Attachment is a debilitating psychological disorder and low energy state that often manifests as trust issues, fear of being alone, and being overly clingy. Healing anxious attachment is necessary in order to form healthy relationships and a grounded sense of Self.
The root cause of this issue is often trauma and emotional abuse in early childhood, especially in terms of neglect and abandonment.
In this emotional wellness guide, we’re going to take a closer look at what attachment is from the standpoint of holistic health, and analyze ways to relieve it through self-discipline and mindfulness.
Anxious Attachment Comes From a Lack of Awareness
When you don’t have the proper perspective in life, things can quickly become distorted.
For instance, we see this a lot in matters of attachment.
People fear what life will be like if they “lose” a certain person, or if they are placed in an unfamiliar situation.
These types of feelings are produced when your identity becomes entangled with physical parameters and circumstances.
Of course you’re going to have anxiety if you tie your identity to a certain person or job. Everything in life is transient by nature, so you are effectively programming your Self to believe that you are not whole if certain parameters are not met.
“What will I do without this person in my life?” if a common saying. “How will I go on if I lose them?”
You are not your relationships, titles, jobs, or numbers in the bank, for one thing.
If you wouldn’t be comfortable being alone on a deserted island for years at a time without a single possession or means of contacting anyone, you are to reassess how you identify and understand that you are attached, and that this is a spiritual sickness.
A lack of awareness can cause all kinds of problems when it comes to self identifying and forming healthy relationships with the outside world.
If you place too much weight on people “being in your life,” you are creating conditions based around lack.
What happens when that person leaves your life? What happens when conditions change, as they always do?
To be attached is to ignore the fact that you are a sovereign being and instead place your sense of worth in the hands of happenstance. This can never end well.
When you aren’t aware of your own worth, you then become attached to what you think provides that worth. Your relationships, your titles, your money.
Fear of losing this worth then makes you micromanage everything in your life. You try to overtly control other people’s behavior and random physical variables.
In Fearless Self, I dedicate an entire chapter to this phenomenon: the idea of trying to control everything in your life as if you are a puppeteer pulling everyone else’s strings.
That’s an illusion, and not how life actually works.
Without the awareness of your own intrinsic value, you assume that your value comes from outside of your Self. The attention other people give you, the numbers in your bank account, your reputation.When these variables shift, it can cause stress and anxiety, as the ego perceives any loss here as a loss of identity.
So those who are suffering from attachment must relentless control everyone and everything around them, or at least attempt to do so. Otherwise they fear what might become of them if they do not.
This is what creates all of the tell-tale signs of attachment, such as clingy behavior and manic states.
The answer to curing anxious attachment is to develop a greater self-awareness.
Is attachment really all that bad, however? Many of us are, to some degree or another, attached to people, places, and things.
Unfortunately, the spiritual reality is that attachment is never good, even in small amounts. All attachment can lead to anxiety and it is all a sign of some kind of perception error.
Any need to hold on to current circumstances denotes a severe lack of understanding of what you are (an energy body, a being of light), and the value you hold.
To better understand why it’s always the right move to practice self-discipline in order to overcome attachment, the next section will go into greater detail about the suffering that comes with these behaviors.
Attachment in All Forms Leads to Suffering
To understand the dangers of attachment, it is worth viewing things from a spiritual perspective.
In nature, there is zero attachment. As the concept of “holding on” to the past, or being afraid of future events, is entirely alien to the natural world, this is yet another affliction that primarily affects us, and us alone.
We are conditioned to be emotionally immature, never growing past our needy child state.
This has the effect of turning us into energy vacuums, insecure low vibrational vortexes that siphon energy from other people and lack the ability to show confidence in the face of uncertainty.
A healthy mind is independent, free of attachment. They understand that people come and go in life, that problems arise and are meant to be solved, and that there is an ebb and flow to everything.
Trying to micromanage life and “prevent” certain conditions from occurring is nothing more than ego-based behavior. The ego identifies with certain things being true or false, and then will fight to maintain those conditions because they represent the ego’s identity.
