Pushing people away: why it happens and how to stop it (2023)

Pushing people away: why it happens and how to stop it (1)Share on Pinterest

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You've started to grow closer to your partner when all of a sudden he starts behaving in ways that seem designed to tear you apart.

That distance leaves you hurt and confused. You thought the relationship was going well, and suddenly it's not.

Or maybe you're the one pushing people away. You start to shut down when a relationship gets serious or withdraw when friends and other loved ones bring up things you'd rather not share.

If you fall into this pattern over and over again, you may worry that you'll never make it.intimacyThey wish.

Fear of attachment and avoidance of attachmentcan influencethe quality of your relationship and how it makes you feel, but don't despair. It is possible to change.

With a little dedication, you can learn to let people in.

Something may have changed in your relationship.

Maybe youobservation:

  • increased physical and emotional distance
  • knappCommunication
  • Less interest in the other person's needs, problems, or plans
  • unusually rude or impolite words
  • unwillingness to share feelings and problems
  • a feeling that one of you doesn't prioritize the other
  • show disrespect
  • one person takes out their anger or frustration on another

There are many reasons why this could happen.

In general, people don't avoid intimacy because they really don't like others or because they want to be completely alone.

So why is this happening? And do those reasons matter?

Many times yes. If you don't know why you push people away, you may have a harder time changing that behavior. Recognizing possible reasons can be an important first step towards regaining intimacy in your relationships.

People often push others away for the following reasons.

fear of intimacy

Pushing people away is a way to avoid intimacy. In fact, this avoidance can act as a defense mechanism for humans.fear of getting hurtin relationships.

This could happen because a previous relationship ended badly, perhaps with rejection or even sadness.

Even if you think you're healed from a past relationship that ended badly, worry.more rejectionor the loss may remain in your subconscious. If you have lost someone to grief, youmaybe findthat numbing your feelings makes them easier to deal with.

When you start to form a relationship with a new partner, the instinct to protect yourself starts to take over. After all, you don't want to go through losses or rejections again.

Maybe you're not really thinking, "If I push them away before they get too close, they can't hurt me," or you're intentionally trying to push them away.

Actions like picking fights and avoiding emotional intimacy sometimes happen more subconsciously - but the end result is often the same.

The idea of ​​an intimate intimate relationship makes you uncomfortable, so do what you can to avoid intimacy as a means of self-preservation.

binding issues

binding styleit can also play a role in the avoidance of intimacy.

experts describedthreeFixation types:

  • safe
  • fearful
  • avoid

Often, your early years play a role in defining your style.

If your parent or primary caregiver failed to reliably meet your childhood needs for intimacy and other emotional support, youcan growcommonunorganizedoravoidbinding style.

As an adult, you want to establish close relationships with friends and romantic partners, but at the same time you are afraid that they will let you down, like your significant other. You may be inclined to develop low involvement or casual relationships that you canout againwhen it gets too intense.

Or you may alternate between wanting to pull or grab your partner and needing to push them back.

It is worth noting that over-attachment can also alienate partners, especially when relationship behavior abruptly switches between a strong need for closeness and a strong rejection of it.

Learn about different attachment styles.

Low self-esteem or self-confidence

People who lack self-confidence or who are going through difficult timesSelf-esteemit can also result in people being turned away. They may have developed an avoidant attachment style because of their low self-esteem.

In return, lack of self-confidence and avoidancecan influencethe result of future relationships, leading to more avoidance and low self-esteem.

Maybe you can't be sure that someone really cares about you or that you can really care about them. Maybe you doubt that you have itcapabilitiesto maintain a long-term relationship or friendship.

You can believe:

  • You will make a mistake or let them down.
  • They really don't like you.
  • They will end up leaving you for someone else.
  • You'll hold on to it because you're not good enough.
  • you don't deserve nonehealthy relationshipwith a loving partner.

if you live withAnguish,Depression, or any other mental or physical condition, you may also have questions about your ability to support themit needsEstay presentin the relationship (although this is probably far from the truth).

difficulty trusting others

Trust is essential to a healthy relationship, but not everyone finds trust easy. When trust does not exist, ityou can take itavoidance, fear, jealousy and even abuse in some cases.

Trust issues are quite common among those who have gone through it.pain of betrayalBefore. If a former partnermistakenorliedIt is understandable to you that it is difficult for you to recover from this betrayal.

broken trust ishard to repair, and its effects can be ongoing and follow you from one relationship to another. What if you get the closeness you want only to find they cheated on you too?

Trust doesn't come overnight and it's perfectly normal for it to take some time before you feel able to trust someone. Still, a lingering lack of trust in someone who never gave you cause for doubt can eventually cause a few bumps along the way.

Maybe you're constantly second-guessing or scrutinizing them, or just struggling to open up emotionally - neither of which are helpful in building a healthy relationship.

Of course, you can also have difficultiestrust in yourself. This is usually related to self-confidence.

If you've made mistakes in the past, you may worry about screwing up again and hurting your current partner.Debtand doubt can make you push them away to protect both of you.

While acknowledging your tendency to push people away is an important first step towards change, it is just that - a step.

