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Attachment Style Mini-Questionnaire

Episode #35 of the Shameless Sex Podcast: Relationship Lab - Attachment Theory With Philippe Lewis. Why do some of us push our partners away? And why do some of us want to pull and grasp? Tune in to learn more on iTunes or Google Play:

A brief article on attachment theory

A description of the major attachment styles: Secure, Avoidant, Anxious, Disorganized

Amazing article on Sex, Love and Attachment by Sue Johnson. Wow. So much YES.

A secure couple can have all three kinds of sex, Synchrony Sex, Solace Sex which is focused on reassurance, and Sealed off Sex focused on sensation only, at different times, but it seems that the ability to have Synchrony sex – at least some of the time – to integrate sexuality and bonding makes a huge difference in a couple relationship. Sex is a dance – anxious and avoidant music limits the dance – Insecure attachment constrains sexuality.

If People Had Honest First Date Conversations (or an anxious woman meets an avoidant man)

Another great article on Attachment Theory. And another.

Video about Trauma and why attachment is important

This long article is the best source on avoidant states I’ve read so far: Avoidant and anxious attachers have good reasons for what they’re doing — often stemming from experiences and adaptations in childhood. I’ve read attachment books and found they can be shamey of avoidant states.

Two amazing articles written by my wife Paget Norton. One about loving the avoidant attacher. And one about loving the anxious attacher.

Two amazing articles on the anxious-avoidant tango: First article and Second article.

A simple introduction to attachment theory.

The Real Source of Neediness

The Reasons You’re Attached to Someone Isn’t What You Think

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

For Men Who Desperately Need Autonomy

The 4 ‘Attachment Styles,’ and How They Sabotage Your Work-Life Balance

PEOPLE-PLEASING CAN BE A RESULT OF TRAUMA. IT’S CALLED ‘FAWNING’ — HERE’S HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT: While I'm not clear that people pleasing and fawning are the same thing, I do believe there's important information for insecurely attached peeps in this article.

Books

Attached: The mainstream introduction book on the topic of attachment theory. A bit strong against avoidant attachers.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson. A great book focusing on protest behavior and the conversations we can have to create a secure relationship.

Healing Your Attachment Wounds: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships by Carol Poole Heller

Love's hidden symmetry, conscious loving, passionate Marriage, getting the love you want...

Your Brain on Love: The Neurobiology of Healthy Relationships

Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship

Raising Children with a Secure Attachment Style from Circle of Security International

Other book recommendations:

Wired for Love is also good, as well as all of Sue Johnson's books. Stan Tatkin wrote Your Brain on Love and Wired for Love -those books are more geared toward the general public. He is a couple's therapist who is deeply studied in Attachment theory. The thing that most pop psych self-help books are lacking is that there is no discussion of disorganized attachment - which is a particular attachment style characterized by early trauma in childhood- where one or both of your caregivers were dangerous and caused a good deal of fear. This style is very different than anxious or avoidant and helpful to understand. Here's a good list of more clinical attachment/trauma/neuroscience books: https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/attachment-neuroscience-trauma

Other Resources

Philippe’s Practical guide to secure attachment post

Philippe’s Attachment Theory Class Notes

Circle of Security International

Videos

Words

From Anonymous

The more deep somatic an attachment healing someone does the more capacity they have for secure attachment. Sansar bonding patterns with our mother from zero to to lay the "wiring" foundation of our nervous system for connection for the rest of our lives unless we do deeper somatic and attachment healing, so in most cases and we are using alternate relationship platforms to perpetuate are anxious or avoidant attachment styles. And the rewiring is a healing process towards more capacity for secure relating. For more info & review of the latest neuroscience see Stan Tatkin PhD & Sue Johnson PhD & Peter Cummings MA (Adult Attachment Repair Model) who are in the trenches working "rewiring" and restoring Bethany for secure relating in individuals and couples

From Anthony David Adams

At the core of insecure is toxic shame. Toxic shame drives addiction, and the insecure dynamic is a pattern to avoid intimacy. When we are insecure, we won't really be that attracted to secure people or be able to see them right away because a) they are unfamiliar and b) we will need to face ourselves. So what I suggest is don't avoid the people you are attracted to, but engage, explore and express what you feel with them, and really receive their answers. Continue to allow yourself to be in the pain you are experiencing as it truly is a gift. When you stop avoiding the pain inside of you and instead take full responsibility to transform it into love, then you've become an Adult.

