Something I haven’t seen talked about anywhere else is the phenomenon where an avoidant will create an anxious attachment out of a normally securely attached person.
Can this happen? Yes! I know because I have had this experience myself.
I grew up with a secure attachment to my mother, but historically (and I’m talking over 20 years ago) I can have side portions of anxious or avoidant depending on the person I am with and what is going on in my life.
With all of my partners, I had a secure attachment, the signals from my partners were those I was used to in an intimate relationship. Then I bumped into an avoidant and I was TOTALLY confused.
The mixed messages were just crazy. One minute we are off on a weekend away together and it is fantastic, it is easy, the conversation is great, the intimacy is awesome. Then we get back and he backs right off.
What happened? I found myself second-guessing what was going on. I found myself feeling ANXIOUS! When I dated an avoidant, this was the first time it had ever happened to me. It felt horrid. Because I was getting mixed messages from him, I would back off. I would try not to get too invested. I really liked him, but it felt like too much hard work.
As a therapist, I now understand what was going on for him. As he moved closer to me, as a securely attached person, he would have felt that my distance was too close. He did want to be with me, but there was a part of him screaming internally to stay safe, don’t trust, remain an island.
Have you ever had this dynamic show up in your life?
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