Pulling too close, pushing too far

Relationships mean vulnerability.

We have seen that.

There is no possible connection with someone else if we don’t take some risk they might be hurting us. Coming too close inevitably brings more danger.

For some people, this is unbearable. Due to traumas and an insecure attachment, it’s really hard for them to let someone in without the terror of disintegrating or without feeling trapped. So as a consequence they either become preoccupied and anxious about the relationship, or avoidant and dismissive. 

And when closeness becomes a problem, the first issues start to arise.

The relationship cannot be experienced as that free space where each partner can discover whole new ways of being with openness and trust. It becomes a re-enactment of ‘safe’ dynamics from the past. Keeping a distance or ensuring closeness becomes a primal need, and is used as default interaction method.

Co-dependency starts to settle in. 

The avoidant partner needs the other because even if kept at distance, they remind them they are worthy. Without ever being too clear about their intentions, they start by giving vague signals of interest, never confirming it or denying it, and the fact that the other person stays is something they say they don’t need, but it’s the fuel that makes them feel worthy.

The anxious one suffers any detachment from the other, but even the slightest demonstration of affection is a confirmation of their love and becomes vital to their sense of worthiness. The more unavailable their partner is, the more of a reward it will be when they receive attention from them.

Without an understanding of their patterns and repetition, the other becomes a need and not a choice.

This doesn’t happen only for anxious-avoidant relationships, but for any that’s built on the premise that the other person has to reassure us of something.

(Find the full video on avoidant-anxious relationships here.)

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