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February 28, 2024 47 mins

Kelly welcomes Coach Ryan Holley, specialist of attachment styles, to break down the truth about avoidant attachment. Social media is full of posts about "anxious" and "avoidant" attachment styles, which can become overwhelming and confusing. Coach Ryan explains what this specific attachment style looks like in a relationship, the motivating factors behind what's happening and also how it can be healed. This podcast is meant to inform in order to help facilitate healing. Although all insecure attachment is painful in relationships, there is hope for security and it all starts with awareness! 

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Conversations on life, style, beauty, and relationships. It's the Velvet's
Edge podcast with Kelly Henderson.

Speaker 2 (00:08):
Okay, it's the month of Love and we've been talking
a lot about love and relationships and sex and all
the things we miss in our society as far as
how to do it, and a lot of the conversation
and relationships these days tends to be around attachment style.
So I have had a couple people on the podcast
that talk about anxious attachment, but I've had so many

(00:30):
requests from you guys wanting to know more about avoidant
attachment style. So Coach Ryan Holly, relationship and dating expert,
it's here to talk with us about that today.

Speaker 3 (00:39):
Hi, Coach Ryan, Hey, how you doing.

Speaker 2 (00:42):
I love I refer to you as my friends. I'm
like Coach Ryan said X, Y and Z all the time.
You're like a new part of my friend circles, conversation.

Speaker 3 (00:52):
Happy to be so well.

Speaker 2 (00:54):
The reason I was so drawn to your work is
because you do these videos on well, I've seen them
on Instagram. I know they're on TikTok as well well.
But they state the basics and also kind of the
intricacies of attachment style in a way that is so
digestible to me and doesn't like overwhelm me. It's it
just makes it easier to understand. And so I messaged

(01:15):
you and I was like, are you a recovering avoidant?
Like how do you know so much about avoidant attachment?
So tell us a little bit about the work that
you're doing with your clients and just how you're getting
into like so much talk about avoidant attachment.

Speaker 3 (01:29):
Well, you know, I do specialize focus on attachment when
it comes to relationships and dating. And no, I'm not
a recovering avoidant. I have just had experiences with them
in my life and you know, long long healed from
that stuff, but I generated a fascination with it. Ended up,

(01:50):
you know, pursuing this after doing tons of research and
hiring a licensed psychotherapist as a you know, a coach
and mentor to myself, ended up, you know, going down
this route and becoming a relationship and dating coach myself.
And since attachment is such an important part of relationships,
it really help understanding. It really helps give you a roadmap,

(02:13):
a framework of understanding what is and understanding what's your
own stuff, what is from the other person, what motivates
people to behave the way they do. Where does it
come from? It helps you navigate and understand a relationship
as well as your your own life, because when people
don't have that roadmap, they tend to often engage in repetitive,

(02:34):
maladaptive behaviors, things that are actually harming you when you're
when you're really trying to you know, forward, forward with
a healthy relationship. So yeah, understanding attachment really is a
really key part to becoming a healthier person yourself and
maintaining a healthy relationship. So that's that's why it's been
such a hot topic these days.

Speaker 2 (02:53):
Well, I love that you just mentioned. The reason that
people should look at this stuff is because you can
find yourself any perpetual cycles of just the same behavior,
and it's like you're doing a different relationship with a
different person, but it looks the exact same. So can
you kind of explain, like, what is an attachment style?
Do we all have them?

Speaker 3 (03:13):
Everybody has one? Okay, now there are really three main
attachment styles. Well it's actually two main ones. Let me explain.
So they're secure, secure base are people that you know,
everybody has their insecurities, don't misunderstand everybody on earth has insecurities,
but people that are secure based, they have the skills

(03:35):
to self regulate. They have the skills to manage relationships
in a responsive way, not a reactive way, meaning they're
using their logical brain to handle situations, not so much
your emotional brain. They're not letting the emotions control them.
People that are insecurely attached. Now, insecurely attached is the
other main one, but there's really two. There's avoidant and

(03:56):
anxious attachment that are within the insecure spect Now, attachment
it comes from childhood, is learned from childhood. It is
a learned behavior. It is not who you are as
a person. Like any learned behavior, it can be unlearned.
As a child, you don't have much control over your life.
Your parents tell you when you can eat, your parents

(04:16):
tell you when you're going to school, what you're wearing.
So the one thing that you do have the ability
to do is to manage your interaction and your relationship
with your parents and do it in a way that
protects you as a child from whatever is going on.
And you're born with your temperament. Everybody's born with that,
So you take your temperament, your environment and that's where

(04:37):
attachment is learned. So people that have childhoods where they
may have been chaotic parents were not emotionally available, there
could have been trauma. Maybe not trauma, maybe just emotional distance.
That can create someone to either go down anxious or
an avoidant route, and the person will help whether they

(05:01):
gravitate towards anxiety, anxiousness or avoidance.

Speaker 2 (05:05):
So your personality dictates that.

Speaker 3 (05:09):
It helps you. Okay, Okay, it's not the only factor.
Your environment plays a role, but your personality, the.

Speaker 2 (05:15):
Way you respond to your environment. Okay, that makes sense
to me. Okay, so you're in your childhood, all these
things are happening, and then because of whatever effect it
has on you, you begin to respond to people in
relationships in this certain type of attachment.

Speaker 3 (05:35):
Style you do. And your attachment style really is a
reactive behavior. Yeah, you're not really thinking about it logically.
You feel an emotional stimulus and then you do a
behavior just based on the emotion. And that is what
protected you as a kid. But as an adult, if
it's insecure, that is, it can lead to harmful behaviors

(05:57):
that hurt yourself, hurt your relationships, and confine yourself in
the cycle that you don't know why, but it just perpetuates.
Having an understanding of attachment really helps you open your
eyes and really see what's going on within yourself and
others and make better informed decisions and be able to
better navigate a relationship.

