Attachment Styles Part 4: Fearful Avoidant
This particular attachment style since is the rarest and can include any aspect of both the anxious and dismissive attachments. Some fearful avoidants will lean more towards being dismissive and others will lean more towards anxious attachment. Therefore, no two fearful avoidants will be exactly alike. However, fearful avoidants aren’t simply a combination of anxious and dismissive attachment, they also have their own unique traits. For example, fearful avoidants typically are very good at reading people due to the fact that there was unpredictability in their upbringing and their best survival mechanism was hyper-vigilance. These folks get a bad rap due to their volatility within relationships. On the other hand, they are the type that is most growth oriented and can easily change when motivated.
Even securely attached people can sometimes overreact and display both avoidant and anxious behaviors under the right circumstances, so I encourage you to understand this as a scale and not in absolute values.
If you’ve read my previous post on attachment styles and wellness you’ll be familiar with the concept of attachment theory. Let’s go over a brief review:
Attachment theory basically describes how our past experiences with primary attachment figures effect how we will bond in the present. There are four main attachment styles developed during childhood, which can also be altered through subsequent primary relationships (more or less secure) or therapy. Today we are discussing the fearful avoidant attachment style.
1. Good at reading people (by-product of hyper-vigilance).
2. Need to feel sure of their safety.
3. More volatile than the other types.
4. Temporarily back away from a relationship when triggered or lash out to protect themselves.
5. Distance within a relationship creates anxiety.
6. Craves intimacy but at the same time is triggered by it.
7. Enjoys deep conversation.
8. More prone to using addiction to self-soothe.
9. Has trouble communicating directly.
10. Can be spiteful.
11. Can be secretive.
12. Conflicted; want a romantic relationship but are fearful of being hurt.
13. Always on high-alert.
14. Fears of being inadequate in their partner’s eyes.
1. Trust (due to abuse or unpredictable circumstances growing up).
2. Feeling bad/defective.
3. Fear of abandonment.
4. Feeling trapped/helpless.
5. Feeling unworthy.
6. Feeling unsafe.
7. Feeling disrespected.
1. Small lapse of trust (or large).
3. Feeling disrespected.
4. Feeling unsafe/out of control.
5. Intimacy (vulnerability).
6. Lack of acknowledgement.
7. Lack of transparency.
9. Lack of clarity.
10. Feeling trapped.
Typical Personality Needs
Typical Love Languages:
1. Quality Time
2. Physical Touch
3. Words of Affirmation
Fearful avoidants need transparency, deep connection and patience from their partners to feel safe and happy. They can sometimes lash out if they don’t feel safe. They need to be reinforced for opening up and for creating greater intimacy. What may seem like second nature to another style can be a bring up a lot of eviscerating fears for the avoidant. They need recognition of this and kindness. They most likely had been abused by a primary attachment figure or grew up in a highly tumultuous environment that forced them to mature quickly. They need SAFETY and predictability within a relationship. However, in their life they need novelty as it tends to be a high personality need.
The fearful avoidant is gifted in ways that others are not; they are highly perceptive and capable of great change. Once they make up their minds to be in a relationship and find the appropriate person they place a great value on it since they know how bad things could be! They could make a very caring and dynamic partner under the right circumstances.
Furthermore, no one is stuck with an insecure attachment style. Even just by being in a healthy relationship with a securely attached individual we can move to become more secure.
For more information you can watch these YouTube videos.
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