AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT:

BREAKUPS

If we are unconsciously taught the mandate "don’t have feelings, don’t show feelings, don’t need anything from anyone, ever" - then running away is the best way we can safely accomplish that mandate.

Relationships are stressful to someone with an avoidant attachment style. They want connection like everyone else, but their deepest fear is that love and closeness come at the cost of personal freedom. They will worry that the other person is investing in the relationship more than they are and begin to feel engulfed. While they want a relationship, because it's hard to express their needs they fear being controlled or told who they should be, and fear disappointment and instability. Inherently if someone likes them and starts to lean on them, they don't believe they will be able to live up to their partner's needs or expectations. As a result relationships quickly become obligating, guilt-ridden and burdensome. For a while they may pretend to be in the relationship while secretly hoping their partner will leave them.

 

Relationships involve interdependence, but avoidants would prefer everyone take responsibility for their own emotional needs - it feels wrong to be burdening their needs and desires on another and engulfing to be on the receiving end. Intimacy can make them feel inadequate and unworthy, and concern for the emotional well-being of their partner can produce a fear of failure so great it is easier to retreat to what they do know - being alone. Their core beliefs tell them they're not good enough, so they often run from love, because ultimately, unconsciously, they don’t feel they deserve it. Love and affection incite feelings of vulnerability so are threats - avoidants avoid love to avoid hurt, and when they encounter reliable love are drawn to try to spoil it to prove to themselves it can’t be real. They will hurt the people who show they care about them the most.

To be happy in a relationship is to be comfortable being who we truly are and knowing that will be respected by our parter. But avoidants often feel great shame over their natural avoidant impulses, so it is very difficult for them to do this. This instinctive need to hide themselves can produce anxiety and depression, and a feeling of the need to escapeIronically the deep assumption of rejection and instability on revealing their true selves, and the resulting protectiveness and discomfort around getting closer, make that very rejection and relationship breakdown more likely. In doing so the avoidant unconsciously seeks confirmation of a deep-rooted belief: that relationships are by nature unreliable and cause pain, in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Avoidants are afraid of and incapable of tolerating true intimacy. Since they were brought up not to depend on anyone or reveal feelings that might not be acceptable to caregivers, their first instinct when someone gets really close is to run away. Ultimately, avoidants would like their needs for connection and companionship satisfied, but they're often reluctant, afraid or unwilling to satisfy a partner's needs for safety, support and deeper connection in return. And they must run from any strong emotions because they are too associated with pain and trauma. Avoidants will use many justifications (to themselves as well as others) to avoid exposing these basic truths. They have fewer break-up regrets and feel relieved at leaving their partner, but will then seek out someone the same. They’re generally not loyal to stay through the tough times and are likely to leave when you need them most (until they develop enjoyment in the sense of value and purpose that caregiving can provide, avoidants are more likely to leave when there are new children or when their partner has a serious illness, for example). Avoidants unconsciously assume emotional abandonment and internalised early on it was safer not to try, so subconsciously must always protect themselves by staying one step ahead and distancing from any threatening situation. Being the one to leave also allows them to keep their self-image of self-sufficiency, control and independence intact. 

SELECT ARROWS:

 Why & How

 Exiting from difficulty

 Inconsistency of feeling

 Escaping system overwhelm

 Post-rationalisation

 

 Post-Breakup

 

 Repression, rebounds and depression

 Denying loss

 Longing for an ex

 Contact & reuniting with ex-parters