This article is a personal one for a change, and about my experiences and thoughts as a woman with an avoidant/dismissive attachment style (mainly – I am differently attached to particular individuals).
This test tells you your main attachment style.
I have only heard of Avoidant women through the accounts of men who have dated or even married (and divorced) them. It is very rare to find any personal accounts of women who have an avoidant attachment style. To be fair, it is rare in general to see a dismissively attached person write or talk about their attachment style. Most people who discover attachment style theory are preoccupied – for they experience a fear of abandonment in close relationships quite frequently, and probably have been called “clingy” before on a regular basis… So they eventually stumble upon the theory.
Avoidants on the other hand tend to repress or deny any attachment style issues. Typically, they blame the other person for the attachment style-related issues, especially if they happen to be preoccupied (which is often the case, unfortunately).
I am rather certain that if I weren’t so interested in psychology, self-awareness, and being connected to people on an instinctual level (being So/Sx), I probably would never have discovered I have an Avoidant attachment style, or simply would not have cared about it.
But my So/Sx nature sooner or later always makes me want to feel connected to people, social groups, and/or humanity in general. Typology as a whole felt like a tool to be able to connect with people – understanding their personalities being a huge plus in that regard.
However, being dismissive I have a natural distrust of people. My feelings can be quite contradictory: on one hand, I do believe people are good by nature, or at least they aren’t “bad”. But once I am involved in the equation, I expect people to be negatively predisposed towards me. It is a very intrinsic and deep feeling about others, that I deem to be related to my attachment style. I usually stay away from people or keep a certain distance, due to this intrinsic belief they’d do me harm once they got too close to me.
That is why I have difficulties with making long-term close friendships or relationships of any kind. I am typically hard to reach/catch/keep/get to know etc. I am very guarded. And whenever I feel like I have revealed too much, or gotten too vulnerable, I close/shut up like a clam. I disappear.
As I said, this makes developing and particularly keeping close friendships very difficult. Being So/Sx, I feel lonely without having enough friends, but being Avoidant I dread the moment they might “get too close” and “rob me of my safe personal space”. So it is a constant push and pull – me approaching others, and then retracting once they attempt to get closer or make any demands on my personal time and space.
Unfortunately, I am also quick to let friendships dissolve once they become too difficult, especially when I am at fault, when I should contact them again. Then I will let the friendship slide, occupy my mind with other activities and thoughts, and by that consciously or not “ghost” the person. I know that this is not right, but in the moment I feel like I don’t actually care. On a deeper level, and especially once I notice how alone I have become, I mourn this. But it is very difficult for me to delve into those hurtful feelings of loss and loneliness.
I could see that Avoidant people have become that way as a coping mechanism. They bury painful feelings and a desire for attachment to others, because in their experience attachment equals pain and loss. And this has been the case for me: years ago, one of my best friends suddenly called the quits on our friendship because of a silly prank I did to her. Since then, I have been struggling with making and particularly keeping friendships. Needless to say, I have gone through long bouts of depression and so forth due to this…
On another note, Avoidant men are often scorned and despised for not being able to form an attachment to one woman and stay in a close relationship with her. Supposedly many of them cheat and/or won’t be able to ever “settle down”. Another common term for this type of man is “emotionally unavailable”. Many articles and videos on relationship advice for women are about “How to spot an emotionally unavailable man”, and all the ways and reasons to not get involved with one.
In short, the “emotionally unavailable” person (most commonly man – most Avoidants are men) is the “bad guy”, according to those women. In some way, I cannot really blame them – dismissively attached people can act like they are heartless and cruel, and perhaps many of them actually are so. Furthermore, those women who usually get burned by avoidant men are preoccupied women, and this is the worst attachment style pairing there is, so of course in those women’s eyes the man is “bad” and should be avoided at all costs.
Being an Avoidant woman, I am not sure what to make of this. Am I a “bad girl” (and not in the sexy way)? Should I be avoided and left alone for something I had no control over (meaning, developing this attachment style)?
You might be quick to say either yes or no to those questions. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
No, I am not a “bad” person or unworthy of love, for several reasons. An attachment style does not automatically make you a bad or good person. You can harm others being either preoccupied or dismissive.
Having said that, I am actually being a “bad girl” when I am being dismissive, particularly since I am aware of my tendencies and whenever something I do is dismissive or avoidant. Hence on some level, when I am being a “heartbreaker”, or in a way like a lonely femme fatale who is inevitably breaking other people’s hearts as if she didn’t care, I am choosing to be avoidant/dismissive – or rather, I am choosing not to do anything about it.
I have had too many cases of breaking guys’ hearts. Mostly of those guys who kept being persistent, even though I wasn’t truly into them. Out of the human desire for some connection, I’d engage in superficially intimate interactions with them. I’d tell myself, this is only temporary and “for fun”, I am not going to enter into a serious relationship with them. While they were usually dreaming of being in a relationship with me. Whenever the possibility of such was getting closer, I’d suddenly lose all interest and cut the contact, either entirely or to a noticeable degree. With those guys who were preoccupied and being overly possessive and controlling, I could put all the blame on them: “You are too clingy, and we aren’t even in a relationship!” With those securely attached guys, I’d simply say: “I don’t think we are a good match.”
You may ask, what about the guys I was truly interested in? This would go beyond the scope of this article. In short, I am rather Fearful-Avoidant in romance. So when I like a guy, I can have periods of obsessively idolizing him, or simply being very infatuated with him from a distance. But once we get closer to possibly entering a relationship or any kind of commitment, I internally freak out and feel the need to run away. (If you want to read more about this, tell me so in the comments, and I’ll write another article specifically on that topic.)
After all this, it should be obvious that preoccupied or dismissively attached people like myself should change their attachment style. However, changing your attachment style can be incredibly difficult, especially when you try to change it on your own (or even in therapy). According to some, changing a dismissive attachment style is close to impossible.
So, what am I to do when I am a “bad girl” and I cannot fix this on my own?
According to certain experts, the best way to change your attachment style is by being in a close, loving relationship with a securely attached romantic partner.
I have a couple of issues with this. First, being avoidant, I am naturally not inclined to enter a romantic relationship, due to the fears I have mentioned above. Secondly, this method likely wouldn’t change my attachment style towards people in general, and friends in particular – the two domains I care the most about (being Social instinct first). I’d assume that being in a good long-term relationship with a securely attached person would positively impact my attachment style in romance, but not necessarily in my social life.
So, the only solution would have to be, developing close and enduring friendships with securely attached people.
If only I wasn’t avoidant of that.