Core Pattern: Avoider + Pleaser

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 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.

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

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.