My framework is this:

Our core essence is what is shamed away and we learn to try to control our emotions so as to keep that essence hidden away. The way back to our Essence is our Emotions. It seems we have three paths when it comes to our Emotions 1) Evict, Evade & Erase 2) Endure, Explain, Edit 3) Engage, Explore, Express.

The 3rd path is the one that leads to healing and transformation. When you commit to feeling everything, you will expand your capacity to FEEL and thus to LOVE. You'll become a healing force for people.

The experience really is like facing your own death. This is what is meant by "die before you die" and is at the root of the world wisdom traditions.

You have faith, you are crucified and you are born again. This is a real experience.

Before you heal your toxic shame it seems that everything is basically an object with which we use to repress our Self and also to dull the pain of our self abandonment -- this is true for our creative life and our romantic, family, social life. Once we heal the toxic shame, everything becomes about SHARING that Self, which at it's core is divine love, with everyone.

Embrace your emotions with gratitude, they are calls from the lost warriors of your past, and you become the embodied Warrior and Chief of your tribe, you call them all home and welcome their wisdom.

I'm happy to talk to you 1 on 1 about this if you like, as this work saved my life and my desire is to share these maps and tools (and myself!) far and wide.

Attachment Theory & Non-monogamy by Philippe

Facebook Post

As I've been exploring Attachment Theory, I've been wondering how it applies to open relationships, polyamory, and non-monogamy.

AVOIDANT: People with an avoidant (insecure) attachment style tend to want less emotional intimacy and so are particularly skilled at deactivating their attachment system. In a non-monogamous community, this would make them the ones who can most easily play the field without really getting attached/entwined, the most picky (especially for the fearful-avoidant subtype), the least likely to fall in love, and the most desiring to "not make long term commitments".

ANXIOUS: People with an anxious (insecure) attachment style tend to go for more (emotional) intimacy as a way to keep their attachment style constantly activated. You can see them as the non-stop passionate lover. In a non-monogamous community, this would make them the most likely to repeatedly fall in love, to have multiple lovers, and to have/create the most drama in their relationships.

BOTH: Both insecure attachment style will also use the relationships they are in to try to stabilize themselves if they know what's good for them. Unfortunately secure people (see below) will most often occur to people insecure attachment style as uninteresting since secures most often don't like emotional tension as they tend to see it as drama or games. So insecures will end up with insecures which usually means a spotty relationship (avoidant/avoidant) or drama (anxious/anxious) or a never-ending push/pull for space and attention (avoidant/anxious)

SECURE: People with a secure attachment style tend to be comfortable with both intimacy and space, are the least likely to play games and want drama, are the most likely to use effective communication (NVC style) to ask for what they want and set boundaries, and the most likely to form long term bonds with more than one person in any size of "poly family" formation as they relationships are the most stable (since each secure person inherently brings stability to the relationship) Also secures will act as a "secure base" for any person with an insecure attachment style they are in relationship with.

These are mostly my observations and all attachment styles are on a spectrum. Remember that theories and models should be used to gain insight on what is happening in reality, not used to make final conclusions.

How do you see attachment styles playing out in the open/poly/non-monogamous communities?

(PS I identify as avoidant with a secure wing, and Paget is mostly secure with an anxious wing)

Growing a More Secure Attachment Style by Philippe Lewis

Essentially it comes down to create a stable life with stable relationships as well as increasing your inner stability through practices that support it:

- embodied practice (yoga/meditation/exercise)
- reducing addictive behavior (drugs/coffee/porn/etc)
- reducing clutter/distractions
- increasing self-esteem (the book "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" is great and has practices in it too)

Also you can look at increasing stability in 7 different areas:

- Physical (good/enough sleep/food/water/exercise)
- Spiritual (good/enough meditation, prayer, ritual)
- Somatic (good/enough movement, dance, etc practice that involve the 4 pillars of embodiment: touch, movement, sound, breath)
- Emotional (good/enough solid/secure/fulfilling/supportive/connection with friends/family/mentors/allies who are themselves preferably secure. Therapy is an example of a secure relationship with mentorship)
- Social (good/enough interactions with peers/community that make you feel connected to the world so you don’t isolate)
- Primal (good/enough engagements with nature and the world that allow you to feel and feed your inner animal)
- Intellectual (good/enough reading/conversations/learning that allow you to know yourself and others better over time)

Also along with the practices and skill building above:

- Coming up with a purpose/vision in your life
- Have a peer-group (other people with a disorganized attachment style to be in conversation with)
- Have a community who is supportive (and you can relate to) around the above inner/outer stability and practices.
- Have a support person (coach/counselor) who will lend you their compass/stability/perspective while you grow your own

As someone who is now consciously secure (ie moving from 1. unconsciously insecure to 2. consciously insecure to 3. consciously secure) and with someone (my wife) who is more secure than I am, I find that I have more space for those who are insecure in my life (such as one of my lovers).

In other words, if emotional security is like emotional balance, my sense of it has become better with time (more conscious) and my wife and son add more to this sense of balance too. And now I can lend balance to my lover too.

I think the same is true of how we gain emotional balance through our work/career, friendships, self-care, self-love, and more.

Narcissism by Mike Thomas:

There are many great insights to be found in understanding the points in this video. However, I am continually concerned about this “pathology-focused” narrative we all seem to gravitate toward in this culture.

“What’s wrong with...fill in the blank.” We often find ourselves looking for what’s wrong with others, with ourselves, with the world. What about what’s right? What can we learn from our experiences? What can we learn from the perspectives different from our own?

I can guarantee that in the future we will look back on this time of focusing on “pathology” and what is “wrong with people” as a symptom of severe disconnection with our collective humanity.

Take the point casually mentioned in this video about making sure not to label a child a narcissist, because self-focus is a critical part of our development as human beings. What about those who missed critical parts of their development? Is it not an obvious correlation to make that adults who show these traits simply missed critical development as children? Is it not obvious that those who have less privileges of wealth, security, healthy role models, education, and reassurance will have some of these traits because they display more traits of survival?

It just seems to beg the question: Why hasn’t mainstream psychology addressed this obvious “catch 22?” The paradox being that those who missed critical development will be unaware of what they’re missing, live based on the correlating survival mechanisms activated, and they will be scapegoated by those who DID get these critical developmental supports...yet those who truly did receive and continue healthy development do not engage in mindless blame. They take responsibility for themselves, and they do what they can to contribute to others. But this conversation really exists in the unconscious realm of the human experience.

Why? Because development on this deepest level happens BEFORE conscious memory is possible. That is, the “attachment stage” of development happens from conception through 2-3 years of age, before the hippocampus first the brain the fully formed, making the resulting personality traits that eventually form as adults virtually impossible to foresee.

Why did I say “virtually impossible to foresee?” Because we have 30+ years of statistical data in Attachment Science that has a 70-80% predictability of attachment style from one generation to the next. This is because the critical needs that support the healthy development brain and overall nervous system development are emotional, and passed on from personality traits of the parental caregivers during this critical developmental period of time. But causality and blame are not the same thing, and must not be confused if we are to avoid the trap of denial out of pride and shame.

For example, the “Ferber method“ advocated for allowing infants to “cry it out“ when they were in their cribs alone, something that is now well understood to be a form of emotional neglect that is registered on the unconscious level neurologically during the attachment phase.

Did the Ferber advocates and parents have malicious intent for these infants? Of course not! But once we understand these things, it doesn’t mean that the science is readily accepted and implemented so we can correct these mistakes moving forward.

Unfortunately, our survival responses include the mechanism of pride, and deep shame underneath that, believing ourselves to having not been “perfect parents.“ There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, but the inability to course-correct after a better way of supporting human development has been established is very much like what was described in the traits and symptoms of a narcissist in this video.

Am I saying that we are a string of multiple generations of narcissists? Of course not! What I am saying is the way we view our world is largely determined by how we choose to think, speak, and act. Although we could demonize past generations or ourselves as perpetrators who “wronged” children, there is a more sophisticated and holistic way to view past mistakes.

