What Is Avoidant Attachment?

Did you know that 40% of people have some kind of insecure attachment style? Attachment styles form in early childhood depending on how your parents or caregivers treat you. Some attachment styles are very healthy, while others can be detrimental to your relationships as an adult. 

The avoidant attachment style can cause a variety of issues in your adult life. But what is avoidant attachment? How is it different than other types of insecure attachment styles?

Keep reading and learn more about what it is and how it affects your adult relationships below. 

What You Need to Know About Avoidant Attachment

The avoidant attachment style develops in children whose parents aren’t supportive or present.

If you have this attachment style, your parents may not have provided you with adequate shelter, food, or attention. Children who develop this style may find it hard to rely on others since they find it hard to rely on their parents. 

They may instead rely on themselves and tackle many substantial issues alone.

If they feel anxious or sad, they will deal with those emotions silently rather than talk about them with others. The formation of this attachment style can begin very early in a child’s life. 

It may start with a parent not responding when their baby cries or the parent may yell at the child for crying. The parent may not have any meaningful reaction when their child achieves something important. The parent may not take the child’s concerns seriously or may make fun of them and their problems. 

The parent may not want to touch the child or be near them. They may get annoyed or frustrated if the child has a problem. They may also not show much concern for the child’s nutritional or medical needs. 

Neglect is a form of childhood trauma and is strongly correlated with the avoidant attachment style. This style persists into adulthood and can make it difficult to form relationships.

Understanding Avoidant Attachment

Signs of avoidant attachment begin in childhood. 

The child may not like to touch others or be close to others. They may rarely or never ask for help and prefer to do things on their own. They may not make eye contact with others and have trouble expressing their emotions. 

As the child grows into an adult, these problems may become more numerous and severe. This attachment style can prove especially difficult for romantic relationships. An avoidant attachment person may feel that their partner is clinging to them even when they’re not. 

They may prefer not to be in a romantic relationship because they want to be independent. They may have an aloof disposition and may easily stay calm in situations that are stressful or upsetting. They may also fear being too close to a romantic partner due to the possibility of getting hurt. 

These people may also have problems with reliance. Because they have been independent for so long, they may not want to rely on or confide in anyone, not even a romantic partner. They may also not want their partner to depend on them. 

This attachment style can prevent a person from having meaningful relationships. Once this style gets developed, it is very hard to fix. But this doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to be stuck with this style forever.  

How to Move Beyond the Avoidant Attachment Style

While avoidant attachment is hard to treat, therapy can help. This style is difficult to treat because it starts so early in a person’s childhood. It’s a way of living, and it becomes part of a person’s personality. 

Many different types of therapy can help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective options. It involves helping a person think differently. 

It may sound difficult to learn to think differently, and it can be. But repeated therapy sessions will drill this new way of thinking into your mind. It helps you think more positively and productively. 

This therapy can focus on particular problems you may have due to your attachment style. You can then tackle these issues one at a time. It can also help identify any harmful thoughts or beliefs you may have about other people and relationships. 

How It Works

Your therapist may also walk you through certain mental exercises to help you emerge from this attachment style. You may experiment with role-playing, problem-solving, and so on. It is important to be consistent with your therapy sessions if you want to benefit from the best results. 

You should also feel comfortable with your therapist. Feeling comfortable and being able to confide in someone may be difficult due to this attachment style. But as you learn more about how this attachment style works, you will be better equipped to overcome it. 

It is also important to avoid imprinting this style on your child if you have one. Being too aloof around your child and not paying enough attention to them can cause them to develop this style. Make sure you spend time with them and appreciate their accomplishments with enthusiasm. 

This will allow the child to develop a more secure attachment style. 

All About Avoidant Attachment

Avoidant attachment is a common attachment style that can affect a person’s ability to form relationships. It begins in early childhood and can persist into adulthood. While it’s difficult to treat, therapy can do a world of good. 

Are you ready to get treated? Check out our services and see how we can help. 

About Michael Hilgers, M.MFT

I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor working remotely with clients around the world. I believe that everyone has the potential to change; to create new paths, to go in new directions. Life is hard. Counseling can help.

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