Speaker 2 (06:16):
Yeah. Well, I love the point you made too, because
I have had a friend, a couple of friends actually
going through certain things and they're like, I know, this
is just like my anxious attachment, And I'm like, no,
anyone in that situation would feel anxious, Like just because
you're secure doesn't mean it takes away normal human emotion, right,
But you're explaining it in such a good way to

(06:38):
where you say, when you know the attachment style is
activated is because it's so reactive, like you can't regulate yourself,
you can't calm yourself down.

Speaker 3 (06:48):
Yes, both anxious people and avoidance when they have the
emotional trigger, they react right, act them different ways to
the same anxiety. Because keep in mind, anxiety is at
the core of insecure attachment, whether it's a or anxious.
So people that are avoidant, their natural tendency on how
to deal and cope with emotional and relationship stress is

(07:08):
to not deal with it, to dodge it, push it away.
They don't like to face their feelings, they don't like
to face their fears, and they tend to shut down
and run away from confrontation. Then they tend to when
they feel their fears triggered, they tend to shut down
and run away. In general, their whole method of coping
is to not cope essentially, But you know, running away

(07:29):
from a problem in life tends to not make it
go away. If anything, it can get bigger and bigger
and bigger. So a reaction would be, let's say, a
typical provoking emotional trigger could be that the relationship is
going well and because of their insecurities, feeling like they're
not good enough for a healthy partner and avoidance and

(07:51):
reaction is they feel anxiety because they feel like, ultimately
this person's going to figure out I'm not good enough.
They're going to abandon me, they're going to reject me.
So the reaction to the feeling is to shut down,
pull away, and possibly even end the relationship as a
way to protect themselves from the inevitable abandonment.

Speaker 2 (08:07):
So even when the relationship of going well, though, because
that seems so counterintuitive.

Speaker 3 (08:13):
The better the relationship is, the more they run from it,
the severe avoidance that is because they feel unsafe and
healthy relationships, and they feel very safe in toxic relationships.
It's not that they consciously think to themselves that they
want a toxic relationship, but they do gravitate towards them,
and that's because the deep down core wounds that they
have from childhood. Typically, an avoidant did not receive a

(08:35):
lot of love and affection from parents, that they feel
like they're unlovable and because they didn't get love as
a child, not in the way that they needed, so
they carry that through to adulthood feeling less than not worthy.
So when a healthy partner comes along, they feel like
they're not worthy of this, not worthy of being treated
that well. And keep in mind, the avoidant, the way

(08:55):
that they operate is to put a castle wall around
their around their heart. They don't let anybody. They're what
you call emotionally unavailable people. Now they can seem like
they are at the beginning, but at the end, they
really aren't. Now with a toxic partner, a toxic partner
is generally somebody who is emotionally unavailable themselves. So the

(09:17):
avoidant does not feel pressure to be emotionally available for
a partner that is also emotionally unavailable.

Speaker 2 (09:24):
It don't feel.

Speaker 3 (09:24):
Pressure to be vulnerable for somebody who is not vulnerable
with them. That makes them feel safe. Plus, the toxic
partner is nothing all that special, and the avoidant doesn't
have the fear of abandonment from somebody that's not that special. Now,
with a healthy partner, a healthy partner is emotionally available.
A healthy partner is also emotionally vulnerable, and the avoidant
feels an unspoken pressure to be emotionally available and vulnerable

(09:47):
with the toxic I mean with the healthy partner, and
that makes them feel unsafe. So subconsciously, deep down, in
a healthy relationship, avoidants feel emotionally unsafe, and in the
toxic relationship, they feel quite comfortable and safe. So that's
why you'll see many people that are severely avoidant. They
will refuse to commit or put a label on a
relationship with a healthy partner, But then they can jump

(10:09):
into a toxic partner relationship with like a narcissist or
borderline or something like that, and they can immediately commit.

Speaker 2 (10:16):
They can immediately commit. Sorry, I just love that, just
like threw me. Oh, I have so many questions.

Speaker 3 (10:23):
Because the person's toxic and it makes them feel safe.

Speaker 2 (10:25):
So then they're safe because it's the familiar. I also like,
I'm curious if if they were in a relationship, if
someone has an avoidant attachment or an unhealed avoidant attachment.
Let's say, and they're meeting someone secure, they're in this relationship,
they're going back and forth. Is it common then because
the secure partners wanting a healthy relationship for them to

(10:47):
kind of sabotage the relationship to make it.

Speaker 3 (10:50):
Toxic, not necessarily sabotage to make it toxic. What they'll
do is they'll just abruptly end it.

Speaker 2 (10:55):
That of nowhere, there's gone.

Speaker 3 (10:57):
So it's gone. Like everything seems fine. It's an excess
the honeymoon phase. The secure partner feels like they have
met their their their match, their person.

Speaker 2 (11:05):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (11:06):
And then one day, and usually after a significant event
like you know, you went on a long vacation together
that went well, or you just met each other's families,
and one day, out of the blue, the avoidance sends
a text, I can't give you what you need. You know,
I'm not ready for a relationship and that's it, and
they give you no other answer than that they run away,
They cowardly lock. That's it. They're gone.

