Word out there is that dismissive-avoidants are love-avoidant, selfish and narcissistic and therefore must be avoided at all costs.
I have been studying anxiously-preoccupied and dismissive-avoidants attachment dynamics for years, and have worked with so many couples in this dynamic and it makes me really sad (and a little upset) that some people are going around dismissing a whole group of people (who had no say or control of who they were born to how they were raised) as “unlovable” and must be avoided.
Nobody is “love avoidant”. Relationship avoidant, yes. Commitment avoidant, yes. Conflict avoidant, yes. Intimacy avoidant, yes. Love-avoidant, no.
In Western society, the words love and relationships are used interchangeably, it therefore makes sense that many people think that if someone is “relationship” or “commitment” avoidant, they must be love avoidant too.
Love and a relationship are not the same thing (read my article: Is It Possible To Love Someone But Not Want To Be With Them?).
And while narcissists have dismissive-avoidant attachment tendencies, for example:
- Fear of being vulnerable and let others in
- Putting one’s own needs and wants above everything and everyone (narcissists) or above relationships (dismissive-avoidants)
- A positive view of themselves and a negative view of others
- The need to control connection, closeness and intimacy
- Fear of emotions and their expression
- Lack of empathy or concern for how others feel, need or want
- Distancing to avoid responsibility for one’s actions etc.
Dismissive-avoidants do not necessarily embody narcissistic tendencies for example:
- Inflated ego and sense of entitlement
- Pathological lying and making things up to make themselves look smarter, more important or more loved than they really are
- Victim mentality and whining about being ill-treated
- Inability to empathize or show concern for others
- Grandiosity and pretentiousness
- The need to feel respected, important, appreciated,
- A penchant for keeping a list of perceived wrongs,
- An obsession with the need to retaliate, humiliate and tear others down,
- Abusive to those close to them etc.
Dismissive-avoidants also want healthy relationships, and can be just as loving, caring and attentive as someone securely attached when they feel safe in a relationship. Many of them are in long term relationships or married. When a relationship ends, some (not many) dismissive-avoidants try to get back their ex. The odds that they will succeed are the same as any other insecure attachment style (anxious or fearful).
It’s true though that dismissive-avoidants approach relationships more cautiously and suspiciously, and place less value and importance to connection, closeness and intimacy. This is frustrating to anyone who is securely attached, anxiously attached or fearfully attached. But it is more upsetting to someone who is anxiously attached because anxiously attached individuals need more connection, closeness and intimacy to feel loved, wanted and valued. Unfortunately, the more they need, the more a dismissive avoidant distances.