Learning to let people in takes time and practice, but these strategies can help.

Go slow

If you really want a close and intimate relationship, then you must hurry to get there quickly. But true intimacy takes time, especially if your relationship history includes heartbreak or cheating.

If you force yourself to dive in before you're really ready, you may struggle to regain your footing when your fears and doubts return. Pushing your partner away may make you feel more secure, but it probably won't help you build trust.

Instead, try the cautious approach:

  • Work on building your bond with your partner slowly but steadily.
  • Enjoy your time together rather than dwelling on hopes or fears about the future.
  • Write down the things you like about them to remind yourself why the relationship is important to you.
  • Look for specific behaviors that help build your trustworthiness and trustworthiness.

talk about it

Healthy relationships demandGood communication. In addition to talking about everyday life and your general feelings about the relationship, you'll also want to share your thoughts on any issues that may arise.

Talking to your partner about avoiding intimacy may seem a little scary, but it can make a big difference in your progress.

Explaining why you find intimacy challenging can help your partner understand why you are reluctant to open up, so consider sharing some details about your past experiences.

For example, you could say, "I thought my ex was the person I would spend my life with, but he cheated on me. Worrying about another betrayal sometimes makes me want to destroy relationships before I get hurt again. I work to talk about my fears and fight the urge to push people away when I get scared.”

If there's anything that makes you uncomfortable, say, "I'm really happy growing up together, but I'm not ready to talk about future plans."

strive for balance

If you try to suppress the urge to push people away, you could end up overcompensating, opening up too much or clinging instead of respecting your partner's best interests.Limits.

Finding balance can increase your chances of a successful relationship. Balance can mean:

  • Share past experiences naturally rather than immediately revealing your entire life story
  • show interestin their lives without being curious or demanding to know every detail
  • share youremotionswith your partner while also asking about their feelings

Its goal is interdependence. It means you build a bond and work on it.to support each otherwithout fully depending on each other. You share a life but still remain your own person.

Balance can also mean working on becoming comfortable with normal conflicts.

If you're afraid of rejection, you can be on high alert for any small sign that your partner just doesn't feel the relationship. But even in intimate relationships, there are occasional differences of opinion.

Getting frustrated with a loved one doesn't mean you want them out of your life, as you probably know from experience.

avoid conflictsPushing Your Partner Away Doesn't Strengthen Your Relationship, But Learning to Do It WillManage conflicts more productivelyit could.

practice self-compassion

Overcoming long-held patterns of behavior is often a challenge, so remember to treat yourself kindly. It may not seem like much, but the fact that you noticed the problem suggests that you have the confidence to make a lasting change.

Your reasons for pushing people away can affect how quickly change happens. However, as long as you're willing to work at it, your efforts are likely to pay off.

Talk to a therapist

Do you have difficulty identifying your reasons for avoiding intimacy? Not sure how to break the habit of pushing loved ones away when you really want deeper intimacy?

The support of a psychologist can be very helpful.

You can certainly see some progress if you solve these problems yourself. If you try underlying factors likerelationship anxiety, attachment issues, or mental health symptoms, but they can be difficult to resolve on your own.

Therapists have extensive training and experience in helping people deal with avoidance issues and other intimacy issues. There's no shame in needing a little extra help researching possible causes or developing intimacy skills.

If you feel like a friend or partner is trying to distance themselves, try direct conversation to get an idea of ​​what's going on. You may not be fully aware of how your actions affect you.

You could also be dealing with something unrelated to your relationship. Remember that people handle challenges differently. An answer that doesn't make sense to you might seem natural to her.

Conversation starters to consider include:

  • "I've noticed we haven't been connecting on an emotional level lately and I'm wondering if you have something on your mind."
  • “It seems we've had a lot of disagreements lately. How can we work together to improve communication?”

After expressing your feelings, give them a chance to explain andhear them.

Ask how you can support them

Maybe they need a little more communication or a little more physical affirmation (likekiss,to hug, or casual touch) to make you feel more secure.

You may find it helpful to point out when they start to shut down - but not always. That's why it's always good to ask what they need, as making an incorrect assumption can make things even more complicated.

Avoid over sedation

When your loved one pushes you away because they fear rejection, the solution seems simple: just reaffirm your love regularly.

It's okay to talk about your feelings during the relationship, but constantly reassuring your affection can backfire. This can make them need this validation more and more.

A couples counselor can provide further guidance on how to navigate effectively.

cultivate patience

If you feel that your loved one is pushing you away, the fear of losing the relationship may lead you to try to make up for the distance on your own. However, if you cling to them or pressure them to open up, they will likely make them want to close even more.

Instead, let them know you're there for them and willing to go at a pace they're comfortable with. Then show them you mean business by giving them the space they need to feel more comfortable with intimacy.

While it's not uncommon to push people away when you're afraid of getting hurt, it doesn't work as a long-term strategy for good relationships.

A therapist can help you explore reasons for avoiding intimacy and practicing reaching out to others instead.

Crystal Raypole previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her areas of interest include Asian languages ​​and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, science, positive sexuality, and mental health. In particular, she works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

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