The sound of silence can be deafening, especially when it is the silence that follows the end of a relationship. There is a feeling of finality to the lack of communication, a feeling as if the world has stopped, even though we know that life is waiting for us just around the corner. For some, this silence comes so suddenly, so abruptly, that it can almost be a physical shock. When it comes to dismissive avoidants who have gone stone-cold silent after a break up, this shock is not only mental - it can be profoundly painful.
Dismissive avoidants are those who have an avoidant attachment style, meaning that they have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships due to an underlying fear of intimacy and vulnerability. As a result, these individuals in particular tend to do whatever it takes to have control over the situation and prevent themselves from becoming too close or dependent on another person. As a result, when it comes time to part ways with a partner, they may employ an extreme form of avoidance coping in order to avoid the inevitable pain and discomfort that accompanies a break up.
As soon as the break up happens, the dismissive avoidant goes into shut down mode. They block out the other person from their lives and refuse to engage any further, letting silence become their ultimate weapon. In a perverse way, it is almost as if a part of them genuinely believes that cutting off all contact will “magically” make the situation go away and make the break up less intense. While on the outside this may seem attractive, the long-term ramifications of this form of avoidance coping can be profound.
First and foremost, going stone-cold silent after a break up can create an immense amount of confusion and ambivalence for the partner who has been left behind. The rampant insecurity and self-doubt that comes with a lack of closure can take a toll on the person’s mental wellbeing, causing them to feel as if their expectations for closure have been denied, and that their partner has simply “abandoned” them. Similarly, the dismissive avoidant may also suffer from a lack of closure, as a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the future of the relationship is created.
Furthermore, prolonged use of this kind of avoidance coping can lead to more serious issues such as depression, anxiety, and trust issues. Dismissive avoidants may also create a damaging cycle within future relationships, as they are likely to use similar tactics whenever they fear getting too close or feel overwhelmed by intimacy. In short, Going stone-cold silent after a break up is a classic example of the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” as it ultimately only serves to perpetuate the pain, confusion, and uncertainty that come along with a break up rather than providing any sort of resolution.
If you are a dismissive avoidant, it is important to recognize that going stone-cold silent after a break up is not a healthy way to cope with the situation. While it may provide instant relief and the false hope of a “quick fix”, it is important to remember that the issues that arise from this behavior often linger long after the initial shock of the break up has faded. The best course of action is to find healthier methods of dealing with your emotions so that you can move towards a place of healing and resolution - not lingering pain and confusion.
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