Every now and then I read a book that I wish was required reading for all, and the book Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F Heller is one of those books that has something for everyone. As a marriage and family therapist, I see lots of relationships. There are many reasons why people struggle in their relationships and seek counseling, and one of the big reasons has to do with attachment science. Of course, no one comes to counseling saying “we need help with attachment science.” But nearly every couple comes in saying they want to work on communication.
When I dig into what kind of “communication issues” a couple is struggling with, what they really mean is “attachment science”.
I recommend this book for you if:
-you are in a relationship and you would like to work on communication.
-you are in a relationship and feel like you’ve gone around and around the same issues.
-you are not in a relationship, but you are in the dating pool because it will help you sort out what you are really looking for and how to recognize it.
This book takes you on a discovery to figure out which attachment style gets triggered in your brain in a relationship.
Do you know which of the 4 types of attachment you use?
“Secure; you feel comfortable with intimacy with your romantic partner and don't obsess much about the relationships or your partner’s ability to love you back.
Anxious; you crave intimacy and closeness but have a lot of insecurities about where the relationship is going.
Avoidant; you feel uncomfortable when things become too close and intimate and value your independence more than the relationship.
Combined; if you are uncomfortable with intimacy and very concerned about your partner’s availability, you have a rare combination of attachment anxiety and avoidance. (Only a small percent of the population have this type of style)” from the book Attached
Ok, maybe you found yourself in a hot second. Why read the book?
You can learn how each attachment style will enhance your happiness or misery.
Did you know that the majority of people in the dating pool are avoidant?
The reason there are so many avoiders in the dating pool is that people who attach securely are usually in a committed and satisfying relationships. The key word here is satisfying. Why sign up for a miserable relationship?
If you spend some time getting to know your attachment style and that of others, you can aim for satisfying. Yes, you can learn new ways to respond to what feels automatic for you. You can move between attachment styles to create the kind of relationship you truly want.
If you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to meet your needs, you will feel tormented.
Yes, of course as a grownup it is up to you to also know yourself and do your self-care. When you are in relationship, you still need to do your self-care, but you get to have something else too. Deep in your brain there is a mechanism for attachment and that is about how we care for each other.
I think this book will be eye-opening and give you a sense of empowerment and possibility.
*Warning: The authors do NOT have a strong background in boundary work. They assume that there is just one kind of boundary and avoiders use it to create isolation. Huh? Well just ignore that. In my experience boundaries are essential for self-care, for understanding what you each need, for intimacy and connection. So just ignore their stuff on boundaries as you read. If you want to know more about boundaries, read Transform Your Boundaries.
And even with this limitation, I highly recommend this book.