Commitment Phobias Likely Products of Unresponsive Parenting

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The role parents play in a child’s life may affect that child’s ability to commit to a relationship later in life, according to a study conducted in partnerships between Tel-Aviv and Columbia Universities.

Researchers Dr. Sharon Dekel and professor Barry Farber surveyed 58 individuals between 22 and 28 years old, evaluating their dating histories and determining each individual’s reactions to their romantic commitments.

They found 22.4 percent of participants were “avoidant” when it came to commitment, experiencing increased anxiety and reluctance when considering getting into a serious relationship, as well as an increased tendency to see their partners as being excessively clingy.


“About 22 percent of participants were more

likely to see their partners as excessively clingy.”

Overall, the study’s researchers found individuals with avoidant personalities were far more likely to have experienced “unresponsive or over-intrusive parenting” in their youth than individuals with more receptive attitudes toward relationships.

According to Dr. Dekel:

“Avoidant individuals are looking for someone to validate them, accept them as they are, can consistently meet their needs and remain calm-inducing, not making a fuss about anything or getting caught up in their own personal issues.”

However, Dekel noted avoidant individuals desire intimacy to the same degree as receptive individuals, indicating avoidant individuals simply feel conflict about this desire and their general distrust of personal relationships, a tendency they developed in childhood due to their parents’ treatment.

Dekel notes avoidant individuals aren’t without hope, as significant (and occasionally traumatic) life experiences can cause these individuals to increase their ability to form personal relationships, including romantic relationships.

Source: Counsel Heal.