Excessively Independent or Dismissive Avoidant Dysfunctions

Excessively Independent or Dismissive Avoidant: Is Your Coping Style Dysfunctional?Do you have either of these dysfunctional coping styles: excessively independent or dismissive avoidant? Find out what they mean and how to manage them.

Imagine you’re strapping on armor to face the day – this is your coping style or mechanism. It’s the mental and emotional strategies you enlist when stress or uncomfortable emotions knock at your door. 

Your coping mechanism is unique to you, but it is categorized into two major categories:

  • Active
  • Avoidant 

If your coping mechanism is Active, you tend to spring into action when a stressor arrives. (When taken to a dysfunctional extreme this means you could be Excessively Independent.)

On the other hand, Avoidant Coping is like sweeping the dirt under the rug. You prefer to ignore the stressor. (When taken to a dysfunctional extreme this means you could be Dismissive Avoidant.)

Both mechanisms are useful. But they can also get you stuck in a loop – if you take them to a dysfunctional extreme.

At its core, a coping mechanism lands in dysfunction-territory if it disrupts your groove – rather than helps you slide through life’s tricky moments.

The not-so-good part is that most of the time, it’s difficult to know when your coping mechanisms have turned dysfunctional.

No worries. I’m here to help you recognize the signs!

I’m writing this article because I am a bestselling relationship author with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I  founded the therapist recommended self-paced courses Secrets of Happy Couples and Broken Heart Recovery.

I love sharing tools to help people to enjoy healthier, longer lasting relationships.

Therefore, today, we’ll have a look at two of the most common dysfunctional coping styles: 

  • excessively independent
  • dismissive avoidant

What Does it Mean to Be Excessively Independent?

Independent or Dismissive Avoidant: Dysfunctional Coping StylesAn excessively independent coping style feels like you are a solo climber ascending an imposing peak. You’re shouldering every challenge single-handedly, fiercely self-reliant to the point where you’d rather scale vertical cliffs without a rope than ask for help. 

This coping style has you valuing self-sufficiency to such a degree that you view accepting support as a sign of weakness.

When taken to extremes, it becomes hyper-independence, which it’s most likely stemming from a lack of emotional stability as a child.

While independence is often admired (and needed for growth), being overly independent can trip you up like shoelaces tied too tight. Life tends to throw curveballs faster than a major league pitcher, and dealing with them all on your own can wear on anyone.

The dysfunction comes in when this go-it-alone attitude starts more fires than it puts out. Say it’s like trying to juggle too many grocery bags because you don’t want to bother anyone for help – the eggs end up smashed, and the milk splattered across the pavement.

The kicker? In stubbornly pursuing self-dependence, relationships will suffer, opportunities for growth get overlooked, and the pressure can churn up stress quicker than an espresso machine on overdrive.

So, your goal should be to find the balance between healthy self-reliance and recognizing when it’s time for teamwork.

What Does it Mean to Be Dismissive Avoidant?

Dysfunctional Coping StylesA dismissive avoidant coping style is like having an emotional moat around your castle. You’re the king or queen of your own space, but rather than lowering the drawbridge to let others in, you keep it raised, staying self-contained and emotionally detached. I

t’s like you’ve built a fortress of solitude. Not because you love the quiet. But because getting cozy with vulnerability seems about as appealing as swimming with sharks.

People with this coping style avoid forming deep and meaningful connections because they associate being vulnerable and open toward other people with getting hurt. They are always one foot out the door – and tend to be hot and cold.

As you can imagine, this coping style doesn’t work wonders in your relationships. Family members, friends, and romantic partners will eventually respect your wish to be alone and unbothered, which will leave you feeling isolated and lonely.

Luckily, overcoming dismissive avoidant in relationships is possible – you just need to recognize the symptoms and take measures to fix the issue.

Ironically, this is an avoidant’s kryptonite since they prefer to avoid anything that may cause stress or emotional instability. However, if you want deep connections and shared joy in your life, you must find ways to lower that drawbridge and let a few people in.

Key Takeaways on These Dysfunctional Coping Styles

If we don’t receive proper support, validation, and security as children, our grown-up selves may sprout coping styles like excessive independence or dismissive avoidant. They’re the mental equivalent of learning to ride a bike without training wheels from the get-go – we wobble, veer off track, but somehow keep ourselves upright.

While these strategies may help you figure things out and grow into a fully-fledged adult, if they become dysfunctional, they can pave a lonely highway of solitude and social disconnect. The good news is that you can work to correct your actions, and you can learn to trust and open yourself to others. 

However, it takes work and self-acceptance. So lean into introspection with kindness toward yourself and gradually invite change. Remember that it’s never too late for new emotional blueprints, especially if you’re the one drawing them.

Get More Support To Learn From Relationship Challenges

Work with me 1-on-1 as your Master Mindset Coach. Or explore my therapist recommended online course called Broken Heart Recovery.

Think happier. Think calmer.

Think about subscribing for free weekly tools here.

No SPAM, ever! Read the Privacy Policy for more information.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This