Have you heard of anxious attachment triggers and you suspect that some things your partner does or says cause you to feel uncomfortable? The good thing is, you’re not crazy. It’s possible that some of his words and behavior can make you lose it.
Let’s quickly go back to the beginning and then we’ll explain these triggers in detail. There are four types of attachment styles in adult relationships and those are secure, avoidant, anxious, and anxious-avoidant. They all have different characteristics and reasons why we develop them.
Most of it has to do with our relationships when we were kids and the way how our parents and family treated us. Anxious attachment style is defined as the one where the person in a relationship is constantly looking for another to feel secure and valued.
These people usually have lower self-esteem and they need almost constant reassurance from their partners. They can come off as needy and clingy in romantic relationships and some people simply can’t handle that.
The reason why you developed this attachment style may lay in the fact that your caretakers didn’t provide you enough attention while you were a kid and you don’t actually believe that people can be trusted.
Some parents simply detach from their baby’s emotional needs because they are preoccupied with their career or some life problems. Another thing that can be the reason you’re not sure about your relationship is actually that you weren’t surrounded by people as much as you should have.
Because of this, you may struggle with abandonment issues and you may live with a constant fear that the person you love will leave you. That’s where anxious attachment triggers play a big role.
What are anxious attachment triggers?
Everything. I know, it’s scary to read this, but honestly, you can never know for sure what’s going to be one of the anxious attachment triggers. Sometimes even a simple word or a glance may make you feel uncomfortable and your anxiety can get the best of you.
Anything that directly affects your mood and emotional state is considered to be a trigger. You have to recognize them when they happen, so you can work on soothing them. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible. Trust me on this one.
Anxious attachment triggers are not only related to romantic relationships, they can be activated when you’re stressing about exams or meeting new people for example. Being around anxious people is not going to help either.
We live in a world that is full of uncertainty and literally, everything is a potential anxious attachment trigger. You just have to learn how to deal with it, despite the fact that you don’t have constant support.
Dating can be tricky when you have this attachment style, but it’s not impossible. You and your partner have to find a common language and be able to communicate with ease. However, no matter how hard you try there are some things from your everyday life that can be anxious attachment triggers.
15 Examples from everyday life that may trigger you
Now that we’ve explained what anxious attachment triggers are, we have to talk about them a bit. In this part of the article, I’m going to mention some random, everyday things that may cause you anxiety.
To most people, these situations may seem like you’re overreacting, but in your head, something else is happening. Sometimes it makes no sense when you’re doubting your partner, but sometimes your gut feeling is giving you warning signs.
This is how you’ll be able to determine if you’re making a fuss out of it because what your partner said or did was another anxious attachment trigger or if there’s something fishy about it. Buckle up because simply reading some of these may trigger you.
1. He cracks playful jokes that make you uncomfortable
Your partner has a great sense of humor and nobody fails to remind you of that. Let’s be real, that was one of the reasons why you fell in love with him in the first place. The reason why his jokes sometimes make you feel bad is that they get too personal.
It’s normal that he knows your insecurities and that he wants to help you get rid of them, but when he makes a joke about your tummy, you’d end his life right there and then.
I understand that but listen; if he cracks these jokes when you’re alone with him, it’s completely fine. That’s his way of helping you. I promise you he likes that little tummy of yours and he wouldn’t change anything about it.
However, if he points out your insecurities in front of other people or after you’ve repeatedly told him not to do that, then it’s a red flag. As soon as you notice that his jokes are not teasing anymore, but he actually is insulting you, leave.
2. He’s being distant for no obvious reason
Even though he may have a lot on his plate at any given moment, he should know how to communicate with you. Especially if he knows that you’re struggling with anxiety and that you have this attachment style.
If he zones out for no reason, or simply stays quiet when you’re asking him a random question it may be a sign that he’s struggling with something. Try talking with him without making assumptions first, but if he doesn’t show any effort, think about that relationship.
He probably knows you’re struggling with anxiety and he should always find a way to communicate what’s bothering him. Pulling away until he sorts out his problems is not a good way of not bothering you and he needs to know it won’t be a burden for you if he vents occasionally.
3. He’s taking too long to reply
Is he taking too long to reply or are you overreacting a bit? You can’t blame him for not answering your message right away. He probably doesn’t know you have that imaginary time frame in which he should text you back.
If you thought that he’ll answer you by 5 pm and now is 5:30, don’t make a fuss about it. The poor guy may be busy or he took that much-needed nap. Maybe he wasn’t checking his phone at all, or his battery died.
Chances are high that you’ll tell him all of these are lame excuses, when in fact he’s telling you the truth. Remember that you never know what he’s going through, no matter how close you are, so just chill a bit.
4. He forgets important dates
Did he forget the date when you guys shared your first kiss or did he forget your birthday just this time? Who knows what’s happening in his mind and why this mishap happened? He’s the only one that can give you an answer to this question, and you have to be the one who’s going to ask it.
It’s not okay from your side to assume that he did this on purpose. If you know that he has a lot in his mind around those dates, it can easily happen that he lost track.
I know you may be super excited about your birthday celebration, or your monthsary, but it simply slipped from his mind, please, don’t overreact. But if it happens constantly, especially when you know that everything is perfectly fine, talk to him.
5. He comes home late
Does it trigger you when he comes home later than usual? He says that he stayed a bit longer at work because of some important meeting and there you are thinking how he’s cheating on you. Why do you do that?
Just because he had a business meeting doesn’t mean that he went to a hotel room with some random woman and prepared that as an excuse. Stop blaming him for your insecurities, please. You’ll just push him away and he may simply leave.
When you assume things and you’re not actually talking with him about what’s bothering you, the relationship is becoming toxic and it’s not a good environment for either of you.
6. He tells you that he needs some time for himself
Did he tell you that he needs some alone time? Don’t make up the worst possible scenarios. That doesn’t mean that he’s going to break up with you. He’s simply overwhelmed with everything that’s happening and he needs to clear his head. It’s not your fault.
When a guy takes his “me time” it usually means that he either has issues at work and doesn’t want to bother you with those or that he simply needs a bit of silence. It’s not a telltale sign that he’ll leave you, don’t worry.
I know it happened at least a couple of times to you as well. A lot of things happened in a really short period of time and you simply needed to be alone. No people (including him), no phone, no problems. Am I right?
7. He’s not replying to your texts when he’s out with his friends
Did you text him and you know he’s out with his friends? He texted you where he’s at and with who, but he didn’t reply to your text afterward and now you’re panicking. Is he lying to you? Who’s codename is John? Is he cheating and that’s why he can’t answer?
If he texts you all the details and even tells you where he is, just take a deep breath. I’m sure he’s not creating a perfect scenario for the sin he’s about to commit. Especially if he replays as soon as they part ways. Be honest with me, is it polite to type when you’re talking with someone? I thought so.
You know he loves you and cares about you, so don’t panic if he’s not texting back when he’s out with his guys. Yes, you’re his priority, but he needs some time with them as well.
8. He doesn’t notice slight changes in your appearance
Did you change your hair color or you’ve shortened it a bit? You absolutely love your new hairstyle but he failed to notice. Are you *insert negative emotion here* now? Don’t be. Guys don’t function the same way we do.
To tell the truth, most men know only about the same-like-the-previous-time hairstyle, or that black can always go for special occasions. He’s also damn sure that you look gorgeous in the red dress, but what shade of red… That’s something only you know.
Yes, he’s going to miss the fact that you got rid of those split ends, but I’m sure he notices how you smile brighter and when you’re sad. From my point of view, that’s more important. If he never fails to notice your mood changes, he’s the one.
Is he constantly meeting new people? You lost the track of who’s he hanging out with, how many girl-friends he has and that pool of random names seems like it’s going to overflow. Every new name he mentions sends a chill up your spine.
I understand it because at a certain moment I felt the same. All these names are so abstract and you simply cannot associate the name with a face. It is, actually, one of the anxious attachment triggers and it’s not so easy to overcome it.
If you notice that, recently, he often talks about Emma, Sophia, Eric, James, or David and you don’t know them, ask him to introduce you to them. Simple as that. I mean, who wouldn’t like to meet people important to their special someone, right?
Are his social media numbers rising like crazy? If he gets a new follower on Instagram every couple of hours, a bunch of reactions to his photos on Facebook, and more comments than usual, it can trigger your anxiety.
It’s not something you should worry about, though. Numbers honestly mean nothing, and receiving compliments from others is something you should get used to.
Although, if you notice that someone (and by someone I mean that girl) particularly comments on photos where he’s alone and avoids those where the two of you are together, just talk with him.
Maybe he’s not aware of the fact that she’s trying too hard to get his attention, because the only girl he cares about is right in front of him. He probably won’t even notice all those numbers if I’m being honest. Guys simply don’t care about social media as much as we do.
11. He cancels your date once in a blue moon
Did you plan everything in advance for this Sunday and he canceled? You wanted to spend the whole day in nature with him, you even prepared a little picnic basket and the big blanket and it all fell apart now. I know you’re disappointed, but he wouldn’t reject such a date if it wasn’t for something important.
If you feel like he ditched you for something irrelevant, simply talk with him. But if he cancels your date once in a blue moon, there’s nothing to worry about. He’s not putting someone else as a priority over you, rather some things simply have to be done.
Let’s be real, he always makes time for you and really enjoys it when you’re spending some quality time together. Sometimes, there are obligations that come up unexpectedly and no matter how much time we’ve spent planning, we have to fit them into our schedule.
12. He says he’s busy
Did he text you how he’s busy and he’ll type later? He’s not being rude, on the contrary. He’s showing respect and making sure you know he’s not ghosting you. Don’t automatically assume that he’s with another woman doing God knows what.
You’ve probably been in that kind of situation when time flies by and you feel like you did nothing. Now, imagine when you’re trying to let your overthinking girlfriend know that everything is okay and that there’s no need to think of a worst-case scenario.
I know it can be a bit difficult to accept that he didn’t answer your question, but at least you know that he couldn’t do so. He’s not letting you wait for hours, rather he took the time to let you know that he’ll text you later. And if that’s not showing respect and care, I don’t know what is.
13. He’s checking his phone often when you’re with him
You’ve noticed that he’s checking his phone more often when you’re with him and what instantly crosses your mind? He’s cheating and texting some other girl. I mean, it could be true, but…
He has obligations, he has friends and family he likes to talk with. You have his undivided attention when you’re talking with him, but if you stopped talking and you’re just chilling, it’s completely fine if he checks his phone.
However, if he’s hiding his phone away from you and smiling from time to time, sorry to tell you but he may be texting another girl. In this case, you should talk with him and look for other red flags before you overreact.
14. You just had an argument
Does every single argument make you feel like you’ll break up with him or vice versa? Conflicts are inevitable in healthy relationships and in fact, they make them stronger. Every couple needs to know how to bear with a constructive argument.
When a problem arises, you have to be ready to solve it together and there shouldn’t be a winner or loser. Compromises are a good thing and you have to know how to agree on things that will work for both of you.
Also, keep in mind all the time that it’s two of you against the problem, not one versus another.
15. He tells you it’s not a big deal
One of the anxious attachment triggers is a really simple sentence: “It’s not a big deal.” Whether used on its own or as a way to tell you that you’re making a problem when there’s no need for it, it will definitely make you uncomfortable.
When the person you love dismisses your concerns, it’s absolutely not okay. If he does this often, you should talk with him and clarify where it went wrong in a relationship, because this is not healthy behavior.
Also, as soon as you notice that he purposely disregards your needs and opinions, leave that douche. You deserve to be taken care of and treated with respect. He’s just showing he’s not worth your attention. Don’t compromise your worth and know when to walk away.
However, when you forgot to do something he asked you to, and he said it’s not a big deal, trust him. He’s not heartbroken nor does his life depend on it. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us mostly when we’re worrying a bit too much.
