Submitted by Freedom_Pearl on 05/20/2016.
I'm in a new relationship with a charming young man who has ADHD. Sometimes it's very close and loving between us. When he is stressed his mood can swing dramatically, and his manner turns cold, distant or hostile. The stark contrast hurts, and I'm frequently seeking affection and validation from him during these times, as I feel dismissed, alienated or taken for granted. Then when he becomes responsive again, I'm so happy to 'have him back' I seem to immerse myself in him and not do anything else. I think the ping-pong effect is bringing out a co-dependant dynamic in me as I look to have my wounds healed. I'm hyper-focussing on him you could say. I do my best to be gentle and understanding and to encourage him to open up, but we don't talk things through as much as I'd like, as I don't want to pressurise him to have emotional talks he finds it difficult. So I feel insecure, wondering when it's going to kick off again. I've stopped doing my usual activities - errands, hobbies, career-planning, keeping in touch with people. I feel pretty isolated, especially as I don't have friends or family I can confide in. Any thoughts welcome.
Submitted by jennalemone on
Do you know that there is a relationship STYLE that is termed....."Dismissive/Avoidant"? Google "relationship style". This is news to me too. But is certainly what I am working with in my H.
A Successful Conversation About Attachement Styles
Submitted by kellyj on
My wife and I finally had a successful conversation to completion (because of this conflict "Thing" that keeps getting in the way) about this very thing that I will share by paraphrasing and condensing it down for you. Our two characters have been battling together constantly until just recently and this will help explain it.
My wife has insecure attachment issues and is dissmissive/avoidant(predominant)...fearful/avoidant (secondary) in her insecure attachment style. 50/50 mix. From that...clearly avoidant all the time.
I'm the "earned secure attachment".....with my default being..... anxious/preoccupied (predominant)....and at times fearful/avoidant (secondary) in my insecure attachment style The secondary...is the secondary defense measure when the first one fails.
And then there's secure
Everyone has one of these styles and the goal of course...is secure. Some people are fortunate...to have the Love , support and an environment conclusive to end of secure by default. Some start out insecure.....and earn their secure attachment by doing the work to get there anyway. Both are always possible.
The third and possibly most common or to a degree with everyone a little bit....is insecure attachment. Even a secure person can have moments of being insecure....and when that happens.....they will behave or feel less secure and have a default style in one of these categories.
or a combination avoidant/dissmissive, anxious/avoidant ,fearful/avoidant....and so on. (look it up to get more on this. I like this site to start with https://jebkinnison.com/bad-boyfriends-the-book/type-dismissive-avoidant/
So in our case together.....these two characters traits kind of have a life of their own. If you can see them as characters outside yourself that you own by default....it will makes this easier to understand.
So speaking from the eyes and voice of these two charactors....this is how we interact together.
The Dissmissive/Avoidant....is conflict avoidant. What that means is just that. They avoid conflict. And they don't want to talk about it because it makes them uncomfortable. Talking about it is conflict in itself and they do not want to do that. It's never what they want. In fact....this is all about comfort zones here.
The comfort zone of the conflict avoidanct....is not to have any in the first place. Any conflict makes them uncomfortable and they will move away from it immediately to be comfortable again. When the conflict disappears or goes away.....they will return only when it's comfortable again.
They are like a Turtle....what do you do with a Turtle to get them to come out of their protective shell? Remove ALL conflict, threat or anything that makes them uncomfortable. Anything you do other than that....will make them recede further into their protective shell where it feels safe warm and comfortable for them. That can stay that way indefinitely unless they need something like food water or sex.....otherwise...they are very self contained. Since they have their own protective shell everywhere they go.. (as a Turtle that is )
This is their comfort zone. When there is no conflict what so ever.....they'll stay out of the shell and can still be comfortable. Conflict resolution....has no purpose or specific need for them since they've got a shell that protects them so what use is conflict resolution anyway? Who needs it! That's for sissy's!!
The anxious/preoccupied...is like a Deer. A Deer has no protective shell. They are exposed to the elements and are a flight animal. They are naturally nervous, wary and looking out for danger. They tend to be anxious...easily startled and unpredictable when frightened. In their general mannerism.....they move around a lot to find ways stay behind and out of sight to shield them from view for protection. They tend to hide and stay out of sight in order to feel comfortable and stay in their comfort zone. They are definitely NOT conflict avoidant!!!. In fact...when ever there is ANY conflict what so ever they are completely out their comfort zone and NEED conflict resolution to be comfortable. When out of their comfort zone....they feel exposed and vulnerable and have an intense need to resolve conflict immediately to return to being comfortable again.
Now put these two together and what have you got. A comfortable Turtle living inside his shell with no need for conflict resolution what so ever (who needs it! dissmisve) .....and a Deer in the head lights who is frantically trying to find a place to hide and be comfortable again and can never get there since the conflict remains unresolved forever.
