Detached personality type

Detached Personality - Evolution Counseling

We all know people in our lives who are detached. They tend to have trouble accessing or experiencing emotions. Some of the character traits present in a person like this are emphasis on independence, the fear of joining or being a part of groups, and aversion towards intimate relationships where opening up is so important.

Someone who is emotionally detached will usually bounce from one relationship to the next, invariably distancing himself when threatened with increasing emotional closeness from his partner. Although we usually tend to think of males as those who have trouble accessing their emotions, the underlying character structure that leads to psychological detachment can manifest itself just as easily in females.

The goal in this article is to summarize some of the factors that go into the creation of a neurotic personality structure, specifically the emotionally detached type, and to provide a few useful analogies to help flesh out the ideas.

Let’s discuss the neurotic character traits present in a person who is emotionally detached. What can we surmise about his early childhood experiences? In my work with clients several salient features emerge.  He will almost certainly have grown up in a restrictive environment where absolute control was important to the caregiver. He will have been alternately showered with praise (sometimes more than he deserved given the circumstances) and punished for his shortcomings (also more than the situation warranted). In other words, his relationship towards his primary caregiver will have been characterized by emotions that alternated between the poles of  security and emotional abandonment. Threats of abandonment or being disowned are quite common. There were probably not clearly defined rules, meaning that the caretaker was in a position to find fault with almost any behavior, seemingly at random. A behavior that on one day elicited no response whatsoever would on a subsequent day be grounds for punishment and verbal or physical abuse.

The child learns, among other things, that his emotions are dangerous since he cannot predict when his feelings of comfort, security, and love will be shattered and replaced by ones of fear, despair, and worthlessness. One solution available to a child in such a situation is to distance himself from his emotions.  If we look at the child’s conflict at the deepest level, I believe the central component is the gap between his caregiver’s profession of love towards him and the child’s secret, usually unspoken belief that his caregiver does not love him.  And so the child solves this conflict with the only means available to him.  He refuses to engage in the harmful cycle of emotional abuse, and in the process stops feeling any of his emotions deeply.

Upon this foundation the neurotic detached personality structure is built. He experiences everything in his life from a distance. His idealized self-image will probably be one of the rational philosopher who has little need for what he sees as trifling emotions. He will value his freedom and independence and use all manner of arguments to prove their necessity in anyone’s life.  He will scorn others for their inability to control their emotions while secretly admiring them for their ability to feel deeply. When the emotional thermostat begins to turn up in romantic or friendly relationships he will distance himself, often to the frustration and confusion of his partners. Many of course get married or stay in long term relationships but an emotional chasm always exists between them and their partners. They might be able to feel emotions during a song, or viewing a piece of artwork, or watching a movie, or being out in nature. But they prefer to keep these feelings private and maintain an inner sanctum for themselves.  It is as if they have constructed a castle where inside emotions can be accessed in peace because they are completely safe. Of course, this means not being able to share emotions with another person or connect with that person in a meaningful way.

Let’s use the analogy of a blackjack game to present why detachment seems like a good solution. Imagine that you sit down at the table and are given a stack of chips. Each of these chips represents an emotional unit. The more you have, the more safe, content, happy, and fulfilled you will feel. Then you find out that although the chips are yours, you have no control over whether to play them or not. Someone you are told you can trust is given absolute control over when and how much you will bet. He or she decides to bet all your chips even though you do not want to. You lose the hand. Imagine this cycle repeating itself over and over. The moment you stockpile chips using whatever means available to you they are bet without your consent and you lose.  At some point you will realize that they are your chips, and that only you have the ability to bet them. But you have lost every big hand you have played up to this point.  What would you do with your chips? The obvious answer is not play the game.   So we see that emotional detachment is a viable solution in that it guarantees not getting hurt because you are not risking anything.

Of course, such a strategy ends in monumental failure. It solves inner conflicts by not  having to deal with them, but at a terrible price. Imagine the world in shades of gray. Nothing really gets you up or down. You can view just about everything objectively, but take no passionate interest in anything. You do not have any close friendships or intimate relationships. Any time you do start to get close to someone you feel a sense of unease and break it off or distance yourself. The sad paradox is that in order to avoid getting hurt the emotionally detached person hurts himself more deeply than anyone else possibly could.

Another way to think about emotions is to consider your sense of smell. Imagine the worst smells you can think of, like those emanating from sewage or a dump. If these odors were all you have ever known then your sense of smell would not seem all that desirable. However, if you could get some perspective and realize that you do not have to live next to a garbage dump, you could begin to search out and enjoy pleasant aromas too. There is no middle ground. You can either destroy your sense of smell completely, or accept that having it entails experiencing both pleasant and unpleasant odors.