Speaker 2 (11:27):
And so that's why the person on the other side
of that is like, wait, what, like it's just blindsided. Yeah. So,
I think the interesting thing about attachment and the way
that we're seeing it play out on social media is
often it's kind of the avoidant is the villainized person,
and then the anxious side is not necessarily talked about

(11:48):
that way. I mean, I think both are starting to
be talked about a little differently where it's like, no,
both of these are not healthy in a relationship. But
I do feel like the avoidant gets a little more
villain and I'm assuming it's because the painful behavior like
just up and leaving a normal relationship or any like
just kind of what the nature of their attachment style

(12:11):
playing out looks like. Is that true or why is
that that the avoidant gets so villainized The.

Speaker 3 (12:16):
Avoidant gets villainized. Yes, that's true. And now keep in
mind both severely anxious and severely avoidant attachments are toxic
for relationships. There's different issues that they cause. The reason
the avoidant gets villainized, there is a couple reasons for it. Okay,
they're the ones that abruptly end a relationship that seems good.

(12:37):
The anxious person doesn't do that. That is the avoidant
that does the discard, as it's called, because when avoidance
break up, they typically don't break up with you. They
discard you. And why it's called the discard is because
it is you didn't see it coming. It's unilateral, there
were no warning signs, and you were denied a voice
and that whatsoever. And often they just ghost to yeah,
and every thing seems wonderful. You're having plans to maybe

(12:58):
even get married, and all of sudden on they don't
even text you or disappeared like like you never existed.
So the abrupt, traumatic nature of the way they end
it is largely why they get villainized. And also they
don't give closure because keep in mind people that are
severely avoidant. Self reflection is kryptonite to these people because

(13:23):
they spend a lifetime dodging this stuff. They don't want
to face their feelings, their fears, because when you self reflect,
you have to face your emotions, you have to take
ownership of your behaviors, you have to take accountability and
that's painful for an avoidant to do because their method
of dealing with pain is to avoid it, so they
don't self reflect. And because they don't self reflect, it's
very difficult for an avoidant person to grow emotionally. They

(13:45):
can do it, but they have to force themselves to
self reflect in a way they never have. Also, because
they don't self reflect, they have a very difficult time
expressing their feelings because they feel it, but they don't
know how to talk about it since they don't have
a process to think about their feelings. As an anxious
person can be very smothering in a relationship, which can
be very difficult, but an anxious person tends to over

(14:06):
self reflect. An anxious person has an easier time healing
and becoming more secure than an avoidant person does, and
that's because the anxious person is willing to self reflect
and the avoidant typically is not.

Speaker 2 (14:17):
Okay, that makes so much sense. It is hard because
it's like obviously up and leaving like a discard, like
you say, would be very painful. But the word that
keeps coming to my mind is also it just feels
dismissive and like the way that that would be if
you're in a relationship, feels like, okay, wait, we were
just saying we love each other or we care about

(14:39):
each other. Obviously we're in a relationship, and then you
just are gone like that, or you shut down or
you whatever. And so I would imagine it's just like
a super dismissive feeling, which is where people are just
getting really angry and obviously villainizing the avoidant.

Speaker 3 (14:53):
And that's why, you know, there's two types of avoidance,
and one of them, the primary one, is a dismissive avoidant. Mean,
so dismissive avoidance are really essentially pure, pure avoidance. Their
coping mechanism is to avoid and dismiss the feelings of
the other person. Okay, Now, the other kind of avoidant
is a fearful avoidant, which is also known as an

(15:17):
anxious avoidant or a covert avoidant, multiple names for it.
That is an avoidant that also has some anxious tendencies too.
It's actually really disorganized attachment. So early on in a relationship,
the fearful avoidant will come across like an anxious attacher.
They may seem clingy, they may seem needy, but as
the relationship progresses, the anxious switch goes off and the

(15:38):
avoidance switch goes on, and then they just essentially become
a dismissive avoidant, which can really blindside someone because they
might have think they actually found somebody who's anxious, non avoidant,
and that's what we can work within a relationship and
lo and behold are their horror they find out, Nope,
it's just an avoidant.

Speaker 2 (15:54):
Yeah, go ah else.

Speaker 3 (15:56):
Yeah, fearful avoidance have a little bit of a different
type of childhood than a dismissive avoidant. Dismissive she has
a childhood with their parents are just emotionally unavailable. Just
a fearful avoidant will typically have a childhood where the
parents are emotionally unavailable and are disregulated, where their parents
are kind of explosive, a little bit unhidded, So that

(16:19):
can create the anxiety as well as the emotional abandonment.

Speaker 2 (16:23):
Okay, so that's the one we hear about. That's called
you said disorganized sometimes too, yes, because you're going back
and forth and back and forth. That actually leaves me.
A friend of mine who actually requested that I have
you on. She said, yeah, I'm just I get so
confused because I don't know how to identify which one
I am, Like, I know that something is wrong in
my dating life, like I keeps she saying what we

(16:44):
were saying about, she keeps repeating the same patterns, But
she said, I just feel confused, like sometimes I resonate
as anxious and sometimes resonate with the avoidant piece. And
so maybe it's something like that, like what you're talking about,
because explain to me how it can start as anxiousness.

Speaker 3 (17:03):
Well, the anxious attachment. You know, you learn from a
childhood that you are responsible for other people's feelings and emotions,
that you take on personal responsibility for it, and you
grew up in a more chaotic environment, and it's the
people pleaser. You know, you feel like you're responsible for
other people's feelings, but your own feelings, if you express them,
you're being selfish, you're being you know, you're being bad.

(17:26):
So from the chaotic part of their environment that that
anxiousness will will come to light. And usually in the
beginning of a relationship, Well that's when you want to
get the person to like you. You want the validation.
So that's why the anxiousness is triggered because it's new,
it's fresh and everybody likes to get validated. Everybody likes yeah,
So that's that triggers that anxiety within the fearful avoidant

(17:49):
early on. And what happens is, though, as the relationship
progresses and becomes more real, it's no longer just a fantasy,
it's no longer just a romance novel. As it becomes real,
that's when the avoidant fears come in. Because this person
feels unlovable, they feel unworthy. That stuff gets triggered and
then they just turn into a dismissive avoidant essentially, and

(18:10):
they do the discard and all that in the same way.

