Avoidant Attachment Style
by Megan Coggins
You were given every opportunity to succeed; you had a roof over your head, food on the table, and two parents at home who loved you. Your family valued independence, which was a benefit to you because you were able to create a successful career for yourself, buy a nice house and car, and are very confident in your ability to care for yourself. The problem is that relationships have always been a struggle for you. Maybe you have had long-term relationships before, but they never seem to work out. This could be due to having what Bowlby called an avoidant attachment style.
Avoidant attachment styles are developed when parents are emotionally unavailable or have a dismissive stance towards the child’s emotional needs. This type of household might look like a loving and involved household from the outside, but parents were not attentive to the child’s emotional needs. This family may be involved in many activities outside the home, taught right from wrong, and given direction for how to be successful in life, but parents were lacking in their ability to pick up on signals from the child. Maybe you grew up in a household where your parents provided every opportunity for you to be successful, participating in multiple sports camps, academic opportunities and paid for you to attend college. They were very interested in helping you succeed, but were absent in your day-to-day experiences and your own personal interests and emotions.
In adulthood, avoidant attachment traits can present as difficulty or minimizing of emotions in relationships. You may appear emotionally distant in relationships, as you are more prone to overly rely on logic. When conflict occurs, you may retreat, as emotions are an unchartered and uncomfortable place to be in. You are most likely an independent person who can easily take care of yourself so when problem solving or conflict arises; you take yourself out of the situation. The difficulty is that your partner or spouse is completely left out in this process, as you single-handedly took care of the situation. This missed opportunity for emotional connection can wear on a relationship, as the emotional bond is not strengthened, rather you each operate independently.
There is nothing wrong with being able to solve your own problems, but in a relationship, conflict oftentimes requires teamwork and open communication. When this does not happen, it can lead to disconnect in the relationship, as neither person feels aligned with their spouse.
Attachment styles greatly impact our relationships and how we raise and connect with our children. If you would like to learn more about healing from an avoidant attachment style and how to create healthy bonds with people in your life, call 971-808-2686 ext. 700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.