Avoidant attachment

Happy new month! The year has been long and tumultuous but we have made it this far. What are you grateful for?

I am grateful for rest and good health.

Today we will be looking at avoidant attachments also referred to as dismissive.

As previously mentioned, avoidant attachment as observed in children, they have no close contact with the caregiver such that separation and reunion happen without much distress or notice from the child.

What does it look like?

People with this attachment style tend to have a positive self image,appearing well put together but having a negative perception of others. They tend towards being independent,self-reliant often rejecting outside help,form shallow attachments and strongly repel connections that require excessive closeness,intensity and intimacy.

In relationships, avoidant individuals are observed to be uncomfortable with intimacy. Unlike their anxiously attached counterparts, they experience low anxiety levels. A partner who gives them space and freedom is ‘ideal’ for them. They would rather have others depend on them and not the other way around;this may translate to a difficultly in seeking help and support.

Interestingly, most avoidant people tend to get into relationships with anxiously attached and that may result in an unhealthy relationship as one avoids and the other clings.

In parenting, they may be dismissive of their children’s needs, often having stoic stance. Public displays of affection for their children are rare or nonexistent. Dramatic displays or tantrums from their children are met with a dismissive response. Words such as, “don’t be a crybaby, toughen up- you’re a big boy/girl, grow up!” are often used.

In work set up, these individuals tend to see themselves as know it alls,often preferring to work alone. They get a lot more done, since the solitude aids in more productivity with minimal supervision. They may however be resistant to leadership and supervision, challenging and criticizing their colleagues and superiors.

Conflict can be difficult for people with this attachment and they may withdraw in order to avoid it.

What can I do to have a healthier attachment?

1. Identify your needs, of closeness and separateness.

2. Make a step in connecting with others, begin with small amounts of interactions as you work your way up.

3. Cultivate a balanced view of others. Find and connect with people you trust and in that space share some vulnerabilities as you observe the responses

4. Take note of where you may be dismissing other people’s needs. For example, if you have a child whose emotional needs you have dismissed, begin to open yourself up to talking to the child, find out how they feel,showing that you understand and care.

5. Learn to compromise- allow others to take care of you even as you take care of them. Create healthy interdependence within your relationships.

6. In work settings, be more of a team player, your resourcefulness will help the team.

Side note: In Kenya, we tend to take a dismissive stance toward our political system often covering our discontent with memes, jokes and banter.

Photo credit: Google

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