Personality Disorders

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

Negative Reactions to “Avoidant” and “Bad Boyfriends”

Most of the reviews of Avoidant and Bad Boyfriends are positive, some embarrassingly so (“You saved my life / marriage /sanity!”) — I read the reviews and the few really negative ones I ignore because they are vastly outweighed by 5-star reviews. But there are some common themes, so I’ll address the three latest one-star reviews here.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Reader Use Discretion and vet the author!
Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2020
Format: Kindle Edition

I am a Licensed Therapist specializing in Attachment Injuries and Trauma this book can be damaging for anyone dealing with an attachment injury. Use discernment when reading.

It’s threatening for a professional (licensed!) therapist to have possible patients reading the truth and starting to heal themselves. In her world, each patient is to be swaddled in bubble wrap and gently coaxed back into healthy attachment patterns through her no-doubt-caring therapy. I get a lot of fan mail from therapists and marriage counsellors who direct their patients to my books to get a head start on understanding their issues, but perhaps they recommend it for only their most robust clients. This theme (Appeal to Authority) appears frequently. I can imagine there might be people triggered by some parts of the books, but it’s not nearly as triggering as real life in a relationship with a dismissive partner. Therapy is great for those who can afford the time end expense. My books are cheap and can be read anywhere.

Other outraged reviews go after the chapter on abusive relationships (see an early version here), citing the discussion of combative relationships where (typically) the unexpressive male strikes out physically while the female is psychologically and verbally goading him. Today’s presumption that the male is entirely at fault fails to consider all of the dynamics of these troubled couples. Would you rather be shoved or slapped in anger, or continuously sniped at and undermined by your partner? The stereotype of the abusive husband and the suffering victim is common but not every angry male is entirely in the wrong, or every battered wife a completely innocent victim. Abuse comes in all types, sizes, and sexes. The belief that only women are abused is semi-sacred, and the effort to squelch any contrary voices (“cancel culture”) is similar to the search for heretics.

Reactions from dismissives in denial (or their partners who want a cotton-candy solution to their problems) are also common. Our next one-star review is an example.

Facebook "I'm in this photo and I don't like it" text box.

You’re coming too close to describing how I contribute to my relationship problems…

1.0 out of 5 stars
Skip this one, not worth the read or money. Very biased and inaccurate.
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2020
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Not worth the read. I would give it no stars if that was an option. It condemns avoidant attachment style people. It’s another “opinion” based dating book, which I should have realized by the name. I thought it would give more constructive insight to the underlying wounds which produce the avoidant attachment types and understanding of triggers for this attachment style. It’s very narrow minded and shames anyone with this attachment style. The author never guided his subjects to working with their own insecurities and understanding that any attachment dynamic is a result of their own inner needs of attachment that of which stem from the developmental stages in early childhood. He essentially said avoidant style people are hopeless and abusive. Which is in fact not a fact or truth at all. My opinion is you can chalk this one up to another bad advice book that is not based in any actual research or fact and dangerously compartmentalizes humans into a this or that category while damning them to a negative life sentence behavior. I wish I could return this book.

On the contrary, being partly dismissive myself, I understand and sympathize with those people who can’t form good attachment bonds in later life because their earlier experiences forced them to develop a defense mechanism to save themselves. This is described in great detail in the books, but this reader demands a presentation so tactful that avoidants will feel righteous in continuing to devalue and dismiss significant others to stay safe. Avoidant is a splash of cold water and describes the harm this defense mechanism does along with some practical methods for coping with it and learning to feel more secure with intimacy.

Our next one-star review is of the “I have my guru and you’re not as good!” variety. There are people emotionally invested in attachment books they’ve already read who find my presentation jarring. A book that is quite good and presented largely to soothe the anxious-preoccupied, Attached, is often cited as better, by those same people enabled by such kid-gloves treatment to avoid looking at their own need to become more secure in themselves. As for Gottman’s books, I plug them and excerpt from them a lot because they are very good. Gottman built on academic attachment experts and my books were substantially complete before I had read any of his books. He’s got a good cottage industry going, and I view his work as especially accessible and valuable for couples with problems. Avoidant is directed to the seeker of self-knowledge and the partner who is feeling alone in his/her concerns about living with an avoidant.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2019

This book labels people and limits the mind of being open to possibility. HEAVILY referenced Gotman and inappropriately and without sound evidence attempts to build on Gotmans work.

Just read Gotman’s work which is based on sound evidence.

Lordy, lordy. These people can’t even spell the names of their gurus correctly. Attachment issues are complex and every individual is a different mix of reflexes and habits, a fact I made clear at several points. Everyone has modes of reaction that mimic the more extreme kinds of insecurity, but only in specific situations or with specific people that trigger them. But I discuss them as types because it’s fair to say most people exhibit a preferred attachment style under most conditions, and it’s very useful to recognize this.

New Reviews: “Avoidant”

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner

Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner keeps reaching new people. The latest reviews on Amazon:

John C.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Study this book, and begin to see everything more clearly.
September 21, 2019
Verified Purchase

Once I heard a little bit about this concept, I went down a rabbit hole of research- starting with this book. Necessary information for folks who want to be liberated from the oppressive feeling of being loved less than you deserve.. and getting back less from your partner, than you are consistently giving to them. This info was a light for me, when I was lost in darkness and frustration over behavior that NO other definition can accurately explain. Attachment avoidant.. I had never heard of it, but now I see it as easily as I can see skin color, height or weight. Getting the knowledge was liberating and empowering- and this book was my first step towards healing and moving forward, happier.

Jeremy Q Wilbanks
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Read?
08-31-19

For anyone looking to understand themselves better as well as the closet people in their lives from an attachment standpoint this is the book for you. The author does a great job explaining concepts and ideas. It helped me a ton as I broke up with my dismissive-avoidant partner. I can now see how we co-mingled for so many years. I can finally move forward opening myself up to a more secure attachment style.
Buy this book, trust me totally worth it! No 🧠 er

New Forums Added

The existing forums at Jeb Kinnison Forums are run by a service that is charging more and more to keep them ad-free, so I’ve added forums on this site — not the easiest thing to do but they seem to work. I’ll be tinkering with them further since I’m not happy with the font sizes or line spacing, but feel free to use them — see the link in the header above for “New Forums” and check it out. The old forums are quite active these days with as many a 6,000 pageviews a day, so check them out until the new ones are active. Note that you have to join the new forums using the box in the sidebar to comment there, but anyone should be able to read them.

Backup of old forum here: Old Forum Backup 6-2018

Harvey Weinstein: Abusive Attachment?

I’ve had a few questions about Harvey Weinstein — like, what is his attachment type? Are abusive Lotharios dismissive-avoidant, or what?

If you haven’t read them, here are a few background stories:

“From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories” – The New Yorker, Ronan Farrow

“The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story Is Worse Than You Think” – The Weekly Standard, Lee Smith

Because of his loss of power recently, he is no longer able to shield himself or punish accusers as he did when he was at the center of motion pictures and casting decisions. From Virginia Postrel’s Bloomberg story “Why Weinstein Held On For So Long and Fell So Fast”:

Communism was considered invincible. Then the fall of the Berlin Wall started a domino effect that brought down six Soviet satellites in quick succession, and soon after the Soviet Union itself. Though communism’s failures were widely understood, no one thought it vulnerable to street demonstrations. In East Berlin in 1953, Hungary in 1956, and Czechoslovakia in 1968, it had demonstrated a willingness to crush dissent brutally. Moreover, for decades on end, the members of communist-ruled societies had displayed a remarkable tolerance for tyranny and inefficiency. They remained docile and even outwardly supportive of the status quo.

For all this submissiveness, it turned out that millions had been willing to revolt all along — if enough others would also revolt and they felt sufficiently sure of escaping punishment. But no one knew exactly what needed to happen to set off a successful uprising. In retrospect, all it took was a few thousand demonstrators calling for more freedom and a regime that signaled that it was afraid of overreacting. People standing on the sidelines suddenly found the courage to join in, and the East German revolt started feeding on itself.

