1 Pleaser is Hyper-vigilant
The Pleaser in the relationship is hyper-vigilant about disapproval/rejection.
- Anxious about anger, conflict, rejection, distance
- Feels safe when others are smiling and close
- Dishonest. Minimizes or denies problems
2 Avoider is Annoyed
The Avoider in the relationship is annoyed by the Pleaser’s need for approval and reassurance.
- Avoiders value independence
- Bothered by the Pleaser’s proximity-seeking
- Dislikes the Pleaser’s indecisiveness
- Wants the Pleaser to just go away
- Lacks empathy
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.
Eventually, this cycle starts all over again or destroys the relationship.