Great Advice On Attachment Styles and Text Messaging

I found this little gem on Psychology Today, written by Hal Shorey Ph.D.

It’s a long article about why attachment styles and texting don’t always mix, and I thought to spare you the read and zero in on the parts that someone trying to figure out how and when to text based on one’s attachment style might find interesting.

According to Hal Shorey, as a means of communicating plans, details, and what you need your partner to pick up at the store, texting is great. But, as a vehicle for communicating complex and emotionally charged information where you need to go back and forth with a partner or resolve issues or misunderstandings, it is downright maladaptive and potentially damaging.

Some of the issues with texting relate to attachment style differences.

Preoccupied Attachment Style

If you have a preoccupied style, you may be on guard for rejection and anticipate being spoken to like you are inferior or somehow damaged and needy. Thus, you are likely to interpret ambiguous or neutral expressions as emotional threats.

Less texting or delayed responses further activate your anxious attachment style.

Advice for Preoccupied Attachment Style: Let yourself and others explore and experience some distress without jumping in too quickly with comfort that actually blocks learning distress and frustration tolerance.

Have “no texting” times…like when you are at work!

Having no texting times can preserve your secure base for when you really need it.

Fearful-Anxious and Fearful -Avoidant Attachment Style

If you have a fearful attachment style, you may anticipate being attacked or falsely accused. You may then lash out with rash texted words in an effort to counterattack. In so doing, however, you fail to anticipate how the other person is also likely to inaccurately infer your intentions and attitudes (as found in our facial expressions, tone, and volume).

Advice for Fearful Attachment Style: Learn to regulate and soothe your own painful emotions, and don’t be in too much of a rush to fill in the missing information about what is really happening on the other end of the text exchange

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment Style

If you are a dismissive avoidant, you we may ignore an inflection that you should infer. You tell yourself that it doesn’t matter and that the person on the other end of the text stream should be fine with what you just said.

Advice for Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment Style: Give a response even when you don’t feel like it and invite a phone call or in-person conversation instead of texting.

There … now thank me for saving you time. You’re welcome.

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