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May 7, 2024 40 mins

Attachment theory is often misunderstood but when we have the correct knowledge and information it can transform how we relate to others. In today's episode we break down one of these styles, the avoidant attachment, along with it's two components: avoidant dismissive and avoidant fearful. We discuss how this style develops, its expression, the difference in prevalence and behaviours between men and women and how we can move forward and heal an avoidant pattern. 

We are joined in today's episode by Thais Gibson, the founder of The Personal Development School and expert in attachment theory. Unlock your free trial using this link: www.personaldevelopmentschool.com/freetrial 

Follow Jemma on Instagram: @jemmasbeg 

Follow the podcast on Instagram: @thatpsychologypodcast 

Follow Thais and The Personal Development School on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thepersonaldevelopmentschool/?hl=en 

 

 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology.

Speaker 2 (00:23):
Hello everybody, Welcome back to the show. Welcome back to
the podcast, new listeners, old listeners. Wherever you are in
the world, it is so great to have you here.
Back for another episode as we, of course breakdown the
psychology of our twenties. Okay, So, one of the big
hot topics in psychology, online, in the media, especially in

(00:47):
self help communities at the moment is attachment styles. Attachment
theory essentially says that we learn how to form intimate
attachments and bond with others based on our childhood experiences,
and when those experiences and our primary relationship with our
caregivers is disturbed or difficult, it can lead to a

(01:08):
disorganized attachment style. Now, I think that it is so
amazing that so many more of us have the language
to describe how we relate to others, how we form attachments.
It is one of the biggest and most valuable important
theories in psychology, with a small caveat being that I
also think it's important that we get it right and

(01:28):
if we are going to apply these labels of insecure,
of anxious, of avoidant, we actually know what it means.
So today we are bringing back a favorite guest of ours,
somebody who has been on the show before and also
one of the world's biggest experts on the topic of
attachment styles and attachment theory, Tace Gibson. Welcome to the show.

Speaker 3 (01:51):
Thank you for having me. Excited to be back here
with you.

Speaker 2 (01:54):
Yeah, so for those of you who don't know, we've
previously done an episode on anxious attack theory or anxious
attachment style sorry last year, which actually goes into the
overall theory a little bit more around you know John
bowlby Mary Ainsworth who created this theory and like the

(02:14):
unique styles. So if you miss that, I would recommend
going back and listening to that episode. But can you
tell us a little bit about yourself and yeah, I
guess where your interest in attachment theory really began.

Speaker 4 (02:28):
Yeah, So I really started getting interested in people, I
think at a really young age. So I went through
a family dynamic that was pretty chaotic. There was a
lot of intense fighting and arguments, and so all my
parents go through like a very long and quite intense
divorce that went all the way to like the Superior
Court of Canada, like all these sort of dramatic things.

(02:49):
And I think I was a really sensitive kid and
I was parentified a lot. So what that really means
for anybody who's not familiar with that term is I was.

Speaker 3 (02:57):
Put in the middle at a very young age, sort
of forced to.

Speaker 4 (03:00):
Play like an emotional parent role for my parents, and
they would both have vent to me about each other
a lot, and I think I spent a lot of
my early childhood wondering, like, why do things have to
be so difficult? Why can't people who love each other
just kind of come together and figure it out? And like,
you know, they obviously care about each other, and they
care about me and my sister, but why can't they

(03:20):
just figure out how to not be like this with
one another?

Speaker 3 (03:22):
Because they really kind of brought out those hard parts
of each other.

Speaker 4 (03:25):
So from a really young age, I was really interested
in like people and human dynamics.

Speaker 3 (03:31):
And I was definitely.

Speaker 4 (03:33):
There as sort of the therapist kind of child for
my parents too, So I think it was just very
natural for me to evolve into this type of work.

Speaker 3 (03:41):
It was definitely not something I disliked.

Speaker 4 (03:43):
I always liked like talking about real things and breaking
things down.

Speaker 3 (03:47):
And it was through my own kind of struggles as like.

