Healing From a Breakup With Anxious Attachment

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Everyone has their very own timeline with regards to healing from a breakup. Some could take a number of months (or longer) to decide to being alone and training self care, and others could really feel prepared to leap again into courting after just a few days, relying on the character of the connection. Personally, practically all my earlier breakups took me years to maneuver on from—particularly in instances the place the breakup wasn’t my concept, or no one did anything wrong. As I’d later be taught, a part of the rationale I had a lot problem letting go after a breakup was due to my anxious attachment model.

The idea of attachment styles, of which there are 4 (safe, anxious, avoidant, and disorganized), stems from attachment idea, which says that the connection you had together with your caregiver(s) as an toddler and younger baby informs how you’ll join with others in your grownup life. Although it’s not a brand new idea, attachment idea is having a second on TikTok (the hashtag #attachmentstyles has over 24 million views), as extra folks flip to the framework to raised perceive their love life and the way they strategy and act inside relationships… and through breakups.


Specialists In This Article

  • Amy Chan, founding father of Renew Breakup Bootcamp and editor-in-chief of Coronary heart Hackers Membership, a web based journal that focuses on the psychology behind love, lust, and want
  • Tana Espino, LMFT, psychotherapist and somatic coach

Individuals with an anxious attachment style, specifically, expertise frequent anxiousness about potential abandonment, usually attributable to early childhood experiences with a caregiver who didn’t (or didn’t reliably) meet their emotional wants. In consequence, they often seek reassurance from a partner1 that they nonetheless like them and wish to be with them.

In grappling with my very own attachment points, I’ve discovered myself worrying about what my present or potential companions had been doing after we had been aside, questioning their emotions for me and whether or not they shared my imaginative and prescient for our future, and primarily ready to see in the event that they would go away me. It’s no marvel, then, that the eventual breakups despatched me spiraling.

“A breakup prompts our survival response and triggers our abandonment wound, which might make us really feel like we gained’t ‘survive’ the breakup.” —Tana Espino, LMFT, psychotherapist

“Attachment is about survival, it develops in infancy, and that will get triggered throughout breakups if we haven’t healed right into a extra securely connected system,” says psychotherapist and somatic coach Tana Espino, LMFT. “A breakup prompts our survival response and triggers our abandonment wound, which might make us really feel like we gained’t ‘survive’ the breakup.”

Under, specialists share why a breakup hits otherwise when you may have an anxious attachment model and their finest recommendation for making it by means of. Irrespective of how troublesome it might really feel when you’re within the wake of your personal breakup, it’s vital to recollect: You’re not alone, and there’s hope.

How an anxious attachment model can have an effect on your expertise of a breakup

Breakups may be troublesome for anybody, however “folks with an anxious attachment style often experience breakups more intensely2 in comparison with these with different attachment kinds,” says Amy Chan, creator of Breakup Bootcamp and host of the Breakup Bootcamp podcast. In spite of everything, those that have an anxious attachment model have a predilection for feeling deserted or uncared for based mostly on early childhood experiences—which might make breakups really feel that rather more destabilizing after they occur. And the tendency of anxiously connected folks to attach their very own sense of identification and self-worth with the validation of a companion can additional worsen the expertise of a breakup, says Chan.

That is definitely been true for me. My sense of vanity completely plummeted when every of my previous relationships ended as a result of I had come to base my value on how a lot my companion beloved me. Every time one among my companions determined to finish issues, I felt like I had misplaced every little thing—as a result of I had made him my every little thing. As is typical for anxious attachment, I had let my different relationships with family and friends members fall the wayside and even sacrificed hobbies to focus solely on the connection and the validation I gained from it, leaving me with seemingly nothing in its wake.

Processing such huge emotions of loss or rupture can ship the nervous system into overdrive, says Espino, main somebody with an anxious attachment model to react with a fight-or-flight response. “They might begin to do no matter is of their energy to take care of the connection,” says Espino, “even on the expense of their very own wants and values.” This response can set off some irrational and ill-advised selections, like begging your companion to remain, altering issues about your look to see if it’ll change their thoughts, or utilizing bodily intimacy as a last-ditch effort to take care of some type of reference to them.

heal from a breakup when you’ve got an anxious attachment model

Because the saying goes, time heals all wounds. Should you wrestle with anxious attachment, although, the method of therapeutic from a breakup could take you extra time and power than it could for people who find themselves securely connected, however it will likely be nicely value it in the long run. Use these tricks to embark on that journey:

Distance your self from the scenario

As tempting as it might be, checking up in your ex’s Instagram or hanging round their favourite native espresso store and hoping to “run into” them gained’t do you any good. (Belief me, I’ve been there, and it by no means helps.) Moderately than holding your self in shut proximity to the individual or scenario that has brought on you a lot ache, Chan says that going no-contact is vital to the therapeutic course of.

