Fearful Avoidant Commitment Phobia: What it is and how to deal with it


In today's blog I will be talking about the fearful avoidant and commitment phobia. I'm going to start off with a disclaimer. I am not a therapist or a counselor. This information is purely for informational use only. These are things that I've experienced myself and from people that I've worked with. This is not to be replaced for counseling or therapy. If you need that, please go ahead and seek those avenues so you can get the help that you need. 

I'm seeing more and more people reach out to me who say that they have taken the test and they identify themselves as fearful avoidants. Fearful avoidants can get to an extreme where they won't be able to show up and be present in their relationship because they're so fixated on not getting it wrong. They even show up the same way in their careers or if they decide to have kids. In any of those areas in life they really struggle to be locked down or committed to something long term.

This may not be for everyone, and some of you may disagree, but that's okay. From my experience, my perception, and the things that I've experienced as far as coaching and my own personal life, what I see for the fearful avoidant people and their career paths is they choose jobs that are more flexible. They choose jobs that have a lot of variety. They may choose unconventional jobs. After they’ve been in a job for a while they start to feel like a caged animal and they need to get out.

They always have this thought in the back of their mind about whether they are making the right choice or if they are on the right career path. You'll see them as entrepreneurs, baristas, people who travel a lot, photographers, etc. 

When you think about the fearful avoidant getting into a relationship they're going to have the same type of reservations about making the right choice. This is all going back to their subconscious programming during their developmental stages. They likely weren't shown consistency. They were probably in really toxic and unhealthy environments. This isn't 100% of them, but this is just what I've seen from people that I’ve worked with who identify themselves as fearful avoidants.

As far as women that I've worked with that are fearful avoidants, some of the patterns that I've seen are they have come from relationships that were either unhealthy where they were habitually cheated on or it was toxic. They may have a couple different baby’s fathers that they thought the relationships were going to work out and go the distance and it ended up not working out because either trust was broken, or the guy may have been narcissistic. Or they may have been raised by parents that were narcissistic, and they have a hard time trusting someone in the future.

They have a hard time settling down or and making that commitment last a long time. They're so used to not being able to trust people and being ambivalent because of the type of experiences that they've had in the past. What I usually try to tell them is to give these people chances. Follow the 90-day rule that I talk about a lot because what I often see is a lot of these people have identified themselves as being anxious preoccupied in the past where they really latch on to their guy and they really engulf that person. After a while the relationship ends up turning toxic and they end up getting pushed away, or they end up sabotaging the relationship.

I see this more around women that are mid or early 30s. They start to get this feeling as if they’ll never find that person that they can trust and fully be vulnerable with. What then happens is they end up not being able to be present and when the relationship looks like it's about to go somewhere, and it looks like this person is going to be a healthy option for them, they end up imploding their relationship or pull away and take time for themselves.

When it comes to the men I see a lot of men struggle because they also had some trust issues in the past. Or as a kid they may have felt like they were emasculated by one of their parents, or one of the parents may have not been around. I see this especially with guys that didn't have their father figure around. They didn't have someone to show them what healthy relationships looked like. 

These are some of the patterns I've seen from the guys that show up as fearful avoidants. For the ones that were anxious preoccupied men in the past, they end up losing trust in women and they end up turning into players. There's a concept that talks about spinning plates and they end up doing that after they were someone who was an anxious person and now they're fearful.

What that looks like to me is guys that are becoming more fearful avoidant because they just don't want to make that commitment and find themselves in a situation where they have their heart torn in pieces. What I have learned is a lot of those guys have a hard time recovering from that breakup. What I recommend for them to do is to make sure that they find a good therapist that understands attachment theory or a good counselor that's going to help them uproot some of that negative gunk that is wired into them.

Our experiences affect how we tend to show up so people go into these situations with the best intentions in mind, but you have to understand that a lot of the way you operate is run by your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is responsible for at least 95 percent of the way you operate. You can try to five percent your way into making this commitment work. Or you can try to promise this person something that you know subconsciously you really can't do because you're still terrified of making that commitment and being able to show up in a way so that person doesn't want to leave you.