Whether it’s trying to force relationships through clingy behavior or barking commands at family members so everything at home is just how you like it, many of us exhibit attachment-based behaviors and get anxious over the thought of not having certain conditions met.
Although we are somewhat programmed to think of these behaviors as normal, they are in fact toxic.
Here are some of the negatives of anxious attachment:
- Afraid of change
- Unable to properly adapt to new situations
- Mentally inflexible
- Emotionally stunted, unable to express Self properly
- Clingy and needy
- Apt to practice emotional extortion
- Narcissistic tendencies
- Clingy behavior results in histrionics and lying
- Disingenuous (you wind up only caring about others for what they can do for you, and not what you can do for them)
- Negative and pessimistic
- Reactive instead of proactive
- Poor judgment
- Lacking ability to manage stress
This is just a sampling of the negative effects that attachment can have on your life. For those who have dealt with anxious attachment personally, you likely already know how challenging it can be just to perform everyday functions.
The main issue with attachment is that it turns everything into a zero sum game for attention and energy. A person suffering from attachment issues will think less of a person just because they can’t pick up a phone quickly, or will spend inordinate amounts of time every day just trying to control other people.
Regardless of how it manifests, attachment always leads to suffering. There is no way around this, and in fact is part of what attachment is.
When viewed metaphysically, attachment is the latent form of the same energy that manifests as suffering and emotional pain. They are two sides of the same force.
Any kind of attachment denotes a kind of lack, or a state of being where you are setting your Self up for disappointment and complications.
Simply believing that you “need” a person in your life or that you can only be happy when certain arbitrary physical conditions are present is a one-way ticket to suffering.
Contrary to what society may have impressed upon us as children, neediness and attachment are ugly behaviors. No one likes a clingy, attention-seeking person. This kind of low vibration energy is repulsive, especially to those who maintain a high vibration.
It’s no way to go through life constantly trying to hold onto people and things. It’s not how life was meant to be lived.
Understand first that to heal your anxious attachment, you must get over the idea of life as being static.
People come and go. We are born and we die. Everything in nature has its day in the sun as well as its time to return to the earth. There are millions of variables out there, and trying to force them into a preconceived box is absurd. Events aren’t good or bad, right or wrong, they just are.
Healing Anxious Attachment in a Healthy Way
It is quite possible to overcome all forms of attachment that cause anxiety and suffering, and no it doesn’t involve suppressing your emotions or becoming a stoic monk.
Once again, it is self-awareness that will enable you to overcome these low vibrational states and reclaim your life.
There are many ways to develop a greater awareness, but the most tried and true method is through self-discipline. Yoga, martial arts, meditation, and mindfulness exercises are extremely effective at reducing attachment and the behaviors that are associated with it.
For anyone suffering from anxiety as a result of attachment issues, the first thing you need to realize is that there is a way out, a path to healing. It’s not who you are and it’s not something you have to live with forever.
I think everyone knows this to some degree but it helps hearing it.
So how do you actually discipline your mind and body in order to overcome and heal anxious attachment? It starts with the right mindset.
Meditate over the following:
- Attachment distorts your reality.
- Attachment robs you of meaningful experiences.
- Attachment is a form of negative programming.
- Attachment will never produce a result that favors you.
That last point is perhaps the most important. No matter how much you think clinginess or attention-seeking behavior will help or salvage a situation, it never will.
The nicest people you know are hiding a big secret from you: they absolutely can’t stand your clingy behavior and it drives them further away every time you engage in it.
Whenever you pry into the behavior of others, force them to do things they don’t want to do, or try to extract attention from others, you are attempting to steal their energy or entrap them on the etheric level. This is why people instinctively reject such behavior no matter how “sincere” it might be, because ultimately, it never leads anywhere healthy.