Speaker 4 (03:50):
A teenager and going into my early adult years that
I ended up doing a much deeper dive in a
more serious way into like how do we really heal?
How do we really work through these things? And it
was through that that one of the things I revisited
was attachment styles and ended up sort of combining a
lot of my research and hypnosis was my background, and

(04:11):
a lot in like the subconscious mind and then traditional
psychology and the traditional sort of school system wrote I
combined that with the principles of CBT and NLP and
ultimately attachment styles to really create a body of work
about how not only can we change our attachment style
and become securely attached, but also diving deeper into the

(04:31):
work of John Bowlby and Mary an'sworth of how our
attachment style originally forms. So basically I went on to
run like a ten year almost ten year client practice
and then put a whole bunch of programs online with
the Personal Development School all about the attachment theory kind
of stuff.

Speaker 2 (04:44):
Oh, my gosh, I love that whole story because I
feel like you make a great point, which is that, yes,
the original theory is like amazing and it's such a
solid foundation, but our understanding of how the human mind
works has also evolved a little bit, and so it's
important to kind of evolve our traditional and conventional theories

(05:05):
with like that more modern understanding. You also spoke about parentification,
which I find to be such a fascinating subject for
those of us who don't know what that means. It's basically,
you become the parent for your parents, so that child
parent dynamic actually kind of reverses, and so you might

(05:28):
become a confident you might be a mediated like you said,
you might have to provide for them physically, emotionally, financially.
What do you think is there like a specific attachment
style that that normally contributes to, because part of me
is like, oh, it would it be secure because your

(05:49):
parent really needed you, or would it be avoided?

Speaker 3 (05:51):
Such a good question, it's so interesting.

Speaker 4 (05:53):
So a lot of the research and attachment styles actually
shows that you're more likely to become at least fearful,
avoidant or dismissive aboidan like hav an avoidant side, the
more enmeshed you are at a young age with your parents,
and I think part of what often happens is that
you'll have that side of like feeling engulfed and overwhelmed,
and obviously, in like traditional dismissive avoidant, the two fears

(06:15):
are really about engulfment and then being defective in some way, right,
so they fear being trapped in the wrong relationship or
and a lot of that trapped core fear first comes
from being enmeshed in some form, whether it was through
parentification or just I talk a lot about this topic.
It's we have like direct parentification and indirect parentification. So

(06:36):
direct is like myself and I was a fearful avoidant
before working on my attachment style, and my direct was
like I was directly in the middle people directly coming
to me in client practice and through our programs that pds.
I've often seen instead that dismissible woidens are indirectly parentified.
So they may have a parent who's like very depressed
all the time and the other parent not around, and

(06:58):
they start worrying like, okay, my parents not okay, and
if they're not okay, how will I be okay, right,
because we're very aware that we're completely dependent on our
caregivers for survival at a young age, and so if
there's a combination of avoidance and an indirect enmeasurement, I
find that to be the most consistent output that will
produce a dismissive avoidant as an adult.

Speaker 2 (07:19):
That makes so much sense, Like the engulfment, the enmeshment,
I feel like we've jumped the gun. I've jumped the
gun and I went straight to like an in depth
question about avoidant attachment style. But that's what we're focusing
on today. What exactly makes somebody avoidant? How common is
this in society? Can you kind of break down something
you've already spoken about, is dismissive versus fearful? Can you

(07:42):
break down what it means to be somebody who is
avoidantly attached according to theory, according to your own personal
experiences as well.

Speaker 4 (07:51):
Yes, it's such a good question. So there's two quote
unquote avoidant attachment styles. One is fearful avoidant and one
is dismissive avoidant. So fearful avoidance one of the big
differentiators is they have an anxious side, so they basically
oscillate between being anxious and avoidant, and they basically because
they grow up with conflicting ideas about love, they often
have some very good experiences with love, like having some

(08:13):
very loving moments, some caring moments, and then having some
really chaotic ones. And fearful avoidance are characterized by a
little bit more trauma than the average attachment style. That's
the type of trauma we think, like big T trauma.
So it can be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse,
addiction in the family or household, really really intense divorce processes,
these kinds of things where there's a lot of that intensity,

(08:35):
and dismissive avoidance are characterized more by emotional neglect, but
also can be combined with that sense of engulfment or enmeshment.
So fearful avoidance will tend to have that side of
like fearing abandonment and yearning for closeness, but then also
fearing engulfment and enmeshment and entrapment in their relationships, and
so they can really go from being really hot to

(08:56):
very cold. So they're kind of the attachment style if any,
but he's newer to this stuff. That's like come to
get close to me, come we get close. I want love,
and then they're like, no, get back, you're too close.
And I experienced that my whole early teenagers and early
adult life, Like I would constantly be like, I really
want connection.

