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chrisdh79 OP t1_iwv6gao wrote

From the article: In two daily diary studies on couples and undergraduate students, researchers found that feeling appreciated buffered the negative link between avoidant attachment style and prosocial behavior towards their partners. People who are uncomfortable with intimacy were more willing to do things they do not like for the benefit of their partner if they felt appreciated. The study was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

At a young age, individuals learn to avoid intimacy when their close others are untrustworthy, unreliable and unwilling to meet their needs. They develop an avoidant attachment style. Later in life, avoidantly attached persons do not expect others to be prosocial towards them i.e., to take care of their needs. This often makes them, in turn, less willing to themselves act in a prosocial way towards others.

Prosociality, proneness to behavior that will benefit others, is a key ingredient of caring relationships. This is particularly the case when done with the intention of enhancing partner’s well-being and not in order to promote self-interests. On the other hand, when avoidantly attached individuals do things they dislike for the benefit of the partner, they usually do so to avoid personal costs such as partner’s anger and frustration, rather than to make partner feel happy and loved.

Can feeling appreciated change that? Previous studies have shown that the behavior of avoidant individuals in a romantic relationship can be improved if their perception that their partner does not care about their needs is challenged.


Mds_02 t1_iwvu96k wrote

tl;dr being treated poorly in childhood has negative impacts, being treated better in adulthood helps.


pseudocultist t1_iwwbhu9 wrote

Aye but many of us in anxious/avoidant relationships can never seem to figure out the correct thing to do. We are wired to respond inappropriately and so basic stuff like “make your partner feel appreciated” needs to be repeated.


myadhdcaccount t1_iwwqsvw wrote

I feel broken.


delvach t1_iwxfrk6 wrote

I find it oddly reassuring when I read things that describe me this well. It helps in deconstructing my own behaviors better, and putting names to concepts that I felt alone in dealing with.


HerezahTip t1_iwxq9vj wrote

Then therapy would blow your mind my friend.


Zephyr-2210 t1_iwyl12l wrote

I've tried therapy a couple of times, didn't feel like they helped. What do you you in therapy for it to help enough to 'blow your mind'! I'd honestly love to know


t92k t1_iwz2g3p wrote

If you identify with the “avoidently attached” part of this article then you should be aware you are going to bring that to therapy too. For me, my therapist was the first person in my life who was always where she said she was going to be when she said she’d be there. That allowed me to become attached — within the boundaries of a professional counseling relationship. From there we worked on disproving the belief that my parents (school, medical professionals) were bad to me because they all knew I was broken and I deserved it. That was a process of telling stories that seemed to support the belief and then looking at those same events from other perspectives so I can stop blaming myself. Eventually I was able to believe I’m a person who deserves attachment. I still have patterns where I proactively detach from relationships, or see rejection in absent-mindedness, but I have a lot more tools and a lot less anger than I used to.


Zephyr-2210 t1_ix2s7oo wrote

I mostly identify with anxious attached but all the hurt I've experienced also might be making me very untrusting and avoidant too, unsure if that defines me as also avoidant or not. I've got no issue with my current therapist themselves, other than I don't really know what else to talk about because I don't really feel like much has been resolved.


t92k t1_ix62kfn wrote

It might be worth bringing that up. I was in "cognitive behavioral therapy" so we had the goal of changing my beliefs about my place in the world. You may be in a different kind.


SpasmociallySunny t1_iwymy75 wrote

I’m not who you were replying to, but I hope this adds some positivity to counselling for you. What blew my mind when I dragged my feet to my 4th psychologist in less than 4 years was how much she worked on helping me to trust her through being consistent, kind and truly non judgemental. Like I really felt the lack of judgemnt. If you’ve been through a few therapists like I have (& u obv have), then you’ll understand how much this meant.


SoundProofHead t1_iwyp2y7 wrote

There are definitely two sides to therapy. The one that deals with the client's specific personal issues, and then the therapist/client relationship that's being built during the sessions. That's why finding a good therapist isn't enough, you have to find a good therapist that you feel good with. It helps you relearn what a healthy and safe human relationship is like, regardless of what problematic you are there to talk about.


SpasmociallySunny t1_iwypoae wrote

Very much so. It can be very demoralising when you go through numerous counsellors trying to find that ‘right fit’. I understand why people give up and I’m really glad I didn’t .


_Wyrm_ t1_ix1a7mw wrote

Not who you replied to, but therapy simply wasn't for me.

I often walk myself through how I feel about certain things, and I try to dig deeper than the surface to figure out why. It used to be a purely negative and self-deprecating behavior that spawned out of my penchant for being overly-analytical... But I've put effort into turning into a beneficial thing.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is accepting that the parts of you that you don't like are still... You. Understanding yourself and giving recognition to all the bits and pieces that make up who you are was my first step to being a better person. It's made a lot of personal change over the years.

Therapy isn't for everyone, but it does help a lot of people. It's possible that you've only had therapists who aren't really compatible with you. I know it's easy to be discouraged, but you should consider mulling over which it might be -- that is to say, you or your previous therapists.


lamelyUnlash t1_iwzemri wrote

As someone previously comment, it wasn't until my fourth of fifth therapist that I started to feel a change. A lot of them didn't connect with me and neither I with them or I was simply seeking counseling because that's what everyone told me it worked, but when I found one who saw right through me and motivated me in all the right ways to work for the change I needed.

Also, not all of the sessions have to go towards working on something. There are times in which what we want or need isn't a plan, more so just being heard; talk with your therapist about the things that you'd like to do during the sessions and they'll understand.


ForProfitSurgeon t1_iwyanpp wrote

I appreciate your honesty in sharing with us. I want you to feel good about that.


Xennon54 t1_iwymfme wrote

Thing is, at least with me, i know what my problems are and what they were caused by and how to fix them, but the solutions to said problems are not viable, they just arent going to happen, so im fully aware im broken, and i know how i can be fixed, i just dont have the tools nor skills for that fix


abas t1_iwxa8uw wrote

It is easy to feel broken around these kind of things, and I think for a lot of us with insecure attachment styles there are core beliefs that align with that thought (for instance, without being aware of it for a long time, I have a core would about being unlovable). Some good news is that it's possible to work on and start healing, and there are a lot of resources available to help that didn't used to exist - some good youtube channels, subreddits, therapy, etc. I've been working on my attachment style for the last couple of years and I've still got plenty of distance to go but I have noticed big positive changes in my life from the work I have been doing.


timeywimeytotoro t1_iwy9ra8 wrote

You put this well and this comment feels pretty validating, as someone on the anxious side of an anxious/avoidant relationship.


dig_the_flaws t1_iwysx69 wrote

"Unwiring" these behaviours takes time, patience, practice and perseverance... but it's possible. Repetition and practice makes your brain create new paths, so eventually it won't seem so strange.


JustDoc t1_iwzn3t1 wrote

> basic stuff like “make your partner feel appreciated” needs to be repeated.

And what that looks like needs to be stated outright, because it varies from person to person.


Lessmeatfortheplanet t1_ix1cpue wrote

This article and your comment just completely described both myself and then my husband. Sometimes Reddit is not a waste of time. Your perspective really softened my view of how my husband has responded to me. We both had troubling childhoods.


thruster_fuel69 t1_iwvx7g8 wrote

Its why we must all be the best humans, even when it's unfair. Especially when it's unfair.


delvach t1_iwxfzgl wrote

I had one partner tell me that I suffer because I'm a genuine person living in a world that isn't. That one sliced deep enough to hit bone.


thruster_fuel69 t1_iwxgmrw wrote

Can relate. Just know it's only a negative trait when you're around the wrong people.


myalt08831 t1_iwxu8pm wrote

Minus the times when the other person is being malicious, and assuming it is beyond the frame of the circumstances to properly be able to correct them.

(Some of this can still be done to be charitable, but I always say it's no good to squeeze out all your water for someone who is dried out and you become dried out instead. You dole out what you can afford to, and put limits at some point before it's too much. And frankly just looking out for yourself is valid plenty of the time, so long as you yourself are not actively malicious or be that way when it's not forced.)


thruster_fuel69 t1_iwxud8o wrote

Then it's best to go to war, or retreat. Whichever causes the least harm.


Jennyinator t1_iwy9ugb wrote

I know someone who was avoidantly attached. I wrongly called it “securely” attached and fed into this painful attachment style.


[deleted] t1_iwva0s8 wrote



philmatu t1_iwvi04s wrote

I tend to be avoidant also, but that's because I learned from young childhood that I can't depend on others consistently so I went to great lengths to be independent. When I meet new people, I default to expecting them to be flaky, inconsistent, and undependable, but I also will elevate certain people over time when they prove they're not all of this (thanks to lots of therapy). I think I do this because I'm so afraid of being let down by others that I protect myself from being hurt. It doesn't mean that I won't go out of my way to help others selflessly though, I do this quite often, and that's how I tend to get hurt, because only a few people I do this with ever show an appreciation for what I do, and as a result, I've had to learn boundaries the hard way. It's a give and take as with many things in life.


deadkennyd t1_iwwirzn wrote

Same. A lot of what I’ve read about avoidant attachement focuses on the role of parental figures but I honestly trace it more to my early social life. I grew up idolizing my best friend, who always had a way of getting people together wether it was planned in advance or a spur of the moment hangout. When I tried to mimic him and invite people to do something I thought would be fun, i wound up going alone. eventually I stopped bothering to invite people because disappointment would ruin the thing I’d been looking forward to.

I’ve moved on and met new friends who are reliable, but i still get nervous about asking someone for help and spend most of my time on my own.


