Trauma & Avoidant Attachment

What is avoidant attachment?

In a word – dismissed/dismissive.

Parents & caregivers are typically tuned out, not present, quite often neglectful or rejecting because of their own issues personally (physical, mental, emotional) and in some cases due to familial restrictions and challenges.  The result is that the child is left to their own devices too much of the time without attunement or attention. They and their needs are often not seen, considered or met, effectively being dismissed.

Adults with this attachment injury are often overly independent, find it difficult to ask for help or support when needed. Primarily because they have learned that their needs most often do not matter, will not be met. Additionally, admitting they have any need at all, feels vulnerable and too risky.

As a result some tend to isolate and do activities alone, resulting in additional stress when having to move /transition from aloneness to connection.  Typically this can impact communication from having none, to finding it difficult to talk or to feel. Sex is often used as a way to connect and this type of person is often overly critical in relationships. System regulation for themselves and co-regulation with others is difficult, which doesn’t mean they don’t want to, its the result of having to “turn down or turn off” their attachment system.

The benefit of having this type of system, is that they are very left brained, task oriented and focused and get things done.  When access to the right brain is restored, the more relational pieces can also return.

Avoidant Attachment and Trauma

For those dealign with avoidant attachment, stuffing feelings and emotions down deep may come naturally.  Most also have deeply held feelings of trauma, but are afraid to talk about it – even with those closest to them because of guilt or shame. They also believe their requests for support or help will be rejected, so decide to manage trauma on their own in isolated activities, often resulting in addictive behaviours like eating, shopping, substance abuse, porn, or gambling.


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Kimberly Davidson

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