anxious-avoidant dance

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

117th Review of “Avoidant”

When the book was an Amazon Prime Reading selection (free to Amazon Prime members) it attracted so many new reviews I couldn’t keep up. But here’s a pair of new ones I can riff on.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great honest book about avoidants
By B*** C******, August 18, 2018

If your partner is cold, doesn’t like touch, is negative, and doesn’t seem to care about your feelings or your attempts to fix the relationship: This is your book. It’s honest about your chances right up front. It’s also not your fault you can’t figure out why you’re mad or why you feel you’re to blame. It’s the avoidant’s gift of manipulation.

It’s honest about these people being able to change. Or unable to change. This book was infinitely helpful in helping me see the light. (Cue Ace of Base – I saw the sign)

Thank you for being honest Jeb Kinnison – where so many lie to make one waste their money on quick fixes, this is straight talk.

And thank you, B***! As you can see from some other reviews, many people prefer to preserve their fantasy view of how the world works and blame others for the problems they have dealing with it. One change I’d make to the book if I had it to do over again is to emphasize several more times (it’s only mentioned in one place) that women are as likely as men to be dismissive or fearful-avoidant, but typically are better at disguising it for longer because the predominant cultural stereotypes of women being the caring and giving sex encourage a less open version of the syndrome. I only adopted the convention of men as the dismissive partner because it is easier to understand the examples.

As for my “tough love” stance, there are thousands of authors and web sites that promote romance and advice to fix bad relationships that doesn’t work and gives false hope. It’s not popular to suggest that some couples and individuals are ill-suited to intimate partnerships, and it’s radical to suggest that some people will never be and that it’s no crime not to be happily married. One size does not fit all, and you can’t “make it work” with someone who doesn’t care to.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Are you in one of those hot-cold, roller coaster relationships you can’t seem to break out of? Read this ASAP.
By L. E. on April 28, 2018

One of the best books I’ve ever read about adult attachment behavior and romantic relationships. If you are always in “on again-off again” relationships or go back and forth between fear of being alone and fear of being abandoned (or you frequently choose partners who are), check this out. This book seems like it would help just about anyone with a pattern of attachment (closeness, trust, faithfulness) issues in their relationships, not just those who are avoidant or are with someone who is avoidant. It is made up of information from numerous reputable sources who research attachment psychology. I find it strange that the author is not a mental health professional at all and has no background in it. Either way, he hit the nail on the head with this one. As a therapist who ironically perpetually ends up with avoidant men and subsequently gets my heart broken, I find this book priceless.

And thank you, L.E.! I’m an auto-didact — I have been teaching myself all my life, having had several careers in different fields. I spent years reading the attachment literature, roughly the equivalent of a Ph.D. It’s amusing how little many Ph.Ds actually know. I greatly admire practicing counsellors and have done some counselling myself, but most have only superficial knowledge of attachment theory. I stepped in to write this because there was no popular-level book on the topic, and more general attachment books (notably Attached) are addressed to the self-help book market which tends to be anxious-preoccupied in orientation. A deeper dive into fearful and dismissive-avoidants seemed more useful for those already in a relationship with one.

1.0 out of 5 stars
Biased and disappointing
ByAmazon Customer on May 19, 2018

Very biased and misogynistic. This author has opinions that he bends scientific theories to support his apparent anger at a dismissively attached person in his life. He goes off topic frequently and seems to have a vendetta against women. The last half of the book was mostly blog opinion posts from other men he knows that he wanted to use to support his views. Disappointing and unsupportable.

And now for negative reviews. A minority of readers see misogyny where none exists, largely because I call out the strain of feminism that is biased toward finding fault with the male in any bad relationship. One chapter in particular, where I point out that women *tend* to engage in verbal and psychological abuse while men are stereotyped as physically abusive, gets that reaction. The fact is no troubled relationship is easy to analyze from outside, and while abusive males have been a big problem throughout history going back to our hominid ancestors, there are also many examples of physically and emotionally abusive females (the statistics on abuse in lesbian relationships make that clear.)

The predominant ideology today is a feminist take that assumes that females are blameless and powerless, while on average every bit as capable as men but needing special accommodations to their needs and desires, a somewhat schizophrenic take. This attitude ends up souring many a relationship when the expectations of the female partner don’t match the reality of the male’s ability to satisfy them. The partnership of equals of a good marriage means both will accept that sacrifice and effort are necessary to succeed jointly. That means respect on both sides for the abilities each bring to the relationship. I see a lot of people (many men, too!) who think they are owed happiness with little effort or humility. The result is broken relationships, unstable homes for children, and unhappiness and pain.

As for the last half of the book, those “blog posts” were written by yours truly, dear Amazon Customer, as was made clear in the book. Each was edited and extended the theme of the book, covering some aspect of relationships with avoidant types. I’m sorry you were unreceptive to my message.

Evitant (Avoidant) Published in Romania

Romanian Cover of "Avoidant"

Romanian Cover of “Avoidant”

A year or so ago I sold rights to Avoidant to a Romanian publisher. I did a little research into the market — small and almost entirely still on paper. The book has apparently been published now, and I’d be interested in hearing from any native Romanian speaker on how well it has been translated, since I had been concerned the specialized vocabulary might be difficult for them.

The description is just a translation of the author bio, and the error of place of birth (Kansas City, Missouri) being shown as “Kansas, Missouri” is not reassuring.

Evitant at Curtea Veche

Avoidant at Amazon.

“Avoidant” is number 1 bestseller! (On Amazon, in one narrow category…)

May 20, 2018 Amazon listing

May 20, 2018 Amazon listing

This jumped out at me a few days ago. Avoidant got recategorized, and suddenly it’s number one in sales in the quiet “Counseling” category. This is the kind of thing that allows publishers to advertise like this: “#1 Amazon Bestselling Author Jeb Kinnison!” — technically true but misleading.

41st Review of “Bad Boyfriends”

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook Cover

Bad Boyfriends Audiobook

Since Amazon began to randomly delete reviews last year, I post the new ones to preserve them. A new review of Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner:

5.0 out of 5 stars
Highly recommended by an attachment trauma therapist
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

This might be one of the best books on attachment for singles struggling with the process of dating. I’m recommending it to my single clients with trauma histories.

The author explains attachment clearly and terms that are relevant to dating. I appreciate his candid advice that certain attachment combinations are taxing, or simple, that you should run and save yourself the headache. As an attachment trauma therapist, I can tell you he’s spot on. Save yourself from a painful divorce, custody battles and years of bitter entanglement with a monster that you can detect while the stakes are low. The healthy singles that will still make you happy 14 years later and won’t stop loving you & your children can be found if you know what they look and sound like.

I highly recommend this easy read to any single that finds Dating confusing or difficult.