CadaverMutilatr t1_iwxytvb wrote

“Idolizing best friend… stop bothering to invite people because disappointment”

I had the same experience


Rinas-the-name t1_iwwqoks wrote

When they were still a thing I would only write in pencil in my address book, because I expected addresses and phone numbers to change constantly. I moved 9 times within the same small city growing up. My bio dad was dodging child support so he changed information faster than I outgrew clothes. My mom would change our phone number while I was at school because she was mad at a boyfriend. So I felt like it was on me to keep track of people and let them know how to reach us, she never did wonder how people always got our new number.

I basically parented my younger sister, and then when I graduated I had to move out and our mom moved states with her. There are very few people I trust because of that and many other situations.

I hope you get a solid group of people you can trust and learn to manage your boundaries in a healthy way.


RubyRaven907 t1_iww9t8k wrote

I completely understand! Upon reading this post…it seems the premise here is that feeling appreciated can help folks shift from Avoiding to Prosocial behaviors; which are considered more favorable in nurturing relationships. I guess I really do, do things to just appease rather than benefit some relationships where I have experienced less than consistent returns.


Euda-monia t1_iwxo0q4 wrote

>I’ll assume good intent but once I’ve learned you’re inconsistent? I’ll go flat w you.

That's not avoidant attachment. An avoidant inherently believes noone will meet their needs, that others can't be relied upon or trusted and so is highly self-contained. They neither give prosocial behaviour nor expect it.

What you're describing is just normal behaviour (although you are a score keeper).


yonicwave t1_iwvi2om wrote

if you’re curious to learn more about attachment styles and how people with different attachment styles interact, i highly recommend the book “attached.” it really changed the way i look at the world and gave me a chance to reflect on aspects of my past relationships, what triggers certain feelings and why, and think about how to avoid certain patterns for future ones.


abas t1_iwwk9e5 wrote

Attached is a good read, but particularly since this is a thread relating to avoidant attachment styles, I'll mention that book is considered to be a bit harsh towards avoidant attachment styles particularly. I've found the /r/AvoidantAttachment subreddit to be a nice community for avoidants to support each other, and it has a list of resources on the side bar that can be helpful for learning more about those attachment types.


ginga_bread42 t1_iwxeksg wrote

I've found a lot of materials relating to insecure attachment styles are more harsh on avoidant attachment for some reason. It's very odd considering they're meant to educate or help and it's portraying other styles as less of a problem that doesn't hurt others around them.


AaronRodgersToe t1_iwvh4f8 wrote

Attachment theory is from the 50s.

Edit: I’m not saying it’s dated. I was simply letting them know it’s not new info. Chill guys


RubyRaven907 t1_iwvsurl wrote

That it’s dated make it any less relevant? I’m sincere in asking this.


BrainlessPhD t1_iwwaht4 wrote

No, it's one of the few social psychology theories that has really withstood the test of time and many, many replications. There are some relevant criticisms that it takes a fairly Western perspective (See a recent PNAS paper arguing that its conceptualization of child socioemotional development is not universal across cultures), but the theory has roots in Mary Ainsworth's work studying family dynamics in Uganda, so it's not completely based only on Western research.


RubyRaven907 t1_iwwbwe7 wrote

I’m so glad you guys didn’t burn down Attachment Theory because my own parenting philosophy relied heavily on it! Thanks @aaronrogerstoe too!


RubyRaven907 t1_iww6i9x wrote

No, no…I’m chill…I just wanted to know if it was still considered, you know…valid?


AaronRodgersToe t1_iww8amh wrote

Yes very much so! And your attachment style comes from childhood and it determines, to an extent, how you are in your adult relationships as well as how you cope with grief.


abas t1_iwwkvm1 wrote

I mentioned this in a nested comment as well, but I have found the /r/AvoidantAttachment subreddit to be a supportive community for people with avoidant attachment. It also has a list of resources on the sidebar for learning more about that attachment style and for learning to work with it better/more healthily. I've been working on attachment issues in therapy the last couple of years and have found it really helpful, it has made a big difference in my life.


RubyRaven907 t1_iwwxisy wrote

Oh wow, there really IS a sub for everyone! Thanks for the lead!


JimmminyCricket t1_iwvftq9 wrote

Not picking on you.

But that’s hilarious. You seemingly expect someone to be perfect and meet your needs but you couldn’t care less about theirs, by your own words.


Cameroni101 t1_iwvhhbp wrote

It's pretty incredible how you start with a disclaimer about not picking on them, then proceed to do just that.Going into a complete misrepresentation of what they said, including characterizing them as completely selfish. They didn't say they expect perfection, just that they've learned to avoid unnecessary sacrifices for people that are unlikely to do the same. You've taken a fairly mild statement and stripped the nuance away. People are more than just binary switches that can be flipped on and off.


