What is Avoidant Attachment Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Avoidant Attachment Syndrome?

Avoidant Attachment Syndrome is a condition characterized by an attachment style in which the individual does not prefer to get close to anyone and prefers to remain independent. This style of attachment generally develops in early childhood and has a host of reasons behind it. It is seen mostly in children who grow up in an environment where their needs and distress do not yield a sensitive response from their parents or caregivers. These children when they grow up prefer to remain independent both physically and emotionally.[1,2]

Avoidant Attachment Style can be of three types, namely dismissive-avoidant, fearful-avoidant, or anxious-avoidant. People with dismissive-avoidant attachment style prefer to do their task on their own and be independent. These people make strict boundaries around them and do not allow anyone to breach it. They also stay away from any kind of emotional attachment with anyone. This makes it harder for them to open up with their partners and have any kind of decent or long term relationships.[1,2]

People with anxious attachment style feel insecure among people who they do not know and tend to have limited interactions with others. Fearful attachment occurs in people who in their childhood were shunned or reprimanded by their parents for any wish or demand. Such people tend to be quite fearful of interacting with people even if they are close to them.[1,2]

What Causes Avoidant Attachment Syndrome?

It is vital for the parent or caregiver to form a close bond with their children. This boosts the confidence of the child and allows the child to vocalize their feelings and desires freely. If there is repeated rejection on the part of the family or caregivers then it causes the child to suppress the feelings and desires of the child when under distress or upset.[2]

A person develops Avoidant Attachment Syndrome when as a child his or her caregiver or parents are never available emotionally or is insensitive to their needs. Such children face repeated discouragement from their parents or caregivers to vent out their feelings. This normally happens in households where the parents or the caregivers lack knowledge on how to raise and support the child. They also lack empathy towards the child. These people are so overwhelmed with their added responsibilities of being a parent that they start venting out their frustrations on the child. These people also have a lack of a sense of commitment towards their children.[2]

Some children develop Avoidant Attachment Syndrome as a result of their parents having the same disorder. Children with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome start to learn and feel as though they can only rely on themselves for their needs and thus become aloof and avoid interacting with others.[2]

What are the Symptoms of Avoidant Attachment Syndrome?

A person with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome will show sign of any affection or closeness with others however close they may be even though they feel the same stress and anxiety in stressful situations as any other normal person. A child with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome will want to stay close with their primary caregivers even though they may not interact with them frequently.[2]

A person with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome will display the following:

  • Avoid emotional closeness in relationships
  • Feel that their partners are getting way too close to them even if that is not the case
  • Cope with difficult situations alone
  • Suppress emotions
  • Avoid complaining
  • Suppress any negative memories
  • Turning away from any unpleasant conversations or sights
  • Fear rejection
  • Have a strong belief that they can do anything alone
  • Have high self-esteem and have negative opinion on others[2]

Sometimes, Avoidant Attachment Syndrome can also affect the elderly. This has been shown in a study done in Honk Kong in that in a married couple the male partner with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome had more negative effects of the condition than the female partner.[2]

How is Avoidant Attachment Syndrome Treated?

The best way to deal with Avoidant Attachment Syndrome is by way of therapy and counseling. This is beneficial for child as well as the parents and the caregiver. It becomes easier for a counselor to explain to the parents as to how their behaviors are negative impacting the psyche of the child. The counselor can also offer new and easy ways of understanding the child’s needs and how to respond to them.[1,2]

The work of the therapist is to work with the child and try to help them form a good bond with their parents and caregivers. For adults, therapy is the way to go for Avoidant Attachment Syndrome. The counselor can explain how the things that happened in their childhood have impacted their overall health psychologically resulting in them being what they are currently. They can then suggest way to get rid of the negative feelings towards others and be more open and interactive with their partners or other people in general.[1,2]

To summarize, Avoidant Attachment Syndrome is a condition that begins in childhood where the needs, desires, and feelings of a child are suppressed by the parents or the caregivers and the child does not get the required attention. This causes the child to go into shell and suppress their emotion. When they grow up, they tend to stay away from relationships and tend to be very independent.[1,2]

The treatment for Avoidant Attachment Syndrome is only by way of therapy and counseling. They are beneficial for the parents, caregivers, and the child or patient alike. They can offer different ways to overcome their negative thoughts and starting to interact more with their friends and peers and be more upright in their relationships thus coming out of their Avoidant Attachment Syndrome.[1,2]

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