Insecure Attachment Styles in Relationships: The Anxious-Avoidant Trap

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My Dearest Stargazing Day Dreamers,

We are in the month of February, and, as promised, we are highlighting a particular theme for this month:

Attachment

To celebrate this theme, we are launching two self-study courses on CreativeArtsTherapiesOnline.com.

But before we get into that, I’d like to share a snippet of the content available for our self-study courses, The Anxious Avoidant Trap, and Beyond the Breakup, which will also be touched upon in Sunday’s webinar.

What is Insecure Attachment?
Much of the “drama” that causes so much misery in relationships is related to a disorganized attachment style, or the two insecure attachment styles: avoidant attachment, and anxious-ambivalent attachment.

For today, we will focus on avoidant and anxious-ambivalent attachment in relationships, what Levine & Heller (2014) refer to as, “The Anxious-Avoidant Trap.”

At the core of an anxious/ambivalent person’s self-perception, is a feeling of worthlessness or not being good enough. This becomes a significant barrier to finding a relationship with a secure partner.

A secure partner (and an avoidant partner, for that matter) might be drawn to the anxious/ambivalent person for all their passion and intensity, which can be exciting and inspiring. The  anxious/ambivalent person, however, will most likely reject the secure partner as “too nice,” or perceive the individual’s affections as false or fleeting or misguided.

Because the anxious/ambivalent person operates from a place of “not good enough” they have a strong conviction that they must earn love. If love is freely given, it is suspect and/or not of any great value, and therefore either discarded or unappreciated by the insecure partner. However, they are also prone to “protest” behaviors, which may include manipulative game playing, intermittent withdrawals, punishing behaviors, jealous and rageful outbursts, and so on.

Individuals with avoidant attachment styles tend to view themselves (and to be viewed) as lonesome travelers in life. They idealize self-sufficiency and look down upon dependency.

Avoidants are generally considered to be miserable individuals, feeling isolated, unfulfilled, and often pining for “the one that got away” or the perfect partner that will make them feel alive, though they spend a lot of time and energy defending themselves from those feelings and desires altogether.

Thus, they may appear to be the laissez-faire types who always have an exciting adventure or riotous party lined up—entertaining a crowd while avoiding an intimate connection to any one person in particular. Or, perhaps, they are content to spend days, weeks, months on end holed up by themselves with their books and movies, lost in fantasy.

Avoidants are also most likely to treat their partners like adversaries or enemies trying to invade their territory or exert control over them. Often, they will project into their partners their own deeply buried need for emotional connection, as well as any unresolved “drama” that they have avoided addressing on a personal level.

To learn more about attachment styles in relationships, including Six Signs of The Anxious-Avoidant Trap,  you can purchase either of the two self-studies below.

Keep gazing and dreaming!

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Briana MacWilliam MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT

Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT

Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist

Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner

CreativeArtsTherapiesOnline.com

BrianaMacWilliam.com

YouTube Channel

 

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