So it is with human connections and their resulting emotions. Connecting with another always constitutes risk since we cannot predict how it will play out. However, staying on the sidelines constitutes an even greater risk.

Related Itemsemotionally detachedfeeling aloneschizoid personality disordertrouble accessing emotions

Why You May Experience Emotional Detachment and What to Do About It

Emotional detachment is an inability or unwillingness to connect with other people on an emotional level. Being emotionally detached helps protect some people from unwanted drama, anxiety, or stress.

For others, detachment isn’t always voluntary. Instead, it’s the result of events that make the person unable to be open and honest about their emotions.

Below you’ll read about the different types of emotional detachment and learn when it’s a good thing and when it might be worrisome.

Emotional detachment describes when you or others disengage or disconnect from other people’s emotions. It may stem from an unwillingness or an inability to connect with others.

There are two general types. In some cases, you may develop emotional detachment as a response to a difficult or stressful situation. In other cases, it may result from an underlying psychological condition.

Emotional detachment can be helpful if you use it purposefully, such as by setting boundaries with certain people or groups. Boundaries can help you maintain a healthy distance from people who demand much of your emotional attention.

But emotional detachment can also be harmful when you can’t control it. You may feel “numbed” or “muted.” This is known as emotional blunting, and it’s typically a symptom or issue that you should consider working with a mental health professional to address.

Learn more about emotional blunting here.

People who are emotionally detached or removed may experience symptoms such as:

  • difficulty creating or maintaining personal relationships
  • a lack of attention, or appearing preoccupied when around others
  • difficulty being loving or affectionate with a family member
  • avoiding people, activities, or places because they’re associated with past trauma
  • reduced ability to express emotion
  • difficulty empathizing with another person’s feelings
  • not easily sharing emotions or feelings
  • difficulty committing to another person or a relationship
  • not making another person a priority when they should be

Emotional detachment can slowly build over time, or it may occur more rapidly in response to an acute situation. Though everyone is different, some signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • inability to feel emotions or feeling empty
  • losing interest in enjoyable activities
  • becoming less involved in relationships
  • showing little or no empathy toward others
  • being harsh or unkind to others

If you suspect you may be developing emotional detachment, you should consider talking with your doctor. They can help identify your symptoms and recommend potential treatment options.

Emotional detachment may develop due to a variety of potential causes, which can include:

  • constant exposure to bad or unpleasant news
  • traumatic experience
  • abuse
  • side effects of certain medications
  • conditioning as a child due to parental or cultural expectations

Emotional detachment may be voluntary. Some people can choose to remain emotionally removed from a person or situation.

Other times, emotional detachment results from trauma, abuse, or a previous encounter. In these cases, previous events may make it difficult to be open and honest with a friend, loved one, or significant other.

By choice

Some people choose to proactively remove themselves from an emotional situation.

This might be an option if you have a family member or a colleague that you know upsets you greatly. You can choose not to engage with the person or persons. This will help you remain cool and keep calm when dealing with them.

In situations like this, emotional detachment is a bit like a protective measure. It helps you prepare for situations that may trigger a negative emotional response.

As a result of abuse

Sometimes, emotional detachment may result from traumatic events, such as childhood abuse or neglect. Children who live through abuse or neglect may develop emotional detachment as a means of survival.

Children require a lot of emotional connection from their parents or caregivers. If it’s not forthcoming, the children may stop expecting it. When that happens, they may begin to turn off their emotional receptors, as in the case of reactive attachment disorder (RAD). RAD is a condition in which children cannot form bonds with their parents or caregivers.

That can lead to depressed mood, inability to show or share emotions, and behavior problems.

Other conditions

Emotional detachment or “numbing” is frequently a symptom of other conditions. You may feel distant from your emotions at times if you have:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • bipolar disorder
  • major depressive disorder
  • personality disorders


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a type of antidepressant. Some people who take this type of drug may experience emotional blunting or a switched-off emotional center, particularly at higher doses.

This period of emotional detachment may last as long as you take these medications. Doctors can help you find another alternative or help to find the right dosage if the medication affects you in this way.

Emotional detachment isn’t an official condition like bipolar disorder or depression. Instead, it’s often considered one element of a larger medical condition.

Conditions might include personality disorders or attachment disorders.

Emotional detachment could also be the result of acute trauma or abuse.

A healthcare professional may be able to see when you’re not emotionally available to others. They may also talk with you, a family member, or a significant other about your behaviors.

Understanding how you feel and act can help a provider recognize a pattern that could suggest this emotional issue.

