My Avoidant Attachment Style with Japanese Language


One of my difficult relationships

is the one with my first language, Japanese

Over the past decade, when I was abroad, I desperately avoided Japanese people
and consequently hardly spoke Japanese for a long time

But I was still using Japanese everyday

It was for my writing

Writing means talking to oneself
So, for a long time I was using Japanese only for talking to myself, not to others

As a result, speaking Japanese with other human beings felt very strange

And even now, I still try to avoid using Japanese if the person I talk with knows English

Sometimes it felt quite strange,
considering the fact that Japanese is the only language I could speak without any difficulties, without any concerns on grammatical accuracy & pronunciation

Indeed an avoidance of one's first language felt very strange

Later, three possible reasons came up

1―Nature of the language
3―Avoidance from the truth

1―Nature of the language

There are things that aren't suitable to express in Japanese but in English

For instance, Japanese people avoid expressing things in a direct manner, particularly their emotions

This mentality & culture affects their wording & composition of the sentences

For example, I still don't know how to say "I'm upset" in Japanese

But this is rather a practical, superficial aspect of the reason for my avoidance


I learnt English at school from textbooks

About a decade ago, when speaking/writing, first I had to take time to remember English grammar & vocabularies, then composed sentences in my head, then finally spoke/wrote

It was all very mathematical, analytical, artificial process
It was an activity that was totally disconnected from my internal things, called emotions

This sense declined with time, but still remains in me now

Still sometimes speaking/writing English feels like a logical activity

Still sometimes English feels just a very "exotic" tool for communication

this distant feel
this observer-like attitude
this disconnection from what I express

actually bring me quite big ease & lightness

Since it is my 2nd language, I can't precisely catch subtle nuances of each words

So that I'm more "relaxed" with my wording

Feels like I can say/write things in English with less responsibility, perhaps much less responsibility, comparing with Japanese

When tragedies or catastrophes are conveyed in English, such as news, I feel something is lacking there

Significant elements........acute sadness & sharp pain, freshness & realness.......feel much reduced

Unlike my first language, things in English doesn't break into some unprotected, naked parts of my mind

The same goes to what I express in English

Feels like seriousness, responsibility and/or nakedness less exist than in Japanese

This point would be also related to a certain Japanese mindset of

"The most important thing should not be exposed"

"The most important thing should be implied, inferred, or let others guess"

Thus, expressing everything verbally openly & honestly would feel superficial, too casual and less responsible

Disconnection between words & my emotions leads to the next point

3―Avoidance from the truth

When we speak, we hear our own voice
When we write, we see our own words

What we express to an outside world inevitably bounces back to our inside & affects ourselves

Speaking/writing in a language that is disconnected from myself means

keep telling a lie to myself
keep deceiving myself
keep avoiding my true-self

Facing the truth scares us
Dealing with the truth hesitates us
The truth is neither joyful nor hopeful but often self-destructive