Attachment Styles Part 2: Dismissive Avoidant
I decided to highlight this particular attachment style since it gets a really bad rap online. People call these folks heartless, cold and hopeless. I think it is important to understand without judgment because it’s the only way to make a truly accurate assessment.
Even securely attached people can have dismissive avoidant behaviors and traits, 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 dismissive avoidant attachment style.
1. Slow to open up (sensitive around vulnerability).
2. Highly value safety.
3. Self-soothe by taking time for themselves.
4. Temporarily back away from a relationship when triggered (by jealousy or criticism or pressure) within a relationship.
5. Sometimes feel overwhelmed by the vulnerability of a lot of physical affection.
6. More comfortable bonding through a shared activity.
7. Thrive in a safe, long term relationship.
8. May spend many years single between relationships.
9. Has trouble communicating, as they don’t expect their needs to be taken into account anyway.
10. Sensitive to pressure and expectations.
1. Feeling unseen/unimportant.
2. Feeling defective.
3. Unconscious (deeper than subconscious) fear of abandonment.
4. Feeling trapped/helpless.
5. Feeling unsafe.
1. Feeling pressured/going too fast.
2. Feeling criticized.
3. Feeling controlled.
4. Feeling unsafe.
5. Strong positive emotions (vulnerability).
6. Lack of acknowledgement.
7. Lack of consistency.
9. Lack of clarity.
Typical Personality Needs
Typical Love Languages:
1. Acts of Service
Dismissive avoidants need direct, non-accusatory, communication from their partners to feel safe and happy. They can sometimes be sensitive to criticism. 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 Herculean feat for the avoidant. If a dismissive avoidant is telling you anything personal about themselves, you mean a lot to them. They most likely had been rejected, ignored or punished by a primary attachment figure for expressing their needs or emotions. They need PATIENCE. This can be challenging for those more on the anxious side of attachment as they tend to personalize everything and use protest behaviors such as ignoring and provoking jealousy. These strategies backfire when used on a dismissive avoidant individual since they use distance to self-soothe and need more time than others to return to equilibrium. Finally, they may often feel misunderstood and have the perception that they have communicated more frequently or more clearly than they really have.
As you can see, the dismissive avoidant could make a very loyal, caring partner under the right circumstances. It can be a privilege to become a trusted confidant to such a private sort. It’s special to bond with a more avoidantly attached person because you will get to know them better than 99% of anyone in their life and surely they would not take this closeness for granted since it’s rarer for them to develop.
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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