What Does It Mean To Be Avoidant In Relationships?

Intimacy is the arena in which all of our deep seated emotional tendencies seem to play out — and that is true even if we seem to struggle with reaching intimacy in the first place. But having “avoidant” tendencies in relationships is not uncommon, when it comes down to it, and it’s also not a be-all-and-end-all life sentence if this is how you often function in love.

So, first things first, you might have heard people talk about their “attachment styles” in a relationship before. But where did it come from? Very generally, attachment theory refers to a psychological model about how our attachment to a primary caregiver impacted our personal development. It was applied into a framework about how people act in romantic relationships by Cindy Hazan and Phillip R. Shaver in the 80’s. Whether or not you are able to form secure attachments to people can, theoretically, inform all sorts of things about who you are, how you act, and how you perceive your place in the world. In particular, it informs how you tend to behave in regards to romantic love.

Having avoidant tendencies, on the simplest level, means that receiving love and affection makes you uncomfortable, therapist Rachel Bauder Cohen, MSW, LCSW of Seaside Counseling Center, tells Bustle.

“You (often unknowingly) steer clear of situations that will put you in direct line of affection because you can ‘handle things by yourself,'” Cohen says.

Avoidant tendencies might show up by you being extremely independent, so much so, that you may be uncomfortable with having to rely on someone, Cohen says. It might take you longer to trust and open up to others. It can also mean someone really needs to earn your trust, respect, and love because you don’t just show those to anyone.

You might also have many superficial relationships, but struggle with deeply attaching yourself to someone, Cohen says.

“Struggles associated with love avoidant tendencies [can be things like] feeling lonely, depressed, and not understood,” Cohen says. “You may be extra hard on your loved ones and find yourself constantly let down when you choose to trust someone.”

Having avoidant tendencies does not mean you are incapable of intimacy.

Shutterstock

If you have avoidant tendencies, as counselor David Bennett of Double Trust Dating tells Bustle, it also might mean that you may get into relationships, but the relationships tend to lack a strong emotional connection, or deep intimacy.

Having avoidant tendencies doesn’t mean you are unable to be intimate at all, but it might be challenging to connect at times, Bennett says. If someone has avoidant tendencies, they might keep relationships on a relatively surface level. There is hesitancy towards commitment and someone can often send mixed messages through their behavior and communication. There might be fear around things getting too serious or vulnerable. Avoidant tendencies can show up in different ways.

“They might like to do a lot of the fun things, but perhaps won’t be too available when you need someone to really talk to,” Bennett says. “They may focus more on casual sex, rather than seeing sex as a form of intimacy. They also may idealize past relationships, or even an imaginary ideal relationship. This can result in being very picky and a perfectionist, which allows them to avoid deeper relationships.”

And while someone who has avoidant attachment tendencies often gets the reputation of being a person who totally “avoids” love, Elizabeth Sabine, MEd, registered clinical counsellor at Peak Resilience tells Bustle it’s not so black and white.

We all want love, but the ways that our caregivers responded to (or didn’t) respond to us and our needs helps us to develop ways of coping, protecting ourselves from being hurt, and of going about getting our needs met,” Sabine says.

Clinical counsellor Lauren Phelan, MA, of Peak Resilience says that for this reason, she finds it helpful to think about attachment styles as existing on a continuum rather than as rigid categories.

“Some of us may have more avoidant tendencies than others in intimate relationships, and these can be learned (adaptive) patterns that protected us in earlier relationship from being hurt or overwhelmed,” Phelan says. “Those of us who are more avoidant still want to feel connection and closeness, but it may feel less safe for us, so we do it from a distance.”

Cohen says to approach a shift in your tendencies, try things like journaling, as it’s important to open up and be honest with yourself, before you expect to be that way with someone else.

“Lean in to your positive, established relationships,” Cohen says. “If you already have someone in your life that has shown you that they are trustworthy, try opening up about something that is hard for you.”

Cohen also says that seeking help from a professional to dig deeper around relationship patterns is a really good idea. If you feel you have behaviors that get in the way of having the connections you want and deserve, guidance is out there.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

My Wicked Mistress – Chapter 1 – Cigarettes

I started smoking cigarettes when I was around 14 years old. I was going on 15 but it was just something kids did back in the 70’s. Everybody smoked cigarettes. It was so widely accepted despite the health warnings. Everybody I knew smoked cigarettes. Back then you could buy a pack of smokes for $0.51 a pack at Rite Aid. That’s super cheap. A whole pack of cigs for half a buck? Incredible!

The odd thing was, at our young age, my friends and I always had a story ready if we were ever questioned by any of the shopkeepers in any of the stores where we bought them. The story was always, “Oh, these are for my mom.”

But no one ever asked us who the cigarettes were for. Ever. We had no problem buying cigarettes anywhere we ever went.

