2 Types of Emotional Unavailability: Fearful vs. Dismissive Avoidance [Attachment Styles]

©2019 by Briana MacWilliam Inc.

  • Briana MacWilliam

2 Types of Emotional Unavailability: Fearful vs. Dismissive Avoidance [Attachment Styles]

Updated: Mar 6

Dearest Subscriber,

Does your partner struggle to commit, and seem to have a fear of intimacy?

One minute they are soft and cuddly, and the next, they are cold as ice?

Or maybe you struggle with these things yourself, and feel sick of falling headlong into relationships, only to wind up feeling bored, smothered, trapped, or worried about hurting your partner, just when things are supposed to be getting good.

If this sounds familiar, it’s likely high levels of emotional avoidance is sabotaging your relationships.

Notably, avoidance typically demonstrates itself in two distinct ways: fearful and dismissive.

Worthy of note, I equate individuals with fearful avoidance with disorganized attachment, whom I refer to as “Spice of Lifers.” These individuals want connection, but also fear it, and tend to be suspicious and distrustful of their partner’s love, as well as their own ability to sustain a healthy relationship. They are hypervigilant with emotional cues, and often overly sensitive (and thus rejecting) towards even benign requests for contact.

Those that are more dismissive, I call “Rolling Stones.” These individuals seem to be cut off from their emotions and are unable to reach the same loving and reciprocal emotional “volume” that their partners are capable of, and deeply desire. They just don’t pick up on or respond to the emotional cues in the same way, and often feel frustrated, inadequate, and criticized by their partners, who just assume they don’t care, or are lazy.

It’s important to know which type you or your partner has, because the journey towards felt security will assume a slightly different angle in therapeutic treatment, or if you intend to pursue self help and personal development approaches.

In today’s one hour video, we explore these two different presentations in greater detail, and offer you a downloadable checklist and assessment for how to determine what type of avoidance you, or your lover, may be struggling with.

I hope you enjoy the video!


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In love and abundance,


Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT

Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist

Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner



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