Ever heard of fear-based or anxiety-based communication?
Yeah. There is such a thing.
Most people are unaware that they communicate fear, anxiety and worry in their everyday interactions. They think they are just having a conversation or asking for what they want or need, and don’t understand why a simple chat or simple request creates negativity, distance and/or rejection. Some people even get angry because ‘it’ just does not make sense.
Unfortunately, it does. It makes a lot of sense that when you send out fear, anxiety and worry, you get back negativity, distance and/or rejection. It is the Law of Cause and Effect.
One of the most fascinating things about working with my clients is seeing the role their attachment style plays in how they reach out to an ex, talk to an ex, ask for a date etc.
In daily life, our attachment style plays a significant role in our interactions with others, but it does so in the background. Once in a while it creates unpleasant situations, but we don’t feel the effect immediately, and if we do, it does not often upset our day,
Break-up situations are different. Every fear, every anxiety, every worry is amplified, sometimes tenfold (I am exaggerating a little bit).
So you can imagine how much negativity, distance and/or rejection tenfold fear, anxiety and worry generates.
What I try to do here on my site, in my books and in coaching is help people with attachment anxiety or fear-based avoidance:
- Understand how their attachment style affects their contacts and interactions with tier ex and how it makes a difference whether or not they succeed in attracting back their ex.
- Learn what I like to call Worry-Free or Pressure-Free communication.
While fear, anxiety and worry-based communication generate negativity, distance and/or rejection, worry-free or pressure-free communication generates positive feelings and good-will because of the feeling and emotions it generates for the receiver and the sender of the text, email, call etc.
Most people who use it effectively report feeling relaxed, confident and hopeful whether they get a response or not, and whether they get what they are asking for or not. In other words, they feel securely attached.
Here’s an example:
Your ex tentatively agrees to a date but says they will get back to you to confirm it. Wanting things to go really well you went ahead and made reservations, bought yourself a new out fit and you know all the grooming stuff. But the day approaches and your ex still hasn’t given you a firm answer.
Fear, anxiety and worry-based communication: “Hey, you haven’t told me if you are coming for dinner or not. Please confirm if you’re coming before noon tomorrow, otherwise I’ll have to cancel the reservations“.
This kind of text is negative, critical and reveals that somehow you are fearful, anxious or worried that your ex will cancel on you. Guess what, they probably will.
If you are talking about cancelling a dinner before the other person even says they will or will not come, you are inadvertently fulfilling a prophecy, so to speak.
Even if your ex was planning on coming, the “confirm or I’ll cancel” tone creates pressure. People in general (unless they are desperate) don’t like to be pressured to go on a date.
If you feel disrespected because your ex did not confirm when they should have, then maybe you need to look into why this bothers you so much that you are willing to risk something good over something that won’t even matter if the dinner goes ahead.
If the reason this bothers you is because you feel your ex always takes you for granted (and maybe they do), then maybe you need to ask yourself why you are trying to attract back someone who’s always taken you for granted.
Worry-free or pressure-free communication: “Hey, I am following up on tomorrow’s dinner. Please let me know before noon tomorrow so I can confirm the reservation with the restaurant. See you soon”.
This kind of text is positive, confident and hopeful. Yes, the other person should have confirmed they are coming for dinner, but they didn’t. You are not trying to teach them “manners”, you are trying to get them on a date.
Yes, they may not be planning on coming, but they haven’t told you that yet. Until they do, the assumption is that they are coming.
I am sure anxiously-attached and fearful-avoidants are like:
“Won’t contacting them to confirm a dinner date make you come across as needy?”
No, it won’t. You are not chasing after a date, you are just confirming one that was already tentatively agreed on.
“Won’t saying ‘see you soon’ make them feel pressured”?
No, it wont. If they were not planning to come, they were not planning to come period. It’s not your job to soften the blow of how they ‘reject” you.
The overall tone suggests that you are not hang-up on why your ex didn’t confirm the date, not afraid, anxious or worried that they will cancel on you, are hopeful that they are coming and are looking forward to the dinner.
It communicates “securely attached”.
As mentioned in my series of articles on attachment styles, one of the characteristics of securely attached individuals is that they generally believe that partners (and exes) have good intentions and that any negative behaviours their partner (or ex) may display are temporary and reversible.
The second characteristic of securely attached individuals is that they view relationships as both safe and rewarding and have reasonable expectations that their love will be returned.
The third characteristic is that they approach all situations in a constructive way. Their goal is to maintain stable, reliable, satisfactory relationships and they make sure their contacts, interactions and communications achieve that goal.
Next time, you are sending a text or email, think about what feelings and emotions you are sending out (whether you mean to send them or not) and whether you communicate fear and anxiety, or communicate “securely attached”.