Out of all the attachment styles, the avoidant attachment style is probably the one that leaves everyone confused. But what is it exactly, and what does it entail?
Most people have never heard of avoidant attachment and it is extremely important to understand this type of attachment so you know whether you do this or if you are in a relationship with someone who behaves in this way.
What is Avoidant Attachment Style?
Avoidant attachment is the avoidance of intimacy, emotions, and confrontation. There are a lot of aspects to a relationship that are emotional, and people who use avoidant attachment avoid them because that is how they were programmed early in life.
This is yet another childhood trauma. Children learn through repetition that it is not ok to feel so they learn to avoid and suppress their emotions. Typically, the adults the child had around them growing up were not emotionally available or were unresponsive to what the child needed to feel whole and healthy.
Children need to connect with their parents or caregivers and have a yearning to be close to them. Over time the child learned that the adults were not able to give them what they needed so they stopped yearning for that closeness. They also stopped expressing themselves emotionally. The child did not learn that they are amazing and loved. They were not shown affection whether that be hugging, touching, or kissing.
Perhaps the child grew up in an environment where the adults were uncomfortable with feelings. They could not express their fears, worries, or sadness. The adult in their life could not hold a space for them to express themselves without fear of being told “you’re too emotional” or “be tougher.”
They were just invalidated which led the child to begin not trusting their own feelings because they were never validated. Children NEED validation. It allows them to know that what they are feeling is OK. By ignoring the child, they learned over time to avoid feeling.
Learning how to handle life and getting validation is a learned action. A child only instinctively knows that he or she wants love. The story could be a mom doesn’t hug the child and a dad can’t talk to the child. As the child continues to develop, they learn not to trust how they feel because of their situation. They will feel they can’t trust people because people tend to disappoint.
As an adult, you can spot this within people who avoid emotions at all costs. They avoid confrontation and feelings, and cannot handle stress, fear, or disappointment. There’s an avoidance of saying, “I’m not good today,” if that is the case. Having feelings and learning to move through them is mental health.
Avoidance can be a multitude of things — connections, feelings, intimacy, and more.
On the receiving end of this, you may question if the person really loves or cares about you. Or maybe you wonder why they don’t try harder in the relationship. It’s important to know that it’s not that they don’t love you or want to try harder, but rather that the wound is in front of them causing them to not be able to experience the relationship you desire.
You’re hitting the wall and not getting to the core of this person because they feel that if you break down their wall and see them, there’s a fear attached to that — the fear of not being enough. There are so many assumptions, and if they are a narcissist, that wall is up and is made out of heavy-duty bricks. It’s not your responsibility to break it down. They have to want to take that wall down for it to happen.