If you are in a relationship and working on transforming your attachment style, I want you to know two things.
You are not in this alone; you need support from your partner. You deserve someone to ride this wave that does not end overnight.
Support cannot become a form of dependency on your partner and pair with no display of gratitude.
It can be easy for either person in the relationship to lose sight of the statements above.
We are discussing something that takes months to years, not days to weeks.
We are discussing something that can leave both partners feeling weak and helpless.
That’s if you don’t know what hurdles and roadblocks to avoid on your journey.
Well, that’s what I am here for. We all deserve a loving and caring relationship with someone who has taken the time to become the best version of themselves.
For the fearful-avoidant, that means working toward secure attachment, and for their partner, it means knowing the mistakes to avoid during their self-development journey.
Know how to take care of the plant
If you own plants, you know about the frustrating scenario where you search for care tips cause your plant is dying, and the result is “You could be overwatering your plant.” Followed by, “You could be underwatering your plant.”
Relating that to attachment style and the fearful-avoidant, it makes sense.
Fearful avoidants play the hot and cold game, and when they are leaning toward cold, it can feel like they have a foot out the door.
It occurs because a fearful avoidant needs a sense of control.
That is not to say that they are looking for power over you, but they need control in other areas, and an important one is the pace of the relationship.
When they feel pressure and are overwhelmed, their avoidant side kicks in, and they will retreat.
The exact opposite can become true if they feel like you don’t care about where the relationship is going.
They can become “hot” and want to express emotions and build a connection with you, but if they don’t feel like you “hear and see them,” they will feel neglected.
The fearful side kicks in, and they will feel like you are on the path to abandoning them and leaving them hurt.
The middle ground is to consistently check in with the fearful-avoidant and never close the gap in communication. Fearful avoidants will tell you when they feel overwhelmed or underappreciated; they can’t hide it.
Here, here, here
When you stick to the logic of hot and cold behavior, you have to avoid pandering to the needs of each side of that seesaw.
Since you are dealing with someone who goes back and forth, their emotions will go back and forth too.
You might think I’ll tell you to always be on your toes and be ready to deal with either side.
I want you to challenge your partner because fearful avoidants need practice self-soothing and regulating emotions.
Challenging a fearful avoidant and pushing them are two different things. The latter is not the route you want to go.
Fearful avoidants like to communicate and get the details of a story. Your challenge to the fearful-avoidant builds on their desire.
Avoid becoming the question master and bombard them with questions, but when emotionally charged conversations arise, make them work through it.
Ask for details of their feelings and how they can resolve them.
“What is making you feel overwhelmed?
“When you feel that way, does it make you frustrated?”
“Frustration can make people feel like shutting down, I hear you.”
“How do you try to avoid that?”
In this example above, you asked your partner to explain how they felt, and you were relatable and asked them how they resolved the issue.
You steered them toward self-soothing and problem-solving rather than pressuring them into an answer.
Hide and go seek
You guessed it; communication is essential in this dynamic. I will remind you fifty times; you are dating someone on an emotional seesaw.
I hope that doesn’t sound aggressive or insulting toward your partner, but be aware, or you will feel turbulence in the relationship.
Transparency is essential in this relationship. Your partner needs you to be open and recognize that fearful avoidants can take time to open up.
It sounds contradictory, I know, but let me explain.
As I have stated in other articles, if a fearful avoidant does not have the details of a story, they will fill in the gaps for you.
On the flip side, if you pressure them for details of a story, they might not be at the point where they are ready to open up and express themselves.
That is why you have to be open and transparent from the jump. Fearful avoidants are looking for trust in their relationship.
The quicker fearful avoidants can build trust, the faster the hot and cold behavior will stop.
Their fear is more about them than you, and I don’t mean that like the cliche break line.
They will get anxious when they feel like they have second thoughts about trusting you. They will distance themselves out of the fear of being hurt.
Avoid conversations that feel transactional. Be open and allow them the space to do it too.
The theme and focus were on communication, but it comes in many forms.
Remember, we are not pandering to your partner as if you don’t have needs in the relationship of your own.
Be patient but also aware. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
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