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Fearful Avoidant Attachment

Some signs of fearful avoidance:

Sees the value in close relationships but when they are presented with a real opportunity to create emotional intimacy it can be overwhelming and scary


- Quickly jumps into new connections but doesn't notice when  things are moving too fast and they are starting to feel stressed, overwhelmed by the intensity, want space etc until they hit 'crisis mode' and feel they have to run away A.S.A.P.

- Very warm and empathetic as a partner but their mood can quickly shift - partner can feel like they have a split personality: one minute the relationship feels deeply connected and the next they withdraw emotionally/ physically

- Struggles to trust others 

- Negative view of self and others: "I am bad and other people are unsafe."

- Has no organised strategy - when they feel too close they pull away and when they feel too distant they reach out anxiously, creating a push pull dynamic. 

-Fears both being abandoned and being engulfed (losing freedom in the relationship)

- Becomes like a classic anxious partner when paired with an avoidant individual and like an avoidant partner when paired with an anxious individual. Has been both the 'distant' one and the 'needier' one in different relationships. 

- May be very romantic and truly desire partnership but in a real relationship feels panicked and suffocated (unless the partner is more avoidant than they are, in which case they will become anxious)

- Feels deeply responsible for their partner's feelings and experiences guilt when they can't meet their needs

- Feels stuck between a rock and a hard place attracting partners who want too much closeness or far too little closeness. 

(If you are a fearful avoidant you can also lean somewhat more to the anxious or avoidant side)

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Path To Growth

Fearful avoidant attachment is built upon having a negative perception of self also a negative (mistrustful) perception of others. To heal your attachment wounds, there are two aspects to work upon:

  • Learning to love yourself, by honouring your feelings, letting go of shame and obligation and allowing yourself to put yourself first in a healthy way.

  • Developing a more positive outlook towards others - learning to recognise the green flags that others can be trusted, choosing to spend energy on healthy connections (platonic and romantic) so your nervous system learns that it's safe to be close, using and experiencing conscious communication where it is safe to express your feelings and set boundaries so that you don't have to feel trapped or overwhelmed when connecting and relationships can feel both nurturing and freeing. 

©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.