In today's blog I want to talk to you about how to have a healthy relationship with a dismissive avoidant. I recently did another blog on 5 characteristics of a dismissive avoidant where I talked about some of the things that you want to understand about a dismissive avoidant and how they operate. I want to follow up on that and give you a few more tips on how to have a healthy relationship with a dismissive.
The first thing you want to understand about the dismissive avoidant is they value their space and their autonomy. If you were to try to get too close to them, and get clingy or needy, they're going to start to withdraw and they're going to start to back out of the bond that you guys were forming. One of the biggest fears of a dismissive avoidant is losing their identity and not being able to be who they are. They are so comfortable with being independent because they have put a lot of work into self-reliance and they don't see it necessary to rely on other people.
When they feel like you're getting too close and when you're trying to help them do things differently and more efficiently, they'll get a bit annoyed. They will start to withdraw because they don't feel like your help is needed, especially when they don't ask.
Their view of quality time is different from other people. Their view of quality time is the time that they set up dates or activities with you. When you're just hanging around the house and you start to get a little bit clingy and you want their attention, but they're just, for example, sitting and browsing their phone, they'll start to get annoyed because they don't need that constant connection like some others do. When that starts to happen they'll start to lose trust in you and will lose trust in themselves to pick their spouse.
I like to use the example of the turtle. They'll start to withdraw like a turtle in its shell. It's hard work to get them out of their comfort zone and get them to put their trust in you. Just like a turtle, if it feels danger it'll stick its head back in its shell, but when it's comfortable with the surroundings it'll stick its head back out, peek around, and maybe start to walk around and even eat. That's just if you're a severely dismissive avoidant person. There's a scale. There are different levels of dismissive avoidants.
If you're a high level avoidant, your tolerance for people violating your trust is very slim. If you were to be betrayed or you felt like your trust was broken you'll poke that head back in and it'll take a lot of work to get you back out because you rely on yourself. You have everything that you need.
The next thing you want to do is to keep your emotions in check. If you are dating a dismissive avoidant, it's important that you keep your emotions in check. Talking about deeply emotional things all the time gets draining and overwhelming for the dismissive avoidant. What they'll do is they'll start to withdraw, just like when you don't give them space. If you are overly emotional that's a sign of weakness to them because they don't show emotion.
They feel it's a sign of weakness when they show emotion. This is because they're being vulnerable in their eyes and too much vulnerability to them is a scary thing. Back when their attachment style was forming they were vulnerable to somebody, maybe a primary caregiver or ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, and when you show those signs of the same thing that happened to them back then it activates and it triggers their deactivating strategies. Keep your emotions in check because if you don't they'll start to withdraw and it's important for them to come to you. Or you talk to them about those issues at a more appropriate time and at a time where things have either cooled off or a time that you both mutually agree on.
Now, this next one is pretty obvious. Avoid criticism. Nobody likes criticism. When you attack somebody they're going to automatically put up their defenses. They're going to automatically check out of the conversation and feel like they don't want to deal with it. It's extra painful for a dismissive avoidant because when they get criticized it hurts them to their core because deep down they feel like they're not good enough. They feel like they're inadequate and they're not worthy of love.
When somebody comes along and criticizes them, even if it is constructive criticism, it’ll make them feel very hurt and very inadequate. They already feel this in the first place so when somebody points that out, for example, the way they load the dishwasher, or the way that they respond to your love, they're going to take that as a very heavy burden. They're going to withdraw and it's going to be unhealthy.
The last thing I want you guys to understand about the dismissive avoidant is you have to make them resolve issues. They don't like talking about deep, heartfelt things all day long. The people who are becoming more of a secure attacher and more healthy in their ways of loving will understand that communication is key. The ones who don't understand that aren't in the self development mindset. They won't resolve issues, they'll just let things get swept under the rug and then you'll let them fester.
If you sweep something under the rug long enough it’s going to become the elephant in the room, so you want to make sure that you resolve those issues with them. Come back to the table when everybody is cooled off and they're able to be more level-headed and clear minded. Don't allow them to let things go for too long. If you send them a text message about something that you have a concern with, they may ignore you for another day or two and then come back with something different. They may come back with a whole different topic which is one of their deactivating strategies.
They'll check out from that conversation or that line of thinking because, A) they don't want to deal with it, and B) it's just really painful to have to think about. They equate closeness and intimacy with pain. Intimacy in the past was what molded this attachment style, so make sure that you resolve issues when you guys are able to.