ABOUT THIS SITE
Who are you?
I'm a life coach with an academic background and a particular interest in attachment theory, based in London, England. This site began as a way to collate my own resources on attachment avoidance in adulthood. The writing is largely lifted or paraphrased from research books, papers, psychotherapist talks, as well as online articles, many of which are listed in the resources section. I've a professional body of work online in an unrelated field so I don't put my name here, but you can contact me with feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does this site only focus on avoidant attachment?
Working with other attachment styles I noticed they tend more readily to seek out self-help resources as part of their self-reflection process. However, the difficulty for those with attachment avoidance is this can feel very shaming. This experience is not helped by the way avoidant attachment is sometimes dealt with in popular books and online. Deactivating strategies are also more likely to be shamed in our culture than activating strategies, although both are natural triggered responses. All this can understandably lead to feelings of helplessness for avoidants. My aim was to create an action-orientated site that covered the avoidant experience in detail, was accessible and empathetic to anyone experiencing these impulses, could also help their partners understand them sympathetically, and which helps people make healthy relationship choices.
Every relationship is a dynamic between two people, and each person must take responsibility for their own personal triggers, responses and healthy growth, not blaming problems solely on the other. There are many resources about push-pull dynamics in relationships and other attachment styles online. However, it is the nature of avoidant attachment to more likely to see others as the problem, so understanding and reframing these experiences individually is an important part of personal growth.
How do I get my partner/ex to change?!
I receive a number of emails from people who say they are securely attached but their partner or ex is very avoidant - how can they get them to see reason?!
I'm so sorry if you're going through a tough time - I know how difficult it is, and these things can be some of the most painful we experience. It makes total sense for you to be feeling as you do.
I'm sorry, though, to be the bearer of bad news here...
First, we cannot make anyone change, nor should we. Maybe they're happy as they are! We are all free to make our own choices, and particularly if someone fears overwhelm and enmeshment and has strong wounds there, it is very valid for someone not to want to be in situations that might recreate those early traumas. Unfortunately not everyone is a match. And painful as it might be, healing is a path that people walk (if they choose to) in their own time through experiencing different consequences in life, not because anyone tries to make them. We should not be afraid to lovingly collaborate so both partners' needs can be met, even when those needs may be quite different - being 'accepted for who we are' should never mean we're not willing to make changes. But on both sides it is demoralising to be with someone we feel does not love and accept us for the things we really need. If you have felt consistently unhappy, frustrated or hurt in a relationship, talking about it doesn't resolve anything, and you feel you and your partner are unable to accept each other, it is best to consider whether it really is the right fit. As adults, looking after, protecting and keeping ourselves safe is our own sacred job.
Second, if you've been going after someone you see as highly avoidant I'm afraid it's unlikely you're entirely securely attached! Choosing people who act in an avoidantly attached manner is often itself a form of avoidance: in doing so we are less likely to face the feelings of failure that can occur when someone brings their needs to us, or face our own needs for space and independence from someone whose love is very present! Being more often in a state of wanting to move 'towards' can allow us to more readily access feelings of love, while we also get to enjoy focusing on someone else rather than ourselves and our own lives. These are natural and common impulses - not something we should shame ourselves for, but simply that we can become aware of and consider with curiosity. They stem from a fundamental belief we may not be good enough for available love, that there can be something wrong with us or our situation when we have difficult feelings, and that we do not have the power to improve our own lives ourselves.
All relationships are a dynamic, and we have our own healing work to do to understand the role we play and why we might be drawn to people who can distract from our own lives as we spend all our energy trying to get close to or fix them. What about your past does it bring up? What meaning do you give to the interactions? It may be difficult, but I would encourage you as much as you can to take the focus off your partner and focus on your own healing work (incl. therapy if possible and reading up on codependence). How are you feeling about YOUR life? And what can you do to make it happier, independent of your partner? We cannot control the actions of others - but we can control our own. And an exciting by-product? As you enhance your own healthy habits, these will naturally radiate to those around you. The difficult time you might be going through can in the end be channelled into something beautiful. Whether for your previous/existing relationship or your next one, but most importantly simply for you, this development can have a lasting and wondrous impact on your life.
Can you help me? Where is your online coaching?
It's not been my intention to develop any sort of online coaching empire (there are plenty of great - and not so great - people doing that!). I created this site because I felt like it needed to exist, and I've been surprised and delighted by it's popularity! When I receive an email about this site it means a lot to me - thank you.