Asperger’s and emotional detachment

Contrary to popular belief, people living with Asperger’s, which forms part of the Autism spectrum disorder, are not cut off from their emotions or the emotions of others.

In fact, experts indicate they may feel others’ emotions more intensely even if they do not show typical outward signs of emotional involvement, such as changes in affect or facial expressions. This can lead to them taking additional steps to avoid hurting others, even at their own expense.

Treatment for emotional detachment depends on the reason it’s occurring.

If your healthcare professional believes you’re experiencing problems with emotional attachment because of another condition, they may suggest treating that first.

These conditions might include depression, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder. Medication and therapy are often helpful for these conditions.

If the emotional detachment symptoms result from trauma, your doctor may recommend psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. This treatment can help you learn to overcome the impacts of the abuse. You may also learn new ways to process experiences and anxieties that previously upset you and led to emotional detachment.

For some people, however, emotional distance isn’t problematic. In that case, you may not need to seek any treatment.

However, if problems with feeling or expressing emotions have caused issues in your personal life, you may want to seek out treatment or other support. A therapist or other mental health provider can provide treatment, though you may find that talking first to your primary care provider can help connect you with those who can help.

For some people, emotional detachment is a way of coping with overwhelming people or activities. You choose when to be involved and when to step away.

In other cases, however, numbing yourself to emotions and feelings may not be healthy. Indeed, frequently “turning off” your emotions may lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as an inability to show empathy or a fear of commitment.

People that live through trauma or abuse may find it difficult to express emotions. This may cause people to seek other, negative outlets for those feelings, such as drug or alcohol misuse, higher risk sexual behaviors, or other behaviors that can lead to involvement with law enforcement.

Emotional detachment occurs when people willingly or unwillingly turn off their connection with their emotions. This may be intentional, such as a defensive mechanism on emotionally draining people, or unintentional due to an underlying condition or medication side effect.

If you have difficulty processing emotions or you live with someone who does, you may want to consider seeking help from a mental health provider. They can offer support and treatment to help you understand how you process emotions and respond to others and activities.

Horney's Theory of Basic Conflicts

Next The classification we are going to consider is is a classification of psychological personality types depending on the relationship to communicate with other people, the proposed Karen Horney. In each of these types basic relationship with other people gives rise to or contributes to the development certain needs, qualities, internal prohibitions, anxieties, peculiarities susceptibility and certain system values.

Horney describes basal anxiety as a feeling "own insecurity, weakness, helplessness, insignificance in this traitorous, attacking, humiliating, evil, full of envy and strife in the world. The child is weak and wants to be protected cared for him so that others would accept take full responsibility for it. FROM on the other hand, his natural suspicion of others trust in them is almost impossible. Dealing with the threat posed from a hostile world, man produces one of three protective strategies.

Strategy " from people" : the individual does not want any belong to others, nor compete with them and maintains a detached position.

Strategy " against people" : the individual admits and considers it to be self-evident the hostility of others and makes a choice in favor of fighting them.

Strategy " to people" : the individual accepts his helplessness and completely relying on others.

B each of the listed installations focuses on one of the components basal anxiety: isolation, hostility or helplessness.

Respectively There are three types of personality that for simplicity are defined as detached, aggressive and yielding.

Suspended personality type. First type of basal conflict is the need for removal, "movement away from people." The most obvious feature of humans of this type is a general alienation from people. Another specific feature is alienation from oneself, that is, insensitivity to emotional experiences uncertainty about who he is, what he loves or hates, what he wants and fears what he hopes and resents, what he believes. The common thing that unites everyone people of a detached type, - their the ability to look at oneself with some objective interest, as if the person was looking at something art.

key moment is their inner the need to establish emotional distance separating them from others people, more precisely, conscious and unconscious determination not to let emotional involvement in business other people, whether it concerns love, struggle, cooperation or competition with them. All those needs and qualities which they acquire are put on service to this basic need - avoid getting involved. Most characteristic of them is the need in self-sufficiency. Her most positive the expression is ingenuity. A riskier way to save self-sufficiency consists in conscious or unconscious limitation of their needs.

Other a pronounced need for a representative detached type is his the need for privacy.

I self-sufficiency, and privacy serve providing its most urgent needs - needs for complete independence. In your independence he sees positive value. Need obey accepted rules of conduct or traditional values ​​evokes him disgust. He will keep them to avoid friction, but in your soul he stubbornly rejects all conventional rules and standards. Finally, advice perceived by them as pressure on him and causes resistance, even if he matches his own desires.

B case of a detached person the need for excellence certain specific features. Pitaya aversion to rivalry and struggle, he doesn't want real dominance, achieved through appropriate efforts. Rather, he believes that the treasures enclosed in itself must receive recognition without any effort from his sides.

