Doctor shares how easy it is to fall into a toxic relationship: ‘Don’t say I should have known better’

A psychology professor shared a “super embarrassing story” about how her anxious attachment style left her swindled by her husband. But what happened to her is nothing to mock. 

In a TikTok video, relationship expert and iHeart Radio host Dr. Wendy Walsh discussed how she broke the cycle of her anxious attachment style by raising kids with secure attachment styles. 


How I broke the cycle? I raised healthy kids with secure attachment styles. #storytime #traumaticbond #anxiousattachment #redflags #psychology #phd

♬ original sound – Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Walsh started by saying she had a “super embarrassing story” and asked her audience not to judge. 

“I don’t want you to say it was your own fault, [that] you should have known better, [that] all the signs were there,” she explained. “Because when you have an anxious attachment style, and you deeply fear abandonment, you will not be able to see the red flags.” 

Attachment is our ability to establish emotional bonds with others. An anxious attachment style develops during childhood when the child feels insecure about their relationships with caregivers, usually the mother. Each person’s early attachment style can affect their adult relationships. But with help and work, an insecure attachment style can become a secure one. 

Dr. Walsh discussed an early red flag she overlooked with a man she was head-over-heels for. Early in their relationship, she invited him on vacation, and he charged items for himself to her hotel room.

“I said nothing. I loved him too much. I was too afraid that he would get mad or leave me,” Dr. Walsh said

According to WebMD, “People with anxious attachment are usually needy. They are anxious and have low self-esteem. They want to be close with others but are afraid that people don’t want to be with them.” 

She continued to see the man, and they moved in together. Not long after that, she discovered he was using her FedEx account to make purchases for his business. She asked him to pay her back, he never did. 

“So, are you surprised that nine years and two kids later, he fraudulently wrote a check on a line of credit I had on my home for $200,000 and disappeared?” she said

After she consulted with a lawyer, the process of getting her money back seemed unlikely. Instead, she held onto her resolve and raised her children to have secure attachment styles. 

“This is how an anxious attachment style will put you into poverty,” the doctor said. “You will make the wrong decisions for the wrong people, and don’t say ‘I should have known better.’ I stand before you, showing resiliency and self-esteem.” 

She added, “I’m sharing with you because you may have made some dumb decisions yourself, but they weren’t dumb — they were motivated by love and a desire for connection, and that’s never wrong.”  

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or concerning behavior from an intimate partner, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or use the hotline’s online chat feature. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website to learn the possible warning signs of domestic abuse.”

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