HuckleberrySin1950 t1_iwviwr2 wrote

Not once did she say she expected them to be pefect? If people are constantly letting you down in the same manner over and over(and you have communicated that), you are going to expect less from them. It's completely reasonable for her to not put in effort when there is none returned.

Relationships are a 2 way street.


JimmminyCricket t1_iwvja2q wrote

Except this assumes that this person is not letting down the other individual as well.

They didn’t say they expect them to be “perfect” but saying “once I’ve learned you’re inconsistent? I’ll go flat with you.” Nobody is completely consistent. Including OP.

My stance comes from the perspective it’s a two way street. I don’t just take someone’s word that the other person is the only one to blame in a relationship. That’s all.

If you do, then so be it. Good luck in your life with that bad will.


HuckleberrySin1950 t1_iwvkjn0 wrote

Someone already replied to you and summed up what was about to be my own response. Good luck to you with that bad will of yours :>


JimmminyCricket t1_iwvkrvh wrote

I’m not the one that stops caring about people (ie. “Going flat”) because they don’t always give me what I want/need in the relationship.

Sincerely good luck.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwvllq6 wrote

>Sincerely good luck

You have lost all credibility here.


JimmminyCricket t1_iwvlyd9 wrote

I’m sorry you have no way of knowing if I’m genuine or not. I can only tell you that I am being sincere.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwvnmfz wrote

By your own commentary I very much have a "way of knowing" that you are quick to judge others and rather unwilling to apologize for such behavior.

So no, by the evidence you yourself have offered here no one has a reason to believe you are offering actual goodwill.


AaronRodgersToe t1_iwvrmnu wrote

Good rule of thumb is to not accuse others of judging while also judging.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwvv50i wrote

Yes, I am judging someone who themselves behaved in a very judgmental fashion.

For the record, what bothered me enough to actively comment was the offering of "goodwill" and "sincerity" immediately after plainly exhibiting the exact opposite. Such behavior is a very close cousin to gaslighting. It's bad enough that it's everywhere in our culture but when exhibited in the context of anything related to the study of psychology or therapy I find it especially infuriating. It's a behavior pattern VERY often exhibited by abusive personality types.

Perhaps I am being too harsh, but if there is discomfort on u/JimmminyCricket 's part for being subject to a dose of his or her own medicine then so be it.


JimmminyCricket t1_iwvvjpr wrote

I don’t have any discomfort. I know who I am and what my intentions were.

Not everyone is trying to gaslight you all the time.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwxj9e0 wrote

>I don’t have any discomfort.

You should. The other redditor deserves an apology from you if we're being completely honest.


Iced____0ut t1_iww5lgr wrote

You should see a therapist


hey_dougz0r t1_iwxjeyr wrote

Are you saying that because you actually care or because you're passive-aggressively trying to get under my skin? Be honest.


Iced____0ut t1_iwxjo2y wrote

It would be for the betterment of society.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwxk40n wrote

A quick glance at your recent post history and I can tell you don't care about much except trolling. If I need therapy then you most definitely do!


Iced____0ut t1_iwxlr6u wrote

Nah, I’m a bit abrasive, I’ve been to therapy plenty. Your self righteousness is part of why you need therapy.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwxvxpt wrote

Good lord. Your entire comment is unabashed projection. "Abrasive" is a kind word to describe your post history.


Iced____0ut t1_iwyvzu5 wrote

Ahh yes, it would be so much better to be like you, a condescending prick with an over inflated ego.


hey_dougz0r t1_iwzlctw wrote

You made the choice to comment to me, just the same as I chose to initially comment to u/JimmminyCricket and to reply to you now. You could have passed on by but instead you decided to lower yourself into the gutter you believe me to be in by telling me I need therapy - not for my own well-being, mind you - "for the betterment of society." (And you have the audacity to suggest I am being self-righteous?)

Your comments to me have actually been worse than the other redditor to whom I initially responded. You've weaponized the appearance of concern for my mental health in order to give vent to more of your own anger. What's more, the balance of your reddit presence calls into question whether you actually care about the betterment of society. You certainly spend far more time hurling anger than trying to be constructive in your interactions with other redditors.

If you've actually attended therapy I applaud you for it. I am not going to criticize you for that in any way. Even so, your comments to me do not appear in any way to come from a good place.


RubyRaven907 t1_iwvucuq wrote

No, I said I START w equal and good intent but once a person proves themselves to be untrustworthy, unreliable, flaky, or generally unappreciating of what I bring to the relationship I tend to become neutral and flat toward that person. I’m caring, warm and nurturing in my relationships otherwise. I was always a stoic and independent child and that’s because I was surrounded by unreliable, unreliable and often volatile adults.


coyote-1 t1_iwvik0e wrote

The potential downfall of this leaps out: if you try to make someone feel ‘appreciated’, it often comes across as patronizing. And that is alienating.