“This step is essential as a result of continued interplay can reinforce the neural pathways related together with your ex, making it tougher in your mind to adapt to the brand new actuality of the breakup,” says Chan. “By slicing off contact, you allow the method of synaptic pruning, which is the mind’s approach of eliminating pointless neural connections, facilitating therapeutic, and shifting on.”

Avoid overthinking

Ruminating on the breakup, why it occurred, and what your ex is experiencing or pondering hardly ever helps. As an alternative, such overthinking can grow to be a vicious cycle that prolongs your struggling and delays the therapeutic course of additional, says Chan. “Thoughts-reading, catastrophizing, and making assumptions about how little they’re feeling the affect of the breakup are all cognitive distortions which amplify stress and anxiousness,” she explains. “Even when your ex had a safe or avoidant attachment model, chances are high, they’re processing the grief, too, of their distinctive approach.”

Transfer your physique

“As a result of a breakup prompts our [nervous] system, we have to give attention to getting again right into a extra regulated state and feeling safer inside,” says Espino. To do this, she suggests participating in somatic work.

That may seem like breathwork, meditation, yoga, and even dancing—any bodily approach you can begin to reconnect together with your physique and floor your self in self-love and compassion.

Unsure the place to start out? Do that yoga-for-heartbreak circulate:



Search assist out of your neighborhood

In my very own previous breakups, I’ve typically come to appreciate simply how a lot time and power I had invested into my relationship with my former companion—typically on the expense of my connections with my family and friends. Weeks and even months would go by the place I ignored texts from my girlfriends asking to hang around or forgot to name my mother again, all as a result of I used to be utterly engrossed within the individual I used to be courting. It wasn’t till after a breakup occurred that I’d notice how vital it was to have folks in my sphere past a companion.

Whenever you’re coping with anxious attachment throughout a breakup, leaning in your assist system may also help remind you that you just’re not being deserted or left alone, and that you’re nonetheless beloved and appreciated. Chan recommends reaching out to these in your life who gained’t choose you and can maintain area so that you can specific and course of your emotions.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to share with them the methods wherein you’d prefer to be supported. “Allow them to know that you prefer to a listener who affords empathy moderately than recommendation,” suggests Chan. “Since not everybody is aware of assist somebody who’s grieving, it is vital to information them on how finest they will help you.”

Shift your focus to one thing new

Selecting not to consider your ex or the breakup is usually simpler mentioned than performed, nevertheless it’s vital to make it possible for this former relationship doesn’t occupy your whole current psychological and emotional area. (I can say with expertise that listening to unhappy music and scrolling by means of outdated footage of you and your ex will not do you any favors.)

As an alternative of giving into self-punishment, participating in new actions that can distract you from the breakup may also help remind you that there are higher issues on the horizon. “Whether or not it is studying a brand new talent, assembly new folks, or touring to new locations, these experiences assist your mind evolve and adapt, lowering the dominance of neural pathways linked to your ex,” says Chan. “This strategy successfully reshapes your neural panorama, aiding within the restoration course of.”

A couple of concepts? You’ll be able to arrange a standing film evening with your mates, meet up together with your coworkers for glad hour, or strive a brand new exercise class in your space. Even beginning a brand new ritual or routine, like taking lengthy walks together with your canine each morning or testing a weekly farmer’s market, may also help you construct a brand new life and optimistic actuality with out your ex. “It’s okay to have wholesome distractions whereas we’re therapeutic from a breakup, with a view to carry ourselves extra ease,” says Espino.


Nicely+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, sturdy research to again up the data we share. You’ll be able to belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Evraire, Lyndsay Elizabeth et al. “The Contribution of Attachment Kinds and Reassurance In search of to Belief in Romantic {Couples}.” Europe’s journal of psychology vol. 18,1 19-39. 25 Feb. 2022, doi:10.5964/ejop.3059
  2. Eisma, Maarten C et al. “Desired attachment and breakup misery relate to automated strategy of the ex-partner.” Journal of conduct remedy and experimental psychiatry vol. 75 (2022): 101713. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2021.101713


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