We’re faced with a lot of positive and negative emotions daily and we have to find our unique way to survive that rollercoaster. Do you think that you may have avoidant attachment triggers? It’s time to find out.
Our early relationships in life, the ones with both of our parents, closest family, and friends define our attachment style in romantic relationships as adults. Depending on how we feel about ourselves and what we require from our partners, we have different attachment categories.
Anxious, secure, disorganized, and avoidant are four important approaches to our relationships. So, what do they mean and how do they affect our love life?
Psychologists Bowlby and Ainsworth worked together on research and they found out that each person behaves differently, and their relationships with caregivers influenced their connections later on in life. Therefore, they established this attachment theory framework.
All of these attachment styles have unique behavioral patterns even though they are sometimes not so easy to spot. For example, people with an anxious attachment style tend to settle a lot because they desperately want to be in a relationship and they’ll do anything to make it work.
A secure attachment style means that the person is happy being in a relationship, but also appreciates their time alone and being away from their partner. They are not afraid of being alone, abandoned, or suffocated and they don’t stray from compromises.
When a person wants to be in a relationship but is at the same time afraid of commitment, they have a disorganized attachment style. And, what about the fourth style? Well, time to learn a bit more about that one and discover all the possible avoidant attachment triggers.
What is an avoidant attachment style?
This style is usually a consequence of caregivers being strict and distant from their kids back when they needed them. More often than not, these kids were expected to be independent and they weren’t allowed to openly express their emotions.
Adults with this attachment style are often characterized as emotionally unavailable individuals who restrain from serious commitment. It’s hard for them to believe that someone cares enough to know their deepest fears and they cannot accept the fact that it’s acceptable to fail.
They may have problems building and maintaining healthy relationships, but they sure appear as self-sufficient and self-confident people. Socializing is not a problem for them and they seem to enjoy their status in their social circle and they appear to be very content with themselves.
They strive to fulfill their career goals and their relationships mainly stay superficial. As soon as they notice that the other person has started developing feelings for them, they will get distant. Emotional connection isn’t something familiar and they may hurt others, including themselves as well.
When we talk about avoidant attachment style, there are two very similar, yet distinctive types, so let’s go through them as well.
Dismissive-avoidant attachment style
People with this avoidant attachment style didn’t have security when they were growing up, so inconsistent partners are not something they want in their lives. They need good communication with their loved ones, and if they don’t manage to acquire that, they will move on.
However, they become more attentive when the breakup is mentioned and they will try to save the relationship. They don’t like to feel dependent on someone, so if they feel like it, chances are high that they will leave.
Having a dismissive-avoidant style, these people tend to shut down quickly. Even though they are not looking for someone to always be in their corner, they will appreciate it when their partner listens to them. They don’t crave attention, but they highly appreciate acknowledgment.
Fearful-avoidant attachment style
Someone who has the main characteristics of both anxious and avoidant attachment styles has this attachment style. They are afraid that the person they love will abandon them, but at the same time, they are afraid of losing themselves.
This attachment style is the most difficult to recognize since it’s a paradox on its own. They may constantly look for excuses to end the romantic relationship they’re in and when their partner finally decides that they’ve had enough, the anxiety and fear of abandonment appear.
Their anxious side may constantly ask for validation from their partner’s side, but as soon as the other person is ready to step up the game and bring a relationship to another level, their avoidant attachment trigger is activated and they want to run away.
What are avoidant attachment triggers?
So, we quickly went through some basics and we’ve mentioned avoidant attachment triggers, but what are they? As someone who’s avoiding getting attached to another person, you may think that you don’t have any triggers, but unfortunately, you’re wrong.
Triggers are everywhere you go and almost everything you talk about. If it requires you to vocalize your feelings, or if you notice your partner is becoming needy, we’re already there. Both of these may cause you to react in a way that you may regret later. So, can avoidants get triggered? Indeed they can.
