What should someone with an anxious attachment style do to get back their ex? First and foremost they should stop getting in their own way. Everyone with an anxious attachment style or a fearful avoidant attachment style has at least self-sabotaged their chances with their ex not once, but a few times. And unfortunately, until anxious attached individuals stop getting in their own way, whatever they do to get back their ex isn’t going to work.
After a break-up, individuals with an anxious preoccupied attachment style and a fearful avoidant attachment style have a strong desire to protect themselves from getting hurt and prevent the pain of rejection and abandonment. This in itself is a normal and healthy reaction to a break-up. But when trying to get back with an ex, the fear of getting hurt or abandonment is why anxiously attached and fearful avoidants hesitate, second-guess and self-sabotage their chances of attracting back their ex. Many miss out on opportunities to emotionally connect with their ex and fail to get back together when they had a real good chance, and don’t understand why.
Understanding anxious attachment self-sabotage
Self-sabotaging behaviours are often deeply ingrained that it’s hard to recognize how your actions are hurting you and how your reactions to situations end up causing bigger problems in the long run. You may even be doing everything right to get your ex back but get in your own way every now and then.
Self-sabotage can be conscious and subconscious. Conscious self-sabotage is when you are aware that what you are doing is hurting your chances of getting back your ex. Conscious self-sabotage includes:
- Over texting your ex to get attention or annoy an ex
- Begging, pleading and using aggressive strategies to get back together
- Starting unnecessary fights or drama
- Sending nasty texts to get a reaction
- Stalking an ex on social media or offline
- Sexting or engaging in sex with an ex who shows no interest or is mean and cruel etc.
Subconscious self-sabotage is when you do things in an attempt to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario, manage anxious thoughts or worrying, or avoid abandonment. Subconscious self-sabotage includes:
- Harbouring resentment and anger (negative energy)
- Send passive aggressive texts criticizing your ex
- Suddenly changing approach when things are going well and progressing,
- Stop responding, pull away or go no contact when you should be trying to connect and engage etc..
In many instances, you’ll find that your goal has shifted from actively trying to attract back your ex to passively undermining any small effort your ex may be making to make things work.
To get back an ex, anxiously attached must stop getting in their own way. These 10 tips will help you stop self-sabotaging, increase your chances, and successfully get back your ex.
1. Identify the source of your anxiety and worry
To stop self-sabotaging, you must first recognize when you’re getting in your own way. Try looking at your behaviours as an outsider and identify the fearful thoughts driving your anxiety and worry. If necessary write them down.
I’ve found that when a client can see their fear-driven thoughts written down and in front of them, they begin to see how they’re getting in their own way. But this is only if a client is open and willing to be honest with themselves and doesn’t get defensive or try to justify their fear-driven thoughts. The ones who justify their fear-driven thoughts very rarely get clarity and keep self-sabotaging their chances of getting back their ex.
2. Manage the triggers that drive self-sabotaging behaviours
The next step is to acknowledge that these thoughts have triggers and identify the root cause of these triggers. It’s only through intentional self-reflection that deep insight, understanding and the process of change possible.
In my experience, self-sabotaging behaviours when trying to attract back an ex stem from the fear of getting hurt, fear of failure, feelings of self-worth and inability to recognize limiting beliefs and habits. I’ve also found that for some people self-sabotage is as a screwed-up way of controlling an outcome.
Understanding how your self-sabotaging behaviours is linked to your anxious attachment style will change what and how you do to get back your ex.
3. Choose a different response
Next consciously choose to respond in healthier ways that don’t do lasting damage to your chances of getting back together with your ex. For example if you realize you’re sabotaging your chances by pulling away because your ex is sometimes responding and other times ignoring texts, choose to be consistent and not let how your ex chooses to respond dictate your behaviour. If your tendency is to go no contact when you should be trying to connect and engage, choose to engage instead of going no contact.
Keep looking for ways to replace old habits with new ones that are more helpful in achieving your goals. This will give you the confidence to create new experiences aligned with who you want to be and the kind of relationship you want with your ex.
4. Accept that uncertainty is part of the process
While it’s completely normal to feel uncertain about your chances of getting back with an ex from time-to-time, feeling uncertain leads to self-sabotaging behaviours when you obsess and worry about things being uncertain.
It’s important to always remind yourself that whenever human beings are involved, it is impossible to be 100% certain about what they’ll say or do at any given moment. If you were dealing with a machine, you’d program it so that you know exactly what’s going to say or do – and why. But you are dealing with a human being — complex, versatile, ever changing and highly unpredictable by nature. One day they feel this way and the next day they feel completely the opposite.
The simple step of accepting this fact can change your whole attitude and the way you look at what is going on.
5. Recognize that there is only so much you can do right now
It’d be nice to just push your way through but that’ll only push your ex further away. This, in turn, will make you more frustrated and angrier with your ex and with yourself. And as you may well know, most people with an anxious attachment when frustrated and angry hyperactivate, push harder and work harder for attention and affection. Exes with a dismissive avoidant attachment style especially don’t want you working too hard to get their attention or doing too much to show you love them. They see it as being needy, and it turns them off.
If you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing, and doing it right, that is good enough. Focus on things under your control.
6. Imagine best possible scenario
If you have an anxious attachment style, it also means that you have a tendency to overexaggerate threat, assume the worst and come up with inaccurate conclusions. And once the inaccurate conclusions take root, your brain holds on to it as if it’s reality and sometimes dismisses information that is contrary to it. You end up acting in accordance to a reality that only exists in your head.
To stop self-sabotaging and successfully get back your ex, train your brain to imagine best possible scenarios and generate positive thoughts in order to overcome the negative ones. Sounds like a trip to fantasy land, but so does worrying about everything that could go wrong. Most of it is all in your head, the reality may turn out to be very different. True, the reality may turn out to be very different but for now, you’ll feel calmer and focused.
7. Have a little more faith in yourself
Changing your negative self-image and the thoughts and feelings that hold you back is fundamental to stopping self-sabotaging your chances with your ex. Most people with an anxious attachment understand they need to be more confident, assertive and self-assured but the approach they use is “getting tough on myself” instead of “having empathy and being kind to myself”.
You have come this far and have not fallen apart, that means something. Tap into whatever strength has sustained this far and tell yourself you are strong enough to make it through. If you need to, write some affirmations down and read them when you feel like you are losing hope.
8. Minimize negative influence
Studies show that anxious attachment (high anxiety) is associated with an external relational locus of control. What this means is that external validation is very important to you and other people define what is right for you.
With everything going on with your ex, people close to you telling you this and that, and all kinds of advice on the internet, it’s easy to become anxious, fearful, and negative. To successfully attract back your ex, minimize negative influence. For example, limit how much you talk to certain people about your ex/situation, carefully choose what kind of advice you read or listen to and make sure it’s aligned with who you want to be and the kind of relationship you want with your ex.
9. Keep moving forward and towards your ex
Any action you take to try to get back your ex either moves you toward or away from your ex and the kind of relationship you want with your ex. The behaviours that create more distance between you and your ex are the ones that are keeping you from what you most desire. Choose to move towards your goal than away from it.
I tell my clients, “Nothing in this process is written in stone. Exes change their minds all the time”. So, until you know for sure that it is over-over, keep moving forward and towards your ex.
10. Focus on the present
Things will unfold soon enough. In the meantime, life goes on.