In a target’s efforts to protect themselves, sometimes the boundaries can be set too high, and the challenge now becomes the ability to at least allow the good things in. Avoidance occurs when people stop allowing positive connections (encouragement, support, etc.) in order to protect themselves from an inevitable hurtful exchange. Here is how this plays out in terms of boundaries:
Avoidance (withdrawal) is used as an energizer. The target thinks: Better keep the distance at all times “just in case”.
What They Do:
When others want to give to them, they discount or deflect that they have needs and they do not let other people into their intimate world. They start to close down the ability to feel good things, because they are overly pro-active in trying to minimize the bad things.
To open up to others is a huge risk of being rejected. They would rather pre-call that someone would not be interested, and therefore shut down first, before anyone can deny them.
They are unable to receive the help they so desperately need. We all need community or common-unity in order to validate our experiences and who we are. They see their challenges as “so bad” and they also see their needs as something to be shameful about.
Why Do They Do That?
Fear of rejection from another – “I’ll shut you out before you have (another) chance to shut me out”. They believe they do not deserve support, therefore they do not reach out for it.
What They Can Do:
Remain conversational with others and have a good support network that gives unconditionally, so they can trust; as opposed to pulling away prematurely.
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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com
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