Even clinging to the idea of wanting someone to be alive versus dead is a form of attachment. No one belongs to anyone else and we are all here to live and die as we please. The second you start thinking that other people need to continue living just to appease your emotions or make you feel good, you have entered squarely into the realm of attachment and are unknowingly creating a toxic environment in your life.
Part of the reason why discipline is effective here is it helps to shift our minds away from nonsensical externals and focus on our inward experiences instead. After all, this is the only part of life we have absolute control over.
You will want to start by shifting your lifestyle toward one of mindfulness and self-discipline.
- Adopt a rigorous exercise routine that involves at least some weight lifting.
- Begin following a school body mastery, such as yoga, Wing Chun, Qigong, or Tai Chi and stick with it long term.
- Regularly practice awareness meditations, or any mindfulness practice that teaches you how to focus on and expand upon your sense of Self.
- Get to know your Self more. Spend time alone on purpose, learn to cut off distractions more often (put the phone away!) and think reflectively.
- Remind your Self that your mood and quality of life are determined from within, not on any external factors.
- Eliminate expectations. The entire idea of having expectations (believing that people, things, or events are just supposed to “work out” how you want them) is deeply narcissistic and spiritually damaging.
- Be prepared to wrestle with the fact that the way you feel on certain matters is holding you back, and therefore you need to process these emotions and let them go.
The last point is particularly relevant here and will help you heal anxious attachment effectively. Understand that just because you “feel” a certain way doesn’t mean that you have to continue to feel that way forever. Your experience might be valid but the emotions themselves could be extremely toxic.
For instance, you call someone and they don’t pick up. If you are unhealthily attached, you might have a wide range of negative emotions well up, including feelings of abandonment, or even disdain toward the person because you “expected” them to pick up on the spot.
These kinds of emotional experiences are what are known as self-sabotaging behaviors. They might be very real (and important to you in the moment), but are not healthy for you. Such emotional states are extremely low vibration, and indulging in them will result in more low vibrational experiences.
It’s also worth noting that you can never try and place people or events in boxes of expectations and then get upset when they don’t conform to those expectations. This kind of behavior will not only push that person away from you, you will also have to wear the karmic backlash of such feelings because you are effectively trying to psychically tamper with other people’s free will.
This is why emotional control is so important, especially if you want to live a happy life. Any and all expectations and thoughts you have that imply people should act a certain way toward you or that they should behave in certain preset ways is an attempt to limit their free will on the etheric level. In nearly all such circumstances, this produces negative energy that must be processed.
You can see how such feelings of attachment can create toxic cycles in your life that are difficult to escape. If you are constantly expecting certain behaviors from others, you are constantly creating negative energy, which builds up and which will continue to attract unfortunate circumstances into your life.
Turn things around by taking a step back, locking your Self into the present, and consciously detaching your Self from these attachments.
You might feel a bit anxious at first at the idea of removing your “control” over these variables, but the biggest revelation of all that will help you to heal is that you never had control before anyway.
No matter how much meddling you do in other people’s lives, no matter how clingy you are, no matter how much you wedge yourself into certain circumstances, none of this behavior is actually a form of control. If anything, it’s a sign of pure unbridled chaos manifesting in your life.
You might think you are gaining control over a situation by “clinging” to your spouse, for instance, when in actuality, you are manifesting the conditions for them abandoning you:
- Clingy behavior makes people run.
- You are subconsciously sending intent into the universe that you need to “hold on” to this person because they are slipping away.
- You are creating the conditions where escape from you is necessary.
- Negative energy, which is created in this process, naturally repulses good people. This will cause them to leave.
So you see, attachment never works. It’s a means for the ego to give the appearance of control when there is none.
You can’t actually “control” what other people do. You can’t force them to give you attention, you can’t make them love you, and no matter how hard you try, the more you cling, the more you will be rejected.
Healing anxious attachment involves serious Self work, but breaking these cycles is essential if you want to live without unnecessary stress and complications. It all starts by realigning your focus and practicing self-discipline.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.