Avoidant attachment characteristics
This is the second most common of the four and is often criticized.
Secure is the most common of the attachments.
There’s a deep misunderstanding in our culture about this particular style. This person is not intentionally dismissing or hurting their partners.
What are some traits? Using criticism to push other people away. Creating extremely high expectations for relationships, and determining that the relationship is not working if they’re not met.
Having a strong focus on achieving and doing, accomplishing their goals, and investing activities outside relationships. Experiencing a desire to remain independent, because early relationships felt unfulfilling, hostile, or even painful.
They push down the anxiety and appear calm on the surface.
They engage in distancing behaviors to reduce the internal experience of stress.
Conflict is so intensely experienced that they often experience relief from their space. They’ve learned how to cope with stress on their own.
This person is most likely to ghost or fall off the radar for several days at a time. They want connection in relationships, as a relationship deepens, the risk becomes greater and vulnerability can feel too much.
This person was not met with compassion when they were vulnerable as a child. As a result, they don’t trust adult relationships.
Their communication is not congruent with their internal experience. There might even be a preference for communicating by text instead of in person.
They may take time to respond because they’re focused on other activities or they want space.
it might feel like the relationship is too much, too fast, and they pull away without explaining.
As they learn and grow, they’re more capable of communicating their experience without isolating, or avoiding the partner.
This person learned how to auto regulate their emotions. They were not in a space where they could co regulate with a trusted adult.
Becoming defensive quickly or deflecting is most common when there’s conflict with a partner and they all avoid it , if possible.
They may dismiss your emotions
Intense emotions make this person very uncomfortable
They feel that the deeper conversations about feelings are out of their depth.
They become extremely rational not emotional in moments of disconnection. They focus on thoughts instead of feelings “emotions are not important because they’re not rational “-to this person.
The sense of safety and control increases by being the person to pull away from or initiate connection.
This person tends to prefer lots of autonomy and space. The partnership is very important to them, and it needs to be balanced by other activities and social experiences.
There is not a good model in this person’s life for interacting in a caring and loving way, so they might not know how to facilitate a closer connection, like reaching out to their partner, unprompted, or expressing gratitude or appreciation.
They need to maintain a sense of independence while in a relationship. If it begins to feel stifling, they take steps to increase safety by distancing.
They’re not aware that they’re doing this -it is not intentional. They might tell themselves that people are too clingy and that they’re not made for relationships because they can’t find anyone who can keep that sense of independence that they feel comfortable with.
“Things are going so fast I need it to slow down.”
Even if you think you’re moving slowly, there are opportunities to hit the brakes and gain awareness around what’s arising in each partner during moments of connection and disconnection.
This person is not trying to make your connection more difficult.
Slowly moving closer to each other, physically and emotionally, will give you the best opportunity to develop awareness of safety for each other, and increase the chances that you can reconnect without experiencing strong, emotional triggers.
“I want relationship with you, but I feel shut out or dismissed when you just pull away,” says the partner of the avoidant.
Pushing, forcing, creating ultimatums, or trying to control a person with avoidant style will not work.
Accept where they are and their behaviors are not about you.
You do not have to stay with them, but see if you can sit with your own feelings when this happens.
There are advantages to this style as there are to other styles.
Look at your own style more deeply. What are some of the positive, adaptive traits of this style? How has the style been beneficial to you during tough moments?
The person with avoidant style needs to focus, slowly learning how to tune into their emotional needs and sharing them with their partner, and a gentle, kind way. They might feel safer via text at first.
Allow for flexibility, and how emotions are communicated, lean in to the discomfort because it’s going to feel uncomfortable or different than what they’re used to.
Sometimes people will preface things with, “ I have something to share with you, and it’s a little bit vulnerable.”
This can support the partner in feeling prepared to receive the communication in an open way.
Bring compassion and understanding to the relationship so you create more space for connection.
Is there a better way to tell your partner that you don’t like when they disappear and they don’t tell you?
Why can’t you let me know what’s going on with you? Seems like a legitimate question, but that will push the person away.
“You always do This” might be an accurate statement, but you’re gonna push the person away.
Consider different ways to communicate your message -in ways that invite them to come out of the castle rather than just storming the castle.
Take a few moments to jot down some of the qualities that you appreciate about your partner. Make sure you tell them. Changing your primary attachment style doesn’t happen overnight. Take small steps regularly to work toward a different way relating.