Can I be Anxious and Avoidant?
Updated: Mar 6
When I first started studying insecure attachment styles, I was motivated by the same things as most folks who come to explore this topic: I was sick of unhealthy patterns in my love life and finally willing to admit I might be part of the problem.
Learning about attachment styles was a light bulb moment for me because it helped me to draw lines around a frequency of attitudes and behaviors I would witness in myself and in my partners.
The more I learned, the more I would start to see these attachment styles playing themselves out in all types of contexts; in books, movies, TV shows, at work, among my friends, and among my family--in addition to my own love life.
But the more I learned and observed, the more I realized these styles were more flexible than they were rigid.
As a recap, often attachment styles are considered categorically, and that is…
Open Hearts: Individuals that want a lot of closeness with a partner, typically have anxious attachment; I call them "Open Hearts."
Rolling Stones: Individuals who want more space, usually have avoidant attachment; I call them "Rolling Stones."
Spice of Lifers:Individuals that both want and fear closeness, are sometimes considered fearful avoidant or disorganized; I call them "Spice of Lifers."
Cornerstones: Individuals who are comfortable with closeness and separateness in relationships are considered securely attached; I call them "Cornerstones."
But this really isn’t the whole story.
The more content I generated on this topic, the more members of my private Facebook group, and subscribers on my YouTube channel would post comments and reflections that illustrated a more malleable approach to understanding the ways in which we conceptualize attachment styles:
“I think I am primarily anxious, but sometimes I see avoidant tendencies in myself.”
“I suppose I would be considered avoidant, but its only BECAUSE I am so anxious!”
“I think my attachment style changes according to my partner’s attachment style.”
“I am having a hard time deciding what attachment style I am, because I feel like I embody at least a little bit of all of them.”
If this feels familiar, you are going to enjoy this snippet of our latest livestream replay.
In it, I offer a brief and simplified explanation of how categories like attachment styles and DSM diagnosis are formulated, including how much subjectivity is actually involved in the process.
To learn more watch this 3-minute clip!
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In love and abundance,
Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner