For those classified as avoidant as children, parental availability was most likely when they were doing things well and without a fuss. This conditional acceptance means that the avoidant personality has a moderate need for approval. So, although the self has to be seen as independent and strong, it appears that the avoidant adult’s ‘attempts to maintain distance in their personal relationships might be, at least in part, anxiety driven’ (Feeney et al. 1995: 142). Psychological independence therefore feels more comfortable than emotional closeness. There is some recognition of this by avoidant people themselves. Although they generally present as able and competent, there is a willingness to admit that they find close relationships and intimacy more difficult. This is then followed by the qualification that feelings and relationships are not that important to them anyway. Feedback by partners, for example, is not always welcome and often dismissed.
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