People with an avoidant attachment style are more comfortable with independence and autonomy than others.
These individuals tend to feel uncomfortable in close relationships, which can have a negative impact on their partners and children. They find it difficult to trust others.
Although they want emotional closeness or intimacy, they are easily overwhelmed and so they push it away.
Having an avoidant attachment style is not a disease and is not a lack of character. It’s an adaptive way that you learned to cope with your upbringing.
How an Avoidant Attachment Style Develops
Generally, an avoidant attachment style develops when you are raised by parents who had a dismissive or neglectful parenting style and did not show much affection, warmth towards their children. This style can also develop due to being raised by parents who were emotionally unavailable or abusive.
Caregivers may not have provided the child with the emotional support needed to feel safe in close relationships as adults.
When the child’s needs for closeness and connection aren’t met they learn to stop showing those needs, stop seeking closeness, and stop expressing emotion.
This results in a child that becomes very independent physically and emotionally.
Signs of an Avoidant Attachment Style in Adults
An avoidant attachment style means that you are more likely to be emotionally distant in relationships, have difficulty trusting others, and may feel uncomfortable with intimacy.
You might also find it hard to get close or be open about your feelings because you fear rejection from the other person. To protect yourself from rejection you push the other person away and convince yourself that you don’t need them.
The fear of rejection and emotional distance can lead to difficulties when trying to form a romantic relationship that is based on trust.
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Avoidant Attachment Styles in Relationships
This style in an intimate relationship results in a lack of intimacy and closeness.
This can lead to a lot of problems in the relationship including infidelity, anger, or resentment towards one another.
People with an avoidant attachment style may have difficulty opening up emotionally around their partner. They may feel overwhelmed by the partner's emotions and needs and may withdraw, especially when stressed. They may also feel like they're being smothered or suffocated by their partner's need for closeness, which can lead to them feeling resentful towards their spouse.
Although they crave closeness, they will feel overwhelmed by intimacy and have a fear of rejection and may avoid intimacy in order to avoid rejection.
People with an avoidant attachment style tend to find faults in others.
Avoidant Attachment Styles at Work
A person with an avoidant attachment style will have difficulty at work. They may prefer structure and guidelines about how to function in different roles at work. They also prefer a high degree of personal autonomy and freedom at work. They often prefer to work by themselves and may find working in a team challenging.
This style may be less engaged in their work, not taking on new projects or responsibilities because they fear being judged by others and fear rejection. They may also avoid conflict and confrontation at the workplace because they are afraid of other people’s emotions.
Leaders with this style may have difficulty delegating tasks to employees because of the fear that they won't do it right. They may also be hyper-critical and find fault with their employee’s way of doing things. Additionally, they will have a hard time trusting others and that the other person will be able to do their jobs as well as they could do themselves.
Avoidant Attachment and Parenting
An avoidant attachment style will cause a parent to have difficulty showing love and affection in the way that they would like because of fear of rejection. They will be afraid that they are not going to get the love and affection from their children like other parents do so this can lead them into isolation.
It can make parenting difficult because of the emotional distance that is involved in this attachment style which makes it hard to form a close bond or connection with the child.
Some parents are uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or anxious with a child’s need for closeness. They may ignore their childs needs for connection or create distance when they seek affection. This can be especially acute when the child is sick, hurt, or scared and the parent finds it overwhelming. These parents discourage open displays of emotions and have very high expectations of independence, even when young.
The child of someone with an avoidant attachment style may feel neglected or rejected. This is because of the emotional distance that the person with the avoidant attachment style will put between themselves and the child.
Avoidant attachment is often caused by a parent who is themselves avoidantly attached.
Avoidant Attachment Style and Finances
A person with an avoidant attachment style may have a hard time with finances because they may only see money as a matter-of-fact thing. They do not see the emotions that are often involved with finances. This style may make someone be afraid of being let down by their finances so put a lot of time and effort into being financially secure. They may see their net worth as a more reliable sense of security than relationships. People with this style may avoid talking to their partner about money. They will be overwhelmed if their partner has strong emotions about finances and they will feel judged by their partner's emotions. So they may avoid the conversation or not want to talk about it at all blocking financial intimacy.
Avoidant Attachment - Relationships with the Other Types
The person with the avoidant attachment style may feel overwhelmed by the other person's need for closeness and may avoid getting close to them.
They often attract people with an anxious attachment style who give up their own needs to please their avoidant partner. The anxious person takes things personally and is playing out old patterns where they are pursuing someone who feels unavailable. The avoidant person gets more attention without having to put in the effort. The anxious attachment style will feel rejected by their partner with an attachment avoidance, which can lead to a cycle of rejection if not addressed or resolved quickly enough.
An avoidant person's tendency to need space will cause someone with a disorganized attachment style to feel abandoned.
These patterns can lead to a cycle where one person feels rejected by another because they are not getting what they need in order for them feel loved enough from that individual's perspective.
The person with avoidant attachment may work a lot and then need extra “me time” or find reasons that they can’t commit to a relationship.
How to Improve an Avoidant Attachment Style
Follow these tips to improve your avoidant attachment style:
- Find a therapist to help you work through your feelings of rejection and abandonment.
- Get in touch with the reasons why you avoid intimacy, such as feeling like they are not good enough or that people will leave them if get too close. This can be due to past relationships where one person left another after getting really intimate.
- Get more comfortable with intimacy with your partner by doing things like cuddling and kissing.
- Learn to express your feelings in a healthy way, such as talking about them with the person you are close to instead of bottling it up or lashing out at people who get closer than what is comfortable.
- Find ways where they can feel safe around other people and not fear that the other person will hurt them.
- If they have children, it is important for parents with this style not only to talk about their feelings but also to listen when kids express theirs to help the child feel safe and loved.
- Be aware that people with different attachment styles may need more reassurance than you’re used to.
- Talk with your partner to help them understand your attachment style so that they understand why you may not give them as much reassurance and to try not to take your lack of reassurance personally.
- Talk to your partner about what you need and how they can help.
Working with avoidant attachment doesn't have to be done alone.
Would you like more 1 on 1 support? Then perhaps Therapy Informed Financial Planning is for the two of you. I invite you to schedule your free 30-minute discovery call today.
Wishing You Healthy Love and Money,
MBA, MA, MS, CFP®, CFT-I™, LMFT
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