Every time you’re tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?
– Deepak Chopra
This is part 2 of adult attachment style.
Anyone who never had experience of growing up from dysfunctional / toxic / abusive family, they just don’t have clear clues how painful, confused and disorientate it can be. I can’t emphasize enough it’s very important to educate public, especially primary caretakers as the way they raise their child will definitely alter his / her every aspect of life.
Not as causal as many outsiders think, or simply throw sentences : “past is past, let’s move on!”, “Don’t cry on spilled milk”. Once an individual’s self-belief, self-image and self-confidence etc was damaged / distorted, it needs lots more of time / energy / methods to heal the wounds than don’t make it happen at the first place.
Dismissive attachment style
If a child is rejected / betrayed continually by parents, raising in a toxic, lack of love, care environment, he / she will have difficulties to develop maturely. As times goes by, they learn to mother themselves independently during the development process. They managed to disconnect from parents and environment, shut down emotions or ask for help in order to limit those harmful / hurtful feelings / emotions. The whole time they are in survival mode, tackle all life challenges by themselves and realized that it’s better not relying on others, even parents. People can’t be trust.
Sadly, this unhealthy relationship pattern is prolonged to adulthood. People of this type are very detached from people and environment. They feel more comfortable and safer to do everything alone, don’t consider the necessity and importance of close relationship with others. Besides, they view relationships never last long, or are dangerous / hurtful. They worry things out of their control and love to live on their own terms. In such, they don’t need to deal with disappointments, rejections or emotions that potentially evolved with companion. They seem so “COLD” like a zombie.
They may jump from relationships to relationships as simply a thought of long-lasting relationship already scare them away, or prefer long-distance relationship because it won’t consume all their energy / attention in which they never willing to sacrifice 100% because of the fear of failure in relationship. Since they don’t have great desire of closeness with others, they will never have motivation to figure out what’s the problem and solution – feeling everything just fine.
A female solo-traveler I met on the road years ago was exactly belong to this type : very independent, tough and love to do everything on her own. She doesn’t care hanging around with other fellow travelers and reacted extremely sensitive, always worrying that other travelers or locals took advantage from her. Similar to me, she had a difficult childhood and guess that’s the reason we bound to each other so quickly at the beginning. But after spending some time traveled with her, I felt so exhausted mentally, end up we argued and split up.
I quite understand why she suppress her feelings / emotions, but it’s just too difficult to relate to someone who was so isolated, rejected to open up her thoughts/ideas while planning itinerary. People with dismissive adult attachment style tend to avoid conflict / stress by distancing themselves.
In our society, people are praised and judged according to how much money, what title they hold etc. This give excuses for people of this type to chase their success, fame, reputation even further without critics. In fact, they are very self-critical, insecure, low self-esteem thus need continued attention, approval and reassurance from others. No matter how success, beautiful or wealthy they are, the internal never-ended self-doubts and comparisons are killing them.
They hungry for so-called achievements at the expense of other’s benefits, e.g. families harmony or own health. At surface, such over-work pattern project an image of diligent, industrious but the truth is they love to be admired, complimented and always worrying one day their status will be faded. In order to maintain their current positions/status, they work even more hours or skipping more friends/family events.
Not saying that working hard is bad but there’s a fine line. According to psychology, anyone who put everything on one basket signaling something wrong, e.g. sex / drug addiction, over-work, probably trying to escape from something that afraid to confront, e.g. a bad marriage or a lonely / boring life.
There are another group of people from this type, who don’t care much about money or career etc, but addict to relationships. Deep inside, they have low self-esteem and don’t believe they are worthy enough to have a good relationship, thus always worry and afraid being rejected / betrayed by others. Because of the fear, they keep an eye / ears on their partners all time, very clingy, needy or overly dependent with their friends / partners, e.g. excessive calling, texting. They are willing to do everything pleasing their partners / friends in exchanging of care and attention.
People with healthy boundary have a balance between relationships : maintain an intimate / close relationships with others while owing their own lives, hobbies, personal time. Unfortunately, people with preoccupied attachment style have problems to smooth their inner insecurities without react desperately in their relationships.
Doesn’t mean we will stuck in same style forever, but attachment theory giving us some guidance, showing how our behaviors / thoughts are influenced. Research shows that it’s difficult for individuals to change from one attachment style to another, unless an individual alert to the problems and willing to make changes on their own wishes – to break through the unhealthy pattern.
Secure attachment type is the most healthy personality and we should surround ourselves with them more. Besides, work on developing our self-confidence, self-image issues and learning more about relationships. Sure It needs to take lots of practice and effort, since unlearning wrong patterns to re-build a healthy one takes time and courage.
And if you are secure type, please be patience and don’t being too pushy to your partners / friends (in case they are dismissive/avoidant or preoccupied). The more you push the more you’ll drive them away, they’ll getting more nervous and panic which end up push them back to their caves. Once an individual shut down it’ll be more difficult to help them. Show yourself as example of what is healthy relationship means, they might not saying anything but actually peeking on your behaviors/attitude, when they’re ready they’ll change and make a difference because you prove them how life and relationship can be so lovely.
Do you know anyone belongs to these types? how you feel and handle?
Photo credit : Shaun Dunphy