Anxiety Preoccupied Attachment Disorder in Relationship
I am new to the forums after recently being diagnosed with Anxiety Attachment disorder (I have suffered from general anxiety and depression for many years) I am wondering if anyone here has any experience with this. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, pretty much stems from childhood with inconsistent parenting. The way this affects me as an adult now is in my relationships, I find myself in a constant state of worry if things are not going as they should. As an example, I feel I always need reassurance from my partner which helps me confirm the relationship is ok, I am so worried about her leaving due to abandonment issues with my mother that I always seek to make sure she is ok. This become very smothering and overbearing and I understand now I do this and can take a step back and look at situations as they unfold. I can take the tiniest thing like the way a message was written, a lack of reply to text messages and turn them into a big anxiety attack because i feel like something is wrong in the relationship and my emotions get the better of me. I am working on this with my psychologist and starting mindfulness which I know will help overtime. I guess I am just looking for support from people who have experienced this in relationships to show that you can turn it around.
I want to be a better person and partner. Even tonight, my partner and I just got back together this week after she wanted to try again, I was out playing basketball and I thought i'd have messages from her when I finished, i had sent her a few message and she didn't respond, I had nothing, not even a goodnight message, she simply turned her phone off and went to sleep (She does have a kid so that obviously affects her ability to do things too). However my anxiety flared up thinking wow 3 days back together and she is already doing these things. Reality is though am I just overreacting and being "needy" and "Clingy" and this is my disorder and anxiety acting up needing her attention? She doesn't have to text I guess but at the same time am I just blaming my disorder when really she could of just said "goodnight im going to sleep" etc.
I know this is a trivial issue but my anxiety is just unbearable and I want to be better and happy once and for all.
Welcome to the forums and thanks for joining us. It sounds like you are making a lot of progress with your psychologist and I absolutely believe that you can turn this around.
I have experienced this too, and I know the feeling of wondering if it's 'the disorder' or if it's 'being clingy'. I think that when you are in those situations, try and step back and just be kind to yourself. If you are being clingy or needy, it's certainly not intentional! You may even find that clingy and needy is part of the disorder, and that's okay too.
One of the things that's helped me is to learn that no one text or interaction defines anything, and that's so hard to believe when you're brought up with inconsistency. I was brought up with trauma so I've forever expected that it's going to continue, but I have to really work to trust what's happening right now. Right now, I am safe with my partner. Right now, things are okay. For you - right now, you are safe with your partner. Right now, your partner is with you. Right now, your partner has shown no intention to leave. Is this something that you could believe or remind yourself of?
I hope this helps. This isn't a trivial issue at all and I'm glad that you reached out for support.
Welcome to the forum. I just want to say firstly that you are not alone. Reading your post actually gave me a lot of comfort as it sounded very much like myself so I thank you for writing it.
I can understand trying to differentiate between the disorder and being clingy or needy (something I have been told by people many times). But the first step I find is awareness and to me it sounds like you are doing this and stepping back, realising what is happening. I feel that the feelings of needy or clingy are symptoms of the disorder and when we've lacked emotional support in childhood, we spend our adult lives still trying to get that emotional support from anyone in our lives. When you go through childhood trauma or instability in parenting, we then become the collateral damage and it can affect us as adults greatly.
Maybe a suggestion could be that when you feel that really anxious state coming on, try to conteract it with something like "hey remember that time like this when I thought....(her not responding to my text meant she was going to leave/doesn't like me anymore etc)....and that didn't happen" - just to put ot into context. Or try putting yourself in their shoes. All of my friends are married and some have kids. I try to tell myself they are busy with their families as to why they haven't responded yet.
For me attachment comes in the form of fear of being lonely which has had a huge impact on my life to the point I am terrified of moving out of my parents toxic environment (at age 34) for fear of being lonely living on my own. I also can't have a relationship because I don't know what a good relationship looks like & the moment anyone gets close to me I get scared of having to trust them & that I may get attached & I will only end up ruining the relationship throught that attachment. I often wonder if I had had a "normal" childhood how different my life would be now.
It's not a trivial issue what you are going through as it has massive impacts on day to day life for you. But know you are not alone and there is always suppory here for you if you need.