Hello, my loves. As promised, this week’s all about my AVOIDANTLY ATTACHED babes.
Last week, we covered how anxious attachment manifests, and how to start taking steps to heal it. But what works for anxious attachment isn’t going to work for avoidant attachment—anxious attachment results in someone pushing in, and avoidant attachment usually results in someone running the fuck away.
Let’s get into it.
To give you a quick rundown, if you present with avoidant attachment, you likely didn’t get your needs met as a child.
This could potentially mean that you had neglectful or absent parents, or that you had to caretake a parent, which then resulted in you being parentified.
A child is not supposed to meet a parent’s needs; therefore, this resulted in you learning that your needs don’t matter to others, no one else is going to look out for you, and you’re the only person you can truly rely on. This hyper-independence then gets carried into adult relationships.
You also might have learned that not only are people not going to anticipate your needs, but they might even punish you if you try to ask for your needs to be met.
For instance, maybe you were yelled at as a child for asking for something, or you were always told no because you were “asking for too much.” Or, if you were getting emotional, maybe you were told that you were “too emotional” or “being ridiculous” or that “big kids don’t cry.”
So now, as an adult, you avoid all your feelings and end up classifying yourself as someone who’s just not emotional.
I do think there can be some truth to that. Some people definitely lean more logical and analytical than emotional! However, that isn’t the same thing as avoiding your emotions entirely.
Like I said when I discussed anxious attachment, there is a standard for how to heal avoidant attachment. The well-known method is to do the inner child work, work with a trauma therapist, learn how to reparent yourself, and work on embodiment.
This method is amazing for someone who’s avoidant. However, people with avoidant attachment are also the most challenging people to work with because they’re so avoidant.
I say that, by the way, as someone who used to be classified as a fearful-avoidant. I had the “best” of both worlds, so when I was with someone who had an avoidant attachment style, I would go anxious, and when I was with someone who had an anxious attachment style, I would go avoidant.
When I started doing embodiment and someone would ask me to go into my body and ask me what sensations I could feel, I thought it was so stupid. I didn’t understand what the point was, and I’d immediately pop out of my body.
I couldn’t figure it out because at some point, I had decided it was much safer for me to live in my head than it was in my body. So by the time I started trying to go through embodiment practices, being in my body was unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Like I mentioned last week, there’s a mirroring effect that happens with attachment styles and attraction: when you have an anxious attachment style, you tend to attract someone with an avoidant attachment style, because they’re actually mirroring your own avoidance.
The same is true for an avoidant person. The avoidant person attracts an anxious person because they’re mirroring your anxious side.
An anxious and an avoidant are like a moth to a flame. So when you’re avoidant and you continue to attract anxious partners or anxious people, it’s because they’re actually mirroring you.
What people don’t understand is that the anxious and the avoidant are both afraid of the same thing: abandonment. But the avoidant person goes a step further, because they’re not even willing to fucking risk it. Instead, if you have an avoidant attachment style, you’ll choose to tap out and leave your partner before they ever get the chance to leave you.
In contrast, the anxious person will push in closer when they get anxious that they’re going to be abandoned. They’ll push and push and push and push, while the avoidant person will run at the first perceived risk of abandonment.
So, when we’re wanting to heal an avoidant attachment style, we need to look at the places where you’re actually anxious—but instead of feeling that anxiety and going through it, you choose to avoid it.
For instance, maybe you’re really anxious about money, but you avoid looking at your bank account. Or maybe you’ve started a new relationship and you really like them, but then all these thoughts start coming up: “What if I disappoint them? What if I feel smothered? What if it’s too much? What if I hurt them? What if they hurt me?”
And then, instead of standing your ground, leaning into that anxiety, and having a conversation, you choose to avoid it instead by leaving the relationship.
Can you see how you’re actually really fucking anxious? Once you can come to terms with your own anxiety—once you can clock it, own it, and clean it up—you’re on your way to being able to heal that avoidant attachment.
If you’re in my Connected Woman program, you know this is my favorite saying. I will say it over and over and over again: you clock your patterns, you own them, you clean them up, and you move forward.
It really can be that simple. Once you can come to terms with your own anxiety, you will heal your own avoidance.
We tend to look at it from a very surface-level perspective of, “Oh, you’re avoidant. Let’s clean up all the areas where you’re avoidant.” And hey, that’s cool. Absolutely do that. But I’m telling you, you need to also pay attention to the places where you’re anxious and start cleaning all that up, because that’s what no one talks about.
Now, I say it gets to be “that easy,” but that doesn’t mean healing avoidant attachment is going to be easy all the time.
Remember to have compassion for yourself. As you learn this new way of being, you’re not going to get it right 100% of the time.
You’re going to fuck it up. There are going to be times where you have the choice to be vulnerable and you choose to be avoidant. That’s okay; it just means that afterward, you get to go, “Hey, you know what? I just clocked that I was actually being avoidant. Can I try that again?”
Also, don’t feel shame for having avoidant attachment in the first place. Clock it, own it, clean it up, transcend it. You can do this. And if you want support with that, join Connected Woman so that you can get it. I especially recommend Connected Woman if you have an avoidant attachment style, because then you have an entire community of people who can help you, who can support you, who can witness you in being your authentic self and celebrate that with you.
Join The Connected Woman EXPERIENCE: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman-experience
Sign up for The Connected Woman course: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”