Speaker 2 (18:13):
So they okay, So they are experiencing anxiety though.

Speaker 3 (18:17):
Well, actually even dismissive avoidance do absolutely okay. Both anxiously
attached and dismissive avoidance they feel anxiety. The difference is
how the person reacts to their anxiety. An anxious attachment
behaves in a very anxious way, tries to control the situation,
tries to manage it, tries to really sink their claws
into it, whereas a dismissive avoidance they feel the same

(18:39):
amount of anxiety, but their reaction is to try to
suppress it, to try to run from it, to not
face the problem.

Speaker 2 (18:46):
Okay, so there's anxiety happening on both sides. It's just
the reaction that makes sense. Yes, So I know a
lot of people feel like you said earlier, Even anxious
anxious attached people tend to have an easier time healing
towards a more secure attachment, which is something I resonate

(19:07):
with in my life and I've never fully understood why.
Like the avoidant attachment partners that I've dated in the
past seem to really not want to do any sort
of self reflection or whatever. So that's a part of it.
But they can avoidant attachments then heal and become secure.
Is that possible if they're not willing to self reflect?

Speaker 3 (19:29):
It is possible. Now, while they're not willing to self reflect,
obviously some are and they can heal. So what it
really usually takes for an avoidant to get to the
point where they are willing to self reflect, where they
are willing to make the change and commit to it,
they usually have to hit rock bottom. Now rock bottom
doesn't mean that they lose their house or job or
anything of the sort, but what it can mean is

(19:49):
they can because of their behaviors. Because of their avoidant behaviors,
they could potentially lose or actually lose somebody they really
did love and care about, somebody they lost somebody in
life that deep down they didn't want to lose because
of their own behavior, and that pain can become so
great that they say, I don't want to go through
this ever again. I'll do whatever it takes, and then

(20:10):
they start to actually self reflect and look within. Can
they do it? Sure, actually happens more often than people think,
But they have to be the ones to want it.
It has to come from them. If you're the partner
of the avoidant, whether you're secure or anxious, no matter
how much you beg and plead, if they're not willing
to do it, if they don't want it badly, they
won't do it. But they want it badly, they can
heal and become secure. Absolutely they can't.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
But it actually a lot of times if you're trying
to push someone to get help. I mean this is
even just in general in life. It's like whether it
with addiction or attachment, styllar or whatever, it's like, it
does have to be the person's decision. Because I know
too there have been times where I've experienced where I
was really pushing it, but it almost made it worse
for my partner, like they didn't want to do it

(20:51):
specifically because I was pushing it. You know what I mean?

Speaker 3 (20:55):
Absolutely, you're a hundred percent right. And often people's response.
Keep in mind insecure a people Now, that can be anxious,
people that can be avoidant, and that can also be
people who have addiction problems and things like that, because
those all come from insecurities. That's insecure people tend to
be more fragile, and that's because of their insecurities. The
reason why insecure people are fragile is because of their insecurities.

(21:16):
Let me explain why people that are insecure assign underlying
meanings to things, underlying meanings that don't exist. So let's
just say in a relationship, for example, you're a married relationship,
and let's say the husband's the husband's job was to
take out the role at the trash that day and
he forgot to do so, and the wife, oh, you

(21:39):
forgot to take out the trash. Now, the event at
hand is really just that the trash was not taken
out right and got missed. But the husband gets all
defensive yeah, you get defensive just over the trash. And
when he can easily go, oh, you're right, I forgot,
he gets defensive because he assigned an underlying meaning. So
his underlying meaning, which usually is not based in real

(22:00):
but it's because of insecurities, will be she's criticizing me
for the trash because she thinks I'm stupid, she thinks
I'm not good enough, she thinks I'm not level. Those
kind of underlying meanings that he's assigned to her displeasure
over the trash when reality it was just about the trash, right.
It's the underlying meanings. It's the underlying insecurities that people

(22:23):
assigned to things that makes them more fragile. So when
you're criticizing, even if it's constructive criticism, when you're criticizing
someone that's insecure, they don't handle it well because they
assign an underlying meaning to your criticism and it becomes
all encompassing. So you may be criticizing one small thing,
like hey, could you try doing this this way instead,

(22:45):
and instead of just being about the item at hand,
the insecure person will take it as an all out
assault on them that they are terrible people. Even when
it's not the case. It's the underlying meaning. So people
that are insecure apply that, and that's why it's so
hard to actually criticize secure person haven't take it well
because they're so fragile.

Speaker 2 (23:03):
Well, and that's the kind of thing too, where the
underlying message probably wasn't created in that relationship, right, Like
I'm assuming a lot of times that was often created
in childhood, and so it's not really something as an
adult if you're in a relationship with an insecure person
that you could even fix or like do anything about,
because you're not even aware it was there because it

(23:24):
happened so long.

Speaker 3 (23:25):
Ago, exactly, and it usually comes from childhood. Now, relationships
and events that happen in our adult lives can deepen
old wounds, though for sureple Let's take you can have
a situation where, let's say you have someone who's mildly
anxious to smiled, go through a relationship or a marriage
to a narcissist and come out severely anxious. So events

(23:46):
and relationships that you do have as adults can exaggerate
previous old wounds, but the stuff usually comes from childhood.