I remember my straight A student sister Janice taught me how to inhale.

When you start fooling around with smoking, your young lungs aren’t accustomed to breathing in toxic smoke so you just puff them to look cool. But to get the full benefits and taste and rush of smoking, you have to inhale the smoke. So one night my sister Janice showed me and my friend Anthony how to do it. She said, “take a small puff and then suck the smoke into your lungs like you’re being startled.” You suck it in really fast and in it goes. You get the full taste and then blow it out.

What I didn’t know is that once you do that, the nicotine enters your bloodstream and gives you that little rush that smoking cigarettes brings.

That is also the first day of your addiction to cigarettes.

I smoked and enjoyed cigarettes for the next 20 years.

Then my daughter Lorelei was born and I decided to quit smoking for health reasons. I didn’t want to sniff her baby head and have the smell of cigarettes present. But I was in my 30’s then and firmly addicted to smoking with a 20 year habit. So I bought the patch. The patch is a sticker you place on your arm and it releases nicotine into your system without smoking.

It was tough but I slowly got myself off cigarettes. It probably cost me $600 in patches but it eventually worked. I was free of smoking but as one ex smoker once said to me, ‘ my blood was hungry for cigarettes for over 2 years after quitting.

But like anything else, if you stop doing it, it eventually fades from your life and you no longer want it.

Jump forward 10 years and I was divorced for over 8 years and I started dating Michelle. (See: Michelle – A Brand New Day) I loved Michelle. Probably more than I’ve ever loved anyone else in my life. We would be out at night touring the city and pounding cocktails.

Michelle smoked cigarettes and sometimes she’d have problems lighting them in the evening breeze. Having been a long time smoker and could get a cigarette lit in a sandstorm with one match left on the beaches of Wildwood, I’d help her.

Me getting her Parlaiment lit and handing it off to her went from that to me taking one sweet puff.

Michelle worried I’d get re-addicted to cigarettes doing that. I assured her I wouldn’t. I told her, “I’ll only get hooked if I start buying them again, and that’s not going to happen.”

But back in 2008 I was madly in love with her and my life in general with her. It wasn’t long before I was picking up a pack of Marlboro lights on a regular basis.

I didn’t care. I felt alive with her and really loved the taste of cigarettes again. There’s nothing better than a cold cocktail and a delicious cigarette. It’s like sex.

But like everything awesome, if you do it often enough you begin to tire of it.

Jump to 2018.

Michelle was long gone and all that remained was my addiction to tobacco.

But things had changed. Cigarettes were now $10 a pack and i found myself growing tired of smoking in general.

I was older. Better in touch with who I was and what I wanted. I found that I really don’t have an addictive personality. I have more of a compulsive personality.

I would buy a pack of cigarettes and only enjoy maybe 2 of them. My favorite was the one after work. The celebratory smoke of finishing the day. An addict craves their drug of choice all the time. I was sick of smoking but still doing it. My mind wanted to give it up I was sure, but I needed to bring the body over with my thought process. And in that lies the true challenge.

I was tired of the smell, the dirt, the health risks, and most of all taking it on the chin for $10 bucks a pack!

The only part of smoking I liked was the actual act of smoking. Holding it in my hand, puffing on it, watching the smoke blow from my lips. Not the actual need to smoke. I no longer had that. No addiction, just an annoying holdover from my past life. Something I no longer enjoyed, but just did out of ritual and habit.

(This factor will play out in another vice I would soon address.)

But what to do? I knew this chapter in my life had to end as I continued to evolve through my 50s.

I was working at the tanning salon one night and was cleaning one of the rooms. People are always leaving things behind in the rooms. I’ve found all kinds of things. Money, jewelry, drugs, underwear, etc. But this time I found small, grey colored metal stick with a tiny light on it sitting on the table. i had no idea what it was and just figured it was some sort of wifi gadget for a computer.

But I was wrong.

The girl who had left the object behind came back asking for it. I gave it to her.

“What is that/”

“It’s called a Juul. You smoke it. Like a vape pen.”

I had heard of people vapeing but it all seemed weird to me.

“You can smoke that like a cigarette and nothings burning or making ashes?”

“Yea. You can charge it on your laptop, and you have these little pods you stick in it. They have different flavors and there is nothing burning, no shes, no smell, no real smoke, no carbon monoxide. It’s awesome. I love it.”

“Is there nicotine in that thing?”

 

Image result for juul

 

“Yea, but only 5%. Which isn’t much, but it’s so much better for you than smoking dirty cigarettes.”

I was sold. The next day, I went to my local 7-Eleven and bought the starter pack of Juul. The unit, a charger, and 4 pods with different flavors. Virginia Tobacco, Cool Mint, Creme Brulee’, and Berry.

