Avoidant Attachment Style
There are 3 major attachment styles: Secure, Preoccupied anxious, and Avoidant. In this video I discuss Avoidant
People who have an avoidant attachment style most likely had a lot of neglect in the childhood. They may have had parents that were inconsistent, had mental health issues, anxiety or depression.
Their parents were often times not very present with them. So growing up they felt like their parent had no interest in knowing them or their internal state. How they feel.
So they grow up ignoring what is going on within them.
They generally learn in their childhood not to trust or count on anyone.
The attachment we form with our parents, we act out in our romantic relationships.
They don’t attach well, so it’s a lot easier for them to walk away from a situation. They’ll be less likely to do any work on themselves. They don’t think they have a problem.
Avoidants are often uncomfortable sharing their feelings. They don’t want to open up. They don’t want to think about their feelings. They tend to sweep their feelings under the rug.
They prefer casual sex because they get the physical closeness without the emotional connection.
They often disregard their partners feelings. They can be very business like and cold. They ignore their own feelings- so you can imagine they will ignore yours. IF you try and share them with them, they often accuse you of being sensitive.
They’ll do things to sabotage your relationship if they feel too close to you. They’ll complain about you, distort reality, judge you, be overly critical, lie, stonewall you.
They often blame you for things that they are doing wrong in the relationship. They lack empathy and can appear cold.
They don’t admit mistakes or take responsibility. They’ll blame you. They don’t want to get professional help or even acknowledge they have a problem.
They brag about independence, so they can be mistaken as secure.
They feel smothered easily.
In today's email coaching I discuss a guy in his mid 20s dating a woman around the same age for just under 3 years.
- Brought up in a well supportive family, mum and dad didn’t argue much
- She was always quite anxious and mum was too. Mum lost her dad at a young age which impacted her. My ex would always be very punctual to things and would get anxious about being late. Sounds like she had an anxious attachment style
- She is very attached to her parents and speaks to them a lot. She moved back to her parents house when she started working.
- Something I realized after watching your videos is that I have an avoidant attachment style. I’m so glad they are helping
- I pushed her away and kept her at a distance when replying to messages and would sometimes cut off contact because I would be afraid of being trapped. Yes!
- She would sometimes ask to see me and I would say I was busy or tired because I wanted time to myself. This was especially true over the past year when we started doing long distance and we would only see each other once a week.
- In the months before the breakup we had several conversations where she would open up about how distant we had become and how she felt like I wasn’t being emotionally available. She said I would filter everything I said which I didn’t know how not to do at the time because it was a defense mechanism to avoid being vulnerable. So she didn’t feel loved enough. She felt abandoned.
- We broke up whilst away for a summer break. We were at dinner one evening and she was being more quiet than usual. I didn’t press her and there was a moment where we didn’t say anything for a few good minutes. We went to bed without speaking much. The next day she was completely distant and anything I said she would be short and borderline rude. She wouldn’t make conversation at all and we got through the day without saying barely anything to each other. We slept in different rooms that night.
- The next morning I went in to speak to her and she said she couldn’t be in the relationship anymore and had been feeling so much anxiety about how different we were and how she would wake up every morning feeling like a weight was there. She had been feeling this way since we had started doing long distance and I had not made any effort. It had gotten to the stage where she associated me with feelings of anxiety.
- Craig: Yes, and this caused her physical pain
- I asked her if she still loved me and she said yes but it wasn’t enough and she didn’t have any more energy to give. She said she needed to be selfish and have the time to find herself.
- She said she thought initially we could have a break but she didn’t want to give me false hope so ended it. She said she needed to work on herself and I should do the same. She cut all contact and deleted me off social media.
- When she first told me it was over I realized how much of a douchebag I had been and was going to lose her forever. I said I was sorry and asked her for another chance. She said ok…. Joking, she said no. It was painful and i tried to ask her in different ways but still it was a no.
- When we got back, I messaged her a few days later and asked her to meet up. When she said no I said ok and wished her the best
- I started watching your videos on attachment and relationships and realized my own attachment issues. I started therapy weekly, exercising, meeting with friends, doing hobbies and reading self-development books.
- A week and a half after the breakup sent her a handwritten letter :),
- Craig: ☹ You know I would never tell you to do that.
- not to beg (although I did apologize for being selfish and for taking her for granted) but to let her know of the insight that I had gained and that I was taking steps to improve the things that were wrong in the relationship. She replied by email and said whilst she appreciated the letter she had to take this chance at a fresh start. She said she didn’t want to give me false hope so couldn’t promise anything would happen again.
- Craig: Yeah, it didn’t raise her interest
- I replied to the email saying thanks and said id be there to talk if she wanted but I couldn’t put my life on hold. Good!
- Since then have been in no contact. I have actually moved back home for another job so the long distance element is gone.
- We were too emotionally different
- I was making her relive all the anxiety she had experienced in the past
As someone with an avoidant attachment style (and an ex with a likely anxious style) how do I show her I have changed for good?
Craig: You haven’t changed for good. You’ve only just started a month ago. You may be making progress but I guarantee if she took you back tomorrow, you would go back to your old ways in 3 months and lose her for good. It takes TIME. Like 6 months to make REAL deep internal changes.
Now I’m not saying if she reaches out in 2 months don’t go for it… But you are crazy if you think you’ve changed for good after a month. You’re lying to yourself because you want her back.
- She left because she thought I never would change but now she’s gone it feels like she will never change her mind. We all feel like that. Believe me.
- Is there anything you would suggest I do differently?
You cannot force it. It’s your anxiety that is causing you to do that. See video for full answer.