Updated: Jul 12
Posted July 03, 2023 | Written by Stephanie Underwood, RSW
Part Two of a mini-series on the Avoidant Attachment Style.
Three common myths about the Avoidant Attachment style.
Attachment styles are not fixed and can be changed over time.
The importance of seeking professional support to gain the insight and tools to work on your attachment style.
Understanding the Avoidant Attachment Part One:
Navigating the complex world of human relationships can sometimes feel like walking a maze without a map. Understanding attachment styles can give us the necessary compass, offering direction and clarity.
Avoidant attachment often emerges as a perplexing enigma among these attachment styles, causing confusion, misinterpretations, and even stigmatization due to its unique characteristics. In this blog post, we'll explore and debunk some of the different myths about the Avoidant Attachment style.
Debunking Myths: Unraveling Misunderstandings About Avoidant Attachment
There are several misconceptions about the avoidant attachment that can skew our understanding and expectations of this attachment style. Let's address some of the most common ones:
Myth #1 : Avoidant Attachments are Narcissists
While avoidant individuals and narcissists may seem similar on the surface (they can both seem emotionally distant or unresponsive), they are fundamentally different. Avoidant individuals often struggle with intimacy due to a fear of dependence or rejection, but they don't lack empathy for others. On the other hand, narcissism, a personality disorder, is characterized by a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, and an excessive need for admiration. While an avoidant individual might push others away to manage their fear of dependence, narcissists typically maintain distance to uphold their inflated self-image.
Understanding these differences helps us recognize that while an avoidant person might need support in navigating closeness and intimacy, labelling them as narcissists is both inaccurate and unhelpful. By dispelling such myths, we can approach these topics with more understanding and empathy, fostering healthier interactions and relationships.
It's important to note that if you're dealing with a narcissist or someone with narcissistic tendencies, professional help is crucial. The dynamics in such relationships can be complicated and potentially damaging, and therefore getting the right support from a therapist who specializes in working with victims of narcissistic abuse is pivotal.
Myth #2 : Avoidant Attachments Don't Want or Need Relationships
One common misconception is that avoidant individuals don't want or need close relationships. However, this is a misunderstanding. Like anyone else, avoidant individuals desire connection and intimacy, but their fear of dependence and rejection can make them react defensively to these needs. They might push others away or keep them at arm's length, not because they don't want relationships but because they're trying to protect themselves from potential emotional pain.
Myth #3 : Avoidant Individuals Don't Have Feelings
Another myth is that avoidant individuals are cold, unfeeling, or emotionally void. In reality, they have just as many emotions as anyone else. The difference lies in how they handle these emotions. They might suppress or dismiss their feelings as a defensive strategy, creating the impression that they're emotionally detached. However, this doesn't mean they don't feel emotions—it simply means they might struggle to express or acknowledge them, often due to fear of vulnerability.
Attachment styles are not fixed. With the right knowledge, self-awareness and tools, anyone can move from an insecure to a more secure attachment style. If you or your partner struggle with avoidant attachment, consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional. With patience, understanding, and work, navigating these challenges and fostering a healthy, balanced relationship is possible.