Other form of expression of feelings superiority is the feeling of one's own uniqueness. This is a direct result of his desire to feel separate from others and not like others.

Has place a general tendency to suppress everything feeling, even deny its existence. Rejection of feelings is the main in a way to feel for others people, and extends as to love, as well as hate. This is logical a consequence of the need to preserve emotional distance from to others, as strong love or hatred experienced on the conscious level, lead either to close contact with other people, or in conflict with them.

Than the more emotions are held back, the more likely that the main focus will be on intelligence. Man expects to decide problems solely by the power of the mind.

Characteristic a feature of the detached type is amazing power with which a person defends his aloofness when she is under attack.

Aggressive personality type shows trends move against the people. He accepts as a matter of course that all people are hostile and refuse admit that it is not. Life for it is a struggle of all against all.

B the basis of his need is the feeling of the world as an arena where only the most fit, but the strong destroy the weak. Hence the main need becomes the need to manage others.

Together so he needs a sense of superiority, in success, prestige or any other form recognition. Aspirations of this kind are often power-oriented, to the extent that what success and prestige give a person power in a society based on rivalry. But they also give subjective feeling of power as a result of confirmation from the outside, external signs of recognition and the very fact of superiority. Recognition not only promises him the affirmation of himself, in which he needs, but also opens before him additional temptation to be loved others and be able in turn love them. Because it seems to him that recognition thus bears judgment its conflicts, it becomes that saving mirage behind which he rushes.

Strong expressed need to exploit others, the desire to outsmart someone and use for your own purposes part of the overall picture. Any situation or any relationship is considered from the point of view view of "what can I get out of it" - whether it refers to money, prestige, contacts or ideas. The man himself consciously or semiconsciously convinced that everyone acts in a similar way, and because the only thing that matters is do it better than others.

Because they are constantly striving for asserting oneself as the strongest, the most perceptive or user the universal love of man, he tries develop the necessary skills and ingenuity.

Aggressive type gives the impression of a person, completely devoid of internal prohibitions. He can be satisfied their desires, give orders, express anger, defend oneself. But in he has nothing less than reality internal inhibitions than those of a compliant type.

For aggressive type any feeling of sympathy, or the obligation to be "good", or obedience to someone would be in principle incompatible with the structure of that life, which he built, and could undermine its foundations.

Inferior personality type detects all those traits that correspond to the "movement to people". This type shows a marked need for love and approval and the special need for partner. Although in the form of its expression These needs may vary they are all centered around desire human intimacy, desire "for someone belong".

Desire satisfy this dire need so irresistible that everything he does, aimed at its implementation. In this process, he develops certain qualities and attitudes, which form his character. He becomes compliant, alert, caring (within the limits of what is possible for him), over-appreciative, overly grateful, generous.

This accompanied by characteristic features, partially overlapping them, the desire avoid unkind looks, quarrels, rivalry. Such a person tends to be subordinate to others, to take second place position, leaving the ramp light for others: he is usually tuned to be accommodating, conciliatory manner and at least on a conscious level, does not express no ill will. Anything desire for revenge or victory over others so deeply repressed that he himself often surprised at how easy it is puts up with others and that he never long does not harbor feelings of resentment. In this context important is its tendency to automatically take the blame.

From this kind of relationship exists imperceptible transition to certain internal restrictions. Owing to the fact that on any form of aggressive behavior lies taboo, we find here internal prohibitions on being assertive, critical attitude, exactingness, give orders, try to impression, pursue the ambitious goals. Moreover, since his life totally focused on others internal prohibitions often prevent him opportunity to do something for yourself or enjoy yourself. it can reach such an extent that any an impression not shared with anyone whether from food, performance, music or nature, loses its meaning for him. There is no need to say what hard limit in pleasure not only impoverishes his life, but greatly enhances its dependency from others.

Except idealizations just listed qualities, this type is characterized certain characteristics of the relationship yourself. One of them is the pervasive feelings of weakness and helplessness - feeling like a "poor thing". The second characteristic comes from his tendency to subjugate himself to others. He takes for granted that any man is superior to him, that other people are more attractive, smarter, more educated and worthy of him. third a typical feature is one of aspects of its general dependence on others of people. It's an unconscious tendency evaluate yourself by what they think of him other. His self esteem grows along with their approval or condemnation, with their affection and love.

All this leaves an imprint on his special value system. Their strength corresponds to the general maturity of the individual, and these values ​​themselves are more or less clear. They gravitate toward virtue sympathy, love, generosity, lack of selfishness, humility. selfishness, ambition, insensitivity, promiscuity in means, the possession of power is caused in a person yielding type of disgust, although at the same time same time these qualities can secretly admire him, because they represent "strength".

