Understanding Avoidant Attachment


I want to start off by sharing something vulnerable with you. An interesting thing has happened for me as I’ve been working on the Understanding Avoidant Attachment Course.

I started to doubt myself.

I started to feel disoriented as I came up against all of the ways that I too have been conditioned to believe that the avoidant style is “bad.” I started to ask myself if I really know how attachment theory works, if I even understand attachment and connection and how to heal our relationships. I was incredibly uncomfortable and also really sad. Moving forward required me to tap into my resources, ask for help, and sit with the doubt long enough to transform it into something I could work with.

This work is not for the faint of heart, and part of the practice of security is coming back to the truth, coming back to each other, over and over again.

This process of finding my way back to the truth of my work and the truth of our ability to heal reminds me that this isn’t a one-time job—when we commit to the work, we are committing to a way of being in the world and in our relationships. Secure relating doesn’t just happen and happy relationships aren’t an accident. They demonstrate dedication to working through discomfort, showing up for the hard stuff with enthusiasm, and following through.

And I want to remind you I am dedicated to doing that with you. We aren’t perfect but we are doing our best and that is good enough.

My heart aches for people who have found themselves with a primary avoidant attachment adaptation, and here’s why: people with this style have learned that the only person they can count on in the world consistently is themselves. To arrive in that place, a person will have experienced MANY situations where they were left alone, told to “get over it” or “buck up” or “move on”, and encouraged to focus on the future and DO more instead of feeling their emotions. Take a moment and feel that in your body. What might this have been like for the important person in your life with the avoidant style? Can you feel the loneliness? I feel it so deeply. We all deserve healthy relationships. I won’t settle for lonely—for any of us.

I recently listened to a podcast during which Kate White was interviewed. She is an incredible somatic therapist and focuses on very early development and how our relationships with our caregivers impact our mental health and our bodies. Throughout the podcast, she said many times “healing wants to happen.” And I know this to be true in my experience as a clinician and a client, with both my brain and my body.

Healing wants to happen. Our healthy attachment systems are right there under the surface of our challenging experiences and relational histories. They show up when we witness something beautiful happening, whether it’s your dog bounding up to you after having been apart and their tail is wagging so hard that they can’t sit still, or a baby smiling and everyone else in the room smiles, too. Our secure attachment systems come online when we feel even just a moment of safety. Our innate drive to connect is strong and resilient. Those of us who have experienced trauma know that even if we have been through something incredibly painful, our bodies and brains can slowly move back towards healing when the right circumstances are in place. We have to calm our survival system to allow our attachment system to remember what it wants and needs to do: connect.

I know the work is hard. I know it can feel endless sometimes. But here’s the thing: this is your life. We know that when people are dying, they consistently reflect on the importance of relationships and time spent with the people they love. When we feel helpless in the face of our history and we allow our old patterns to take over and overwhelm us in relationships, we are missing out on nourishing connection. I will never tell you that the work is easy, but I know that it is worth doing. I have witnessed so many people come to a place of safety and security by showing up and doing the hard work. It’s what we’re wired for. You are built for this. I am, too.

The Understanding Avoidant Attachment Online Course is a culmination of the work I have done personally and professionally to understand the avoidant attachment style in depth. I am always learning and will continue to do so, but I want you to know that I’ve given this course everything I have. I hope it feels resonant for you.

Here is what one of the beta-testers said about the course:

I highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to gain a better, deeper understanding of the Avoidant/Dismissive Attachment style, either for themselves or in the context of a relationship. Elizabeth’s work has helped me so much and this course takes her previous work in this area to a new level. I’ve read many books and articles on the topic of Avoidant Attachment, and the primary difference in Elizabeth’s work is her compassion for all attachment styles, and how they effect how we show up in relationships. Her genuine understanding of the avoidant attachment style—and the unique challenges it can present in romantic/loving relationships—is really apparent in this course, and she gently guides you to a deeper understanding of how this attachment style develops in the first place, and gives you the tools to move toward a new level of connectedness. It has truly been eye-opening and affirming for me to do this course and this work, and I feel so much better equipped in this journey. If you are avoidant in your style, or are partnered with an avoidant (like I am) then this course will leave you with a calmer, more patient, more compassionate outlook as you continue on the journey. Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I cannot recommend this course highly enough, and I’m genuinely excited at the growth, healing, and change that this course will inspire, both in my relationship and hopefully many others.

The Understanding Avoidant Attachment Online Course launches this Friday. Folks who are on the First to Know list will receive a discount code to purchase the course for $109 (the value of the course is $149; the First to Know discount is the only time the course will be priced this low).

I cannot wait to hear how this course lands for you. Thank you so much for all of your support, comments, questions, love, and generosity of presence in this work. Healing wants to happen, and you are proof of that.