CrisiwSandwich t1_iwvmtq4 wrote

I think the way to not be patronizing is to be more specific. When a partner repeatedly says "I'm lucky to have you" or "you're so amazing." It can feel hollow especially if it is repated word for word often. It's like how my SO tells me I'm beautiful every day. He thinks it's nice because I can have low self esteem so he wants me to know that he thinks I'm beautiful. Me having grown up in trauma questions if he likes anything else besides looks because he says it so much.

I like being told when I am appreciated about specific things I DO. "Thanks for making our home look nice" or "I'm proud that you are willing to learn how to fix your own vehicle, that's awesome" or "You worked hard today, would you like me to run you a hot bath."

Being able to feel appreciated is hard for me because in my head people will hate me by default. My mom wasn't the kindest lady and my brother is close to sociopathic. I often wonder if compliments mean the opposite when they are vague like a coworker saying that I work hard. But when you point out a specific thing I did I tend to eat that up. I don't know if others will agree but when it is more about the things I do or my mind being appreciated I am generally more receptive. If I am loved, awesome, pretty or whatever vague good thing my brain cannot see it as actually being valued. It could be pitty, it could be a lie, the person could not fully understand the context of who I am. I don't know why, but it's just how I question things.


RolyPolyCat t1_iwvu2p0 wrote

Are you, me? I could never articulate it but you just summed up how I’ve always felt and thought too :/


coyote-1 t1_iwvtdg2 wrote

Thanks for sharing. It is appreciated.

The flipside though is this: I do not need to be complimented for things. I know full well when I’ve done something that works, is useful, etc. And I know full well when my efforts have come up short. So to be complimented for what I already know I’ve done well does nothing for me…. and if by chance I get a compliment for what I know I did NOT do well, that infuriates me. I see it as an insult, and it pushes me away further.


ginga_bread42 t1_iwxfncu wrote

For me, I think part of the appreciation is even just recognizing that I put effort into something. It doesn't necessarily need to be a compliment. I really hate needing to remind a partner about things I've done for "us" in a relationship when they claim to be doing all the work. I dont want to have to keep score of who has done what to begin with and when they claim to be doing all the work, that's when I'm pushed away since clearly this means they haven't seen or appreciate things I've done.


ballman17 t1_iwxi5rr wrote

"I dont want to have to keep score"

This hit me hard. My SO grew up where her family always kept score. There was never something done purely out of love or because they wanted to do something for the other person. It was always because one person "owed" something to the other.

This translates into our relationship where if she does something for the family or myself, now i owe her something. The only way to make her happy is to always be "even" or not owe anything.

Fast forward 10 years in the relationship and now its to the point that nothing I do is valued enough to ever get me out of her preverbal debt.


coyote-1 t1_iwyul9o wrote

A few years ago we remodeled our kitchen. The sink in particular is beautiful. For months after that, my wife thought the sink was cleaning itself because that’s how good it appeared…. it didn’t occur to her that I was cleaning it daily, as I had always done with the old sink.

So now the running joke, whenever something has been done around the house and only later did she get around to noticing/commenting, is “the self-cleaning sink did that”. I went away for five days on business last week, and when I returned she listed out all the stuff my absence had grudgingly forced her to do.


autistictck t1_iwy2r05 wrote

I like to show the impact when showing appreciation so I’ll say something like: “I felt so loved when you did X. I know it was really effortful/time-consuming so thank you.” That way I’m highlighting how it makes me feel as well as acknowledging what he put into making it happen. Other times I will focus on character traits to let him know I also appreciate him and not just things he does. Compliments are nice but ultimately they’re just evaluations and not as intimate.


coyote-1 t1_iwxgvti wrote

This is the thing: I rarely mention the stuff I do. I hope it’s noticed. It rarely is. And then in those rare moments when I do say “look what I’ve done”, it is immediately countered with “but I do things for us too”.


ginga_bread42 t1_iwxhomh wrote

When I say "I" in my comment, I mean that I'm the one with the avoidant attachment. I also dont point stuff out unless I'm essentially forced to.


RubyRaven907 t1_iwwb6yq wrote

So has anybody ever just said to you something like…oh, dang! That was a swing and a miss! Are you able to accept acknowledgement of your effort and mild criticism? There’s a subtlety to providing feedback to your other in a way that’s validating of work but maybe not product.


abas t1_iwwlwv7 wrote

I have long had difficulty with compliments myself. I started going to therapy about two years ago and early on noticed that I had a hard time when my therapist complimented me. One thing that I noticed was that I always ran the compliment through my own filters to evaluate it. And similar to what you said, if it was something I already knew I did well it didn't really seem like a big deal to me, and if it was something that I didn't think I deserved a compliment for than I more or less just dismissed it as uninformed I guess.

After talking with a friend about it, I decided to work at trying to let the compliments in with out as much filtering, to just feel them I guess. I was doing a lot of work on other things in therapy at the same time which I imagine also were factors, but I did eventually get more comfortable with compliments to where now it is easier for me to just appreciate them and feel good without needing to analyze them so much.


