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  • Allison "Alli" Garner, LMHC

Avoidant Attachment Style

Rounding out our attachment style blog series, we have avoidant attachment. Avoidant attachment is developed in childhood where the child senses that their caregivers are not emotionally and/or physically present. The child often does not feel as if their needs are attended to, which develops into a sense of mistrust when it comes to significant others in their environment. The developing adult will often struggle to discuss their emotions and down play their needs in social situations. As an individual grows, these behaviors become more solidified in romantic relationships. 

In turn, the avoidant adult will often display fear when their partner gets too close, have a mistrust of others, trouble showing their emotions, and often prioritize their personal freedom over their relationships. Because of these behaviors, many avoidantly attached people may find themselves describing their partners as “needy” or “clingy.” In lieu of this need for autonomy, many avoidantly attached individuals will leave relationships before they can be left. It is as if their fear of being abandoned is so strong, that they self sabotage the relationship so the individual can get away before they get hurt. 

Avoidant individuals tend to feel emotionally triggered when presented with the idea of emotional and physical intimacy. It is important to note that this avoidance exists on a spectrum, an avoidantly attached individuals can enjoy intimacy, however, just require alone time afterwards to reset. 

As therapists in couple’s counseling, a classic dilemma includes when one partner is anxiously attached and one is avoidantly attached. Both of these styles require a specific amount of communication skills to be able to “soothe” their nervous system when they are triggered. Both of said styles require understanding of one another to be able to communicate effectively. With the help of therapy and psychoeducation, each partner can learn how to “speak each other’s language” as a means of developing a happy and fulfilling relationship.  Please reach out to schedule an appointment with Alli or one of our other skilled clinicians at 561-961-9077

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