Large part of the characteristics of a compliant type has a dual motivation. For example, when he obeys, he does it, to avoid friction and thus achieve harmony with others; but submission may also be a means of complete removing all traces of his need surpass others. When he allows others to use it, it expresses compliance and "kindness", but this can be also an attempt to get away from one's own own desire to exploit other people.

B the light of its oppositely directed trends love really is the only way through which all neurotic needs. She promises to satisfy the need to be loved at the same time with a need for dominance (through love), the need to be second roles simultaneously with the need outdo others (through undivided care of his partner). She allows him to react his aggressive impulses, any convenient, innocent or even laudable occasion, and at the same time allows him to express all those inspiring love qualities that he possesses.

Detached personality type "Hermit" or "Loner" - CyberPedia


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These people don't need anyone but themselves. They are not attracted to socializing with people, they do not make efforts to impress. They are absolutely free from emotions and hobbies.

When interacting with them, it is recommended:

1. Do not try to change them, because they have completely different ideas about the real world.

2. Do not try to get them to talk too actively, you are unlikely to succeed, especially at the beginning of communication.

3. Do not seek to take away their personal time, as this may make you his enemy.

4. In a conflict with such a person, use logic, not emotions.

Aggressive personality type "Leader"

"Aggressive" personalities always strive for leadership, they are leaders, since a more powerful personality force than others allows them to lead others. How they will manage power depends on other features of their personality

When communicating with them, you must:

1. Beware of competing with them, do not try to ignore their power and undermine it. If you want to earn the respect of this person, do not try to demonstrate your strength, but also do not seem weaker than you are. "Aggressive" people like to surround themselves with strong, worthy, loyal people, provided that they are lower in the hierarchical ladder.

2. Be strong and maintain your own self-respect.

3. When resolving conflicts with the "Aggressive", do not try to make him admit his mistakes.

4. If you want to change your relationship with an "Aggressive" person, don't turn to feelings, it's better to turn to the cause of the difficulties.

5. Remember that the "Aggressive" person has a strong temperament, try not to touch those situations in communication from which this person is easily ignited.

Structure of business communication.

There are three interrelated components in the structure of business communication: communicative, perceptual and interactive .

Communication is the exchange of information, its creation and transmission from sender to recipient in the course of business communication. The sender, sending information, is motivated by a certain motive and pursues a specific goal. There is sometimes a significant difference between these concepts. The recipient perceives information, mediating it with his experience and attitude towards the sender. For effective communication, feedback and adequate understanding by the recipient of the information transmitted to him are important.

Feedback is a response to a sent message. It indicates whether the message was received and, if so, how it was understood. If a verbal or non-verbal response indicates to the sender that the intended meaning was not heard, then the initiator may try to encode the message in another way, while emphasizing his understanding of the conveyed meaning. This recoded message is also feedback, as it responds to the recipient's response. In any communication process, we try to evoke the most complete feedback in a given situation.

Messages are transmitted through sensory channels. In the process of communication, people can contact each other through any of the five sensory channels. Sometimes a scent of perfume or a firm handshake can be just as informative as what they see or hear. The more channels used to transmit a message, the more likely it is that the communication will be successful.

In direct contact between people, two main channels are still used: auditory (verbal symbols) and visual (non-verbal signals). Information from partner to partner in the process of communication is transmitted both in words (what does he say?) and their non-verbal accompaniment (how does he speak and how does he behave?). The non-verbal flow of communication is divided into proximal (location in space), paraverbal (intonation, volume, pitch, voice timbre), mimic (facial expressions, facial expression) and pantomime (gestures, posture).

If verbal and non-verbal channels are coordinated, then the behavior of this person is congruent. Both sources of psychological information emanating from him reinforce, and do not contradict one another.

Perception is the perception and evaluation of each other by partners, providing mutual understanding between them. On the basis of perception, a certain positive or negative image of the partner is formed. Perception in the process of communication is subject to general psychological patterns of perception (selectivity, constancy, partiality, susceptibility to illusions, etc.)

It is clear that the perceived image can be deliberately constructed. In the process of business communication in the perception and consciousness of the partner, one way or another, a certain idea of ​​​​the interlocutor is created, which can be called his communicative image. Having special training and experience, a professional to a certain extent can influence the formation of his own image in the direction he needs. Interaction is mutual influence in the process of communication. Interaction essentially depends on the credibility of the partners, on the positions they take, on explicit and hidden intentions, and so on.

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