Speaker 2 (23:53):
That makes sense. Welly, since you mentioned narcissists. Let's talk
about what is the difference between narcissists and avoidant because
I know a lot of times as are often kind
of intermingled and there are differences. I mean, I know
some narcissists are some avoidance are narcissists, but not all.
So can you kind of talk us through that a
little bit.

Speaker 3 (24:12):
Well, the vast majority of avoidance are not narcissists, but
narcissists at their core are avoids. So now that doesn't
mean that all narcissists behave as avoidant attachers. Some of
them actually can be quite clinging, anxious, or disorganized, but narcissists,
at their core, they are very, very traumatized, wounded, unhealed people.

(24:35):
And what they do is they create a false self
image of this person that is benevolent, that is perfect,
that makes no mistakes, as charming, charming, witting, witting, smart,
and you know, sassy, sexy, all the positive attributes you
think of, and that's the image that they project to
the world. They do that to mask their inner pain,
to avoid it. They don't want to avoid facing their

(24:57):
inner pain and trauma, so they create this this very
self absorbed persona but as a mask. It's all a
mask to hide the inner pain, which is essentially a
method of avoidance because they're avoiding that. Now, narcissists do
have behavior that can overlap with dismissive avoidance, like discarding

(25:19):
somebody potentially cheating on them, things like that, But there
are some distinct differences between an avoidant and a narcissist.
First of all, avoidant attachment is just an attachment style.
It is a learned behavior that can be unlearned. True
narcissism is a personality disorder. It's not and can narcissist change.

(25:39):
That's up for debate. There are some self aware ones
out there, they're far and few between. Now, narcissists tend
to completely lack empathy. They are cold. They don't really
have the ability to love people. They don't love people.
They love the attention they get from people. There's a difference.
Whereas the avoidance, dismissive avoidance, fearful avoidance. They can love,

(26:00):
they can feel empathy, and they can heal and change,
and they do so all the time. And they're generally
are not nearly as cold and nasty and cruel as
a narcissist can be.

Speaker 2 (26:12):
So avoidance do feel empathy though, because that to me
sometimes like the discard the avoiding behaviors that they do
because they feel so anxious, like being on the other
side of that, it doesn't feel like an avoidant has
any sort of concept what their behavior might make someone

(26:32):
else feel like.

Speaker 3 (26:34):
Okay, so a narcissist when they discard you, they're never
going to feel bad about it. They're just never right
and avoidance because they're heightened in that avoidance state, they're
in a reactive mode during that moment when they're discarding you.
They are avoiding feeling the pain. They're avoiding feeling the
empathy as right. But as time goes by, that catches

(26:55):
up with them and they can all feel quite guilty
for what they did to you, and it can actually
lead towards them feeling a deeper sense of shame, telling
themselves that they're bad people. And shame is actually a
toxic emotion. Regret means well, I did you know feeling guilty?
Regret that means you did something wrong. That's your your
mind telling you you did something wrong. Shame, on the

(27:15):
other hand, is telling yourself I am something wrong, and
that's a toxic emotion. So they absolutely can feel empathy.
The thing is they don't always feel it at the
appropriate time, but uh, but they do, and they did,
they did. They can feel empathy in a way that
a narcissist simply doesn't.

Speaker 2 (27:30):
Is this why I avoidance tend to come back because
it feels like that thing where it's like the discard
is fast, you don't know what is happening, which you
I feel like the older I've gotten, the more I'm
like watching you know, people do this or whatever, and
I'm like, oh, they'll be back, not just in my life,
just in general in the world, Like you know, they're
coming back at some point. And so is it just

(27:50):
that their feelings kick in later and then they come
back And then a lot of times I think it's
too late or it should be.

Speaker 3 (27:57):
Well, it should be, but yes, it's because so when
the avoidant does the discard, they're in that height and
reactive mode. Their emotions are triggered and all they want
to do is escape.

Speaker 2 (28:06):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (28:07):
Then after time goes by and they're no longer being
chased and no longer being pursued, they allow themselves to
take down that emotional brick wall and they start allowing
themselves to access their feelings for you again. That's when
they can feel deep regret, deep shame, deep remorse and
miss you. And that's when they try to come back
because they're allowing themselves to access those feelings again. And
it's only when they feel safe and they feel safe

(28:28):
when they're no longer pressured to be in a relationship
with you.

Speaker 2 (28:31):
Yeah, but isn't that why the cycle continues, Because then
it's like if the other person lets them back in
without doing any work. I would imagine then the second
they start to get close again, they're gone again.

Speaker 3 (28:43):
That's why sometimes, especially if you see some of the
comments on some of my videos, people say, oh, it
happened for the fifth time, sixth times. Some titan keeps
on going, which is why I say, well, first of all,
should anybody ever give an avoidant a second chance? That
is for that is up to the individual. They know
this person can some avoidance change. Absolutely Can they earn

(29:05):
second chances and make it better? They absolutely can. It's
perfectly okay if you feel like this person deserves a
second chance, But I would not take them back unconditionally.
I would take them back conditionally. You know, I'm open
to rekindling this relationship, but this is what I need
from you, and then some boundaries with this person. You
know that could include therapy. If you don't go to

(29:26):
therapy and you can and you don't commit to that,
then I can't be in this relationship. So that's the
opportunity to capitalize on the fact that the avoidant is
feeling a regret and remorse for hurting you and wants
to fix it and make them commit to doing some
healing work, because that gives you a better chance to
actually have the second or third go around with the
relationship be more successful and different because it can They

(29:48):
can do it, but you have. But that's the key
is that when you do take them back, to make
sure you're taking them back with conditions set, those boundaries
being what you will and will not tolerate. If you
take them back unconditionally, just what happened under the rug,
You're going to do it to you again most.

