cheated on me, Iíd fly down, stab him and have sex with his roommate (jokingly, but I can see why this would be a concern). I told him I was scared of losing him. In reality, I think if I were not so emotionally dependent on him, I would have broken up with him a long time ago. I wasnít myself in that relationship. I was miserable and anxious all the time and describing what I said now I sound like a sociopath. I am unsure if it was his drifting away that caused it, but it's an issue that I just didn't end it there when I noticed it.

Whatever the case, I know I need to improve and to not be so co-dependent, for my own sake more so than the guy's. Problem is, Iím not sure what the root of this problem is. My therapist said it might have to do with my upbringing, as my parents worked a lot and were unavailable for most of it. I was raised by nannies who didnít speak the same language as me. My dad told me it might also be my low self esteem, as I was painfully shy in my youth and rejected socially by my classmates. I didnít learn how to talk to people until I was in college and even now I severely struggle to form relationships with others. I do have low self esteem, and consider myself unattractive and unmotivated.

How do I improve? I just want to be better for the next amazing guy that comes into my life.
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Old 1st October 2018, 12:07 AM   #2
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CBT with a professional psychologist and medical doctor, as needed, over a long time period. Attachment styles are pretty elemental to our personality, ingrained when young, and are hard to change.
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Old 1st October 2018, 1:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Slapsh0t View Post
How do I improve? I just want to be better for the next amazing guy that comes into my life.
You seem to put an awful lot of pressure on a relationship to fulfill your every need 24 hours a day and get awfully hostile when it doesn't. I wouldn't drift away from a girl who freaked if I didn't text her every few hours, I'd run away, as would every other healthy male I know. There should be sides of you valued by the world other than "girlfriend" and ways to get emotional sustenance outside of any relationship.

So those are the skills I'd work on, whether it's being a good friend, relative, co-worker or teammate. The anger from your feelings of abandonment is understandable. Dumping it on a partner is not...

Mr. Lucky
Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct -

Eleanor Roosevelt
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Old 12th October 2018, 10:41 PM   #4
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Great question! I am new at this, myself but I want to share my thoughts.

I am working on shifting my attachment style to a more secure place. It can be done but dont expect easy! I have made progress but have a long way to go.

Realize that being dependent is part of being a baby and that you needed a caregiver to survive, and do not blame yourself for how you got what you needed to feel safe and stay alive. (this being the process that established your attachment style, as my understanding of the theory goes)We all got what was given to us in the attachment realm.

What I realized recently is that as adults, we do not want a caregiver as a partner, nor do we want to be one. Its gross thinking about wanting a mommy or daddy to be our partner but a lot of us do that if we are unsecure in our style, right?

Make yourself as independent as you can, get to a place where you don't need anyone to feel whole.

Your self worth is determined by you and no one else. Never give that power to any one else.

Dig deep and address your layers of issues and attack them ruthlessly until you feel confident in who you are.

Once we have these things nailed down and they become new neural patterns in hour heads, we can attempt healthy relationships because they are fun not because you need one.
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Old 13th October 2018, 1:11 AM   #5
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Great advice GinON. Find the problem, attack it ( I like that fierceness, for it surely has to be an all-in attack for you to conquer so big a problem!) and perfect the end result until you get it right. It sounds like some well-thought out logic, right dere! Lol. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th October 2018, 6:18 AM   #6
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Attachment styles are like the key to everything. I have learned so much about them. Both my ex and I have anxious attachment styles and I would like to change mine as well. Good luck on your journey. Everything I have learned shows it to a tough journey.
Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile.
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Old 13th October 2018, 3:43 PM   #7
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Great that you are willing to look at yourself and willing to improve your way of being in relationships.

First of all, if your therapist hasn't helped you pinpoint the cause and directed you more specifically towards a solution, then consider getting a new therapist. One of the worst things that can happen in therapy (might be the result of anxious attachment) is that people put up with therapists who are mediocre, unhelpful and just not a good fit.

You need a therapist who blows you away with their insight ... and who inspires you to work on yourself ... and who makes you feel valued and appreciated as you are right now. (Sorta nice qualities to have in a partner as well ...)

So ironically to improve your attachment style, it's time to drop the codependent "I must get along with this person" attitude towards your therapist. I once had to move through three or four therapists before I found a really good one. But I did that only after putting up with a mediocre therapist for like a year.

A practical thing you can do (I also have anxious attachment style) is to build your life up ... so that you love your life ... as a single person. I realized a while back that one reason I didn't stand up for myself in relationships ... and a reason I didn't walk away sooner ... was because I put SO MUCH emphasis on the relationship. It was like once I started dating, then dating that person occupied the central place in my life and in my brain.

I would schedule dates in place of any other activity, stop what I'm doing at a moment's notice to get together with the person. NO! ... If the relationship is going to really work, it won't require all of that.

Ironically, an ex helped me with this ... We both had this problem of getting anxious and confused when we didn't feel comfortable dating someone... and one insight we came up with is really simple. First, you may need to practice by yourself ... like practice specific words and phrases ... Someone's not treating you the way you want to be treated ... you want to be able tell the person RIGHT THEN "You know something doesn't feel right. I'm not having a good time hear. I think I'm going to head out." ... And then head out to a movie, or a dance party ... or home to a beautiful living space that you really like.

It takes some practice to do this, but you want to practice acting to protect yourself (not play games) when you don't feel great in a relationship. Someone is slow to return your call, don't passively aggressively react. Instead, genuinely be distant.

When scheduling time with someone, don't cancel out all your other fun activities. Practice more fitting the relationship time around fun activities that don't involve your partner, even meetings with friends. In other words, stop disrupting your life at the start of a dating relationship.

And you have to remind yourself of the simple truth: if someone is into you, they will prioritize you. If the relationships is going to work, you are NOT going to have to do all the work of the relationship. The goal is to date people we are positive nuts about AND (especially important for anxious and codependent people) date people who are positively nuts about us.

If they aren't nuts about you, if they don't see dating you as an opportunity of a lifetime (serious!), the relationship is not gonna work.

Just a few thoughts ... but seriously, it sounds to me like you may need to consult with a new therapist.
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Old 14th October 2018, 4:30 AM   #8
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The jealousy is something you need to work on for sure. The anxious attachment may not be the issue, its the type of guy you are dating. I also believed I had anxious attachment, but that all stopped when I met my current bf. The only reason I had that issue w/2 guys I was trying to date is because they were mistreating me and pulling away. They wouldn't answer my texts for hours despite not being busy. Turns out that they didn't want to date me. For me it wasn't anxiety, but a gut feeling something was off.
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