Do you have a friend with avoidant personality disorder? Perhaps you’re in a relationship with an avoidant and you’re not coping with their crushing low self-esteem. Maybe you’ve decided you can’t be around a family member anymore because you’re helpless to change or cope with their avoidant character traits.
Avoidants react in one of two ways, depending on whether they want a relationship with you. Before we look at what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant, let’s recap their symptoms. Because, if we want to understand what an avoidant person does when you walk away, it helps to know their character traits.
Symptoms of avoidant personality
- Extremely low self-esteem
- Crippling inferiority complex
- Hates oneself
- Doesn’t like people looking at them
- See the world through a negative lens
- Fear of rejection
- Thinks others are judging them
- Sudden feelings of loneliness
- Avoids people
- Socially awkward
- Few friends in real life
- Over analyses every interaction
- Doesn’t like to mix with people
- Self isolates
- Hides feelings
- Is jealous of other people
- Daydreams about ideal relationships
- Thinks everyone hates them
- Resist emotional conversations
- Poor conflict resolution skills
- Doesn’t want to commit
What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant?
“If we are unconsciously taught the mandate ‘don’t have feelings, don’t show feelings, don’t need anything from anyone, ever’ – then running away is the best way we can safely accomplish that mandate.”
Relationships with avoidants are frustrating for both parties. The avoidant person desperately wants to connect but is afraid of commitment. Avoidants constantly question if someone is right for them. They never think they’re good enough for people. Subconsciously, they act in a way that pushes their partner away. Then, when the relationship ends, they can say it wasn’t meant to be.
Meanwhile, the avoidant’s behavior puzzles their partner. The avoidant cancels plans last minute, goes without contact for long periods, and won’t address any problems. Now the partner has had enough. They stop making all the effort.
When someone stops chasing an avoidant, the avoidant follows two broad patterns of behavior, depending on whether they want a relationship with the person.
Avoidants either deactivate or fade out when you stop chasing them
What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant? They either deactivate from the relationship or fade out from it. When an avoidant deactivates from a person, they stop all contact abruptly and cut that person from their life.
Fading out is their way of gradually distancing themselves from the person. It is not as brutal and final as deactivating.
However, make no mistake, all avoidants are relieved when you stop chasing them. Avoidants are so socially crippled they need space from the other person. As sad as it sounds, breaking up or stopping communication gives them that space, albeit at a cost. Even in good relationships, an avoidant still needs space after a few months.
So, how do you know which behavior the avoidant will choose if you walk away?
- If they are not interested in you, walking away from an avoidant pushes them to deactivate from you.
- If they still care for you, they will fade out.
Now let’s examine these two behaviors.
9 things to expect when you stop chasing an avoidant
What happens when an avoidant deactivates?
1. They are relieved
What happens when you stop chasing an avoidant who is not interested in you? They’ll relax. You can almost hear them breathe a metaphorical sigh of relief when you walk away from them. Finally, they are free from the social niceties and interactions that make them feel so anxious.
2. They act cold and aloof
Avoidants can now cut you from their life. Although breaking up is a negative experience for most of us, avoidants feel relief when you stop chasing them. It’s like binge eating on a diet or skipping work when you’re not sick. It’s a negative situation, but the avoidant feels good about it if they see you don’t expect them to acknowledge you or contact you.
3. They don’t reply
If an avoidant is not interested, you can expect complete radio silence. They won’t risk contact because you may reply and then they are back in this awkward social situation again. Secretly, I’m betting they hope you never contact them again.
4. They block you
For peace of mind, an avoidant will block the person they’ve decided they can’t be in a relationship with. It helps reduce anxious feelings. They know they don’t have to worry about getting your text or call. Because they dread you contacting them again, blocking is a passive-aggressive way of avoiding you.
What happens when an avoidant fades out?
5. They become depressed
Whether an avoidant likes you or not, they will still gain some sort of relief when you stop chasing them. However, this relief doesn’t last long. They’ll become depressed. What little self-esteem they had diminished, and self-doubt plagues them. Avoidants may start self-loathing.
They’ll wonder: what’s wrong with them? Why do they keep ruining relationships? Why can’t they have what everyone else has?
6. They make excuses for their behavior
Sometimes an avoidant wants a relationship with you, but they act like they don’t. In these situations, they’ll try to make excuses for their behavior. By this time, if you’ve walked away from an avoidant, you’ve had enough of their mixed signals.
The problem exacerbates when an avoidant doesn’t know they have an avoidant personality. They might not realize what or why they act the way they do.
7. They initiate contact, but after a long time
Oftentimes, something weird happens when you stop chasing an avoidant. Out of the blue, they text or call you. You may think the relationship is dead in the water, but the avoidant is still thinking of you.
8. They test the waters with a random text or call
Avoidants will see if you are still interested by sending a brief text or call. It could be a funny meme, an emoji, or a voice note. If you respond, they know they still have a toe in the water.
9. Their messages are superficially long
Once contact is reestablished, the avoidant will communicate on a semi-regular basis. However, the messages will lack emotional content. They won’t mention their feelings, what went wrong in the relationship, or want to talk about how you both move forward. Just re-engaging with you is enough.
Now you know what happens when you stop chasing an avoidant. So, it’s up to you whether you want to pursue a relationship or walk away.
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