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  • Rachel Brandwene, LCSW

The Scary Ways Anxious Attachment Can Negatively Affect Your Nervous System

Anxious attachment is an emotional bond that can be formed between two people, but it is not necessarily a healthy one. It is characterized by fear of rejection and abandonment, as well as a lack of trust. When an anxious attachment is present, it can have a very real impact on your nervous system.


This type of attachment is often formed in early childhood, and it can cause a person to be overly dependent or clingy in relationships. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and mistrust, which can then manifest as physical symptoms in the body. Today, we'll look at how anxious attachment can negatively affect the nervous system.


Anxious attachment is a type of relationship dynamic in which a person feels a strong need for closeness and intimacy. Unfortunately, this type of attachment can harm the nervous system, leading to feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and fear. When anxious attachment takes root, it can cause an individual to experience a heightened state of alertness, often due to worrying about their partner's availability or lack of commitment.


This continual state of tension can begin to fry the nervous system, making it difficult to relax, sleep well, and feel secure in any relationships. Anxiety stemming from anxious attachment can also affect the ability to make decisions, think clearly, and process emotions in a healthy way. The fear associated with anxious attachment can become overwhelming and lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and digestive issues.


The anxious attachment has the potential to wreak havoc on an individual’s overall well-being, but with awareness and help, it is possible to break free from the unhealthy patterns it creates. It is important to understand that feeling anxious does not necessarily mean you’re in an unhealthy relationship. Anxiety may simply mean it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the current state of the relationship.


However, it is important to remember that this style of attachment does not define who you are and that there are ways to cope with it to reduce its negative effects in your relationships and within your nervous system. The most important step is learning to recognize when an anxious attachment is at play and to take proactive steps to manage it.


Here are 4 ways to cope with anxious attachment:

1: Establishing and maintaining boundaries


This means learning to express your needs, wants and limits assertively. It is important to have an understanding of what is acceptable for you and to communicate this clearly to your partner or other loved ones.

2: Working on self-awareness and mindfulness


When you become more aware of your feelings and emotions, you can better understand how anxious attachment may be affecting you. Mindfulness is also a powerful tool that can help you become more present and regulate your emotions.



3: Creating safe spaces for vulnerability


Many people with anxious attachment find it difficult to be vulnerable with their partners or others. Creating a safe space where you feel comfortable expressing your true thoughts and feelings can help you feel more connected to those around you.

4: Reaching out for support


Whether it’s talking to a therapist, joining a support group or just venting to a trusted friend, having someone to talk to can be incredibly beneficial. It is important to remember that you are not alone in your struggle and that there are people who can help.



By taking the time to learn more about yourself and how anxious attachment affects you, you can begin to create healthier relationships and cope better with your struggles. With practice, it is completely possible to lessen the negative impact of anxious attachment on your nervous system and live a happier life.


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