So with a conflict avodant dissmive person like my wife....as soon the conversation has to do with anything that makes her feel uncomfortable (which has anything to do with any problem associated with her of course)....she will abruptly stop you, interrupt you, dismiss you, avoid you. blame you, divert you. block you, disrespect you, vent or barf all over you.... or do anything she can in her power to get away from you and retreat into her protective shell and slam the door in your face and will not come out until she thinks it safe enough...or you won't try and talk about anything to do with her or resolving conflict again. It's her only goal in doing this. Conflict resolution...is NOT the goal. She avoids conflict at all costs and will use any/all means or methods in getting away from it...or causing you to back off, back away or leave her alone. But never resolves anything which means....it will just keep happening...again, and again....and again.....and again.....and again. In other words....STOP TALKING!!!!!
When a Turtle becomes uncomfortable for too long....they become a Porcupine instead. That's when all the barfing happens since they are now feeling exposed and vulnerable. Yosemite Sam is a fearful Avoidant....."what I've got to say....I'm say'in with Lead!!! ha ha ha!!!"
Turtles...are freeze animals but have a shell to protect them and don't need to flee or a need for flight. Porcupine don't have a shell....but are prickly and can cause severe injury if you try and approach them with their quills up. And they are up.... and out....and completely unapproachable as long as there is any threat of conflict any where in sight and will always accuse you of them being in their uncomfortable defensive posture when they are. Which means....as long as you keep trying to resolve conflict with a Porcupine....the quills are up and ready until you stop trying. STOP....says the Porcupine!!!! Same as a Turtle. If it wasn't for you.....everything would be groovy. Just fine Thanks....how bout you?
And when I'm not being secure in my attachment which I earned from starting out as an anxious/preoccupied. I can't leave it alone until the conflict is resolved. I become preoccupied with conflict resolution...until the problem is fixed and solved and is gone. Not until then....is the Deer out of the headlights. Deer are flighty because they are at risk of attack by predators and are flight animals. Flight or freeze.
And since I managed to get to this point with my wife.....we have now begun to talk about it and my wife understands the difficuties we've been through and the why it happened.
Leave it up to a Deer in the head lights....to have figured this out. Now you understand why? Deer need to know these things in order to be ready for anything and feel comfortable again:)
Attachment Theroy 101.....the basics. lol
I have been learning about
Submitted by jennalemone on
I have been learning about attachment styles just this past week. H is definatly a turtle and I am very much a deer. It's why WE are on this board and the turtles are not. This is all helpful for self awareness and relationship awareness. I have mentioned before that I am not engaging in reacting with H, I am watching and listening and stepping aside even more than usual lately with him and also with other family and friends. So that I don't react in my usual (needy?) ways.......ie: The old Me: "gotta get to the bottom of this with an agreed upon resolution." H: "What's your problem NOW?" That did not work.
Just learning. Thanks for the information. I sometimes do this - I just did it while I was out with friends. One of the old very good friends was being haughty, rude, taking up most of the "talk time", loud and obnoxious. At first I felt a little anger and maybe some jealousness about her cavalier attitude as in: "She is so dismissive." But after I took a breath, stopped the "feeling" and tried to understand what was going on in my head, I realized that I was sort of grieving that a friend who I had been so in tune with at one time was now now NOT being like a friend to me but her ego was taking charge to impress and put others down with her bragging and self importance. I had to tell myself a story to get through the lunch with her and not to say something I might regret in front of the group. We were in a group and some of the others were following her lead of "I'm important. I'm smart. I'm personalble contest.
My tool of the day, since I didn't feel like playing the games that day, was to step back and see her as a cartoon. That way I was did not take her condescension personally. But rather accepted that we have changed and our ways of speaking has changed (it felt like loss rather than shame or outrage.). She was speaking AT us. I had been trying to connect. It was a surprise and sadness of loss for me that was starting to turn into resentment inside me. It seemed she needed to "win" the floor and attention - the belle of the ball. Her cartoon character (in my mind) was loaded with jewels and a crown and had her presenting her arms and legs out like a frivolous Queen of Hearts holding court while others sat gaga and fighting for space for their own comments. I am sure she felt seen and heard and pleased of herself after the lunch was over basking in her unbelievable personal charm. I felt OK with myself. I was true to myself. On that day I did not feel I needed to enter the contest. Another day I might have. I just watched it play out.
What did this have to do with the deer and the turtles? I guess when people don't "connect" with us the way we would like to, we WANT to fix it. But we cant understand it nor fix it. We can only accept it and be true to ourselves by knowing ourselves and letting some things go if we know ourselves to be anxious sometimes. I have been saying this frequently lately..."I don't understand it but I accept it."
Submitted by Zapp10 on
Are attachment styles influenced by the BIG lie? Which comes first in relationships? The chicken or the egg? I am puzzled .......sorting this out?