We form bonds with people to get our needs met in different ways, some healthy and others not so much. The avoidant attachment style might be your problem.
All human beings have a basic need to connect with others. But we don’t always do so effectively. The way that we attach to those around us is usually learned in childhood from how we formed attachments to our parents. For the avoidant attachment style, those early bonds were anything but secure and the reason for doomed adult relationships.
Types of attachment
There are two different types of attachment styles—the insecure attachment and the secure attachment. A secure attachment is one where people bond to others in a healthy manner. Learned early on, the person with a secure attachment felt safe in exploring their world knowing they could venture out and return to find their parent’s safety and unconditional love. [Read: The 4 types of attachment styles all people fall into]
The insecure attachment style is not the same. For the insecure attachment style, they desperately want to form bonds and feel connected, but they aren’t sure how to get their emotional needs met. Often habitual, the behaviors they use to form bonds with people get them the exact opposite of what they want and need emotionally. [Read: Why being addicted to someone is not the same as being in love]
The two avoidant attachment styles
There are two different types of avoidant attachment styles—the dismissive avoidant attachment style and the fearful avoidant attachment style. For the person who possesses either of these ritualistic ways to attach, it can be a bumpy, arduous, and self-destructive ride through a tumultuous relationship.
#1 The dismissive avoidant attachment style. A person with the dismissive avoidant attachment style attempts to keep their partners at arm’s length, never letting them in emotionally. They distance themselves from people. Because they keep their partner isolated from their emotions, they often take on the role of parenting them, because of their need to hold onto “pseudo-independence.”
The dismissive avoidant attachment is usually concerned with only their own needs, both basic and emotional. They aren’t very concerned about the people they form relationships with. [Read: A guide to grow up and face life like an adult]
The notion of pseudo-independence is just an illusional construct. Inside every human being, there is a need for connection. As hard as the dismissive avoidant attachment style tries not to need it, they lead more isolated and inward lives, usually keeping even those closest to them far away.
The dismissive avoidant type insists they don’t need to love anyone nor do they have a need to receive love. They use defense mechanisms to push people away so they remain invulnerable.
They are also capable of shutting someone down. A dismissive avoidant strips away all emotion and doesn’t react to someone highly emotional who tries desperately to break through their wall. If threatened by someone’s rejection, they likely react without caring. Saying things like “I don’t care” to shut others down. They protect themselves from hurt. [Read: How self-respect affects you and your relationship]
#2 The fearful avoidant attachment style. This attachment style is in a constant state of flux. They work tirelessly to keep their emotions in check and not to get emotional until they can’t anymore.
Guided by fear of attachment on both ends, when they feel someone pulling away, they cling harder, seeking to get their emotional needs met. When they get too close, they withdraw and push away, fearing vulnerability. Not capable of avoiding their own anxiety about attaching to someone, they appear unpredictable and moody, always in a high state of alert. [Read: 13 steps to letting go of relationship insecurity and learn to let love in]
Although working under the belief that they should reach out to others to be close to them, when they get close to someone, they pull away. This leads to the continual push and pull that frustrates and confuses their partner.
Attachment styles are the way that we all try to get our emotional needs met. For the fearful attachment style, there is no organization of thought for how to get what they need from those they are attached to. So, they continually send mixed signals with no plan of action for getting what they need from others.
People with fearful avoidant attachment style tend to be adults with very dramatic and chaotic relationships of extreme highs and lows. They have a terrific fear of abandonment. And they also struggle with intimacy. Because they fear vulnerability with others. Sometimes this fear keeps them in unhealthy relationships or staying in abusive ones. [Read: A step-by-step guide to get out of an abusive relationship]
Change yourself to make your attachments more secure
The way a person develops their attachment style is the way they learn early in life through their parent or caregiver. Although habitual and often done automatically and without conscious thought, there is a way to change unhealthy habits keeping you in emotionally tumultuous relationships. If you figure out what type of attachment style you possess, alter your behaviors for a secure relationship.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to figure out what works for you and what works against you. If you want to find peace in your relationship then it might be your attachment style to blame.
Take a good hard look at the way you form bonds and the signals you send. Is your method of getting your emotional needs met working for or against you? Then assess if you have an avoidant attachment style.
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