Part two of our three-part love and relationships series on understanding the connections between early childhood care and romantic relationships.
To follow on from the anxious and insecure attachment theory, I’d now like us to talk about the avoidant attachment theory. We will look at how to recognise this attachment style, and what has triggered these behaviour patterns.
Katherine Woodward Thomas, New York Times bestselling author, describes how this can manifest:
“You spend a lot of time trying to protect yourself from being too vulnerable or from forming any feelings of dependence upon others.
The main drivers in avoidant attachment style are fear and self-protection. This can lead to you shutting down your relationship longings entirely, almost taking pride in not needing anyone outside of yourself to be happy and fulfilled in life.
This self-protection means that you tend to push others away if they begin expecting too much consistency and closeness from you.
The fear can mean that rather than seeing others as a source of safety and wellbeing in life, you may instead see others as a source of danger, and harbour covert assumptions. Perhaps you will feel suspicious that these people will want something from you that is somehow selfish and self-serving.
You tend to be profoundly self-reliant, and rather than move closer to try to resolve a conflict, you’ll pull away from it.
At those times when you most need comfort and support, you are apt to withdraw into yourself and not reach out to others.”
In your relationships, if you have an avoidant style, you may choose a partner who is essentially unavailable. This could be someone that is committed elsewhere, living a long distance away. Or perhaps someone who is very self-absorbed and doesn’t ask much of you.
As an “avoidant”, even though you may think you want a relationship and closeness, this young, imprinted part of you will always keep a safe distance. Again, it’s not conscious.
Loving and relationship coaching can help you take care of this fearful part of you, you will begin to feel safer, meaning you will be able to be closer, to trust and be open emotionally. You will learn to manage conflicts in a more grown-up fashion rather than fight and flight and from there you will move towards secure attachment.
In my previous blog, we covered the anxious and insecure attachment, it could be that you are a mixture of the anxious and avoidant style, meaning that you will be likely to vacillate between the two, often falling in and out of relationships. You will pull your partner close in an urgent state of need and push them away when it feels too emotionally dangerous, or they have disappointed you.
As a love and relationship coach, I tend to be future focused, taking into account your early life but not dwelling there. You will be encouraged to really look at the sort of relationship you want in your life and how you can empower yourself to achieve it.
When you begin to see beyond the attachment style pattern, you will start to pay more attention to your own feelings and needs and be able to centre yourself in a more adult, confident, self-respecting part of you. This doesn’t mean you will not want to be in a relationship. We are wired that way.
If you’ve found this useful and perhaps even recognise some of these behaviours and would like more guidance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
I’d also like to invite you to join our Calling in The One Facebook Group, where you will find other useful discussion points:
Next week I will be discussing the secure attachment style.