10 Signs of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

As humans, we all crave love and intimacy. However, for some, forming emotionally close relationships can feel scary or unsafe. This is known as dismissive avoidant attachment personality disorder.

People with a dismissive avoidant attachment style in particular tend to distrust intimacy and value independence above closeness with others.

In this blog post, I will explain 10 key signs that someone may have a dismissive avoidant attachment style.

I will discuss what causes this pattern of relating to others and how it can impact relationships.

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10 Signs of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

10 Signs of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

Here are signs to know people with dismissive avoidant personality disorder:

1. They Desire Independence Above Closeness

Perhaps the defining trait of dismissive avoidants is their strong need for independence and autonomy.

They do not like depending on others emotionally and view intimacy as a sign of weakness rather than strength.

Closeness threatens their sense of self-reliance. As a result, they often keep people at arm’s length to avoid vulnerability.

2. Emotions Are Seen as Unpleasant or Uncomfortable

Dismissive avoidants have learned to distrust their feelings and the feelings of others. Any signs of emotion are perceived as threatening and upsetting.

They believe emotions make people irrational and unpredictable. As a way to feel more in control, they suppress emotional expression and focus on logic instead of affect.

3. Relationships Feel Restrictive

The commitment and obligations that come with close relationships activate their instinct to detach. They value freedom over responsibility to a partner.

Relationships are seen as constraining rather than enhancing. This often leads dismissive avoidants to shy away from serious commitments like marriage or having children.

4. Partners Feel More Like Acquaintances

They keep people at an emotional distance and do not allow intimacy to deepen relationships. Partners know little about their inner world and what they value most.

Dividing their personal life from partnership is important; friends feel closer than romantic others. Without vulnerability and trust, bonds cannot reach an interdependent level.

5. Needs for Reassurance Are Rarely Expressed

Admitting needs makes one seem weak and dependent in their view. They believe reliance on others will only lead to harm.

As a defense, dismissive avoidants strive to be fully self-sufficient at all times. Asking for help or validation from their partner is nearly impossible.

6. Criticism Feels Threatening

Any sort of criticism, even constructive feedback, activates their core fears of being flawed or unworthy.

They handle it defensively by minimizing, dismissing, or rationalizing away their partner’s perspective.

For them, appearing perfect is safer than risking disapproval through openness.

7. Withdrawal Is a Common Response

When problems arise or feelings get intense, their natural impulse is to retreat from closeness instead of leaning in.

Distance and detachment become coping mechanisms to deal with discomfort.

By creating physical or emotional space, they aim to regain control of their vulnerable state. However, it damages bonds over time.

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8. Dependency Feels Unacceptable

The thought of depending on another person for comfort, counsel, or security causes deep unease.

They believe self-sufficiency alone decides worth and that needing others shows deficiency.

Strongly valuing their autonomy, any need for care, help, or approval must remain hidden.

9. Past Relationships Felt Restrictive

Previous partnerships never felt fully satisfying due to always holding back parts of self. Partnerships were tolerable only while superficial and manageable.

Allowing a deep, interdependent bond to form completely was too frightening. As a result, there exists a wariness towards the vulnerability required for real intimacy.

10. Commitment Elicits Anxiety

Making promises or pledges brings on fears about losing control or freedom. Short-term, casual connections provide less responsibility and easier escape should claustrophobia set in.

Unresolved childhood wounds foster lifelong aversion to having needs met through close bonds of care, trust, and acceptance.


Why Do People Develop a Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Style?

Dismissive avoidance stems from early caregivers who were emotionally unavailable, rejecting, or inconsistent with meeting infant needs.

Babies learn that depending on others risks neglect or distress. They adapt by becoming self-reliant to feel secure.

However, this defense strategy remains into adulthood relationships where intimacy similarly threatens the dismissal of needs.

Aren’t Avoidant People Just Not Into Relationships?

While dismissive avoidants value independence, most still desire intimacy and connection, as it is human nature to crave closeness.

However, their avoidance develops as a way to feel safe from the vulnerability of depending on others emotionally.

With time and work on underlying fears, these defenses can soften to allow for healthier bonds of trust and care in relationships.

How Can Dismissive Avoidants Overcome Their Avoidance Patterns?

The path involves developing self-awareness around avoidant behaviors, regulating distressing emotions through techniques like mindfulness, practicing expressing needs without alarm, and seeking counseling to work through early wounds in a supportive setting.

Crucially, avoidantly attached partners also need patience, compassion, and security from understanding loved ones during their journey towards healthier bonding.

Can Dismissive Avoidance Seriously Harm Relationships?

While avoidant tendencies are normal to some degree in all humans, strong dismissive avoidance can undermine relationships if left unchecked.

Constant emotional withdrawal and reluctance to commit deeply damage feelings of safety, trust, and care between partners over time.

However, with self-reflection and efforts on both sides, even severely avoidant attachments have the potential for positive change given the willingness to understand each other more fully.

Read Also: 10 Steps to Let Go of Someone You Love, Unchain Yourself & Find Peace

Final Thought

Dismissive avoidance develops as a reflexive strategy early in life to cope with inconsistent or neglectful caregiving relationships where needs are not reliably met.

However, as adults, these defenses can get in the way of fulfilling intimacy if unaddressed.

The keys are self-awareness, emotional regulation skills, willingness to lean on understanding partners, and openness to therapy helping to resolve core fears clouding relationships.

With patience and effort, dismissive avoidants have the capacity like all humans to gain more security from close bonds built on care, respect, and trust over rigid independence.

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