How does an ambivalent/anxious attachment manifest in adulthood?
Adults with preoccupied attachment patterns are usually self-critical, insecure and desperate, often assuming the role of the “pursuer” in a relationship. Because they grew up distrustful of their inconsistent, unavailable caregivers, they are “rejection-sensitive.” They anticipate rejection or abandonment and look for signs that their partner is losing interest. These people are often driven to engage in pre-emptive strategies in an attempt to avoid being rejected. However, their excessive dependency, demands and possessiveness tend to backfire and precipitate the very abandonment that they fear.
They appear to be “perpetually vigilant and somewhat histrionic.” They feel resentful and angry when their partner doesn’t provide the attention and reassurance they feel they need. They often believe that unless they dramatically express their anxiety and anger, it is unlikely that the other person will respond to them. When they try to suppress their anger, their behavior tends to vacillate between outbursts of anger and pleas for forgiveness and support. In some cases, the fears and anxieties can lead to more serious emotional disturbances, such as depression.
How are patterns of attachment supported by the critical inner voice?
The pessimistic beliefs and expectations associated with adult attachment patterns are regulated by destructive thoughts or critical inner voices about oneself, others, and the world in general. These critical voices strongly influence a person’s style of relating in an intimate relationship. People with a preoccupied adult attachment have “voices” that support their beliefs that the world is an emotionally unreliable place filled with uncertainty and the potential loss of those they love. Examples of their voice attacks are, “It’s obvious that he/she is losing interest in you.” “Why isn’t he/she more affectionate?” “He/she always has an excuse for not wanting to make love.” “You’re so needy and dependent. No wonder she (he) doesn’t like you.” “He/she doesn’t love you as much as you love him/her.”
In Love & Light
Sereena Al noor xx