WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
If you're thinking - "this sounds like me" - well congratulations, you're normal!
A quarter of the population classifies as avoidantly attached. That probably means lots of people you know (particularly as groups of friends may reinforce each other's similar patterns). Attachment styles are also fluid - they are simply dynamic patterns of interacting with each other and not inherent, unchangeable traits. Studies show that over time, 30% of us change our dominant attachment strategy. For example, after a relationship that brought out anxious patterns that left you feeling vulnerable, you may unconsciously respond in your next relationship by protecting yourself and presenting as particularly avoidant.
It's also important to remember that attachment styles were not in our control, and are not our doing. If you see yourself in these descriptions and patterns, take heart. This defensive process is a normal reaction to a situational stressor in childhood, and by adulthood typically operating at a deeply unconscious level. As a vulnerable child you likely experienced pain that made you feel rejected at the core, and had to suppress your feelings. Unconsciously something made you associate connection with pain. But everyone is worthy of love and stability. Always be kind to yourself.
We are every one of us juggling our own quirks, and there is no hierarchy of needs: wanting space is just as valid as wanting closeness. There is nothing wrong with being this way, and no one has to change their own personality or their partner's. However, you are probably here because it has been making your relationships more difficult and you would like to change that. The biggest step forwards is simply awareness - so the best thing about learning about our attachment style is it can help us understand and unapologetically embrace what it is we need, and potentially how to get it in a successful relationship.
I bought into the most dangerous rule: if you’re struggling, don’t talk about it. I created an illusion of who I was supposed to be on the outside — the kind, funny, and charismatic guy with a great career and relationship. But on the other side of that facade hid my shadow — the destructive and manipulative version of myself who couldn't hold up relationships, who lied and cheated. The idea of anyone finding out my truth felt like death.
And then it happened. Someone important to me cracked the illusion wide open, and I couldn’t lie my way out of it this time. To avoid crushing shame, I shut everyone out and ran. One night, while living in the back of my car, my reality hit me like a ton of bricks: I had chosen to completely isolate myself and hide, rather than take ownership of my darkness and face the people I had hurt. It was then that I realized I only had two options: to continue to hide and silently suffer, or shine light into my deepest corners and start talking about it.
It was in that darkest moment that I learned the greatest lesson:The shadow lives within all of us - the part of our psyche that causes self-sabotage. When you try to run from your shadow, it consumes you and becomes the puppeteer… and you a passive player in your own life. It can take over in the form of addiction, infidelity, anger, anxiety, analysis paralysis, avoiding healthy habits, depression, sexual dysfunction or deep unfulfillment… And while truth can sting, the first step in healing your dysfunction is to face these parts of yourself that make you the most human. Facing it is the beginning of awakening your greatest potential…"
“From the dark places, we often get a new sense of priorities. Ultimately, it’s the quality of our relationships that will determine the quality of our lives.” – Esther Perel