We could instead view these misunderstandings of the past as opportunities to grow moving forward. We could see mistakes as a window into better habits and support moving forward as a united humanity. It’s a novel concept, right? No, just easier said than done.

What I am saying is that viewing ourselves, other people, and the world in terms of “what is wrong” is going to create a collective “mastery of what is wrong.” Sure, a fear-based title of an article or post on social media will definitely get more likes, shares, engagement, but at what cost?

We are choosing to talk about subjects that induce a conversation around what we DO NOT WANT? If so, we will get lots of ideas and mastery around the art of understanding what we do not want. We will in the case become master complainers and blamers.

What if we focused our precious time and attention on “WHAT WE DO WANT?“

What if when we see something that is painful, or that we do not agree with, we seek to understand how that person or circumstance came to be that way? What if compassionate curiosity became a standard we all encourage in ourselves and one another?

Notice your breathing while thinking about the details of this vision. Allow all the thing you see, hear, and feel? Notice how your body is beginning to respond as you stay in this vision, taking note of particular body parts and shifts in breathing, tension levels, awareness within and around you, and neutral or positive emotions that may begin to arise.

What if when we see something that induces fear, or that we are tempted to look at in terms of what is wrong, as a pathology, we instead seek to understand, empathize, and learn from this new perspective that is clearly outside of our comfort zone?

WHAT IF WE MADE SEEKING THE LOVE IN EVERY MOMENT A HABIT?

As obnoxiously simple and cliché as it might sound, the first step in achieving this paradigm-shift is to pause, slow down, and notice your breathing and bodily sensations.

When you are in a fear-based conversation, what is your breathing doing? How deep does it go into your lungs? How long and smooth is your exhale? Do you feel tension in a particular part of your body like your neck, jaw, shoulders, hips, or lower back?

Believe it or not, wherever you feel tension and shifting of your breath is indicative of the state of your nervous system, and therefore your ability to be present, conscious, and capable of using your higher brain functions of rational thought and feeling emotions in a sophisticated and effective way.

Simple mindful awareness of your sensory experience opens the door to your humanity. Your highest potential to make a difference in this world while experiencing fulfillment starts with his step habit.

Take moments today, and every day to pause and take in your sensory experience while noticing your breath exactly as it is.

Are you interested in being inspired? Then notice the “inspiration” in the form of your breath, and notice your bodily sensations to take the small and critical steps to “be the change you wish to see in the world.“

I see nothing wrong with staying informed about potential pitfalls in life. It is another thing entirely to spend our precious time and attention on things that keep us out of our human capacity for empathy, rational thought, and collaboration together.

Do you want there to be less war and violence in this world? Choosing the small steps can be the most critical ones in making this world a better place. We can shout our beliefs about how we can improve everyone else in the world until we are blue in the face, but it is only ourselves we can truly control in a positive way.

Make a difference in the world by first making sure you are using your full human capacity for presence, compassion, and service from Love...not to mention your capacity for growth in mastery of skills and increasing intelligence begin with this foundation.

Are you concerned about dangerous, violent, and narcissistic people in the world? Then choose to be someone who is peaceful, compassionate, and a lover of the diversity in this human experience we all share.

As it is described in this video around the behavior of the “vulnerable narcissist,“ it is attracting and allowing appropriate boundaries to be overrun that allows grandiose narcissism to exist. Perhaps it is in our power to be the change we wish to see after all. From firm but loving boundaries as parents, to mutual respect as friends and spouses, we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Change starts with the person looking back at you in the mirror. We could project that onto others in the form of looking for who or what to blame, or we could become the inspiration we seek and allow it expand outward from there. We need to see the humanity in ourselves and others if we are to shift this world more toward Love. From this perspective we connect more deeply to ourselves and to others as a united and diverse humanity. As individuals we are limited, together we are limitless.

Know Yourself and Be Empowered,

Mike Thomas

https://www.facebook.com/BeConstantlyCurious/videos/184398018892915/

From Matt Licata

Early relational experiences are encoded in neural circuitry in the first 18 months of life. Stored as implicit memory, they are inaccessible by ordinary awareness, forming templates through which we engage the world. In a moment of activation, the templates come surging online. Before we realize it, previously sequestered material has flooded our perception.

