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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon

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Are Perfection-Seeking and Self-Reliance Holding You Back from Love? The Avoidant Attachment Style’s MO

girl on bike path

Since childhood, I’ve learned to self-soothe and be self-reliant. My parents were/are great, loving parents. I always knew they were there for me if I really needed them. There was a lot of fun, conversation and adventure in our home. They both had personalities that fostered independence in their children. My dad is entrepreneurial, curious and hardworking. When I was a child, his mind and body were often preoccupied with new ventures, other relationships and current work. My mom was traditional, devoted and fearful. Her mind and body were often preoccupied with maintaining the status quo, other relationships and future worries.

I had to seek out my dad and not burden my mom. They both had a lot on their plates. They divorced when my sister and I were young so we went back and forth between their homes. Money was tight so I worked part time jobs through high school and college.

It was easier to find ways to calm and comfort myself. As I’ve said many times, I spent a lot of time in my room as a kid. I played dolls, read, did homework and listened to music. As a teen, I had close, supportive friendships that offered a lot of joy and security.

Our culture encourages autonomy and independence. It’s a good thing to stand on your own two feet. I prided myself on my ability to move far away from home and support myself after college.

You’re probably not going to be there for me, so I’ll be there for myself

The ability to self-soothe and self-regulate my emotions and needs, is not 100% successful. In truth, a lot of embarrassing emotions sneak out and the self-reliance makes it darn hard for me to trust and depend on an intimate partner. My primary concern is that they are not going to provide consistent emotional support. They won’t be able to handle my real connection-seeking, sensitive, expressive personality.

I’ve found myself looking for reasons to reject someone. Their imperfections start to stick out more than their gifts. I subconsciously wait for them to let me down or need me too much. I fear they will ask too much of me and I’ll be overwhelmed. I won’t be able to reciprocate. I won’t be as good and loving as them. It’s easier to pull away.

woman alone in field storm clouds

I ask for more time to myself. In solitude, I ‘m safe from disappointment, dependency and their inability to handle my emotions. In solitude, I can self-regulate, comfort myself. These are all methods of distancing myself from a partner. These are behaviors of the avoidant attachment style.

Admittedly, some partners needed to be distanced. Others distanced me.

If I throw enough distancing behavior at partners, albeit mostly subconsciously, they make my worst fears come true. They prove I can’t depend on them by leaving and that the only person I can count on is myself.

I’ve had enough of that cycle.

Constant self-reliance is exhausting. Losing or leaving partners hurts and takes longer and longer to recover after each one.

Secure or anxious attachment styles please

After reading Wired for Dating by Stan Tatkin and Love and War in Intimate Relationships by Stan Tatkin and Marion Solomon, I decided securely attached or anxiously attached partners would be the best for strengthening my own security at this time.

Securely attached partners don’t give mixed signals. They let you know they are interested and strive to connect as soon and as often as possible. They make your concerns their concerns. They ask your opinion. They aren’t as easily ruffled by emotions. They believe their partners have good intentions. They want to be in long-term relationships. Many of these traits fit me as well.

Anxiously attached partners are insecure like avoidantlly attached persons, but instead of believing they can do things themselves, they lean more toward, ‘I can’t do it without you’. They are highly sensitive to threats to the relationship. They will pursue a distancing partner (good for me). They really want relationship and intimacy. I have characteristics of the anxiously attached person too.

Having characteristics of different attachment styles is normal. One style is usually more pronounced. The styles may change over your lifetime too, depending on the relationships you are in. It is possible to become more secure over time.

There is nothing wrong with avoidant attachment styles. Like me, they are just harder to convince to forego autonomy for intimacy, but ultimately they want to give and love too. Two avoidant attachment style people in one relationship sets off too many triggers for me at this time in my life. The mutual distancing does not allow for the warmth and connection I desire.

Letting go of perfection seeking

We did an exercise at church recently where each congregant chose a plant clipping from a basket and held it in their hands. As we touched the plant’s leaves, we were supposed to let go of something troubling and transfer it to the plant. Later, we went outside and let the clipping go in the wind.

I let go of looking for imperfections in a mate. I let go of the fear of making a mistake and being trapped in the wrong relationship. I let go of the fear of being too sensitive. I embraced embracing what is beautiful and fulfilling in a relationship. I vowed to share warmth without inhibition. I vowed to notice and curb my distancing behavior and move toward love.bright orange mystical kiss

Do you look for imperfections in your mate? Do you focus on them? Do you ask for more and more time to self-soothe? If so, is it introversion or avoidant attachment style?

If you’d like help with acceptance and understanding of your partner, please contact me for relationship coaching. I’d love to work with you!

 

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9 Comments

  1. Stephanie October 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing another open and insightful post. I don’t always have something share back but it’s always food for thought and I admire your honesty! 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles October 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks for reading and commenting Stephanie. I’m happy you get something out of my writing. 🙂

  2. Beatriz October 8, 2016 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Hello Brenda.

    Have you read something about homo noeticus?
    I recommend that you do. There´s not a lot of information about that. But I guess you fit in the meaning. I think once you have understood both species between homo sapiens and homo noeticus you will understand all your concerns and your differences between many people and you.
    It´s a point of consciouness.
    I also reconmmed that you see videos from Eckhart Tolle.

    My best wishes

    • Brenda Knowles October 8, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Beatriz, I’ll look into homo noeticus. I have not read anything on it. I love Eckhart Tolle! I’ve read his books. He was the start of my self-discovery journey. Hugs to you!

  3. Morena October 7, 2016 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Brenda,

    I’m exhausted by inconsistent men. I don’t have the strength anymore….each guy says he’s different. https://indepthwoman.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/does-finding-the-one-get-complicated-the-older-you-get/ ….I have other areas in my life that need my focus. I know what I want and deserve and it’s just not out there. Atlease not now…Of course I get lonely at times but I’m not going to spend my time with just anyone. Dating and relationships are just not for me.

    • Brenda Knowles October 8, 2016 at 9:51 am - Reply

      I can feel your exhaustion and exasperation with relationships. Take time to fill your cup up other ways. You need peace and calm first. Sending you a warm hug.

      • Morena October 11, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

        Thank you Brenda,

        I have and I will… I’m a peaceful person, I want peace from a S.O. Who ever that may be and if I can’t have that, I will simply just stay alone. I’ve mastered it…I enjoy my own company even though at times I would like the comfort of a man, to just hold me but, they always want to take it to the next level, so quick and I’m not about that life right now. It takes me a long time. I read your article about you sharing yourself when you we’re approaching your 40s and I feel I’m taking the same path. It’s good that I wait because I don’t want to make a soul tie I can’t break. I’m very cautious whom I let in my space. I’m still holdng out for love one day 🙂 but my cup needs to be filled. That area will open up when its time 🙂

  4. Kat October 7, 2016 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Dear Brenda,
    First, I think it’s wonderful to decide and be able, to explore your deep inner self, your inner fears, why you do things the way you do them!
    If anything, it means, you are intelligent enough to think, of how you can make the most of your relationship. It also means, you ‘care’ about others, and about yourself. It shows you are corageous enough to not stay comfortably where you are, and brave enough to challenge your thought process, the ingrained pattern of dealing with things and facing it head on. Most of us, would rather run, avoid, blame self and/or others and remain oblivion to our own fears. Fears that can cause us to sabotage our own happiness. Fears that have became so familiar, we don’t know how to function without them.
    Most relationships bring up a great deal of challenges. Getting to know our fears of intimacy, of opening up and risking our inner security and reaching that scary moment of horror, realizing ‘oh my gosh! I’m so exposed! RUN’ is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship.

    Thank you for creating thoughts! Thank you for sharing yours.

    • Brenda Knowles October 8, 2016 at 9:48 am - Reply

      I can’t seem to avoid my fears and personal awareness.;) It’s always there tapping on my shoulder. The hardest part is definitely admitting my culpability and then working to improve my contributions to relationships. Being with someone who allows/encourages vulnerability and authenticity helps shore up my courage. Sometimes the encouragers are friends or wise people in my community. Sometimes (when I’m extremely fortunate) they are my romantic partners. Thanks for reading and contributing so thoughtfully to space2live Kat. I always appreciate your perspective.

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