I’m what’s referred to as an “Avoider” in my “love-style.” I’ve also got a dash of “Vacillator” and a pinch of “Pleaser” in me as well. Even though it might sound like it, I’m not talking about a tasty autumn soup. 😉
What I’m referring to are some of the “love-styles” that are developed from“imprints” that occur in our childhoods.
These love styles are identified and unpacked by Milan and Kay Yerkovich in the book, How We Love. This married team of counselors and authors go on to say say that, in adulthood, our love styles initially draw us to our mates, but eventually serve to repel us from them as well.
It’s a fascinating and eye-opening read that I would highly recommend, especially if you’re struggling to understand why your mate does what s/he does. #matemakesnosense
As an “Avoider,” I have a tendency to isolate, operate independently, and have difficulty receiving affection, comfort, as well as help from my mate.
How my Avoider imprint developed . . .
My parents had me late in their lives. My mom was almost 40 and my dad was 43, so my siblings were 14 and almost 9 years my senior by the time I came along.
By that point, my dad was a workaholic pastor who probably also had an “Avoider” imprint. So I learned very well from him how to operate independently from my family. I really can’t recall ever feeling close to him, though I worked on that relationship during the last five years of his life to bridge the gap—and am so glad I did! #nottoolate
By the time I was a school-aged child, my brother was out on his own, while my sister was going through some painful situations in her teens. My mom chose (based upon my perception) to wrap herself up in the task of comforting and encouraging my sister in those trials.
I remember feeling overlooked and neglected. I also felt discouraged and alone. I wanted my mom’s attention, but I quickly learned how to “self-soothe” instead of letting her know that I had a need.
My go-to method was to crawl under my bed and cry. 🙁
In time, I even began to feel resentful about my sister’s openness and tear-filled times with my mom. I remember my childlike reasoning—vowing to myself that I would never be “weak” like my sister, who cried at the drop of a hat.
And I fulfilled that personal vow by learning very skillfully how to shut off any emotion or tears like I was turning off a faucet.
Of course, over the years I learned how to make time for a “controlled cry” in the privacy of my closet or under my bed (when I still could fit under there!). After a therapeutic time of tears, I typically felt cleansed and no one was the wiser regarding my pain.
Just last week I wrote about how my husband has learned perfectly how to comfort me and be with me in my pain. Normally, I wouldn’t have let him even know that I was hurting that deeply—at least not by letting the tears flow in front of him. Oh sure, I’d been willing to cry in front of him about how he’d hurt me (something I’d stretched and grown in over the years).
But that monumental moment between the two of us was not only monumental for what my hubby demonstrated to me, it was monumental for how I showed vulnerability to him regarding hurts that didn’t directly involve him. Those were the kinds of issues I’d always tried to handle on my own and certainly wasn’t willing to cry about them in front of Gary.
Moving forward, I want to be more open and vulnerable in all kinds of ways in my life and marriage, because I’m realizing that it’s healing to my heart and invites my husband into my intimate world.
Who wouldn’t want that? 😉
Now I know . . .
What do you “avoid” in your marriage and life that needs to be encouraged or allowed?
What are some ways you can open yourself up more to your mate?
Thanks so much to those who’ve taken the time to do the survey on sexual hang-ups in marriage. I’ll be posting about those troubling situations one at a time in the months to come. But for now I’m hoping you’ll consider posing any marriage or relationship questions you might have so that my hubby and I (or just I) can respond in video form on the weekend posts in the weeks to come. You can access that brief, two question survey here.
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