Our expectations in relationship – whether we can count on others, are worthy of love, will allow another to matter or whether we can take the risk to lead with our vulnerability – are organized in a fragile little nervous system that yearns for connection. The neural pathways are tender and responsive, as we seek attuned, right-brain to right-brain resonance with those around us. We want to feel felt, have our experience held and mirrored, and for pure space in which we can explore unstructured states of being.

While this encoding is deeply embedded, it can be rewired. While it may feel entrenched, it is not as solid as it appears. Even if your early environment was one of empathic failure, developmental trauma, and insecure attachment, it is never too late. The wild realities of neuroplasticity and the courage of the human heart is unstoppable and an erupting force of creativity.

Through new relational experiences – with a lover, a friend, a therapist, a baby; a star, a deer, a mountain, the moon – love is hidden inside the caverns of neural circuitry. It is the substance which forms the neurons and their synapses, lighting up heart-cells in a moment of connection. Each time you attune to another – or to the unmet inner “other” within you – a new world is born.

As long as breath is present, you can update the narrative, recraft your perception and re-envision a new story. You can make new meaning of your life, re-imagine your purpose, and renew your commitment to being here. Slowly, you can revise your circuitry with pathways of holding awareness, flooding it with empathic attunement, presence, and warmth.

No matter what is happening in your life, you can start right now, in this moment. The opportunity for reorganization is always here and wired deep within you. Don’t give up. Love will never give up on you.

THE MYSTERY OF HOLDING

There is an ancient longing wired in us as infants to be seen, to be felt, and to have our surging, somatic-emotional world validated by another. When our subjective experience is empathetically held, contained, and allowed, we come to a natural place of rest. What is love, really, other than fully allowing the other to be who they are, for their experience to be what it is, and to offer the gift of presence to their unique subjectivity? In this sense, I love you = I allow you.

The late Donald Winnicott, a brilliant psychoanalyst from Britain, used the term 'holding environment' to describe the ideal mandala in which growth and development could occur, weaved of the qualities of contact and space. Through making attuned, present-time, somatically-engaged contact with another as they are - and by providing an open, warm sanctuary in which their experience can unfold and illuminate - we become vehicles of love in action.

Simultaneously, by offering the gift of space, we do not interfere with the unfolding of their heart and majestic inner process. We do not pathologize their experience or demand that they be different, change, transform, shift, or 'heal' in order for us to love them. If sadness is there, or fear, or despair, or shame, or depression, or profound grief, we will infuse their inner mandala with validation and presence. We will be there for them, but only if they need us. We will not engulf them with the projections of our own unlived life, nor will we unload upon them our own requirements and agendas, arising out of our own undigested psyches and bodies. Instead, we will seed the intersubjective container with tender space.

While not talked about as much, we can provide this same contact and space to ourselves and come to discover that our nature as awareness itself is in fact the ultimate holding environment. You are always, already resting in the majesty of presence and are always, already held - by the beloved - who is none other than your own miracle nervous system, heart, and somatic brilliance. While we may not always understand our experience - and while it may never fit into our ideas, hopes, dreams, and fantasies about the life we were 'meant to live' - we can come to trust that it is unfolding according to a unique blueprint which is emerging out of the unseen hand of love. We are invited to practice a radical intimacy with our experience, staying close to our ripe bodies and tender hearts, but not so close that we fuse or overly identify with it. Rest in the very middle and stay astonished at what is being birthed out of the unknown in every moment.

For so many I speak with, there is an undercurrent of aggression towards themselves, a subtle movement of self-loathing, unexamined shame and embarrassment, and a very alive (if not conscious) belief that they are flawed and have failed. Each time we exit our present, embodied experience into thinking, interpretation, blame, resentment, and complaint, we turn from the preciousness and the majesty of what we are. In this movement of rejection, we keep alive the archaic belief that our immediate experience is not valid, that it is not workable, that it is not forming the actual particles of the path of healing, exactly as it is. From one perspective, this may be seen as the ultimate act of self abandonment.