Anything that requires expressing your emotions can upset you, even a simple sentence like “How are you feeling?” can make you feel uncomfortable. That’s why you’ll choose to avoid anything that can disturb your peace of mind. You’ll try to change the subject or ignore the question completely.
You may also crack jokes on a certain topic and try to make your partner forget about what they’ve just asked. Simply dismissing their observations is not strange to you either. This is why you’re unable to maintain a healthy relationship unless you try a bit harder.
In the next part, we’ll go through some everyday situations that may trigger a person who has an avoidant attachment style when it comes to romantic relationships. Buckle up!
17 situations that can cause avoidant attachment triggers to appear
Maintaining a healthy relationship requires hard work, good communication, and compromises, but why am I saying this to you? You’re the one who’s avoiding a serious bond. An unexplainable fear may appear every time your partner mentions commitment.
Can you think of some situations where your fight or flight instinct was triggered and you simply wanted to run away from your partner? Yes? Okay, you may recognize them in the list below.
However, if you’re still not sure what your avoidant attachment triggers are and you’d like to find them, this article may help you.
1. He’s “too nice”
Every time your partner gives you attention and treats you nicely, you want to run away. Because you never had a chance to learn how to properly take care of someone, this causes fear. You may think that you’re not capable of giving the same in return.
If you’ve tried to communicate this with your partner and he keeps doing the same, you may think of him as someone boring. Also, it’s not excluded that you’ll feel like he doesn’t respect you. It can be tiresome to stay in this kind of a relationship and you may try to initiate the breakup.
2. He’s opening up to you and requires the same
Are you in a relationship with someone who freely expresses his feelings? He has no problems saying what he feels at any given moment and he likes talking about his emotions. Everything is fine until he requires the same from your side.
That’s where you’re withdrawing, am I right? It’s really hard for you to talk about your emotions because when you were a kid, nobody cared about how you felt. You’ve been suppressing your feelings and now his request seems like a really difficult one to fulfill.
3. He wants to take things to another level
You’ve been talking for some time now and he mentioned how he’d like to take your practically-textationship to another level. Did this send a shiver up your spine? Probably.
Whenever your partner thinks about getting to a more serious level with you, you want to flee. Talking about a serious commitment, engagement rings, and weddings are definitely something you’d rather avoid.
What you’re trying to hide behind that I-don’t-think-commitment-is-important attitude is that you actually think it’s a big deal and it’s significant for you.
4. He gives you cute nicknames
Whenever he calls you baby, love, or sweetheart you’d rather not answer. We both know that pet names are adorable, but the problem with them is that they are verbal expressions of affection. And that’s something you’re not keen on.
If your boyfriend is using these often, you may want to create some distance between the two of you, which can result in a breakup. Rather talk openly with him about why this is bothering you and gradually include them into your vocabulary.
5. He asks for (more) attention
Does your boyfriend ask for attention, but you already feel like it’s too much? You may think he’s becoming needy and that’s something you absolutely can’t stand. If you don’t have enough time for your hobbies and activities you enjoy doing, you’ll blame it on him and walk away.
As an avoidant, you’re very sensitive to tasks and being controlled, so every time he asks you to do something it feels like a request or even a demand. Then, the feeling of not being good enough and failing to meet his expectations rush in – and you’re lost.
6. He gives you constructive feedback
He gave you constructive feedback, but you got offended? Yup, this is one of your avoidant attachment triggers and should be taken care of. Every time he tries to give you advice on something, you’re taking it too personally and often as a criticism.
Since your self-esteem is high, you don’t need anybody telling you how you should behave or react, not even the person you’re in a relationship with. This usually leads to conflicts, but since you’re prone to avoiding those too, you’ll simply push him away.
7. He tells you that you’re emotionally distant
Is there anything worse than when a person you care about tells you that you’re emotionally distant? Especially the one you’re trying to speak honestly with and share your deepest desires and emotions? Or if they acknowledge you’re opening up, do they tell you it’s not enough?