Is it possible to control these anxious attachment triggers?
Those were just some of the everyday things that can easily trigger your anxiety because the list goes on. Simple words, sentences, mood changes, and facial expressions can make you wonder if what you did or said was wrong.
I assume that your next question is going to be something about controlling those anxious attachment triggers, right?
Well yes, you can control them, or to say it correctly, you can learn how to do that. It’s not going to be easy and it’s definitely not something that happens overnight, but I’m sure you can achieve your final goal. Some of these steps will require more time than others but take it easy.
It’s not your fault that these triggers exist and you’re trying your best to get rid of them. Take one step at a time and I’m sure you’ll be free soon. It’s not a secret that they will affect your relationships in life, and you’re well aware of it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this.
So, is it possible to control anxious attachment triggers? Yes, and this is how.
1. Be sure about the goal you want to achieve
Since you’re mostly experiencing anxiety when you’re not certain about what’s going to happen next, the easiest way to prevent these triggers is to actually be sure about the goal you want to achieve. Whether it’s about romantic relationships, career, or education, you have to know why are you doing something.
If you want to start a family with the man you love, simply work towards achieving that. Secure a job, make smaller plans together, and slowly work towards your ultimate goal.
2. Heal the trauma
If you know that your anxiety attachment style is a result of unresolved childhood trauma, help your inner kid to heal. Talk with your close friends or family members or seek professional help. Work on yourself and choose to have a better future.
Be the person you needed when you were younger and overcome those fears of being left alone. You are enough and self-sufficient. Boost your confidence and shine brighter than ever!
3. Talk with your partner about the anxious attachment triggers
One of the most important things (and easiest) that you can do is to actually talk with your partner about the problems that you’re facing. It may be difficult to turn emotions into words, but I’m sure you can do it.
Being able to openly express your feelings can take some time, but if you’re feeling safe in his company it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Explain to him that some things may cause you to feel nervous and, in some extreme cases afraid, and ask him to respect that. If he refuses, don’t hesitate to leave him.
The person you’re with has to respect your boundaries and help you heal, not make you feel worse. You’ve already experienced a toxic relationship, you don’t need another one.
4. Focus on things you can control
As soon as you realize that you have anxiety problems, I advise you to focus on the things and goals you can actually control. It may be challenging to figure out which ones are worth your attention, but I’m sure that with time you’ll be able to make a good distinction.
When you’re struggling to know the outcome of something, it may make you feel anxious more than you’re able to handle. Unfortunately, these anxious attachment triggers exist solely for that purpose. So, if you feel like the situation is slowly becoming a bit overwhelming, try to shift your focus.
5. Practice banter as a communication style
Teasing is actually one of the cutest ways a couple can communicate, so practice banter as a communication style with your lover. In the beginning, you may take everything personally, but keep in mind that it’s all jokes.
Some people naturally can think of a witty comeback and keep that interesting conversation going on for hours, but if this is not something you can do right now, practice it. I’m sure both you and your partner will enjoy it.
If you feel like he’s crossing the border, and instead of teasing you get a bunch of insults, speak your mind. He shouldn’t use banter to hurt you, rather you both should enjoy it.
In the end, you have to remember a couple of things. Changing your attachment style may not be easy, but it is possible and worth the struggle. There may be a couple of reasons why you’re anxious about your relationship so inspect that a bit.
The problems may have started long ago, but the best thing is that they can be resolved as soon as you decide to do so. Your partner has a major role in solving these because if he accepts who you are, it’s going to be easier for you to face all of the obstacles life puts on your path.
Get familiar with your anxious attachment triggers, share them with the love of your life, be vulnerable, and enjoy one of the most beautiful relationships. Make sure you accept yourself completely and boost that self-esteem!
Be playful, tease your romantic partner from time to time, and don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Focus on those problems that can be solved and simply enjoy what life throws at you. There are a lot of beautiful reasons to be happy – chase them and stop being afraid of uncertainty.
Sometimes, it’s beautiful not to know what’s going to happen next. I swear that’s when magic presents itself.