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Avoidant Attachment Style: Do You Avoid Emotional Intimacy?

Does it feel like your dating experience is just history repeating itself?

If so, it may be because you have a relationship attachment style that means the same habits and patterns play out.

As part of a four-part series, we’ll look at the traits of the four main attachment styles, according to the psychologist John Bowlby. I’ll share the main indicators of an attachment style and how you can break the cycle of negative relationship patterns.

What Is An Avoidant Attachment?

Avoidant attachment usually means you crave connection, affection, and emotional support, but you shut yourself off from letting people come too close. The early stages of the relationship can be great, but you may find that your guard goes straight up as soon as there is emotional intimacy or vulnerability.

Key traits of an avoidant attachment style:

  • Very independent
  • has a history of clingy or needy partners
  • Prefers distant communication such as texts and DMs over in-person chat
  • Likely to choose a handshake over a warm hug
  • Will leave a relationship before the partner has a chance to end it

Where Does An Avoidant Attachment Style Come From?

Often, your attachment style forms during your childhood years. The relationships you have with your caregivers as a child is likely to shape your attachment style.

For example, if your parents were emotionally unavailable or unresponsive to you, then you may have grown up used to serving your own emotional needs. This means that sharing an emotional connection may feel alien to you.

People with avoidant attachment styles may have grown up in a ‘tough love’ household. Instead of affection and physical signs of love, you may have been told to pull yourself together.

In some instances, avoidant attachment can come from a very loving childhood. However, the way your caregivers gave you love may not have been in the ways you were craving. For example, a parent would buy presents instead of offering a hug or telling others how proud they are of you, instead of telling you personally.

An avoidant attachment style can also come from being very independent throughout your life. You may prefer to be on your own than with others or simply think that being emotionally intimate with another person is unnecessary.

How To Recognise If Your Partner Has An Avoidant Attachment Style

Your partner will:

  • Want to spend time together but won’t want to label or progress the relationship
  • Distance themselves after conflict or disagreements
  • Feel personally attacked if you express negative emotions
  • Never ask for your help or want to rely on you
  • Struggle to understand how you’re feeling
  • Avoid communication around feelings

How To Improve Your Relationship

If you’re looking to break the patterns of avoidant attachment or improve your relationship once you recognise your avoidant attachment style, here as some top tips to move forward:

Understand what triggers your fears

There will be times where you feel you need to close off, put your guard up or even move away when someone gets too close to your emotions. As soon as you recognise your self-protection behaviours, it can help to journal on them. What caused the reaction? Can you name the emotions you’re feeling? What are your head, heart and gut telling you to do?

Consider what you want from a relationship

Having a frank discussion with your partner about what you both want from the relationship can help to create a harmonious balance of intimacy and independence. Alternatively, if you’re not ready for intimacy and want to keep it casual, having this discussion first can help to make sure you’re both clear on the relationship expectations.

Build closeness on your terms

If you find it difficult to get close to someone, take smaller steps. It can help to start this with platonic friendships. For example, sharing something emotional with a friend. You can also monitor how you feel when friends or colleagues confide in you. Is there a resistance around being vulnerable? Does it feel different if they share with you compared to you sharing with them?

Explore the underlying issues and patterns

If your avoidant style holds you back, hypnotherapy can be a fantastic way to explore the underlying issues and rewire the brain to a healthier attachment style. If this post resonates with you and you’d like to find out more about how I can help, please get in touch.

I offer complimentary 15-minute consultations to help you find the right way forward. To find out more or to book your call, email info@hypnosis-in-london.com today.

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