It’s really difficult when someone can’t understand how much effort you are putting in a single attempt to vocalize what’s bothering you. You’re not someone who’ll go around and talk about their emotions so easily. You need time to get out of that shell of yours and be vulnerable.
If your partner can respect that, perfect; you’ll know he loves you a lot. But if he can’t, he can walk away and you won’t bother to stop him. You need time to get rid of those old emotions you’re stuck with in order to experience something new.
8. He has temper tantrums
He’s not a kid, so why does he have temper tantrums? I can bet that was your first thought after reading this. Well, there’s something called adult temper tantrums. They happen when we’re bottling up negative emotions and can be both verbal and physical.
He can text you all in caps, slam the door, shout, throw objects around, you name it. Any outburst that will let him release that frustration can be counted as a temper tantrum. And, what do you do when you see this? Leave, because you didn’t sign up to date someone who’s unable to express their needs.
9. He’s flaky
You simply cannot stand unreliable partners, so if your boyfriend starts showing up signs of flakiness, you won’t think twice. He may occasionally change his mind and sometimes behave a bit oddly. Maybe he’s inconsistent from time to time with his actions and that bothers you a lot.
Truth be told; if he’s flaky that probably makes him fun to be around. He may suggest some weird ideas you could do at 3 am or start dancing on the street, even though there are a bunch of people staring at you. But you don’t want unpredictable anything, do you?
10. He doesn’t want to take no for an answer
Okay, I’m not saying that he’s not accepting no for an answer to some really important questions about intimacy, but rather about simple, almost irrelevant things. Or, at least, they seem like that to you. He may be suggesting some activities that you don’t like and he’s pushing you to go with him.
Maybe, he’s trying to initiate a cuddling session even though he clearly knows you’re not a big fan of those touchy get-togethers. It could also happen that he badly wants to take part in your spa night or when you want to read a book. That’s your me-time and you don’t want anybody there.
11. He’s jealous
Is he texting you all the time and checking up on where you’re at and with who did you go out? Do you feel like he’s getting jealous whenever you go out with your male best friend? He keeps saying that he’s your backup plan and you’re getting tired of repeating the same things all over again.
The fact that you’re following your exes on social media means nothing, but you simply can’t explain that to him. He still thinks that you’re trying to remind him of his place in your life. In fact, he may be jealous that you’re spending a lot of time with your friends too.
12. He’s not giving you enough personal space
As an avoidant, you need to be in a relationship with someone who’s independent and who doesn’t require constant reassurance. If he’s asking for too much attention or invading your personal space, you won’t hesitate to make him your ex.
Whenever he pushes you to spend time with him instead of being on your own, your subconscious is telling you that you’re going to lose yourself. Self-identity is really important for you and if anyone tries to compromise that, they are out.
13. He expects that you read between the lines
He expects that you always understand when he’s not in the mood to do something or to recognize his profound cravings. How on Earth are you supposed to do that if he’s not sharing it with you? You’re not capable of reading his mind and you hate reading between the lines.
Did he say that he’s okay with ordering Thai food tonight simply because it seems like you badly want it? And he wants you to acknowledge that and thank him? He’s, probably, continuously telling you how you should learn to read body language because your life would be so much easier.
14. He initiates conflicts
He’s constantly mentioning some differences between the two of you and picks on your quirks all the time. Basically, he initiates conflicts with you daily and he argues how they’re healthy and needed in a serious relationship.
Yeah, right. You’re the one who truly, completely hates conflicts and you’d do anything to avoid them. Is he making a big deal of your random “true love doesn’t exist” sentence? If you feel like he’s trying to pressure you to do something you don’t want, you may easily leave him alone.
15. He’s making plans for the future
“We may go together to a music festival next month”, “I was thinking that you go as my plus one at my cousin’s wedding”, or whatever future arrangement came to your mind when you started reading this part – it’s simply a no-go.
You’re not someone who likes to make plans for the future and you can’t stand it when your partner starts talking about that either. You feel trapped and you simply want to run away. As an avoidant, depending on one person or being committed to someone scares you.
