Attachment theory is a psychological model of human behavior created by John Bowlby and further developed by Mary Ainsworth. It deals with the formation, development, and dissolution of infant-caregiver bonds and explores attachment patterns in adult relationships.
While there are a variety of attachment styles, one of the most common and the last to gain attention from researchers is dismissive avoidant attachment. In this guide, I break down dismissive avoidant attachment and examine how it affects those who have it and those in a relationship.
What Is Dismissive Avoidant Attachment?
Dismissive avoidant attachment is a form of attachment that is characterized by emotional avoidance and the inability to be intimate with others. People with this type of attachment are comfortable being alone and tend to avoid close relationships for fear of rejection and abandonment.
People with this attachment style tend to have low self-esteem and feel unworthy of love and affection. They often feel like others are not there for them and cannot trust anyone. This can make it difficult for them to form close relationships with others because they fear rejection and abandonment.
Dismissive avoidant attachment is characterized by a tendency to ignore or avoid intimacy and a general disregard for the feelings of others. In short, the person who has dismissive avoidant attachment may:
- Not show affection for their partner
- Be distant and unresponsive when their partner shows affection
- Have trouble establishing emotional closeness with others
Characteristics of People With Dismissive Avoidant Attachment
Dismissive avoidant attachment is a personality trait that describes an individual’s general tendency to downplay the importance of close relationships and emotional intimacy. This can be seen as a form of detachment from others and a defense mechanism against perceived threats. The dismissive-avoidant attachment pattern has been linked to insecure attachment styles in childhood.
People with dismissive avoidant attachment have the following characteristics:
- They tend to prefer short-term relationships over long-term ones. They may appear cold, aloof, and distant towards others and feel uncomfortable discussing their personal lives or feelings with others. They often feel misunderstood by their romantic partners and struggle to trust others.
- They tend to be more independent and self-reliant. They often feel they don’t need others because they can care for themselves. They don’t like being dependent on anyone else and may not even believe in love.
- They are often reluctant to seek help from others and may even deny having any problems. This makes it difficult for them to receive the support they need from their loved ones when times get tough or when they need help coping with stress or difficult emotions like fear or anger.
Although people with this attachment style may seem standoffish or indifferent toward others, it’s important to remember that they are not necessarily hostile or aggressive toward other people. Instead, they often have difficulty expressing their emotions honestly because they fear being judged or rejected by others.
What Are the Causes of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment?
People with dismissive-avoidant attachment styles often grew up in families where their parents were emotionally unavailable or unresponsive toward them. Children learn that closeness is dangerous in these situations because it leads to pain or rejection.
Some people may have experienced trauma early in life that made them afraid of getting close to others. As a result, they learned to push people away before anyone could hurt them again. So they develop a pattern of distancing themselves from others to protect themselves from the possibility of rejection or hurt.
What Is the Impact of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment?
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment in Children
Children with this attachment style tend to be more rational than emotional when communicating with others. They may appear confident but often hide their feelings behind a facade or act out to gain attention. They are conflict-avoidant and have difficulty expressing their feelings or needs to others, even those they love the most.
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment in Adults
The impact of a fearful avoidant attachment style in adults is that it can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. A person with this attachment style may feel that their needs are not being met or that they are not good enough for others to meet them. They will have difficulty trusting others because they believe others will abandon them if things get too close.
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment at Work
The impact of the avoidant attachment style in the workplace is that they will be less likely to express feelings, thoughts, and needs. They will not feel comfortable approaching others for help or assistance. They may have difficulty getting close to anyone and will seek to protect themselves from being hurt.
The person with this attachment style may be very critical of others who use emotion when communicating, especially if it is a negative emotion. They might be afraid of rejection or abandonment and have an unrealistic view of themselves as better than others.
Dismissive Avoidant Attachment in Romantic Relationships
When one partner has a dismissive attachment style, the relationship is not satisfying. The dismissive partner is likelier to feel like their partner doesn’t care about them or trust the other person. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation in the relationship.
The preoccupied partner may feel as though they are never good enough or need to work harder at being with their dismissive partner. This can lead to anxiety and depression, and constant worry about the relationship. It’s also important to note that because both partners are insecure in their relationships, there is an increased chance of divorce or separation (even if both partners don’t start with insecure attachment styles).
How to Help Someone Overcome Dismissive Avoidant Attachment?
People with this attachment style do not want to be close to others because they have experienced pain from being close.
If you are dealing with someone who has a dismissive avoidant attachment and needs help getting over it, here are some things that may help:
- Be patient and understanding, as it may take some time for them to open up about their feelings and past experiences to get over them.
- Encourage them by letting them know that you are there for them if they want to talk about their feelings or past experiences that led to this behavior.
- Do not pressure them into opening up too fast or trying too hard because this could make things worse instead of better!
- Understand their triggers and how they react when they feel threatened or unsafe. If someone has a dismissive avoidant attachment, they will want to keep their distance from others because it makes them feel safe and protected from hurtful relationships.
- Don’t take it personally if they shut down when you try to get close or intimate with them; that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you! It just means they’re having trouble being vulnerable around others because it’s too painful for them.
Related Read: What is Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style?
How to Overcome Dismissive Avoidant Attachment by Yourself?
You must first understand your attachment style to overcome dismissive avoidant attachment by yourself. Then you can start working on it by improving your relationship skills and using some specific techniques that will help you better understand your partner’s needs and desires. Here are some tips for you:
1) Try to be more empathetic and compassionate toward your partner’s feelings
2) Don’t get too jealous easily if you see that your partner is spending time with other people or doing something without telling you about it beforehand
3) Spend more time together with your significant other
4) Be willing to talk about negative experiences from the past (this will give them a sense of security and trust)
Dismissive avoidant attachment can hurt both current and past relationships. People with dismissive avoidant attachment view themselves as self-sufficient, independent, and generally satisfied with their lives. This affects the way they relate to others, including the parents they had growing up.
They tend to be loners; they don’t want close relationships with others because they feel a deep sense of personal competence and security. Developing a relationship with someone is usually more distant than other types of attachment users. With this current relationship, dismissive-avoidant users often fear the closeness that comes with long-term commitment and intimacy.
In summary, the dismissive avoidant attachment style refers to an individual’s dismissive attitude towards others and the distance between themselves and social contexts or relationships. This attachment style can be challenging to overcome if the individuals are not correctly diagnosed, and the removal of symptoms sometimes requires therapy that focuses on social skills and communication.