Something I’ve noticed recently is that my most popular content often revolves around anxious attachment. You guys go fucking feral when I talk about anxious attachment, which is great! It gives me a lot of really cool data to see where you guys are at and what you’re resonating with.
I will be totally honest: I don’t create content based on what’s going to be popular. I create content based on what I want to say. So while I don’t make content on anxious attachment because it’s so popular, there is something I want to say about it today. So let’s get into it.
I haven’t spoken about anxious attachment in a while, and I want to come at it with a bit of a different perspective today.
When I’m working on relationship stuff, I’d say sixty to seventy percent of the women who come into my world would resonate more with an anxious attachment style.
If you search “Michelle Panning anxious attachment style” on Spotify or something, I’m sure you could find one of the episodes near the beginning of my podcast about what an anxious attachment style is.
I also spoke about protest behavior in that episode. If you don’t know, protest behavior could be, for example, trying to make your partner jealous. Basically what happens is that you’ve perceived that your partner is abandoning you, rejecting you, not meeting your needs, etcetera, so you lean in hard to try and fix it. And then when that doesn’t work, you resort to protest behavior. “Well, they’ve taken three hours to text me back, so I’m gonna take six.”
What I see very often is that people who resort to protest behavior are engaging in unhealthy behavior and then blaming it on their anxious attachment style.
No, no, no no no no. We’re not doing that. We’re not pulling the “Oh, I just did that because I have an anxious attachment style.”
We need to get really fucking real with ourselves, because knowing your attachment style is for you to have more information about yourself. It is not to be used as a get-out-of-jail-free card when you do cooked shit.
When you blame everything on your anxious attachment style, you’re not taking the information that you have and using it to elevate; instead, you’re using it to fucking scapegoat. You’re using it as a way to justify the unhealthy behavior that you are engaging in within your relationships.
That’s just your fucking ego not wanting to take any responsibility. And relating actually requires responsibility. If you want to be in a more conscious or healthy relationship, that requires responsibility. It genuinely does.
We need to be fucking adults. Yes, you have your anxious attachment style because of your childhood. You have that anxious attachment style because of the way you were parented, but it’s not about blaming our parents. It’s about recognizing what we experienced and fathering data, which may include understanding your attachment style.
(I would really recommend that if you don’t know your attachment style, go figure that out, then do the work to transcend that and be a healthy adult.)
However, the point about recognizing what we experience is actually very important, because a lot of people will decide not to blame their parents and completely swing the other way, where they don’t even acknowledge the experiences they had. But if you want to transcend something, you need to recognize that it’s there in the first place. If you want to transcend your victim, you need to actually pay attention to all the spaces where you actually were a victim.
That doesn’t mean your parents are bad people. It just means recognizing that something happened. They did the best that they could with the resources that they had, and something happened to give you an anxious attachment style. It’s just gathering data.
We can say, “Okay, because of this, I feel more anxious. What are the things that I need to look out for? What are some of the pitfalls that someone with an anxious attachment style falls into? How can I strengthen the healthy stuff and steer away from the negative stuff?”
In the same way you need to take responsibility for your actions rather than blaming it on your anxious attachment style, you also need to be ready to take responsibility for the consequences of doing the work.
So many people say that they’re afraid to do the work because they’re afraid of the unknown, but you know what? I don’t fucking believe that you don’t know what would happen if you started actually doing the work right now.
I think you know exactly what would happen. You just don’t want to have to be responsible for that.
I think we know that the relationship you’re in probably wouldn’t survive. I think we know that if you met a healthy partner, they wouldn’t let you get away with the cooked shit you’re doing now. I think you know that you would have to take responsibility for your emotions rather than leaking them out everywhere.
We can have a vested interest in not transcending because there’s secondary gain. You actually get something from this dynamic, and until you’re willing to fucking let that go, you’re not going to transcend this. So I think you’re actually afraid of what you know, and I think no one wants to look at that. Instead, we just sit in the, “I don’t know. I’m afraid of the unknown.”
Well…how easy and palatable is that for the ego? Rather than acknowledging what we actually do know and trusting ourselves to hold that, we just pretend otherwise, and the ego doesn’t have to do a thing about it.
Ultimately, you had no control over what attachment style you developed in childhood, but you do have control over how you respond to that.
Do you want to transcend this anxious attachment style, or do you want to be a victim to it? Because if you are having cooked relationships, then it’s on you to change that.
I get it. It’s fucking hard. It can be really scary. You could have been with this person for fucking decades. This might have been your person for a very long time. But if you want to transcend this shit, the relationship has to die; whether that means the current version of this relationship has to die only for you to create a new relationship with this person, or the whole relationship dies and you go do your work on your own, your anxious attachment style won’t transform into security by staying with a partner who feeds into it.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be perfect. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever have emotions or you have to be fully fucking regulated a hundred percent of the time, but you need to own up to your shit and stop projecting it onto other people…or on your anxious attachment style.
All in all, this is about being really fucking honest with ourselves about where we need to take responsibility, where we need to acknowledge something that has happened to us in order to transcend it, and where we’ve been making our anxious attachment style our scapegoat.
Join Brat School, an emotional intelligence school for bratty bitches: https://michellepanning.thrivecart.com/brat-school/
Listen to my previous episode on anxious attachment:
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”