Ambitious_Medium_625 t1_iwx5t0d wrote

I distrust complements for all those reasons you listed, but also because growing up compliments were always given in a snide, backhanded way. And often just used as sarcasm to express discontent, so every compliment would mean the opposite. So, like the example you gave of coworker saying you work hard, I would take that as the opposite and them expressing discontent.


punio4 t1_iwynz42 wrote

Amazing comments here. I've saved the page as a PDF as all these comments will 100% be removed due to r/science moderation rules.


hanna2626 t1_iwxeyr6 wrote

100 million percent. I also struggle with the fact that my partner said those exact same things to me, also repeatedly, only to discover that she said those same things verbatim to all of her exes too. Just, no. Goodbye.


SoundProofHead t1_iwyptau wrote

Very good points. Specific compliments are definitely better. And I think that's a fact for anyone, traumatized or not. But traumatized people are especially susceptible to doubt and overthinking, so special care should be taken to be specific and to tailor to one's soft spots. I don't think every vague or general compliment is necessarily insincere but I totally understand why you would have doubts.


RubyRaven907 t1_iww70sq wrote

I don’t think (for me) it’s about compliments but ACKNOWLEDGING EFFORT. Example: I ALWAYS thank the cook of a meal. I acknowledge their effort. So it makes me resentful and less inclined to make an effort when my teenage boys and husband slurp up a beautiful meal…and don’t acknowledge…ANYTHING? Not a thank you?

If I do a nice thing for someone and they don’t acknowledge it…I tend to not invest effort in them again. I’m not “mad” at them…I’ve just now learned my lesson that they are a poor relationship investment. I might try again if I’m aware they’re not in a good position emotionally but I’m careful.


Ambitious_Medium_625 t1_iwx6ema wrote

Personally, I've learnt not to expect anything from anyone like a "thank you" when doing something nice for them. But it doesn't matter to me because I don't think people are required to do anything in return for acts of generosity, although I try to my hardest to return the favour and be thankful when someone does something nice to me.


gegc t1_iwwzn5z wrote

This is absolutely correct. I think the article/study is very precise with their wording, which many people may miss - "feeling appreciated" is not the same as "being appreciated".

Broadly generalizing, avoidant people have learned that their caregivers are unsafe. Any appreciation or positive affect (if given at all), usually has some catch, caveat, or unreliability. Therefore, they will by default perceive appreciation as duplicitous or threatening ("what's their angle?", feeling an obligation/expectation to always behave a certain way or else, waiting for the other shoe to drop, etc). This is what it took to survive their abusive/neglectful/inconsistent caregivers. The mistreatment created the internal model: "It is safer to reject love, than to accept it and open oneself to the inevitable injury." The fundamental issue is one of learned mistrust.

Therefore, an avoidant person is not able to receive appreciation, even if it is sincerely given. If the person giving the appreciation doesn't understand this, they will eventually become frustrated and resentful. This, of course, reinforces the avoidant person's model that appreciation (or any kind of closeness) is a threat to safety.

This is why healing is necessarily a two-way street. You cannot unilaterally either "fix" another person (if you have an avoidant partner) nor "be fixed" by another person (if you're the avoidant one). The partner must be consistent in their availability and support, and the avoidant individual must be mindful and consciously challenge their old world model with new data.


coyote-1 t1_iwxc3gz wrote

On your third paragraph: being avoidant myself, yes we are able to receive appreciation…. as long as it’s not coming from a person who has already demonstrated that their ‘appreciation’ cannot be trusted.


EFIW1560 t1_iwzd3pz wrote

Honest question: how many chances does a person have to mistakenly or absentmindedly be less than reliable? Is it a one and done situation? Does that apply to more casual relationships or also to a partner (deeper relationships)?

Do you distinguish between accidental unreliability (perhaps running late to a meetup due to traffic or something) and purposeful reliability? If so, how do you tell the difference between the two?

I guess my point is do we account for the fact that people are not perfect and do make mistakes, or do we attempt to hold everyone around us to our own rigorous standards that we have developed to protect ourselves? I dont think thats fair to others, especially when they may not have been forced to develop this learned distrust. I think it also sets us up for disappointment when others, naturally, are unable or unwilling to meet our standards, thereby reinforcing our distrust.


coyote-1 t1_iwzjdy4 wrote

With strangers, it’s one and done. There are too many people out in the world to get hung up on one stranger. I won’t be rude, but I won’t go out of my way to interact with them again.

If it’s someone I know, I let patterns dictate. If someone is routinely reliable and something happens, well then something happens! That is a reality, and I gladly let it slide without “keeping score”.

But if it becomes an obvious pattern, then BUMP.


Fmeson t1_iww9y5v wrote

If it's genuine, it won't tend to come across as patronizing. Think of it less as "making someone feel 'appreciated'" and more "give credit where credit is due".

After all, you can't force someone to feel a way, you can only control your actions. If someone has some issue where they distrust even genuine expression of appreciation, that's on them to work on.


jellybeansean3648 t1_iwxnd6y wrote

Thank you goes pretty far. So does "I appreciate you doing xyz".

At least in the workplace. I have a lot of mutualistic and prosocial relationships. Somehow it's easier to be polite and distant and reciprocate favors in professional situations.

And when people go out of their way to acknowledge I helped or that the work was a pain in the ass, I feel appreciated. Even dumb things like someone bringing in donuts or snacks works on me.


[deleted] t1_iwwvoqm wrote



sex-fluids t1_iwxlc6g wrote

I’m the same. For me it’s something to do with adhd. I’m constantly putting out fires and otherwise obsessed with some hobby that’s consuming my mental energy or work (which genuinely demands a lot of my energy and, unfortunately, I earn way too much to ever risk losing it or taking a break).

My wife hates it a lot. I’m a nice person but I’m a terrible partner. I’d love to be better. I try to be better. It’s incredibly hard and progress is too little to ever matter.

This resonated with me though. I can’t feel appreciated because my efforts mean nothing. That makes the relationship a slog. Like, there’s virtually nothing I can do to have my needs met so seemingly I need to sacrifice having needs in order to… Maybe satisfy a person who doesn’t care about my needs? It’s bad no matter how you slice it.

Especially after a life of saying yes to everyone and sacrificing way too much. It’s hard to keep being a door mat once someone shows you beyond a shadow of doubt that you’re less than appreciated, but a real problem for them, day in and day out.


timeywimeytotoro t1_iwyayn5 wrote

I’m sorry that you experience this feeling in your relationship. This comment resonated with me because I feel as though my fiancé may feel similarly sometimes. I do think that I show him appreciation when he does things around the house, but I can also be highly critical and not as appreciative of his progress, and that must leave him feeling like his progress doesn’t count for anything. It does and this comment helped me realize that I need to show that in my actions. Have you told your wife this or do you feel like she would be receptive? Perhaps she may not realize the impact she is having on you.


insertsonghere1986 t1_iwxlk95 wrote

Look up This Gibson on YouTube. Your attachment style is not set in stone. I'm sorry you're going through a divorce but know that your ex is much more in pain too.


amp1212 t1_iwy7lyc wrote

Bear in mind that these kinds of social psych experiments have some of the worst reproducibility is science . . . they're the kind of thing people love to talk about, but which often don't hold up.

. . . basically, with findings like these, until you've seen them reproduced by other investigators, don't go off too far into the weeds in interpretation, because these are pretty soft findings and the authors themselves offer other possible interpretations

>Although we observed instances of feeling appreciated when they spontaneously arose in daily life, it is unclear what the effects would be if people were explicitly instructed to express their feelings of appreciation toward their partner. It is possible that these increased opportunities to perceive their partner’s appreciative feelings may enhance the effect upon prosocial motivation.
>Alternatively, it is also possible that intentional expressions of feeling appreciative may appear contrived and therefore less authentic, which may weaken the potency of the message. Future research would benefit from an experimental paradigm to assess if intentional expressions of feeling appreciative can buffer prosocial motivation for avoidantly attached individuals.

All in all, I wouldn't rank this as anything beyond "interesting"


Wiggins, Bradford J., and Cody D. Christopherson. "The replication crisis in psychology: An overview for theoretical and philosophical psychology." Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 39.4 (2019): 202.

Tackett, Jennifer L., et al. "Psychology's replication crisis and clinical psychological science." Annual review of clinical psychology 15 (2019): 579-604.


HaikuBotStalksMe t1_iwyhpg0 wrote

Well, yeah. Psychology and sociology aren't true sciences. They're kinda like what statistics is in the math world.


amp1212 t1_iwyiv8o wrote

>Well, yeah. Psychology and sociology aren't true sciences. They're kinda like what statistics is in the math world.

They can be more and less rigorous. This isn't a _terrible_ paper - its from a good place, they actually did the experiments in two different contexts, with different subjects, and the numbers of participants were reasonably good.

On the downside, "avoidant attachment style" and "feeling appreciated" are far from being objective criteria, indeed many of these kinds of behaviors are a matter of cultural norms . . .

. . . so read it for what it is, and be aware of the limitations.


lambda_mind t1_iwyx032 wrote

Ignoring the idea that psychology and sociology aren't sciences, I am confused by the statement about statistics and math.

How do you define statistics?


ScienceOverNonsense t1_iwyy6tj wrote

Now I understand why the best relationship I ever had was with someone who regularly thanked me for cooking dinner. It was genuine appreciation that showed in his eyes. I never got tired of that. He wasn’t much of a cook, but I enjoy it. We each did what we could for the other, according to our abilities, it was never a tit for tat. I still mourn his death after 24 years.

When my ndad told me for the first time that he loved me, he added, “so don’t ever say I never told you.” He made it about him. I was 60 and he was 86! We closed our phone calls with “I love you” after that, and he was very pleased the first time I said it before he did, but I never really believed him and I had to choke out the words because I didn’t love or like him, I was simply doing what I felt was my duty as the only child, to look after him in his old age, even though he was abusive. It’s been peaceful since he died, though his hurtful words and deeds continue to haunt me sometimes. Life is much better now.


towerofjoy t1_iwx19kv wrote

What’s the scientific opinion about attachment styles? I remember reading somewhere that it wasn’t that highly respected.


ginga_bread42 t1_iwxhfyb wrote

Its generally respected and accepted in its more modern renditions as its changed a bit over time.

Criticisms come from the fact that social relationships are complex. Some criticisms are sort of misunderstanding what the theory even says to begin with or is misrepresenting what it says.

Is it 100% correct? Probably not and I dont know of any psychology theory that is.


SlayahhEUW t1_iwyut35 wrote

The scientific opinion is that it's not a truth that works for everyone, but it's a convenient way to categorize common relationship dynamics in western, middle-class relationships.

In this specific subgroup, there is a medium correlation between the childhood and future romantic relationships. So even when looking at this specific subgroup, it's not always possible to take conclusions about someone solely from this factor.


thanks_bruh t1_iwxnekx wrote

It matters and is important, but love isn’t a one note symphony.


piman01 t1_iwy5l5j wrote

They forgot to reference me by name but this article is clearly about me


HoppiTheHappiBunni t1_iwyrazv wrote

After reading the post, as I didn’t know attachment styles were even a thing, I did a deep dive…and wow. It’s about me too. Imagine what it must feel like to have a secure attachment style, and to have been loved warmly and fully in childhood. Apparently I can’t fathom it.


SignificantDrawing39 t1_iwy5u9x wrote

Today was the first time i learned of “avoidantly attached individuals” through a video, now i see this.


UnmixedGametes t1_iwyizno wrote

Please repeat this experiment after 30 years of marriage


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caidicus t1_iwydz4u wrote

One might argue that being truly appreciated, at least sometimes, is important for everyone. :D


Doghead_sunbro t1_iwyg9kz wrote

Appreciation feels like it should be replaced by a much more specific term here: mattering.

I have been recently reading up on the emerging concept of mattering, or the need for human beings to matter to someone, and like their life has significance in the world. It’s compelling stuff, though mostly in a theoretical stage at the moment. I think it addresses some of what people have described in terms of appreciation being either insincere or insufficient.

have a read


Mds_02 t1_iwyof7w wrote

>the need for human beings to matter to someone, and like their life has significance in the world.

This was exactly what drove a lot of my affection for my wife. Even when we were “just” friends, before we were together romantically, she made me feel like I mattered. Caring for her and attraction toward her were already present, but I think this was what turned those feelings into actual love.


tornpentacle t1_iwzdkjw wrote

Is there actually a difference? One could just as easily say "I tried to make him feel as though he mattered, but he thought my efforts were contrived". They're synonymous.


A55W3CK3R9000 t1_iwywopb wrote

Well today I learned I might be an avoidantly attached individual.


Ok_Fox_1770 t1_iwz39lh wrote

Took an extended vacation from bad relationships from 31 to 36 now I’ve wandered too long and too lost to return to that world. No interest really.


hopputhas t1_ix2uasn wrote

Everything I do for her has become the standard that appreciated is a feeling I dont longer remambre


rememberall t1_iwz70m2 wrote

What is avoidantly attached


MacSquawk t1_iwzcd0q wrote

Is that how they used to do it back in the day? No, appreciation came after the kids left the house and you look back and are happy that all that hard work and sacrifice was worth it. If you are worrying about appreciation during the hard work and sacrifice part of your life you will probably not work hard not sacrifice much.


[deleted] t1_iwvv8lz wrote

i feel like being in a dependent relationship when not ready is like
buying luxury goods to compensate for lack of stability/status

ideally basic needs are met and people are fine by themselves
then be ok with unrequited love unasked favor non essential gifts etc

you could be appreciated 5 times and that one last punch that hurts you can demolish carefully built trust and just like that 'never again' box meme


isosceleswheel t1_iwvl6vt wrote

Psychologists once again teaching the world utterly banal common sense but with bigger words. Credit to them for running this successful scam for over 100 years.


ginga_bread42 t1_iwxg7j0 wrote

I've never seen such a proud display of anti-intellectualism before. Avoidant and attachment are big words for you?


Fmeson t1_iwwac76 wrote

You wouldn't say that if you saw the state of psychology 100 years ago.


Jormangur t1_iwxxhen wrote

A lot of what we consider “common sense” today is because of research like this.