Attachment styles are the complex psychological blueprints that dictate how we connect and interact with others in various relationships. Developed initially by British psychologist John Bowlby, the theory of attachment styles has since evolved to encompass a variety of approaches, but the core principles remain.
Of the different types of attachment styles, the Avoidant Attachment Style is perhaps one of the most intriguing. Understanding it can illuminate the underlying mechanisms that drive certain behaviours in relationships. Moreover, for those experiencing distress from such an attachment style, there are professionals who specialise in avoidant attachment style counselling in Sydney and other locales.
Here are five key traits commonly observed in people with an avoidant attachment style:
- Emotional Self-Reliance
People with avoidant attachment styles prioritise independence and self-sufficiency – this isn’t merely a preference but almost a survival strategy for them. Emotional self-reliance is often characterised by a reluctance to seek help or lean on others, even in times of emotional distress. They tend to believe that expressing vulnerability or needing others is a sign of weakness.
Maintaining a certain emotional distance is often critical for people with this attachment style. They may deliberately evade deep emotional intimacy, and commitments – like moving in together, marriage, or even labelling the relationship – can be triggers for anxiety. However, this is not to be mistaken for a lack of interest in relationships. Many people with avoidant attachment styles do have meaningful connections but resist being “tied down”.
- Difficulty Expressing Emotions
This trait goes beyond mere reticence. There’s often a substantial emotional wall that individuals with an avoidant attachment style construct, making it difficult for them to articulate their feelings. This doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings – on the contrary, their emotional world can be rich and complex, but verbalising it to others feels risky, possibly even perilous.
- Discomfort with Closeness
While many of us relish the thought of a warm hug, an intimate conversation, or a cosy evening with a loved one, individuals with avoidant attachment styles may find these situations uncomfortable. The discomfort is not necessarily physical but emotional. Being “too close” feels suffocating, and their instinct is to create emotional or even physical space.
- Skilled at Intellectualising Emotions
A fascinating and somewhat paradoxical trait is their ability to intellectualise emotions. They may be very articulate in discussing emotional concepts, theories, or other people’s emotions but find it challenging to apply the same verbal skills to their own emotional experience. This intellectualisation serves as a defence mechanism, allowing them to talk around emotions without actually getting entangled in them.
The Path Forward
Recognising an avoidant attachment style is the first step toward fostering healthier relationships. If you identify with the traits above, remember that they are not a life sentence but patterns that can be understood and transformed.
Understanding attachment styles, especially the avoidant type, can be a revelation in how we approach relationships, not just romantically but across the spectrum of human interaction. It can equip us to better understand ourselves and the people around us, leading to more meaningful, fulfilling connections.
The journey to self-awareness and relational well-being is a voyage worth taking, and sometimes, professional guidance can make all the difference.