What Does It Mean To Have an Avoidant Attachment Style?

In any platonic or romantic relationship, we all have our own attachment style, shaped primarily by past experiences. There are four attachment styles: Secure, Anxious, Fearful, and Avoidant.

Here, we’ll take a look at some signs of an Avoidant attachment style and how it’s developed:

What are some signs of Avoidant attachment?

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Avoidant attachment is typically characterized by needing a lot of emotional space and independence. You might be uncomfortable with strong displays of emotion or conflict. Here are some possible signs you have an avoidant attachment style:

● Preferring to keep quiet and let issues resolve themselves
● Trouble talking about how you are feeling or expressing vulnerability with partners or close friends
● Feeling like you aren’t sure how to respond when your partner is displaying strong emotions or seems distressed
● Sometimes giving people the impression that you aren’t interested
● A need for personal space (and feeling suffocated if you have to spend all your time with your partner)

The Avoidant attachment style is low anxiety, high avoidance. (Think of a cat – a bit standoffish and aloof.)

How does someone develop Avoidant attachment?

Usually, upbringing and past experiences play key roles in developing an avoidant attachment style. Maybe their family didn’t express emotions very often, there wasn’t a lot of warmth and openness, or emotional needs weren’t met.

Any combination of experiences that hinder emotional closeness can cause someone to “shut down” emotionally. As adults, those with an Avoidant attachment style often struggle when they need to talk about things they don’t usually discuss, like sex, communication, parenting, or emotions.

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The attachment theory

Source: elitedaily.com

People form emotional bonds during their life and how these bonds are made comes under the emotional theory. The learning and formation of emotional bonds initiate from early childhood. A baby interacts with his parents and relatives and that’s when he starts learning about relations and emotions.

Thus, with the help of emotional attachment with the primary caregiver, researchers questioned some adults. The results of the study were helpful in making different categories and groups of people. These groups cover people from different emotions and include the different types of attachments.

1 – Secure attachment

Adults who have secure attachment means that they had a positive emotional bonding with their parents or caregiver during childhood. Thus, they show low relationship anxiety and are quite comfortable with their spouse and friends.

2 – Avoidant (Dismissing) attachment

Adults who have avoidant attachment are likely to have a distant relationship with their caregiver and parent. Thus, the feeling uncomfortable in relationships.

3 – Anxious attachment (preoccupied)

An adult feels anxious in a relationship because his parent was not always available for him in childhood. Tus, he had unpredictable availability from his caregiver. So even as an adult, he won’t feel secure with his spouse and this will make him anxious. Thus, there will always be a sense of insecurity that will ruin his other relationships.

4 – Disorganized attachment

This type of attachment includes a time of closeness and then suddenly pushing the partner away. This type of attachment is a result of intense childhood. If a child has to see and face abuse and traumas in his childhood, he will have a doubt about relationships. Thus, his adult emotional life will also be severely disorganized.

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Causes of Avoidant attachment?

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The initial cause of avoidant attachment is childhood issues. Although parents love their children unconditionally but still there are times when they cannot be available for them. Furthermore, if parents are feeling depressed or stressed out, it is highly likely that they will close themselves. Thus, they get distant from their children. However, children are not in a state to understand these things so they develop a feeling of anxiousness because they could not get comfort and affection when they needed it.

Furthermore, another reason is that the parents are strict so they don’t bother with the needs of children. They neglect them and as a result, children fail to express their needs, pains and feelings. Even if they are sick or need anything, they won’t ask their parents for it. As they grow up, their attitude remains the same. They distance themselves from others. Even if they start a relationship, they won’t open up completely to that person because they have that feeling of ignorance. They fear that their spouse will not understand them so they hide their true feelings. Thus, remain avoidant and distant.

What is the best way to manage Avoidant attachment?

If you or your partner have Avoidant attachment, there are many things that can help! Here are a few:

● Raising Awareness: An avoidantly attached person may not realize how it’s impacting them. It’s important to address and try to understand each other’s emotional preferences to find the right balance in your relationship. Learn more here.
● Open Communication: Relationships need a safe place to raise issues and express emotions without fear of judgment or resentment, which is key for someone avoidantly attached.
● Personal Space: Avoidantly attached people need a lot of personal space, so it’s important to respect their boundaries and remember it’s not a reflection of their feelings for you.
● Relationship Training: A relationship involving different attachment styles needs a little help sometimes. A supportive, compassionate relationship coach can help address and resolve recurring issues.

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Can Avoidant attachment be cured or changed?

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A term like “cure” can make you think there’s something “wrong” with an avoidantly attached person, but that’s just not the case. Your attachment style is just that—a style and a preference.

That said, there are ways to help change this type of attachment style if it’s something you want to do. The change doesn’t necessarily occur within the person but in the relationship. For example, an improvement in how they respond and manage communication and conflict.

If you or your partner are avoidantly attached, remember that it’s okay! Your attachment style is not permanent. It can always be altered to improve your relationships, whether you use therapy, a relationship coach, or the support of your partner. The best way to resolve attachment issues is through a trusting, stable relationship—which is something we can all benefit from, regardless of attachment styles.