Why Do We Push People Away?

J.T. Miller
5 min readAug 10, 2023

Everyone reading this probably has pushed people away in their life or knows someone who has. It typically happens to those whom we care about the most. It’s a common thing that can be baffling — especially to those who’ve never felt a desire to push everyone away and be alone. Because at the end of the day, why would someone want to push someone away that they love or care about, right?

It starts small — maybe they just don’t return your calls and texts as often. Then, they avoid any type of face-to-face interaction. They may start picking fights for no reason, getting mad at trivial things, just to have a reason to leave. Soon, it becomes a full avoidance and all-out “ghosting”.

As it turns out, there are many reasons why people push others away. Some of them maybe don’t seem justified, but they could be justified in the eyes of those who are pushing people away. A lot of the time, the person who wants to push people away isn’t always in the best state of mind — for one reason or another.

It could stem from depression. Depression makes people do things that are very hard for non-depressed people to be able to understand. Depression can make people want to be completely isolated because they don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to deal with the repercussions that a relationship or friendship could bring on.

Depressed people who push others away could also be doing so, in rare cases, as a form of self-harm. They push people away to hurt themselves at that time when they feel very little self-worth. It’s hard to get out from underneath a deep depression — a lot of times it becomes comforting to the person because it becomes all they know. So, being isolated makes it easier to just stay depressed.

Another reason why people push others away is the fear of abandonment. This could come from a life of people leaving them in some way, shape, or form. Abandonment issues typically start from childhood trauma, such as a divorce, but can vary from other traumas throughout one’s life.

The logic behind this in the unconscious mind is that I will push you away and leave you before you get…