The fearful-avoidant attachment style is one of four attachment styles that describe how a person feels and acts in their relationships based on how they learned to attach to their caregivers growing up. The other attachment styles are anxious/preoccupied attachment, avoidant/dismissive attachment, and secure attachment. Not sure which style fits you? I highly recommend this quiz from The Attachment Project.
So what is the fearful-avoidant attachment style? Sometimes called disorganized or just plain “fearful” attachment, this is an attachment style based on fear. Fear of everything: abandonment, intimacy, being too much, not being enough, everything presents a potential danger to you. Generally, people with this attachment style grew up with caregivers who were unable to appropriately and consistently comfort them when they were afraid or upset. These children learned that sometimes their caregiver was just as frightening or upsetting as whatever upset them in the first place. As a result, they craved closeness, but also feared it.
Avoidantly attached people are afraid to show vulnerability and may push people away when things get too ‘real.’ It’s often a trauma response, and they’re doing this to keep themselves feeling safe.
They also may feel turned off by overly emotional, or people who need constant validation from them. This causes frustration and impatience on their behalf. They might think “just get over it already!”
Does this make people with avoidant attachment evil and cold? Not exactly — they’re often operating from a place of trauma. Their brain is in constantly in survival mode.
It’s important to remember these reactions often have nothing to do with anybody else. It has everything to do with the avoidant person and what they’ve experienced in the past.
Finding someone with a secure attachment is like discovering a $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you bought from a thrift store.
It came out of nowhere, and you’re incredibly grateful.
Attatchment theory rocked my world a year and a half ago when I decided to go on a one-year dating hiatus. I wanted to understand why I made poor choices with men. I tried to change my ways once and for all.
The premise of attachment theory is that adults have three attachment styles. They’re known as avoidant, anxious, and secure.
Turns out, I fall under anxious. With my history of clinging to shitty men, who would’ve thought!
Attachment theory helped me understand how I formed my anxiety around dating. A mixture of childhood experiences and past lovers seemed to be the culprit. Plus, I picked avoidant men, further exacerbating my anxiety.
So while I had plenty of personal experience with anxious and avoidant styles, a secure attachment was foreign.
Then I met my current boyfriend, and it all made sense. He clearly displays the signs of a securely attached person. Those characteristics are the reasons I love him and feel secure in working through my own anxious tendencies.
Attachment style is one of the most common and well-studied indicators of romantic success. If you don’t know what yours is, take this quiz.
Whether it’s secure, anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment, each group comes with its own pros and cons.
The good news is, there’s always a chance for love.
Here’s how each of these attachment styles finally falls in love: MORE.