Speaker 2 (30:02):
Likely, Yeah, I was gonna ask you how If someone's
listening and they're thinking, okay, maybe this is why my
relationship has been so crazy As I'm with an avoidant
attachment partner or a votedly attached partner and I want
to set boundaries. Do you have any suggestions? Like is
it the therapy? Is this all personal? Is it that

(30:23):
you need to be working with a therapist to come
up with your own plan? Like what is the best
suggestion you would say to those listeners?

Speaker 3 (30:29):
Well, first of all, what you will and will not tolerate,
your boundaries, what you will and will not take, what
you want and don't want, or up to each individual person.
I can't tell you what your boundaries are or should be,
because everybody has a different tolerance and desires. But boundaries
don't have to be something that are confrontational, right, So
different examples of boundaries could be like I will not

(30:49):
get cheated on. If you cheat on me, I will
leave the relationship. Or it could be something as simple
as I will not get screamed at if you scream
at me, I will remove myself from the situation until
you calm down and then we can Those are different boundaries.
Boundaries don't have to be always these big encompassing things.
They can be small things. But boundaries are really what
define you as a person. That's how you tell the

(31:10):
partner in the world who you are, what you want,
what you don't want, what you will take, what you
won't take, Because if you don't define your boundaries, you're
a blank slate and the other person whatever they want
to you. And if you don't enforce your boundaries, you're
essentially canceling yourself. You're telling yourself that your wants, your feelings,
your needs don't matter. And it's a bad feeling to
let somebody trample over your boundaries because you're telling yourself

(31:31):
you don't matter. But when you do enforce your boundaries,
even though it's not fun to do so, in the moment,
you do feel better about yourself because you know you
have your own back. You can rely on yourself to
take care of your own wants and needs even when
it's difficult, and that's actually a self esteem boost, it's
a confidence boost. So setting those boundaries doesn't have to
be confrontational. You can tell the person like, listen, this
is what I want, this is what I don't want,
this is what I need, that's what I don't need,

(31:53):
and hey, this dynamic, I need communication from you. If
you don't communicate with me, that's not something I can do.
So there's different boundaries that you can set. Only you
know what is right for you and what you're willing
to tolerate or not tolerate and tolerate in the relationship.
And a healthy partner, a person that loves you and
cares about you, will respect your boundaries and do their
hardest to honor them. Can a healthy partner sometimes step

(32:14):
over and by accident, sure, but a healthy partner will
recognize that, take ownership and then try to do better.
A toxic partner, well, does not care about your boundaries.
Toxic partner loves their own boundaries, they don't like yours.

Speaker 2 (32:26):
What do you mean by that?

Speaker 3 (32:28):
Like a narcissist for example? Okay, your boundaries, you better
not cheat on them, You better not talk badly to
them or anything like that. Right, they should be able
to treat you however they want, and here you speak
up if they do anything to you.

Speaker 2 (32:40):
Okay, that makes total sense. Okay. So if you're like
my friend who requested this podcast, and you're thinking, I
don't know what my attachment style is and I'm feeling
anxious but sometimes I avoid or whatever that would be.
Do you have suggestions to people of how to figure
out what they are or what their style is.

Speaker 3 (33:05):
Well, it's going to require some self reflection to find
out what your triggers are. Look in the past, look
where you've been triggered and you know it, And are
are you wanting to shut down? Are you wanting to
pull away? Are you wanting to kind of be a
clinger in the relationship, or are you both? Look at
your own behaviors and your tendencies throughout the past, and

(33:25):
it's going to give you the road map of what
you are. I mean, someone like that sounds like they're
probably disorganized. Yeah, disorganized doesn't mean you're severely disorganized. You'd
be mildly disorganized. If you're able to sustain a relationship,
chances are you're not severe. If you're unable to sustain relationships,
what chances are you might be a bit more severe.
But the one way to always whether it doesn't matter

(33:47):
whether you're disorganized, doesn't matter whether you're anxious or avoidant.
If you want to center yourself, which is where everybody
wants to be, you want to be centered and secure,
is whenever those stressors arise, whenever the anxiety bubbles out,
because it's anxiety, whether it's avoidant or anxious, anxiety is anxiety.
Is to ask yourself in the moment, how do I
respond to this rather than react? Just ask yourself that question.

(34:09):
When you ask yourself the question, you are shifting yourself
over from your emotional brain to your logical brain, and
then you can actually respond to it as opposed to reacting.
When you respond, you're going to make a more confident
decision no matter what the situation is. You're going to
be able to better navigate relationships, work, life, everything. Make
a focus on becoming a responder. Because human beings we

(34:30):
learn repetition, So when you do a new behavior over
and over again, that's going to become more automatic for
you and you're going to start feeling more secure. So
when you're feeling anxiety, yes, is it nice to recognize
what your attachment is. Sure, but at the end of
the day, you know what anxiety feels like. And if
you can just focus on becoming a responder rather than reactor,

(34:50):
regardless of your avoidant or if you're anxious or both,
you can pull yourself into secure zone, which is where
you ultimately want to be anyway, So recognize anxiety and
then and just be a responder to it. It's very simple.
The only thing that's hard about it is the willpower
and the dedication to do it consistently. But you do
it consistently, it doesn't take all that long. You start
to find yourself feeling more and more secure.

