For some individuals , being in a relationship can activate feelings of engulfment or bring up feelings of wanting to run. The needs and requests of a partner, family member, or employer can feel overwhelming. Denial and avoidance become habits that keep the avoidant from being seen. Paradoxically, the individual will often want more, but will go outside the relationship to get the desired intensity. It feels safer that way. The intensity can manifest in many forms; sex, work, shopping, drugs and alcohol are a few of the coping strategies. Most avoidant individuals long for love however there is a lack of trust usually warranted by childhood engulfment that keeps them from feeling safe with intimacy.
Most Ambivalent individuals get caught up in the swing from anxious to avoidant – staying unavailable for intimacy and living in the question mark.
Five Sisters Ranch helps love avoidant and love ambivalent residents find their voice and use it. When the secretive behavior is defined and understood, it is a starting point to getting honest about the underlying causes that are creating the love avoidance that often leads to depression. When the a resident has difficulty deciding whether or not to leave a relationship, staying indecisive leads to not being able to move forward. This freezing can lead to a combination of anxiety and depression. Psychodrama, role-playing, defining attachment style and experiential therapies are all part of the programs offered at Five Sisters Ranch. With only having 6 residents at a time, our residents can expect to be seen, respected, and understood.
Most Common Signs and Characteristics of Love Avoidance:
- Avoid intimacy in the relationship by creating intensity in other activities outside the relationship
- Avoid being known in the relationship
- Distance themselves from intimate contact to keep from feeling engulfed
- Over controlling parenting when young…often one parent
- Secretive behavior – hiding feelings
- Need to be seen and adored and then escape
- Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
- Tolerance for high risk behavior
- Denial that there is a problem
Most Common Signs and Characteristics of Love Ambivalence:
- They let other things outside of the relationship get in the way, i.e., hobbies, work,
friends, lovers, addictions—anything.
- Typically, one anxious and one avoidant parent attachment style
- Come here, go away – most common relational pattern
- Crave love and also fear it
- Avoid intimacy by obsessing about love through romantic fantasies
about unavailable people
- They sexualize relationships to such a degree that emotional intimacy is non-existent, and then become addicted to either the sex or the relationship—often both.
- They become addicted through romantic affairs rather than committed relationships
- They struggle opening up to a deeper level of emotional intimacy, and yet they are unable to let go of the relationship.