Amir Levine, MD and Rachel Heller, MA
Attached, by Amir Levine, MD, and Rachel Heller, MA, delves into the science of adult attachment and how it can guide us through the complexities of love and relationships.
Attachment Theory suggests that, based on early interactions with caregivers, people develop attachment styles that shapes their interpersonal relationships throughout their lives (for example, a child whose emotional needs are inconsistently met might develop an anxious attachment style).
The three Attachment Styles are Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant. People with a Secure Attachment Style feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving. They can manage ups and downs in relationships with compassion and understanding and are generally reliable. Those with an Anxious Attachment Style often worry about their relationships. They fear abandonment or are constantly seeking validation and reassurance from their partners. Avoidant individuals equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness. They often dodge deep emotional connections.
Different attachment styles can result in various relationship dynamics. For instance, an anxious person and an avoidant person can find themselves in a push-pull dynamic, often referred to as the Anxious-Avoidant Trap, where one is constantly seeking closeness and the other is perpetually pulling away. Secure individuals, on the other hand, can provide stability and act as anchors in relationships. While these styles are deeply ingrained, they aren't static. Life experiences, especially in romantic relationships, can shift one's attachment style. A consistently supportive relationship, for instance, can move someone from anxious to more secure.
Understanding one's attachment style and the style of potential partners can guide healthier relationship choices. The authors provide advice on recognizing and responding to different attachment behaviors. The book offers strategies for understanding and managing attachment-related challenges. For example, if you have an anxious attachment style, recognizing your need for reassurance can help you communicate more effectively with your partner.
Recognizing and understanding attachment styles can also be valuable in therapy. It can help individuals and couples identify patterns and develop strategies to form healthier relationships.
Attached provides a framework for understanding romantic relationships through the lens of attachment theory. By understanding and acknowledging our attachment style and the styles of those around us, we can navigate the complexities of relationships more effectively and find more fulfilling connections.