We are constantly surrounded by noise, demands, or pressure, so you may occasionally want to retreat into your shell and hide from the world. However, if you regularly want to distance yourself from others, there is probably a deeper reason. Read on to find out what causes people to push away and what you can do about it.
Constantly pushing people away creates distance and tension in a relationship. It becomes challenging to create and maintain a deep, meaningful connection when there is a persistent attempt to keep others at a distance, says clinical psychologist Mehezabin Dordi. Constantly pushing people away can also undermine trust. That’s because when others feel rejected or left out, trust in the relationship decreases, making it challenging to build a foundation of mutual understanding and support.
What are the signs that you are pushing people away?
There are some signs that you are pushing people away. Recognizing these signals in yourself is the first step to building healthier connections. Here are a few:
1. Limited or poor communication
If you consistently give short or disinterested answers, it may stem from a reluctance to become emotionally involved. This can make others feel undervalued or even unimportant in your life, the expert tells Health Shots.
2. Isolation from others
Spending too much time alone may indicate a desire to avoid social interactions, possibly due to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, or the fear of being vulnerable around others.
3. Avoiding vulnerability
The reluctance to share personal thoughts or feelings may stem from fear of judgment or rejection. This can hinder the development of close, meaningful connections.
4. Frequent cancellations
Constantly canceling plans can be an unconscious way of avoiding commitment or deeper emotional involvement. It indicates resistance to investing time and energy in relationships.
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5. Negative self-talk
Constant self-criticism and a negative self-image can create a barrier in relationships. Others may find it challenging to connect with someone who doesn’t value themselves.
6. Defensive behavior
Responding defensively to feedback can discourage open communication. Others may hesitate to express their thoughts if they fear a defensive response that will hinder the growth of the relationship.
7. Lack of empathy
Consistently showing disinterest or lack of empathy for the feelings of others can create emotional distance. Empathy is crucial for building connections and understanding the perspectives of others.
8. Over-reliance on independence
While independence is healthy, an extreme emphasis on self-reliance can prevent others from offering support or feeling needed in the relationship.
Why do you push people away?
There are some psychological factors that can cause people to push away.
1. Fear of rejection
People who fear rejection may distance themselves from others as a defense mechanism. This fear can stem from past experiences of rejection, creating a self-protective instinct to avoid potential emotional pain, Dordi says.
2. Low self-esteem
People with low self-esteem may have difficulty believing that they are worthy of meaningful connections. This lack of self-esteem can lead to self-sabotaging behavior, pushing others away as a reflection of their own negative self-perception.
3. Trust issues
Past betrayals or breaches of trust can lead to difficulties in trusting others. This distrust can result in a reluctance to form close relationships, with people choosing to push others away to avoid possible betrayal.
4. Social anxiety
People who experience some form of social anxiety may fear the judgment or negative evaluation of others. This fear can manifest itself in the form of avoidance behavior, such as pushing people away to relieve the discomfort associated with social interactions.
5. Unresolved trauma
People with unresolved trauma may have difficulty forming secure attachment patterns. The fear of vulnerability and possible triggers from past trauma can lead to a pattern of pushing people away as a means of self-protection.
6. Communication problems
Ineffective communication skills can hinder the expression of thoughts and feelings. People may push others away because they cannot communicate their needs or understand the needs of those around them, leading to misunderstandings and emotional distance.
How do you avoid pushing people away?
To break the pattern of pushing people away, follow these tips.
Understand the underlying reasons why people push away. Think about past experiences, fears, and insecurities that may be contributing to this behavior. Journaling, therapy, or talking to a trusted friend can help with self-reflection.
2. Develop emotional intelligence
Improve your emotional intelligence by recognizing and understanding your own emotions and those of others. Practice mindfulness, pay attention to your emotional responses and try to identify the specific feelings that drive the desire to push people away, the expert suggests.
3. Improve your communication skills
Improve your ability to express thoughts and emotions effectively. To build and maintain relationships, you must place importance on communication. Practice assertiveness, active listening and expressing vulnerability. Seek feedback from others to understand how your communication style may impact them.
4. Challenge negative self-talk
Address negative self-talk and beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem or the fear of rejection. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
5. Set healthy boundaries
Understand the importance of setting boundaries to protect your well-being while maintaining healthy connections. Clearly communicate your needs and boundaries. Learn to say no when necessary, and recognize that setting boundaries is a sign of self-respect.
You can also seek therapy, as a psychologist or counselor can help you discover deeper psychological patterns and provide support in making positive changes.