Before long, fear changed sides. People who had never criticized communism publicly were now afraid to be caught defending it. Genuine supporters of communism (they, too, numbered in the millions) joined the opposition. They took to pretending to have been falsifying their political preferences out of fear, like their compatriots who had genuinely felt oppressed.

Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace fits the same pattern. Few Hollywood executives have been as powerful as he. His movies have earned hundreds of Oscar nominations. He was both admired and feared as someone who could make or break a career. As a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates, he had national political clout. Though he was rumored to be predator of young women, Hollywood insiders and many observers knew that he dealt ruthlessly with anyone who crossed him. Reporters who investigated his behavior found almost no one willing to speak honestly or on the record. Many people who were hurt by Weinstein suffered, we now know, for their own silence. They wanted to go public with their stories all along.

For his behavior to draw public criticism, it was not enough for Weinstein’s behavior to be widely known. Potential complainers needed to know that other victims and witnesses would back them up. They also needed to believe that Weinstein’s supporters or the press would not smear their reputations. It needed to be sufficiently likely that the early movers would be greeted with sympathy rather than condemnation.

A number of accusers are probably exaggerating or confabulating to pile on since a story of your encounter with him is now a net positive for your notice and career. But as with Bill Cosby, the numbers suggest many of the reports are true.

His “production line” for having starlets delivered into private situations so he could pressure them into sex had to have been enabled by helpful staff, agents, and others who could have blown the whistle, including a complicit media who were easily stopped from reporting stories as they came up. Weinstein controlled ad revenues, contacts both professional and political, and knowledge of others useful for blackmail. His participation in the corrupt Clinton-Democratic machine shielded him, as it did Bill Clinton, from the worst attacks by feminists and reporters. It has come out now because their power has waned, and the Clinton Foundation influence-peddling machine is dying.

This kind of methodical abuse is outside the usual attachment type considerations. Weinstein was closer to a psychopath-narcissist, with a special extra dash of sadism — he got off on the power to force beautiful young women to submit to his will, to degrade them with his sperm and get away with shaming them without consequence to himself. His insecurity was expressed differently than on the usual anxious-to-dismissive axis.

But this story shouldn’t produce a witch hunt to criminalize or punish anyone who commits an error in judgment.

If rude and clumsy approaches were crimes, we’d all be in jail (well, almost all.) When I was young and reasonably good-looking, I got hit on a lot in venues that invited that (bars, parties, etc.) It wouldn’t occur to me to think of myself as grievously wronged with the first grope — the offender gets rebuked and avoided, with a wagging finger and “tsk!”

One good example of a misdemeanor offense: one of the incidents being talked about has Philip K Dick’s daughter in a cab with the Amazon Films producer after a party going to another party. He’s aggressive and pushy and profane. So what? She knew there was no danger to her participation, he had clearly overdone the drinking, she immediately reported it, it didn’t happen again. That’s a common event for anyone who goes to mixed drinking/business/social events. Guy was presumably warned.

The workplaces where pressure is constant and one rebuke doesn’t stop the approaches are where the legally actionable stuff happens. Weinstein had a whole system and cooperative employees/agents/staff, quite a different thing from an occasional drunken mistake.

Which is where the neo-Puritan, fragile flowers of femininity problem shows up. You can‘t claim equality and go out in the world and then turn around and claim privilege to never be offended or crudely approached. Men tend to excuse one or even several offenses from their fellow employees before going on the warpath. Woman are being trained to claim a right to success and a right to special treatment beyond what others enjoy. “I am good and strong on a team” does not quite jibe with “Every offense to my dignity should be punished by expulsion of the offender.”


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat…. It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool…  All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


More reading:

A Clinton Christmas Carol
“High Tech Under Diversity Pressure
Ban the Box, Credit Scores, Current Salaries: The Road to Hiring Blind
HireVue, Video Interviews, and AI Job Searches
“Death by HR” – Diversity Programs Don’t Work