Stop pushing people away: Why you do it and how to stop

Stop pushing people away: Why you do it and how to stop
Stop pushing people away: Why you do it and how to stop

Surrounded constantly by noise, demands or pressures, occasionally desiring to withdraw into your shell and hide away from the world is normal. However, if you regularly feel the need to distance yourself from others, there is likely a deeper underlying cause. Continue reading to understand the reasons behind pushing people away and how to address it.

Frequently repelling people creates distance and strain in a relationship. Establishing and maintaining a deep, meaningful connection becomes challenging when one consistently makes efforts to keep others at arm’s length, states clinical psychologist Mehezabin Dordi. Continuously pushing people away can erode trust as well. When others feel rejected or shut out, trust in the relationship diminishes, making it difficult to build a foundation of mutual understanding and support.

Unhappy couple
Are you pushing people away? Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What signs indicate that you are pushing people away?

There are certain indicators that suggest the act of pushing people away. Identifying these signs in oneself is the initial step towards forming healthier connections. Some of these signs include:

1. Restricted or inadequate communication

Providing consistently brief or disinterested responses may stem from a reluctance to engage emotionally. This can make others feel undervalued or even unimportant in your life, as mentioned by the expert to Health Shots.

2. Social isolation

Spending excessive time alone might indicate a desire to avoid social interactions, possibly due to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety or a fear of being vulnerable with others.

3. Avoidance of vulnerability

The unwillingness to share personal thoughts or feelings may arise from a fear of judgment or rejection, hindering the development of close, meaningful connections.

4. Regular cancellations

Frequently cancelling plans may be a subconscious way of avoiding commitment or deeper emotional involvement, signaling a resistance to investing time and energy in relationships.

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5. Negative self-talk

Continuous self-criticism and negative self-perception can create a barrier in relationships. It may be challenging for others to connect with someone who doesn’t value themselves.

6. Defensive conduct

Reacting defensively to feedback may discourage open communication. Others might be hesitant to express their thoughts if they fear a defensive response, hindering the growth of the relationship.

7. Lack of empathy

Consistently displaying disinterest or lack of empathy towards others’ feelings can create emotional distance. Empathy is crucial for building connections and understanding others’ perspectives.

8. Excessive reliance on independence

While independence is healthy, an extreme insistence on self-reliance may discourage others from offering support or feeling needed in the relationship.

What leads you to push people away?

There are psychological factors that can contribute to the act of pushing people away.

1. Fear of rejection

Individuals who fear rejection may distance themselves from others as a defense mechanism. This fear can stem from past experiences of rejection, creating a self-protective instinct to avoid potential emotional pain, as per Dordi.

2. Low self-esteem

Individuals with low self-esteem may struggle to believe they are worthy of meaningful connections. These feelings of low self-worth can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors, pushing others away as a reflection of their own negative self-perception.

upset couple
Trust issues may be why you are pushing people away. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Trust issues

Past betrayals or trust violations can lead to difficulties in trusting others. This mistrust may result in a reluctance to form close relationships, with people choosing to push others away to avoid potential betrayal.

4. Social anxiety

Individuals experiencing any form of social anxiety may fear judgment or negative evaluation from others. This anxiety can manifest as avoidance behaviors, such as pushing people away to alleviate the discomfort associated with social interactions.

5. Unresolved trauma

Those with unresolved trauma may struggle with forming secure attachment patterns. The fear of vulnerability and potential triggers from past trauma can lead to a pattern of pushing people away as a means of self-protection.

6. Communication challenges

Ineffective communication skills can hinder the expression of thoughts and feelings. People may repel others due to an inability to convey their needs or understand the needs of those around them, leading to misunderstandings and emotional distance.

How to cease pushing people away?

To break the cycle of pushing people away, you can follow these recommendations.

1. Self-examination

Understand the underlying reasons for pushing people away. Reflect on past experiences, fears, and insecurities that may be contributing to this behavior. Journaling, therapy or speaking with a trusted friend can aid in self-reflection.

2. Cultivate emotional intelligence

Enhance your emotional intelligence by recognizing and understanding your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Practice mindfulness, pay attention to your emotional responses, and try to identify the specific feelings driving the desire to push people away, as suggested by the expert.

3. Enhance your communication skills

Improve your ability to express thoughts and emotions effectively. Giving importance to communication is essential for building and maintaining relationships. Practice assertiveness, active listening and expressing vulnerability. Seek feedback from others to understand how your communication style may impact them.

4. Challenge negative self-talk

Address negative self-talk and beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem or fear of rejection. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

5. Establish healthy boundaries

Recognize the importance of setting boundaries to protect your well-being while maintaining healthy connections. Clearly communicate your needs and limits. Learn to say no when necessary, and recognize that setting boundaries is a sign of self-respect.

You can also opt for therapy, as a psychologist or counselor can help you explore deeper psychological patterns and provide support to make positive changes.

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