I charged the unit up at work that night and liked the results. I have been smoke free since May 2018 and have never looked back. I don’t smoke my Juul that much, and have zero desire to have a cigarette. When I see someone smoking a cig now, it looks dirty to me and wonder how someone could enjoy such a primitive filthy habit.

Ahhh, the reformed smokers are the worst!

I’m so happy cigarettes are gone from my life for good.

I know what you’re all thinking… Oh, you’re still getting nicotine from that thing.

They make nicotine free pods now, so you can simulate smoking with no ill effects.

Image result for cyclone pods

 

So now I can still enjoy the celebratory smoke after work with no addiction of health issues. I feel great and enjoy my Juul very much.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

What Does It Mean To Be Avoidant In Relationships?

Intimacy is the arena in which all of our deep seated emotional tendencies seem to play out — and that is true even if we seem to struggle with reaching intimacy in the first place. But having “avoidant” tendencies in relationships is not uncommon, when it comes down to it, and it’s also not a be-all-and-end-all life sentence if this is how you often function in love.

So, first things first, you might have heard people talk about their “attachment styles” in a relationship before. But where did it come from? Very generally, attachment theory refers to a psychological model about how our attachment to a primary caregiver impacted our personal development. It was applied into a framework about how people act in romantic relationships by Cindy Hazan and Phillip R. Shaver in the 80’s. Whether or not you are able to form secure attachments to people can, theoretically, inform all sorts of things about who you are, how you act, and how you perceive your place in the world. In particular, it informs how you tend to behave in regards to romantic love.

Having avoidant tendencies, on the simplest level, means that receiving love and affection makes you uncomfortable, therapist Rachel Bauder Cohen, MSW, LCSW of Seaside Counseling Center, tells Bustle.

“You (often unknowingly) steer clear of situations that will put you in direct line of affection because you can ‘handle things by yourself,'” Cohen says.

Avoidant tendencies might show up by you being extremely independent, so much so, that you may be uncomfortable with having to rely on someone, Cohen says. It might take you longer to trust and open up to others. It can also mean someone really needs to earn your trust, respect, and love because you don’t just show those to anyone.

You might also have many superficial relationships, but struggle with deeply attaching yourself to someone, Cohen says.

“Struggles associated with love avoidant tendencies [can be things like] feeling lonely, depressed, and not understood,” Cohen says. “You may be extra hard on your loved ones and find yourself constantly let down when you choose to trust someone.”

Having avoidant tendencies does not mean you are incapable of intimacy.

Shutterstock

If you have avoidant tendencies, as counselor David Bennett of Double Trust Dating tells Bustle, it also might mean that you may get into relationships, but the relationships tend to lack a strong emotional connection, or deep intimacy.

Having avoidant tendencies doesn’t mean you are unable to be intimate at all, but it might be challenging to connect at times, Bennett says. If someone has avoidant tendencies, they might keep relationships on a relatively surface level. There is hesitancy towards commitment and someone can often send mixed messages through their behavior and communication. There might be fear around things getting too serious or vulnerable. Avoidant tendencies can show up in different ways.

“They might like to do a lot of the fun things, but perhaps won’t be too available when you need someone to really talk to,” Bennett says. “They may focus more on casual sex, rather than seeing sex as a form of intimacy. They also may idealize past relationships, or even an imaginary ideal relationship. This can result in being very picky and a perfectionist, which allows them to avoid deeper relationships.”

And while someone who has avoidant attachment tendencies often gets the reputation of being a person who totally “avoids” love, Elizabeth Sabine, MEd, registered clinical counselor at Peak Resilience tells Bustle it’s not so black and white.

“We all want love, but the ways that our caregivers responded to (or didn’t) respond to us and our needs helps us to develop ways of coping, protecting ourselves from being hurt, and of going about getting our needs met,” Sabine says.

Clinical counselor Lauren Phelan, MA, of Peak Resilience says that for this reason, she finds it helpful to think about attachment styles as existing on a continuum rather than as rigid categories.

“Some of us may have more avoidant tendencies than others in intimate relationships, and these can be learned (adaptive) patterns that protected us in earlier relationship from being hurt or overwhelmed,” Phelan says. “Those of us who are more avoidant still want to feel connection and closeness, but it may feel less safe for us, so we do it from a distance.”

Cohen says to approach a shift in your tendencies, try things like journaling, as it’s important to open up and be honest with yourself, before you expect to be that way with someone else.

“Lean in to your positive, established relationships,” Cohen says. “If you already have someone in your life that has shown you that they are trustworthy, try opening up about something that is hard for you.”

Cohen also says that seeking help from a professional to dig deeper around relationship patterns is a really good idea. If you feel you have behaviors that get in the way of having the connections you want and deserve, guidance is out there.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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