Does Your Attachment Style Keep You in a Toxic Relationship?

by | Apr 18, 2021

Are you anxious about your partner dropping you? Do you think you’re not worthy of your partner? Somehow not good enough? Are you afraid your partner doesn’t want you?


You may have an anxious attachment style, meaning you’re not secure in your relationships. You are often in need of reinforcement by your partner. You may attempt to please more than necessary. You may harbor an unfounded fear that your partner is cheating on you.

Does Your Attachment Style Keep You In A Toxic Relationship? Nancy'S Counseling Corner

Why do you have an anxious attachment style?


It all goes back to your childhood. If you are anxious as an adult, it may be that you suffered from a lack of security in your childhood. Your parent or caregiver may have not been there for you and that insecure, fundamental relationship shapes how you relate to others in later life.


You’re not alone.


If you have an anxious attachment style, you’re among twenty percent of the population who have the same issue. The more your partner tries to step away and gain some autonomy, the more anxious you become, and the more you cling. Ironically, that may push him away.


But if you are in a toxic relationship, your partner will want to keep you in a state of insecurity. That means he can control you better and that’s what a toxic partner wants—to keep you unbalanced and dependent on him so you will do what he wants.


You can make a change.


Once you understand your attachment style, you have the knowledge to start making constructive changes to a healthier life with healthier relationships. Typically, this takes some work with a qualified therapist who understands the anxious attachment style. And there are also things you can do on your own:


  • Talk with friends and family you trust about your insecure relationships and the childhood experiences that shaped you.
  • Be acutely aware of your need to please and attempt to dial it back a bit. Discover that you can say “no” and the world won’t fall apart. Then keep on saying “no” whenever it’s appropriate. It’s the first step in setting boundaries.
  • Pay attention to your own needs for a change. Focus on making this big change for the better in your life. That means you need to devote time and energy to helping yourself become more secure by developing healthier behaviors.
  • Give yourself time to make the transition, to heal, to create a new you. Allow for setbacks, but don’t give up. Remember that your partner has you where he wants you and there is no reason for him to give up the relationship that works so well for him. You are the one who needs to be steadfast, patient and persistent.

Once you disengage from a toxic relationship and change to a healthy one, you will be amazed at how much better your life can be. It takes courage to be honest, open and do the hard work of change. You can do it because you’re worth it.



Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:



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