Let us all take a pause on this new day, and from a place of love visualize a holding environment for ourselves, where we grant unconditional permission to make intimate and direct contact with all of our vulnerabilities, with our tender bodies and with our raw hearts, with our unprocessed challenges from the past, and with our less-than-awakened thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Let us make the most radical commitment to no longer abandon ourselves, exiting into our conditioned stories and unkind judgments, and inquire with love into the habitual belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. As we open our eyes and our hearts to the always, already present holding environment which is our true nature, we behold the drop of grace which pours through the eyes of everyone we meet, including that unknown precious one that we see when we look in the mirror. And then all that could possibly remain is an unshakeable faith in love’s perfection.

From Dave Jolly

What you're talking about here is an Unconscious Survival Strategy, a stress response pattern, and one that is patterned in early, and has more to do with the person than just attachment style. Because the nervous system of the Avoidant is wired that way, and has been rewarded for being that way, there needs to be a resolution in the unconscious mind, and a better set of alternatives as a survival strategy available to the part of them that uses avoidance as a strategy. One of the issues with early childhood strategies is that while they are useful in particular situations, they usually become *generalized* as an approach to the rest of life-- kind of only having a hammer and seeing everything as nails type view of life. And this generalized response is unconscious, and therefore, on Auto-Pilot. If the Avoidant really sees how this pervasive pattern is costing them more than it's giving them-- in other words, if *they* want to change-- then it can be done. The modalities I know of that could leverage this kind of change are ones that work primarily on the unconscious mind: NLP & Hypnosis. I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones I know of as effective for changing unconscious patterning. But IMO, if they are not ready to change, then no amount of reasoning, reaching the heart, or approaching the change from a conscious mind point of view are going to be effective. You can't change others, you can only influence them to change themselves.

---

Avoidants are just one of a few strategies to deal with stress in life-- the "4 F's" of Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn. These stress response styles can be changed, but you can't just "take away" a stress response. The nervous system requires it in order to be okay in the world. You can however, expand their skillset of coping mechanisms, reframe the meanings & perceptions that drive triggered states, etc., ...It can be done.

I would begin by understanding the behavior from the 'avoidant' person's point of view. There is an underlying logic to all behavior, and once you 'get it', not only will it make sense, but you'll be able to be with it without being adversarial. With the behavior Specifically, what are the core needs that the person is getting met by this behavior? And then, find out what their rules are to meet those needs. From there, you can find better ways to meet those need explicitly via a win-win agreement, or covertly by simply meeting those needs for the person ina better, healthier way. Give them a better option, make them an offer they can't refuse ;)

And remember that people will meet needs in unhealthy ways if they have to. Needs will be met, by any means necessary!

It's also key to remember that contrary to new age thought, not all of a persons values or needs revolve around love or connection, at least, not directly.

And, person can get a need for say, connection met by conflict, or by deeply intimate love. It depends on the person and the circumstances.

For more on needs, I recommend looking on YouTube for "tony Robbins six human needs". Some very useful powerful information for understanding what drives people

---

Yeah, it's a common path for relationships. I feel ya, man. Been there many times. Finding that higher paradigm of cohesion between two often polar approaches to life can be really, really hard. The reality is that every human being has inner conflicts between our OWN needs internally, and then on top of that, we have conflicts between HOW we get our needs met with others! our partners need to make some sense of that & have that make sense inside THEIR world in order for a relationship to work at all. It's a lot to align sometimes.

And perhaps some of this boils down to communication styles too. Maybe you're being explicit in your communication style, but find yourself ending up with partners who prefer a more implicit way of connecting?

For what it's worth, I do think that it's important to speak up for what you want, and identify what ends up feeling dissatisfying to you. It's okay to say 'this is hurtful for me', which is not the same at all as saying 'you are ___

Another way of looking at it is that most of us are living at the level of the *strategy* of how to meet our needs over addressing the needs themselves. So, for an 'avoidant' type person, the need may be for certainty-- control over one's own state or environment in order to feel safe--, or Variety-- ability to shift energy and refresh one's perspective on life by changing scenery--, but 'running away' = a *strategy* to get certainty & variety, and is clearly not the only way to meet those needs.

Interestingly, a clingy & overly-attached person may be trying to meet those same needs of certainty & variety by a very different strategy of deeply attaching to a person. Same needs, very different strategies. Which is why we have to learn what needs the person's behavior may be meeting, and their strategies for meeting those needs and recognizing when they've met them-- because, at the end of the day, if you feel you are trying to meet their needs, but to them their needs are not being met, then the end effect is that their needs are still not met.

