Pushing People Away Psychology (whats behind the Isolation)

In this brief guide, we will look at pushing people away and psychology based explanations of such a tendency. We will also explore how to stop pushing someone away and what to do when someone you love is pushing you away.

Pushing People Away: Psychology behind Isolation

Pushing people away may be deeply based in the psychology related to isolation and people have been known to push their loved one and friends away as a means of defending their fragile psychological and emotional state.

Pushing people away is something that may be seen in many relationships nowadays, where there is growing distance between people and there is also more restlessness in individuals, some people consider these types of people to be emotionally unavailable.

Relationships break more often these days too, likely because we are not starting out from a place of complete psychological mindedness to begin with, and when we don’t like ourselves and can’t be at peace with ourselves, we can’t help but push people away.

This also creates a cycle of maladaptive patterns of behavior that only add to the person’s tendency to push people away, because when someone keeps doing it over and over again, they get used to being a certain way, which means that when they do start to get close to someone, after a certain point their instinct of pushing people away may take over and they may do it again.

Loneliness from pushing people away can also have a devastating impact on both our mental and physical health and in a cyclical pattern of misbehavior, we can also tend to push people away more when we’re lonely completely unconsciously.

We also tend to push away the very people with whom we might forge deeper and more satisfying personal or social connections because we are scared of them realizing what we are going through when we just want to be left alone or feel lonely.

Sometimes, being vulnerable to rejection and we may be convinced that others will disappoint or hurt us, so we start to believe that avoiding situations in which we might get hurt or keeping a low profile will help our state.

Sometimes pushing people away may be alright, especially if we have a dependence on others and life demands that we stand on our own two feet, and in these cases pushing people away might even be the best decision you can make because it can allow you to achieve some independence.

In most cases though pushing people away can be due to avoidance, caution, and suspicion and pushing other people away in turn also makes them less likely to approach or engage us on a deeper level once they realize that we are pushing them away.

Why do I push away the person I love?

You might be pushing away the person you love because you are scared of rejection or getting emotionally invested in someone to the extent that you are not able to deal with their possible departure from your life at a later point.

Learning theories dictate that people will engage in behaviors that they have tried before and that led to a reduction of negative feelings, and people are also most likely to engage in escape behaviors when they are in a situation which makes them feel negatively at all.

This means that when someone pushes someone they love away once, they are setting a precedent because it helps alleviate some of their anxiety over experiencing emotions and fear of abandonment, and they may become more likely to do it in the future.

This is a primary reason why people who push their loved one’s away tend to do the same thing over and over across the various relationships in their life; they will not just push away their romantic partners, their family, their children, and even their close friends will all attest to the gigantic walls these individuals build around them.

Yet another reason for why people may push people they love away may be because they learned, obviously in a wrong way, that relationships are about power, and when they feel that they are losing the power they have over their emotions and their life, they may push the loved one away because they don’t want to relinquish control.

People like this can usually go two ways, and if they are not pushing people away they may choose to control every aspect of the relationship or even their partner, which is obviously equally wrong and problematic.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Signs Someone is Pushing You Away

If you wonder whether someone you love is pushing you away, here are some of the signs someone is pushing you away that you can look for:

  • You don’t feel any more affection, and if you feel like your partner isn’t even touching you in an affectionate way, hugging, pecks here and there, a touch, it may mean that they are pushing you away. However, it can also mean that they are just going through something, so make sure you ask before assuming the worst.
  • They have stopped listening to you and even when you talk to them, they seem like they’re just somewhere else.
  • They avoid seeing you or spending time with you.
  • You feel forced to read minds and you always have to keep assuming what they are thinking because they have stopped telling you anything.
  • You keep feeling like something’s changed and you can’t put your finger on it, but you know something is up. 
  • They are spending more time alone and whenever you check in with them, they’re always doing something on their own. 
  • You bicker a lot more than you used to, and even about the smallest things.
  • They’re too into their phones. 
  • They ask for a break. 
  • They are always at a distance and it is becoming harder to get on the same page as them.
  • They seem like they’re off in another world and seem lost even when they are around you.
  • They won’t reciprocate your feelings or words of affection.
  • They keep blaming you for everything.

How to Stop Pushing People Away?

To stop pushing people away you first need to recognize the signs that you are pushing people away, and you need to remember your patterns in relationships so you can stop them when they start to appear.

An easy way to do this is to talk to people who have known you for a long time, because they will know your patterns better than you do, talk to close friends, family, if you are close to them, or even some ex-lovers, ask them if they ever felt like you were actively pushing them away and find out what your behavior was like.

Once you know what behaviors to look for things will automatically get easier, and you can now tell the loved ones in your life currently, mostly your romantic partner, to look out for those behaviors and tell you if and when they see them.

Wanting to change the bad behaviors is the first step to anything, so as long as you are at least willing to change yourself you have won half the battle already.

Try to figure out why you push people away; are you afraid of rejection? Are you afraid that you will get stuck in the relationship? Whatever the reason is, it can be worked out, so try to seek therapy or talk to someone close to you.

When you find out what your bad behaviors of pushing people away are, sit with your loved ones and try to figure out some alternate behaviors that are not as devastating to the relationship.

For instance, if you push people away when you are feeling stifled by their presence, ask them to give you space instead, and use that space for introspection, and put a time limit on the time you spend apart.

Knowing that you can control the terms of your time alone and have both worlds will help you feel a lot better about having loved ones in your life and it can significantly make things better.


In this brief guide, we looked at pushing people away and psychology based explanations of such a tendency. We also explored how to stop pushing someone away and what to do when someone you love is pushing you away.

There are many people who tend to push people away when they start feeling like they are getting too attached, and people like this tend to have very short and fragile relationships.

The defense mechanism behind pushing people away may serve to protect the person from feeling rejected eventually, and they may also push people away because they have no belief in themselves where relationships are concerned.

If you have any questions or comments about pushing people away or the psychology behind pushing people away, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Pushing People Away: Psychology behind Isolation

Why do I push away the person I love?

You may push away the person you love because you are scared of being hurt down the line, fear of rejection can be a very strong motivator for pushing people away.

Another reason why many people tend to push people they love away is because they are hung up on previous relationships, or they feel that there is something better than what they have currently, or they may even feel like they are incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship.

What’s a word for pushing someone away?

A word for pushing people away may be alienating, or estrangement.

Other words used often for pushing people away include driving someone away or turning someone away.

Why is my friend pushing me away?

Your friend may be pushing you away because they want you to go and maybe they don’t want to say it.

However, you should not immediately assume that it is because of you, most times when someone is pushing their friend or partner away it has everything to do with their needs and desires, and very little to do with the person they are pushing away, and if your friend is pushing you away it may be much more because they are feeling incapable of maintaining a friendship right now and therefore they want you to not be around.

What do you do when someone pushes you away?

Here are some things to do when someone pushes you away:

Give them some space and time to miss you.
Try to be content with your own company.
Reflect on the relationship and figure out if it is healthy for you.
Talk to the person about it clearly.
Ask the person if they will ever stop doing it so that you can move on if you need to.
Hang out with your other friends.
Spend time doing something you like and distract yourself from that person.

Is it OK to give up on love?

Yes, it is okay to give up on love, because some research suggests that actually it is easier to fall in love when you are not looking for it, and in fact, if you are constantly searching for love, with no luck, and feeling like it’s completely hopeless, you may find it when you stop looking for it altogether.




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