We all have an attachment style. Attachment theory suggests that we form our respective styles in childhood. Our early relationships with our caregivers during childhood form how we build relationships as adults. Our caregivers (parents) are our first examples of social interactions and inform our styles. When a child perceives that their basic and emotional needs are not being met, they might have a hard time trusting others. Those kids will start to see social bonds as unstable or unsafe and develop an avoidant attachment style.
Symptoms Of Avoidant Attachment Style In Adults
Avoidant attachment style, also sometimes known as dismissive attachment style, is usually the strong, self-sufficient, independent type. They don’t need to rely on anyone for support. They avoid emotional closeness and intimacy. Avoidant adults suppress our feelings when we have to face emotionally heavy situations. If they push things down far enough, then they aren’t real. Avoidant people tend to put up personal walls or boundaries to avoid any chance of intimacy with potential partners. They tend to look for petty/shallow reasons to end relationships. (Annoying habits or small appearance-related things). To be blunt, they seem aloof and may pull away if someone tries to get emotionally close to them.
What Does Avoidant Attachment Style Look Like In A Relationship
Most real relationships, romantic or platonic that are meaningful and fulfilling need to become deep. When someone has an avoidant attachment style, you will run into a wall before things get too deep. Avoidant attachment-style individuals will let you be around them, but they won’t let you in. As soon as things get serious, they close themselves off, which, I would like to point out, is different from shutting down.
Peering from outside, avoidant adults might look confident and put together. To them, emotional intimacy is usually off the table. It’s almost like a switch was flipped off when they were kids, and they do not know how to turn it back on as adults. Not being able to build deep and fulfilling relationships can be painful to avoidant adults as well as to those who love them. Here are some things to keep in mind if you have an avoidant attachment style:
- What are you feeling? Avoidant adults pay more attention to the emotional and physical feelings and situations that come around intimacy. Self-reflecting is a great tool to help look for existing patterns in your life.
- What do you need? Another important step for avoidant adults is learning and understanding how to express their own emotional needs.
Wanting To Make A Change
Just because you are one attachment style doesn’t mean you are stuck in that box forever. It will take some self-reflection, effort, discipline, and maybe some help from a mental health professional, but you can work towards a more secure attachment style (I will be talking about this style in a different article.)
Learning to turn on your switch again since childhood is not something easy. Consistency is key. Reaching out to a friend for help and accountability is a great start, but it does take some level of emotional intimacy. A therapist is a great way for you to reach out for help without feeling some deep level of intimacy with someone in your life. And even though that seems like too much to start, there are so many great books out on attachment styles. Whatever path you take, consistency and effort are the keys to your success. It’s like going to the gym. You don’t need to go hard 100% of the time. Rather, you should put in whatever effort you have that day and show up for yourself consistently. 30% effort every day is better than 100% effort once a week.
And if you don’t know your attachment style, there are a billion quizzes you can take online. Here is one of that billion. And if you want a small breakdown of each attachment style, I wrote an article on them.