3 Signs You’re Not Dead Inside — You Just Have An Anxious-Avoidant Attachment Style

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3 Signs You’re Not Dead Inside

An old soul from the start, growing older by the day. Interior growth that doesn’t match the exterior. Death, heartbreak, and failure followed by disappointment, loss, doubt, instability, irrationality, and isolation.

Dealing with the worst can break barriers within that an audience may perceive as empty or dead-like. In all actuality, you came, you saw, and you were conquered. The defeat came with growth, felt so deep into your core causing you to evolve — whether you’re aware of it or not.

Naturally, you protect yourself. You protect your body, you protect your mind, and you protect your heart. You anxiously avoid what could potentially hurt you. You’ve felt pain so deep that you’re selective of who you share your energy with by avoiding what’s new or unfamiliar as a defense.

According to attachment theory, there are four basic attachment styles that describe how we evolve to respond to relationships based on that which we had with our parents: 

  1. Secure attachment
  2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment
  3. Anxious-avoidant attachment
  4. Disorganized attachment

RELATED: The Crazy Way Your Relationship With Your Parents In The First Two Years Of Your Life Affects You Forever

So, here are the signs you’re not dead inside, you’re just hyper-protective — or have an anxious-avoidant attachment style.

1. You rarely start a conversation anymore.

When meeting people, you become suddenly exhausted at the thought of meeting a new person and allowing them into your life. You’ve been burned one time too many, so the thought of small talk or introducing someone new into your life leaves you frantically uninterested.

So perhaps those around you or even those close to you view you as anti-social or rude, but your body is just preserving the energy you have left for those who deserve it.

2. You’re unexcited about dating.

At times, you feel lonely. But what scares you more, is falling down a dark hole of dysphoria consumed by disappointment as you drown in heartache.

It’s not that you don’t want to date someone or want to be in a relationship; you just aren’t actively seeking one. You also aren’t engaging in relationship conversation as the thought leaves you crippled with tension. You’ve felt heartbreak so raw that it’s not something the intuition that lies beneath your scars can so easily forget.

RELATED: What You're Like In Relationships, Based On Your Attachment Style

3. You’ve gone into isolation.

Whether you’ve gone on a solo trip to somewhere new or you prefer staying in by yourself on a Friday night, you feel recharged by isolating yourself at times. Not enough time leaves you restless with uncertainty. Time alone allows you to reflect and better know yourself. The more you know yourself, you’re able to grow within yourself but also grow within the relationships around you.

So perhaps you can relate to these three signs or at least one or two, but it still doesn’t mean that’s how it must always stay. You changed before, and you’ll change again. 

Someone is going to start a conversation with you that keeps you enthralled; inspiration found and felt when you least expect it. You’re going to meet someone that aligns with your chemistry that makes the trauma of heartbreak a distant memory; a small piece of your past that will not define your present. You’re going to find activities that make you want to be around other people that share similar passions to you; passion that motivates you to make a discovery.

So maybe some say that you are dead inside, and even you may feel that way at times, but you’re not. You’re just protective of yourself, and that means that you care about yourself. So, keep loving yourself and strengthening that relationship. No one will take care of you better than you.

Plus, if you were dead inside, well, you’d be dead. So take charge of the control you do have; decide what you want to do with your time right…now.

RELATED: Why Understanding The 4 'Attachment Styles' Takes The Uncertainty Out Of Your Love Life

Alyssa Lynn Malmquist is a writer from Massachusetts who always considered herself a creative, expressing herself through theater, fashion, web design, social media and, eventually her most powerful form of expression, writing. Follow her on Instagram.

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This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.