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Alcohol and Mental Health

Avoidant Attachment Triggers: Emotional Hide-and-Seek

July 5, 2023
7 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 5, 2023
7 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 5, 2023
7 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 5, 2023
7 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 5, 2023
7 min read

You know those days when stress is piling up, and somehow, the idea of re-watching The Office for the twentieth time feels more appealing than dealing with it all? If that rings a bell, buckle up — we're about to journey into the fascinating world of avoidant attachment and its sneaky triggers.

The ABCs of Attachment Theory

Here's a typical scene. You've just wrapped up an intense phone call with a friend, and you're left feeling emotionally drained. Suddenly, the siren call of your favorite sitcom becomes too hard to resist. What's going on here?

This is what attachment theory is all about. Defined by psychologists Bowlby and Ainsworth, this theory tells us that the ways we emotionally bond with others during our early years set the tone for how we manage stress and emotional discomfort in adulthood.

Sneaking Past Feelings

Among various attachment styles, the avoidant one is like that friend who always seems to have an “exit strategy” when things get emotional.

If you have an avoidant attachment style, you might find yourself shying away from emotional closeness, valuing your independence to an extreme and retreating into comfortable distractions when things get heated. Basically, when emotions start to feel like a wild roller coaster, you'd much rather be safely on the ground, watching from a distance.

A Closer Look at Avoidant Attachment Triggers

But how does an avoidant attachment style make us prefer a sitcom binge to dealing with uncomfortable emotions?

Research shows that avoidantly attached individuals tend to use distraction as their coping mechanism. Rather than grappling with their emotional discomfort, they steer their attention towards something less overwhelming.

Studies have revealed that avoidantly attached folks are more likely to shift their focus from negative emotions towards neutral or positive stimuli. This might manifest as immersing yourself in work, diving into hobbies, or turning to a comfort-inducing TV marathon.

Enter Alcohol

Have you ever declared, "I need a drink"? If that rings a bell after a tough day or an emotionally charged situation, you might want to explore the connection between avoidant attachment triggers and alcohol use.

Attachment theory suggests that our early bonding experiences shape our adult relationships and how we respond to stress. Avoidant attachment — one of these styles — can be a bit sneaky. It makes us dodge emotional closeness, stress, and anxiety.

Research tells us that those with an avoidant attachment style might be more prone to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Alcohol can provide a temporary shield from uncomfortable feelings, offering the emotional distance that avoidantly attached folks often seek.

In other words, your Friday night glass of wine or whiskey might be your subconscious tactic to keep stress and emotional discomfort at bay. Remember, understanding this connection is the first step towards finding healthier coping mechanisms and building stronger emotional resilience.

Tackle Your Triggers

Now that we've peeked behind the curtain of avoidant attachment style, here are some steps that can help us manage these triggers better:

  • Identify your triggers. Understand what situations or emotions lead you to seek distractions. Is it conflict, criticism, or vulnerability?
  • Understand your attachment style. Recognize your patterns of avoidance. The more self-aware you are, the better equipped you'll be to manage your responses.
  • Feel your feelings. This can be tough! But allowing yourself to experience and express your emotions can be incredibly empowering.
  • Establish healthy habits. Develop strategies to manage emotional stress that don't revolve around avoidance. This could involve physical activity, mindfulness exercises, or creative pursuits.
  • Build a support network. Surround yourself with trusted friends or family members who can offer support when you need it.
  • Practice self-compassion. Remember that change is a process, not an event. Be patient with yourself and celebrate each step forward, no matter how small.
  • Seek professional help. If navigating your avoidant attachment triggers becomes too challenging, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

So next time you feel the urge to retreat into your favorite sitcom or reach for a glass — or bottle — of wine instead of addressing the stress at hand, remember, it might just be your avoidant attachment style playing hide-and-seek. And with these steps in your toolkit, you'll be better prepared to join the game.

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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