Traits of fearful avoidant attachment

Fearful avoidants tend to resonate with statements like:

  • I see the value in close relationships but when I am presented with a real opportunity to create emotional intimacy it can feel overwhelming and scary!

  • I quickly jump into new connections but sometimes I won't notice when things are moving too fast for me... Suddenly I'll feel overwhelmed by the intensity and hit 'crisis mode' and I feel a strong urge to run away A.S.A.P.

  • Sometimes I get excited about sharing things that are meaningful to me and open up really quickly but then I experience a vulnerability hangover and regret sharing so much and 'exposing' myself.

  • I'm very warm and empathetic as a partner but my mood can quickly shift. Past partners can see me as having two personalities: one minute the relationship feels deeply connected and emotionally intimate and the next I withdraw emotionally/ physically. I feel guilty sometimes that I have a switch that 'flips' - I don't even fully understand why I do that...

  • I struggle to trust others - people in my past (maybe including parents) have been unpredictable so even when someone appears to be doing all the right things on the surface, I find it hard to trust that it will continue and worry it might be too good to be true...

  • I struggle with my self worth.

  • I have been the partner who wants more closeness sometimes and the partner who wants more distance and pulls away. (Becoming like a classic anxious partner when paired with an avoidant individual and like an avoidant partner when paired with an anxious individual). When another person comes too close I feel a sense of panic or anger and instinctively want to get away or create emotional distance... but when the other person is distant I feel anxious and want them to come back! I create a push pull dynamic and I haven't managed to get myself out of that cycle... or I feel a huge temptation to push-pull and it's hard work not to play out that pattern.

  • I am afraid of both being abandoned and being engulfed (losing freedom in the relationship).

  • I can be very romantic and truly desire deep connections and partnership but maintaining a connection brings up my triggers and it's really difficult for me to stay present and not slip into anxious or avoidant behaviours.

  • I often struggle with feeling deeply responsible for my partner's feelings and experience guilt when I can't meet their needs (this mirrors the heavy responsibilities I was given in childhood).

  • I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place attracting partners who want too much closeness or far too little closeness.

  • I struggle to soothe myself if I'm anxious - sometimes I pull away and hide that I care but I'm not as good as a dismissive avoidant at shutting my feelings down completely for a period of time. Other times my emotions are so intense I play out an anxious pattern and seek reassurance or try to control my partner in hopes of receiving attention and affection.

  • My family relationships were volatile so I've only seen a really unhealthy home dynamic. Because I don't know what a healthy relationship really looks like up close I experience confusion over whether my relationship partner is right or not, even if I care for them a lot.

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


Resources have often failed to explain fearful avoidance accurately - asking individuals to explore dismissive avoidant and anxious attachment style healing resources and just 'put the two pieces together' - if you have done this before you may notice something feels missing! This is because fearful avoidance isn't like paint where you mix the red and the blue and get a predictable purple mix of both styles. Fearful avoidance is a relating style of its own with some unique attributes.


Many people also don't recognise themselves as fearful avoidant at first and may think they are just anxiously or dismissive avoidantly attached. Or they may not have even heard of this fourth style as some attachment style resources don't cover it! I started this journey to healing myself because I discovered my fearful avoidant attachment style so I know how frustrating it can be trying to find helpful information.


Fearful avoidants can be like chameleons, showing up differently in different connections. For me, I dated more avoidant men in my teens and it was only in my twenties that I got to really know the part of me that was avoidant too. You can lean more anxious or avoidant - it's not necessarily an even split. The 'important part' is taking the information that resonates (some information from anxious and dismissive avoidant resources may well resonate!) and developing the skills to feel better within yourself and to be able to create the harmonious relationships you want.


(Attachment styles are a spectrum - take what resonates for your healing journey!)


I have an attachment style quiz you can take here


If you would like some extra support with healing your attachment style, you can book a 1-1 session here



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