16. He’s not validating your actions
Be aware that I’m not saying that you need validation for everything you do, but you appreciate it when he acknowledges your efforts. Let’s say that he’s constantly complaining about how you’re not openly talking about your emotions and needs.
You finally figured out how to put in words everything that you’ve been holding up and he said nothing. Or even worse, he said you should do it big time and more often. Um, what? Did he just disregard what you just did? This will only make you withdraw and stop you from sharing how you’re feeling again.
17. He has fair expectations of you
Just for the record, the accent here is on fair expectations. He’s not asking you to jump off a plane without a parachute and pray to survive. I’m thinking more about something minor like dressing up for a date or picking up an ice cream flavor for tonight’s movie night.
Since childhood, you know that, mostly, negative emotions come after failing to fulfill a task someone asked you to do. So, every time he politely asks you to do something you feel like he wants to manipulate you or control you.
And there you are, thinking how your partner is too demanding and how this relationship has no future. Wonderful. Make sure you heal your childhood trauma to have a healthy and strong relationship with yourself and others.
How to regulate avoidant attachment triggers?
By now, we’ve established that you’re the emotionally unavailable partner and your connection with that guy may become a complicated relationship. I assume you don’t want that and you’re here seeking advice.
First of all, stop believing that you can’t fall in love and that no man will ever be enough. Even the wolf was tamed, so don’t lose hope. If he’s not your Prince Charming, the right guy will cross your path when the time comes. Not sooner, not later than it’s destined.
So, yes, even if you do have avoidant attachment triggers, you can fall in love.
There are a couple of things you need to work on, but if you start now, you’ll be ready for when true love knocks on your door. Here are some simple steps that can help you regulate these triggers we’ve been talking about.
1. Notice the triggers and understand them
First of all, you have to notice what’s triggering you and understand why. This is not going to be an easy task since we all have different reasons why we’re feeling uncomfortable. You will struggle in the beginning; I’m not going to lie about it.
Once you identify all of them, you’ll need some time to get to the root of each problem related to those avoidant attachment triggers. It may be some childhood trauma that you didn’t know you have to heal or simply had bad relationship experiences in the past.
2. Write your thoughts down
The next step that you can take is to write down your thoughts. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody, you don’t even have to understand it either. The most important part is that you put them on paper and out of your mind.
Shaping your raw thoughts may be tricky, but after some time you’ll feel more comfortable doing it. Pay attention that you write the most in those moments when your mind is overflowing and when you feel like you’ll lose it.
Write your thoughts down as they come, don’t overthink them. Try to get the answers to questions like “Why am I feeling this way?”, “Which words can I use to describe my emotions?”, “What am I looking for in a relationship?”, or “What expectations do I have from my partner?”.
This may help you to organize those messy thoughts and finally make some progression in relationships.
3. Try not to run away from conflicts
I know this is easier said than done but try not to run away from conflicts. They are, inevitably, very important in maintaining a healthy and long-term relationship. Otherwise, this may turn into a toxic relationship, and, trust me, you don’t want that.
Being able to calmly and openly talk about everything that’s bothering you is a remarkable skill rare people possess naturally. The amazing part is that this skill can be acquired. Most of us learned how to navigate conflicts and how to make the best out of them.
4. Don’t be afraid of being vulnerable
Another easy-peasy task, but I don’t know for whom. Being vulnerable is going to be difficult, especially if you’re afraid that you may get hurt, or if you were taught that expressing your emotions is a bad thing.
Chances are that you were suppressing your feelings during your childhood, and that’s why you developed avoidant attachment triggers as an adult. But it’s not something you can’t get rid of, you just have to be patient.
5. Take it easy
As I just said, you have to accept that this is going to take some time. You won’t get rid of these triggers overnight. If you feel like therapy and help from a professional would be essential and even favorable, then go for it.
Make sure you take things easy and slowly walk down that path to the secure attachment style in relationships. In no time, you’ll be experiencing mature love. Good luck, I know you can do it!