I think it's worth mentioning for relationships too that often, people use a need for Significance as a way to get love, which never ever works. But in our culture, we are confused about that. One way to get significance is to show up & then run away over and over. And by doing this, they use the 'hook' of your own desire to make them happy as a weapon against you, to keep you trying and trying and feeling like you're failing and failing, all the while, they are getting their significance needs met. It's super common. And if this rings true, remember that usually, this is an auto-pilot, unconscious strategy. When people try to get significance by taking instead of contributing, they tend to act at their worst.

Yeah, it's a common path for relationships. I feel ya, man. Been there many times. Finding that higher paradigm of cohesion between two often polar approaches to life can be really, really hard. The reality is that every human being has inner conflicts between our OWN needs internally, and then on top of that, we have conflicts between HOW we get our needs met with others! our partners need to make some sense of that & have that make sense inside THEIR world in order for a relationship to work at all. It's a lot to align sometimes.

And perhaps some of this boils down to communication styles too. Maybe you're being explicit in your communication style, but find yourself ending up with partners who prefer a more implicit way of connecting?

For what it's worth, I do think that it's important to speak up for what you want, and identify what ends up feeling dissatisfying to you. It's okay to say 'this is hurtful for me', which is not the same at all as saying 'you are ___

Another way of looking at it is that most of us are living at the level of the *strategy* of how to meet our needs over addressing the needs themselves. So, for an 'avoidant' type person, the need may be for certainty-- control over one's own state or environment in order to feel safe--, or Variety-- ability to shift energy and refresh one's perspective on life by changing scenery--, but 'running away' = a *strategy* to get certainty & variety, and is clearly not the only way to meet those needs.

Interestingly, a clingy & overly-attached person may be trying to meet those same needs of certainty & variety by a very different strategy of deeply attaching to a person. Same needs, very different strategies. Which is why we have to learn what needs the person's behavior may be meeting, and their strategies for meeting those needs and recognizing when they've met them-- because, at the end of the day, if you feel you are trying to meet their needs, but to them their needs are not being met, then the end effect is that their needs are still not met.

I think it's worth mentioning for relationships too that often, people use a need for Significance as a way to get love, which never ever works. But in our culture, we are confused about that. One way to get significance is to show up & then run away over and over. And by doing this, they use the 'hook' of your own desire to make them happy as a weapon against you, to keep you trying and trying and feeling like you're failing and failing, all the while, they are getting their significance needs met. It's super common. And if this rings true, remember that usually, this is an auto-pilot, unconscious strategy. When people try to get significance by taking instead of contributing, they tend to act at their worst.

From Emily Orum

Acknowledging my patterns as a RECOVERING AVOIDANT ATTACHER and how to reframe

  • Judge harshly what others think, say, or do: I keep an open mind and accept others as they are.

  • Avoid emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy as a way to maintain distance: I engage in emotional, physical, or sexual intimacy when it is healthy and appropriate for me.

  • Allow addictions to people, places, and things to distract them from achieving intimacy in relationships: I practice my recovery to develop healthy and fulfilling relationships.

  • Use indirect or evasive communication to avoid conflict or confrontation: I use direct and straightforward communication to resolve conflicts and deal appropriately with confrontations.

  • Diminish their capacity to have healthy relationships by declining to use the tools of recovery: When I use the tools of recovery, I am able to develop and maintain healthy relationships of my choosing.

  • Suppress their feelings or needs to avoid feeling vulnerable: I embrace my own vulnerability by trusting and honoring my feelings and needs.

  • Pull people toward them, but when others get close, push them away: I welcome close relationships while maintaining healthy boundaries.

  • Refuse to give up their self-will to avoid surrendering to a power greater than themselves: I believe in and trust a power greater than myself. I willingly surrender my self-will to my Higher Power.

  • Believe displays of emotion are a sign of weakness. (this pattern I have done good work on): I honor my authentic emotions and share them when appropriate.

  • Withhold expressions of appreciation: I freely engage in expressions of appreciation toward others.

(These are patterns of AVOIDANCE in CODA recovery

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