Fearful attachment is at the opposite end of secure attachment. In secure attachment, the person trusts both himself and his caregiver, and thus also his partner when he is an adult. He finds both himself valuable and his partner valuable. In anxious attachment, the person finds himself unworthy, does not trust himself, and does not trust his parents and, when he is an adult, his partner. While he believes that he will not be liked and criticized, he thinks that his partner is also unreliable, that he will harm him, that he will be harmed in some way from this relationship. For this reason, he prefers not to start the relationship at all. Fears and avoids relationships. This situation affects not only romantic relationships but also being more reserved in social relationships, wanting to socialize with fewer people, and being more introverted.
The reason for fearful attachment is based on the “anxiety/fear” relationship in the early childhood of the individual. Not only does the parent not feel safe enough while meeting the child’s needs, but also one or more of the behaviors that are critical, punishing, humiliating, and perhaps psychological and physical violence, is one of the main reasons.
We do not need to look for a very arabesque painting here. It is a common situation in families with high education and high socio-economic status. The reason for anxious attachment is that the parent does not understand the child’s emotional needs, and even belittles, criticizes, and mocks them for demanding those needs.
For example, let’s take the child of an educated, well-to-do family. The child has certain concerns about going to an out-of-town camp organized by the school. And he expressed his reluctance by saying, “Dad, I will not go to the camp”. In response to this, let’s imagine that the father gave a motivating speech about “Why don’t you go, many children are very eager to go to that camp and you don’t want to, I was at a boarding school when I was in your time, I was away from my family, I was deprived of many things”. Then he said, “Okay, if you don’t go to the camp, then don’t go to college, I’m giving you a public school. If he responds with anger and anger like “You don’t understand kindness, you don’t deserve it” and adopts a punishing attitude, he creates a very obvious anxious attachment pattern here. The child feels that he is unfair, ungrateful, and feels guilty. In addition, he thinks that he cannot express these feelings, and that if he expresses his fear or anxiety, he will definitely get an answer with anger and even be punished.
In the fearful attachment model, the parent is dominant, psychologically or physically punishing. As I wrote earlier, in avoidant attachment, the presence of the parent is indistinct, and the person finds the strong parent powerless. The absence or obscurity of the parent causes the individual to be strong and to be on his/her own and “not knowing how to relate”. In fearful attachment, the dominant and negative attitude of the parent causes the child’s self-confidence to never develop and beliefs such as being worthless, inadequate, and helpless to settle. In connection with this, they have beliefs such as I am worthless, no one loves me, does not accept me, rejects me and leaves me. In other words, he believes that he will see “evil” from people. For this reason, he is literally “afraid” of getting close to people. And when he chooses to connect, he communicates in this fear, waiting to be rejected, waiting to be abandoned. For this reason, it is unlikely that he will have a healthy, fulfilling relationship. He doesn’t trust himself, nor does he trust his partner. Negative behavior is expected from him. For this reason, his selective attention will be on tweezing and amplifying the partner’s negative behaviors. He also magnifies his own mistakes and puts them in the partner’s eyes. Therefore, the negative features, not the positive ones, are under the scrutiny in the relationship.
They usually hold back from starting a relationship. They are very picky about relationships because they think they will get hurt and hurt.
We can often encounter signs of the fearful attachment pattern in individuals who prefer to be alone, prefer to live alone, or have surrendered to a very troubled marriage or romantic relationship. The person is married, constantly arguing with his wife, maybe even experiencing psychological or physical violence, he is constantly dissatisfied with his marriage and maybe he complains about it to his surroundings. But he has no plans to leave. (Of course, we are talking about individuals whose economic and social conditions are suitable for separation). Because, according to that person, he/she cannot have a beautiful, ideal relationship anyway, he/she may continue to remain in a negative relationship with judgments and complaints such as people are bad, “men are like this”, “women are like that”.
Sentences such as “I can’t meet a decent person, I can’t have a relationship, I’ve had difficult relationships before” are among the sentences we often hear from individuals who have developed fearful attachment. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case, secure attachment is something that can be recreated with patience and effort, if possible with professional support. Every person is unique and valuable. And a healthy and fulfilling relationship is everyone’s right.