20 Signs Of An Avoidant Attachment Style

20 Signs Of Avoidant Attachment Style

Searching for the signs of an avoidant attachment style?

Maybe you feel lonely or disconnected in your relationship. Or perhaps your partner seems emotionally unavailable, leaving you confused about their feelings. They might have an avoidant attachment style, a common pattern that can impact relationships.

Attachment Theory Basics

Attachment theory explores how early childhood experiences shape our adult relationships. These experiences lead to different attachment styles, influencing how we connect with others.

You can read our article on attachment styles here!

What Is Avoidant Attachment?

One of the main styles is avoidant attachment, characterized by a strong desire for independence and a reluctance to rely on others. These types of people might avoid serious relationships or withdraw at a certain point. They might also push people away or be unable to connect at an emotional level.

Where Does Avoidant Attachment Come From?

Attachment issues all stem from the same place: our early childhood experiences. Just like the anxious attachment, someone with an avoidant attachment style may have experienced inconsistent caregiving or emotional neglect as a young child. Since emotions are now considered painful, they try to avoid them entirely.

On the other hand, sometimes avoidant attachment is created through emotional incest. For example, a young mother going through a divorce might overshare with her child and use that child more like a friend or even surrogate romantic partner. Since this is emotionally unhealthy, this might lead that child to feel unsafe around emotions in his or her future relationships.

Finally, a fear of abandonment or rejection might be the culprit. Perhaps a parent left to start a new family. Even though that situation had nothing to do with the child, they might have experienced it as abandonment or rejection. Since that experience was so painful, they seek to keep themselves “safe” by not wanting love or affection in the future.

20 Signs Of Avoidant Attachment

Our attachment styles influence how we connect with others. While a secure attachment style fosters healthy relationships, an avoidant attachment can make intimacy challenging.

Here are 20 signs that you might have an avoidant attachment style:

  1. Feeling uncomfortable with intimacy or closeness
  2. A constant need for personal space/desire for alone time
  3. Won’t ask for help/can’t rely on others
  4. Fearful of depending on someone
  5. Convinced that they don’t need emotional intimacy or connection
  6. Emotionally detached or difficulty expressing emotions
  7. Dislikes emotional people or experiences
  8. Push people away if they get too close
  9. Struggles with vulnerability
  10. Struggles with trust (“I can’t rely on anyone but myself”)
  11. Fear of commitment (not just romantically!)
  12. Avoids serious topics/conversations
  13. Difficulty opening up / with emotional intimacy
  14. Pushes people away after emotional or even physical intimacy
  15. Suppresses emotions in general
  16. Fear of rejection
  17. Passive aggressive behavior
  18. One foot out the door/always ready to breakup
  19. Criticize or nitpicks partners to create distance
  20. Casual relationships only or short-term relationships with lots of breakups

Please note that this list is not exhaustive! But hopefully it gives you a better idea about whether you (or your partner) are avoidantly attached.

Misconceptions About Avoidant Attachment

The avoidant tries very hard to maintain control over their emotional state, often to the point of denying they have emotions at all. However, they are just as in need of emotional intimacy and connection as everyone else.

Often, they hide their needs with a mask of self-sufficiency or hyper-independence. After all, if they never need anything from anyone, they can’t get hurt again, right? (Wrong!)

Similarly, they might find themselves avoiding emotions in other people. That might mean being unable to talk about their emotions, shutting down “deep” conversations or feeling unable to understand the emotional needs of those around them.

The Push-Pull Relationship

One of the most common relationship problems is the dance between the anxious attachment and the avoidant attachment. While the anxious attachment craves intimacy, the avoidant prioritizes autonomy. The closer the anxious attachment tries to get, the more the avoidant retreats.

This isn’t a fun situation for anyone involved! So whether you’re an anxious attachment or avoidant attachment, learning how to identify each attachment style can save you much friction and heartbreak in the end.

Can You Change Your Partner’s Attachment Style?

Maybe you’re reading the because you’re hoping you can change your partner’s avoidant attachment style. Unfortunately, no, that’s not how it works!

Attachment styles are deeply ingrained and often stem from past experiences. Changing them is challenging, especially if your partner isn’t aware of their style or doesn’t see their behavior as a problem. To compound the problem, people with avoidant attachment often value self-sufficiency, making it difficult for them to accept support.

Typically, the people seeking a way to improve their relationship are anxious attachments, not the avoidants themselves–although some avoidants are aware of their issues and are willing to work on them.

Understanding Your Partner’s Distance

Rule number one of dating an avoidant is to not take their behavior personally! It’s crucial to remember that their distancing behavior isn’t a reflection of your worth. It’s simply a coping mechanism developed in response to past experiences. (We all have our own coping mechanisms!)

While you naturally want to help, focus on respecting their boundaries and allowing them to take the lead in healing.

It’s also important to note that avoidants are not always great partners. Again, this is not a reflection of you.

Be realistic about your situation and be prepared to make the best decision for yourself if necessary. It’s not up to you to save anyone!

So what did you think? Did you recognize any of these signs of avoidant attachment style? What did that help you understand about yourself or your partner?

It’s important to remember that attachment styles are not set in stone. With self-awareness and effort, you can develop a more secure attachment style and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Jenn Stevens The Self-Worth Project

PS Looking for more? You might also want to check out this post about guide to attachment styles, or 20 signs of an anxious attachment style.

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20 Signs Of An Avoidant Attachment Style

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