Why fearful avoidants push/ pull + how to end the cycle

As a fearful avoidant, you behave differently with different people. If your person is more avoidant than you, you become anxious. If they are anxious (or secure in some cases) you avoid. You chase the ones that can't love you + reject those that can.


This can feel deeply confusing and frustrating. "Why am I infatuated with emotionally unavailable individuals whilst running from people who want to connect?"


You might really care about people and still feel this urge to escape.


How fearful avoidance forms:

  • When our caregivers were unpredictable - sometimes loving + soothing, other times distant, hysterical, angry (or even abusive)

  • When we were given adult responsibilities as a child - in order to get love we had to abandon our needs + help others in adult ways.


Why fearful avoidants reject emotional closeness as adults:

  • Feeling familiarity with unavailable partners - they mirror the times our parents were unavailable.

  • Being close doesn't feel safe because in childhood it was equated with being responsible for others. We feel overwhelmed by the idea of caring for another again.

  • Avoidant partners are less likely to pressure us or put more responsibility on us.

  • We feel unworthy of healthy love


Perspectives to help us let healthy love in:

  • Our subconscious mind thinks familiarity is safe, but if you want a better relationship than your parents had, you want to choose unfamiliar. Expect discomfort when dating a secure partner. It's not a sign they are the wrong one, but that your shadows are coming up to be healed. If we let a potential partner know our fears about relationship and explain it might take a while to adjust to being close this can really help.

  • We can stop equating love with obligation. Not every relationship will make our life more difficult or place unreasonable or taxing demands upon us like we experienced in childhood. A healthy partner knows they are responsible for their own wellbeing and will respect your boundaries. You may rarely set boundaries - instead of asking for what you want, if you don't get it automatically you avoid the relationship altogether. Practice letting people know if you don't want to do something or if the relationship is moving too fast.

  • Fearful avoidants often rush into connection quickly and then rush out again just as fast. Nobody taught them how to be in tune with their own bodily signals that tell them what feels right for them. E.g. noticing the beginning of feeling overwhelmed. Or noticing how vulnerable they feel when sharing. Only when these signals become really strong do they notice and suddenly react e.g. by avoiding. Take time to listen to how you feel and move at a pace that feels right for you so you don't feel the sudden urgent need to defend yourself.

  • You can have the benefits of an avoidant partner's acceptance of taking personal space plus the warmth and affection of an anxious partner when you choose someone who is securely attached. Take a leaf out of the secure's book and be really honest from the get go. Early on in dating/ getting to know each other, tell them about your attachment style and what makes closeness scary. See if they are supportive + express they would honour your boundaries + ease your fears. It might seem unusual to be this honest but secure people appreciate this. If the other person can't handle it, better to know sooner so you can move on.

  • Examine your childhood again through new eyes. Realise that the way your caregivers treated you was a reflection of their emotional intelligence and nothing to do with your worth. You are 100 percent deserving of healthy love. Even if you hurt others in the past, know that you were doing the best you could from the awareness you had at the time. Now you know better, you can do better. Often it's the low self worth that leads to self sabotage that leads to people getting hurt... so healing your self esteem is a gift for your loved ones too. Your ideal partner/ tribe really want you to be able to receive their love.



©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.