The Avoiders—Some Things to Know
Avoidance and avoidance behavior are terms recognized in psychology, and from my experience with an enormous number of clients, result in anything from minor annoyance to deep resentment. Avoidance seems to show up more often in men than in women, and is probably the number one complaint I hear from women about their husbands. I am quite sure it has ended many marriages.
Avoiders are people who are so afraid of conflict or uncomfortable feelings that they dodge the action or communication necessary to resolve problems. Instead, they find a rock to hide under…anything to escape the person and/or situation, in the extreme and almost delus
ional hope that the issue will just sort itself out without them. Occasionally this strategy works, which is why they keep doing it. In most cases, however, an avoider just winds up making everyone mad at them.
In my own experience, I have had avoidant clients who “no-show” to appointments because they didn’t want to have to tell me they needed to reschedule. I don’t mind rescheduling as long as I get 24 hours’ notice. What I know I don’t like is sitting in my office for an hour, waiting for a client who is not coming.
- Avoiders usually create a lot of conflict, along with major problems for their partners, by not doing those unpleasant tasks like filing taxes, cleaning out the garage, or setting boundaries with exes, coworkers, bosses, kids, and family. The worst part of this coping mechanism is that it’s unnecessary and wasteful. I would say, conservatively, that these people expend about ten times as much energy thinking about and trying to avoid something, as they would just dealing with it.
- Where does this behavior come from? The roots of avoidance are somewhat different for everyone, but for men, it commonly begins with a sensitive boy being berated by an overbearing mother. For women, it is frequently tied to emotional or physical abuse from either parent.
- How do you fix this? I’m not going to lie. Avoidance is a tough issue, at the core of which is fear. Treatment is done using fear protocols, and this can take quite some time. I will say, though, that with patience and a real desire to change, healing is possible. If this sounds like a problem of yours, I strongly encourage you to seek help to prevent it from sabotaging your relationships. If you are a man dealing with a female boss, avoidance can actually destroy your career. Do not underestimate the damaging effects of this condition.
If you don’t think your avoidance behavior is “that serious,” consider your relationships, especially romantic ones, past and present. Have your partners complained about your failure to face challenges or tasks head-on? For a healthy, balanced relationship to survive, avoidance behavior must be acknowledged and worked on.
There is some good news! The work you do to heal will pay off in a much more fulfilling and meaningful life, one in which you are a true adult instead of a runaway child.
If you need help with this issue give me a call today, your spouse will call me after your session and thank me-I know because that actually happens all the time!
Looking forward to helping you create lasting change.
Jill Thomas CCHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy