Core Patterns tend to manifest as predictable, cyclical behavior patterns. Below is the pattern common to relationships where partners have the Avoider + Pleaser Love Styles, respectively.

1. Pleaser is Anxious and Hyper-vigilant

The Pleaser in the relationship is hyper-vigilant about disapproval/rejection. They may not be aware of anxiety as the emotion was frequent and unaddressed when they were kids.

  • Anxious about anger, conflict, rejection, distance.
  • Feels safe when others are smiling and close.
  • Dishonest; minimizes or denies problems.
  • Wants approvoal and recogniton for their efforts to please.

2. Avoider is Annoyed

The Avoider in the relationship is annoyed by the Pleaser’s need for approval and reassurance.

Contributing Factors

  • Avoiders value independence.
  • Bothered by the Pleaser’s proximity-seeking.
  • Dislikes the Pleaser’s indecisiveness.
  • Wants the Pleaser to just go away.
  • Lacks empathy as they did not receive it as kids. Empathy and comfort is foreign and unnecessary to the Avoider.
Triggered: The Avoider is now annoyed with the Pleaser.

3. Pleaser Feels Rejected

The Avoiders response causes the Pleaser to feel rejected, panicky, and/or alone. As a result, the Pleaser tries even harder to please, and “hovers” to keep track of the Avoider’s mood. Ultimately, the pleaser merely intensifies their efforts to promote proximity with their Avoider partner.

4. Avoider Detaches

Annoyed by the Pleaser’s “neediness”, the Avoider detaches/distances themselves further. They may busy themselves with work or other tasks.

5. Pleaser Feels Threatened

Threatened by the increased distance, the Pleaser continues to try capturing the Avoider’s attention/approval. As this continues, over years the Pleaser becomes resentful for giving so much and getting so little.

6. Avoider Frustrated

The Avoider, frustrated, begins to disrespect the Pleaser; wanting the Pleaser to just “grow up” and start being independent like the Avoider. 


Cycle repeats causing frustration. Repetitive pattern blocks close connection.

Break the Cycle

Core Patterns: Avoider + Pleaser

Your core pattern is the enemy, not your spouse! This audio file and PDF provides an in-depth look at Avoider-Pleaser Attachment Core Pattern. It includes a diagram of this core pattern, explanations of the predictable interactions and all applicable interventions to move out of this destructive, reactive cycle.