Sonya Thomas lcsw

Avoidantly Attached

The avoidantly attached maneuver to keep people at a distance and display a generally dismissive attitude towards connectedness.  There is an over focus on independence, reliance on self, and a reluctance to accept any responsibility for their partner’s well-being, to the point of being dismissive of feelings and needs their partner may have.  Those with an avoidant attachment style use different ways to disengage in relationship.  These methods and techniques are referred to as deactivating stategies, meant to squelch intimacy.  Here is a list of common deactivating strategies:

  • Staying in a relationship for an extended period of time while saying or thinking “I am not ready to commit.”
  • Focusing on small imperfections in one’s partner.
  • Pining for an ex.
  • Flirting with others in ways that are hurtful to one’s partner.
  • Withholding saying “I love you” despite staying in relationship for a long time.
  • Pulling away when things are not going well rather than staying present and working on it.
  • Forming relationships with those for whom there is no future (ex. a married person).
  • Mentally checking out when one’s partner is trying to engage you in conversation.
  • Keepings secrets and leaving things “foggy” in order t0 preserve one’s space/independence.
  • Avoiding physical closeness/affection.
  • Resisting attempts for contact (not returning calls or texts).
  • Maintaining an “escape route” from the relationship.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but hopefully you get the idea.  The pervasive use of deactivating strategies is meant to preserve one’s autonomy at the expense of creating and sustaining intimacy.  Despite this, those with an avoidant attachment style DO also have a wired in need for connection.  In order to successfully connect with a special someone, they will have to gain insight into their avoidant tendencies, and embark on a journey to change.  Some things that one can do in the service of change are:

  • Learn to identify the deactivating strategies one uses on a regular basis.
  • De-emphasize self-reliance and focus instead on mutually supporting one another.
  • Find a securely attached person and use them as a model for one’s interpersonal relationships.
  • Fous on the things for which one is grateful/appreciates in their partner rather than over focusing/nitpicking the negative.
  • Realize and accept that one’s ex is not available.
  • Don’t expect perfection from anyone.
  • Be willing to be inconvenienced by others.

Until next time, peace.

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