Speaker 2 (35:11):
Yeah. The interesting thing, I'm so glad that you're touching
on the fact that even when you're secure, and you
kind of mentioned this at the beginning of the podcast, like,
you still have normal human feelings, you know, like you're
gonna have days where you feel anxiety, anxiety, or you're
gonna get in a fight with your partner and you're
gonna feel anxious and whatever. But it's for me, it's
been about how do I go, Where do I go

(35:33):
in that moment? Like what am I seeking to make
me feel better? Because what I used to do when
I was younger was think that my partner was the
only route to me feeling better, which is the definition
of anxious attachment basically, and that but that was what
I had learned through my life and so over the
years of doing all the work that I've done on myself,

(35:54):
though I now feel secure and in my last relationships
specifically when I would get triggered, it wasn't like I
never had the feelings that I had in the past
or the same situations of like, you know, I've been
cheated on before, so let's use that as an example.
But like, if something would happen in this relationship, there
might be a slight trigger where I would go, oh wait,

(36:15):
is this that thing again? But there were ways for me,
like I learned enough new tools, even sometimes it was
going on a walk, like to just calm my nervous system,
but learning the new tools to then respond to the
trigger in that way, and then, like you're saying, that
begins to be what you crave as the response instead
of just like going to the other person, going to

(36:38):
the fight, going to like all the texting and blah
blah blah, whatever we would do if we were triggered
in our anxious or wooden attachment. Do you have anything
to add to that or did I?

Speaker 3 (36:48):
Yeah?

Speaker 2 (36:48):
Okay?

Speaker 3 (36:49):
And that's actually very true, is that when you are
especially when you're an anxiously attached person, you tend to
become a codependent. You are relying on the other person
to regulate your own feelings. Yes, of the day, we
are all responsible for our own feelings and our own happiness.
You cannot make anybody feel anything, and you can't make
them do anything. You can't make them be happy or sad.

(37:11):
You just can't. I hear somebody who's suddenly became rich
and got millions upon millions of dollars, but they're still
miserable because happiness is it's absolutely a choice and one
of the mistakes that people often have, and unfortunately you'll
find a lot of it on social media pushing this

(37:32):
idea that you find that you find and get happiness
from another person. So if you are seeking happiness from
another person, this is what happens. Usually the people that
are seeking happiness from another person actually have inner on happiness,
and narcissists are very notorious for this, but other people
can as well. So you get into a new relationship,

(37:54):
the dopamine is flying. You're feeling great and you're feeling
happy because you're in this brand new relationship. You have
a shiny new toy. Well, the brain begins to regulate
itself as a relationship progresses, and that unhealed trauma, the
unhappiness that you have within starts to bubble back up
to the service. But you're in a relationship with that person,
so it must be their fault that you're unhappy. So
then you go to the next one and then you're

(38:15):
feeling happy again because you got the dopamine flowing from
the new relationship. When the unhappiness comes back up, well,
it's their fault. So if you are relying upon other
people for your happiness, you're always going to be unhappy
because you're never going to find it.

Speaker 2 (38:28):
That makes so much sense, Yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:30):
Because the dopamine wears off. Yeah, taking your own responsibility
for your happiness and realizing that happiness is actually a
choice will really help you have a healthier outlook on
a relationship and understand that your partner's behavior cannot make
you happy and they cannot make you sad, just like
you can't make them happy and you can't make them sad.
What you can do for each other, however, is you

(38:51):
can make an environment for your partner that makes it
easier for them to choose happiness, but you can't make
them choose it.

Speaker 2 (38:57):
Yeah. Well, let's own to touch really quick too on
the fact that I know a lot of times before
we work on healing our attachment styles, we end up
creating the same relationships over and over, like we've mentioned before,
And is it true typically that like, an anxious partner
is always going to pick an avoidant and vice versa,
or do you like is it double avoidance can sometimes

(39:19):
end up together? Are two anxious people like? How does
that work? And are we kind of doomed to always
repeat the same cycles? And then can we pick secure partners?
How does that work?

Speaker 3 (39:30):
So, first of all, it is common and very typical
that anxious and avoidant attract each other. However, there are
circumstances where anxious and anxious and avoidant and avoidant get
into relationships with each other. Okay, at the end of
the day is what is really very common is that
insecure attracts insecure, and secure attracts secure. So people have
a preconceived notion, and the human mind likes to be

(39:53):
proven right. So somebody who's anxious already has the preconceived
notion that they are too much in a relationship, that
they are overwhelming. An avoidant typically has the preconceived notion
that they are not enough in a relationship and they
don't give enough. So when the avoidant and the anxious
person get together, the anxious person confirms their fears by
overwhelming the avoidant, and then the avoidant confirms their fears

(40:14):
by not being good enough or not doing enough for
the anxious person. So the human mind, even though it's
something bad that you don't want, likes to be confirmed. Correct,
You like to be validated. So you're vality yourself by
picking a partner that confirms your fears. It's all subconscious
and it gravitates towards the kind of personality that's going
to confirm your fears. Now, it's interesting, though very interesting,
when two avoidants get into a relationship with each other.

(40:37):
Every person is different, so this is when I'm talking
about two avoidances two anxious people, I'm talking in very
generic terms because each individual person is still unique, so
everybody is different. Not everybody behaves in the same way.
But generally, when two avoidants get into relationship, whoever is
the more mildly avoidant person tends to start to become anxious.
And then when two anxious people get into a relationship,

(40:57):
whoever is more mildly anxious tends to start become avoided.

Speaker 2 (41:01):
Okay, so then if we do our work, and this
is obviously like a selfish question, like we do our work,
we start resonating as secure, do you feel like you'll
start attracting more secure partners once you get back into.

Speaker 3 (41:14):
Dating, Yes, and you'll be able to also better recognize
the insecure ones.

Speaker 2 (41:18):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (41:19):
Okay, Now, somebody with mild insecurities does not mean they're
a bad partner.

Speaker 2 (41:23):
No.

