Attachment Style: Come Closer, No Go Away

In this article, I’m going to go into more detail on another type of attachment style. You might identify yourself in this style as you read. It affects how you relate to your significant relationship today or in previous relationships you’ve been in. It might have caused some problems, especially if you don’t recognize this has been your attachment style that you’ve been operating in.

I would describe it as, ‘come closer, go away.’ They are polarized in two extremes. When you are wanting more closeness, you want the other person much closer to you. When they are near, you notice that you start to feel they are too close. You might have experienced inconsistencies in your own upbringing that shaped the way you relate and how you feel attachment.

*Alicia’s style of attachment was this way. Her husband, Andrew, would notice that there were time he felt his wife complain to him that she didn’t feel close to him. They had just vacationed in the Bahamas, the two of them. He spent time listening to her as they walked on the beach. They ate many meals together and took mini excursions. He didn’t understand why his wife lacked the sense of closeness. They had returned less than a week ago. 6 months ago, his wife was working overtime and even when things slowed down, she seemed distracted and distant. This was not the first time he had noticed some hot and cold behavior in their 3 years of marriage.

With a closer look at Alicia’s childhood, she described her mother as often unavailable and didn’t always experience a warm upbringing. In fact, emotions was not a topic she could easily talk about in her family. She had always wished she could confide in her mother when she was struggling or feeling down. As time went on and she grew up, she stopped expecting her mother to be there for her emotionally. She did say she craved closeness, but it left her feeling wounded and vulnerable when she would try to express the struggles she felt at times. As a result, her relational style was formed. Come closer because she craved closeness to her heart, but go away when she feels vulnerable. Closeness also is a double edged sword because it opened her up to feeling unsafe since the message communicated with her is vulnerable feelings are unwelcome or fear of rejection.

There is a push and pull element to this style of attachment. While this style of attachment doesn’t mean a person is pathological, but it may be an indicator as to when vulnerable feelings are triggered.

  1. Rather than push the other away, start to become aware of it.
  2. Write down what those fears are that makes you want to push away feelings of closeness.
  3. When you want closeness, notice what feelings come up.
  4. The greater the awareness, and making conscious adjustments not to push your significant other away, the less likely the extremes of this attachment style will wreck havoc in your relationship.

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