Speaker 3 (41:24):
Sure, even with somebody with deeper insecurities can actually still
be a good partner. The differences If this person has insecurities,
are they able to take ownership of it and make
corrective actions and work towards it. If they're an insecure
person but they recognize it and they're able to put
the brakes on themselves and they're working on regulating themselves,

(41:45):
they can be a good partner. It's the ones that
stick their head in the sand and don't do the
work that are are going to be the But I mean,
it's there's some crazy stats out there. There's a recent
study that was done that shows about fifty percent of
the US population men and women are either insecurely attached
or narcissistic. So that's a lot of people, no or

(42:08):
narcissistic or narcissistic. Yes, of the population is more what
you call secure based, So there are a lot of
healthy people out there. The key is to start looking
for red flags and be able to pick up on
these insecurities, wasting time on the wrong person, because guess what,
when people show you who they are, believe them. Because

(42:29):
you're ignoring red flags that you clearly see, Well.

Speaker 2 (42:32):
You're going to say the consequences.

Speaker 3 (42:35):
Usually you do it. Everybody might pop up a red
flag here and they're even a secure person. But you
know when it's red flag after red flag and you're
seeing all these signs, just because you wish this person
to be something different doesn't mean they are. Yeah, And
I'll tell you the two biggest red flags for somebody
who's an avoidant, okay, One is when they are fiercely independent,
and often even on their dating profile, they'll boast about

(42:56):
being fiercely independent. Now sounds like a good thing. People
can eat miss us as a red flag, because being
an independent adult is a good thing. You should be
an independent, autonomous person. If you're an adult, you should
be able to support yourself. It is the insecure avoidant
that feels the need to assert it because they have
fear of engulfment. They have fear of losing their independence

(43:17):
to a partner who's ultimately going to abandon and reject them.
So they announce their independence because of their insecurities. A
secure person doesn't feel the need to announce their independence
because it should be a given. The analogy I like
to use is if you're a parent, that'd be the
equivalent of telling people, hey, guess what I feed my kids? Well, yeah,
it's a good thing, But why are you bragging about it?

Speaker 2 (43:38):
Right? Like you should do that anyway.

Speaker 3 (43:40):
Right, So that's the same thing that the avoidant is
doing there. They're announcing independence when you should be independent,
as if you're forty years old, you shouldn't be living
in mom's basement. So it's no offense to those who are.
But so the other red flag that they often tend
to give is the wall. The guard eve been hurt

(44:04):
in the past and they have a wall up and
it takes some time to bring that guard down. What
they're really telling you is that guard is fort knocks
and you're not getting in, and that they are emotionally unavailable,
because a secure person should have a bit of a guard,
a healthy guard essentially a healthy skepticism going into relationship

(44:24):
because you don't know the person yet. But the secure
person doesn't feel the need to assert it. It is
the insecure, emotionally unavailable, avoidant that feels the need to
assert about that guard.

Speaker 2 (44:34):
The other interesting thing I'm thinking as you say that is,
isn't it kind of an indicator that someone doesn't have
a lot of self trust Because if you're putting all
these boundaries up at the beginning, you're not trusting yourself
to walk into the relationship and be like, WHOA, that
feels like a lot I need to take a step back,
or you know, that feels like it's encroaching on my

(44:55):
independence or whatever. Like I don't know how to exactly
makes sense of what is popping up for me, But
I've found that the more I trust myself to make
good decisions, the more freedom I have in relationships, really,
because I can walk into it without the fear of like,
oh but what if this happens or what if they
get to demanding on me? Then I gotta I'm gonna

(45:15):
have to.

Speaker 3 (45:15):
Set a boundary, right, Because when people are putting stuff
out there really asserting their independence, yeah, fears their guard,
what they're really doing is they're telling you I'm insecure,
Yeah you're going to that You're going to do something
to push my insecurities to you know, defense, So they're

(45:36):
really telling you that they're insecure. A secure person doesn't
feel we need to make those kind of who you know.
A secure person is going to have confidence in themselves
and trust in themselves to navigate the relationship should anything arise.

Speaker 2 (45:51):
Yeah, exactly, Like when it comes up, then you can
talk about it or you have the tools to deal
with it, versus like having to say the thing, the
pre thing or whatever to warn you so that when
it happens you don't have any sort of response.

Speaker 3 (46:05):
I guess exactly. So that's the difference. It's not that
a secure person doesn't feel anxiety. Yeah, a secure person
has the tools in their tool belt. They have the
weapons in their arsenal to navigate anxiety in a healthy way,
whereas the insecure people have a hard time with that.

Speaker 2 (46:21):
That's it. You just said it in the perfect way.
This is why I love your work. See you sum
up everything. I'm thinking. I'm like, that is how I
should have said that. Yes, that was great, coach Ryan.
If people want to follow along or they're listening and
they're thinking, okay, I need to know a lot more,
where can they find you?

Speaker 3 (46:37):
You know, they can find me on both TikTok and Instagram.
You're working towards getting on some other platforms too, but
you'll find me on both TikTok and Instagram as coach
Ryan Tryan and I'm posting videos out there every day
trying to spread as much information as I can. And
there's also links in my bios if anybody wants to

(47:00):
book a session with me is Coach RYANLC dot com
and I do one on one zoom video sessions.

Speaker 2 (47:04):
With people too amazing. I'll put all of that in
the description of this podcast for you guys. Thank you
for being here with us. I know a lot of
people might have questions about a void and attachment, so
hit up Coach Ryan. I'll put his links again in
the description of this podcast.

Speaker 3 (47:18):
Thanks Coach Ryan, thank you very much, Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1 (47:21):
Thanks for listening to The Velvet's Edge podcast with Kelly Henderson,
where we believe everyone has a little velvet in a
little edge. Subscribe for more conversations on life, style, beauty,
and relationships. Search Velvet's Edge wherever you get your podcasts.
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