Speaker 3 (09:12):
I really care about connection, and then.

Speaker 4 (09:14):
When I felt really connected or attached to people, it
would terrify me. I would be like, we're gonna hurt me,
something bad's gonna happen, and I would try to start
pushing them away. And I was less like that with friendships,
but I was extremely like that with romantic relationships. I
was probably a very difficult person to be with before
doing the work. And so you know, it's because we
first have those core fears about like the closeness has

(09:35):
good moments, but it also has really scary moments, and
so we go back and forth within ourselves, which really
mirrors back the way we were conditioned about love and
attachments to begin with.

Speaker 3 (09:44):
And then dismiss the.

Speaker 4 (09:45):
Avoidance their overarching theme as childhood emotional neglect. So you know,
generally we'll see that they neglect their own emotions as
adults because there was never really a lot of emotional atonement.
And if that's combined with indirect enmashment and the fear
of getting too close or being engulfed. You'll see that
they tend to be people who constantly keep people at
arm's length, and so they may show up in like

(10:06):
the dating stage of relationships when they're first the attachment
bond hasn't been built yet, and they may be more
charming or charismatic or seem to be, you know, quite
available in a lot of different ways.

Speaker 3 (10:16):
Then, but once they.

Speaker 4 (10:17):
Start to attach, they tend to just exclusively fear being
trapped or being criticized, and so they'll really push back,
and they may be the type of attachment style that
you know, seems unable to commit, pushes away all of
a sudden note of the blue, even when commitments just
starting and when things are getting more real, and they'll
work really hard to maintain their privacy and their distance

(10:38):
from people a lot of the time because as a
child's closeness meant I was neglected and I was engulfed,
and so those are things that they're scared to relive
as adults, and they'll go out of their way to
stop that from happening. So those are sort of the
two avoidant attachment cells, and some of those key differences
between them.

Speaker 2 (10:56):
That was like so succinct. I also like the point
that you made around it being kind of a self
fulfilling prophecy, right, Like you start pushing away, so they
start behaving the way that you always expected people you
were close to to behave, and so you reinforce that
like primary maladaptive behavior of once again avoiding connection and

(11:17):
perhaps self sabotaging. Okay, I have a hot seat question
for you, and maybe you probably don't know the answer
to this, but how common is avoidant attachment in society?

Speaker 3 (11:30):
Really good question.

Speaker 4 (11:31):
So there hasn't been a huge body of recent research
done about the attachment breakdown. About thirty years ago, a
research show that it was roughly fifty percent of people
were secure, and then research showed that somewhere between five
and ten percent of people were disorganized attachment style. And
then the rest of the split was between anxious and

(11:52):
dismissive avoidant and disorganized is also sorry, fear full avoidant
aka disorganized attachment style.

Speaker 3 (11:58):
They're often referred to as the same thing. It's the
same attachment style at the end of the day. So
it's funny.

Speaker 4 (12:03):
Because you know, we have a big attachment sele Quitz,
and we have a lot of people to come in
take it, and tons of people will be like I
tested this way, but I realized through doing some of
the course work, I'm actually this attachment style. It's one
of the most common things we see and research shows
very conclusively historically that self reporting is not always the
most accurate thing sometimes, you know, although research will show that,

(12:27):
you know, we're looking at the totality of avoidant attachment
being somewhere around twenty to thirty percent shared by dismissible
avoidant and fearful avoidant attachment style. I wouldn't be surprised
if it's a little bit higher, particularly dismissible boidance, because
dismissible woildans tend to self report is more secure. I've
absolutely noticed that pattern, and we've had like a couple
million people take our attachment style Quitz, so it's not

(12:49):
a small sample size. And what will happen is people
will think that because you know, they're repressing their emotions,
which is very dismissible boidened, and because they tend to
not get into lots of fights are chaos in their relationships,
they'll often conflate that with being securely attached, rather than
realizing that what's securely attached actually means is we can

(13:10):
work through our conflicts, we can express our emotions vulnerably,
we can let people in and let our guard down
and let somebody get to know us, and we can
invest in commitment and invest in a relationship, and those
are really the cornerstones of what it means to be
securely attached, rather than the absence of arguing means secure attachment,
which is what the DA tends to conflate things as so,

(13:32):
I think that probably that percentage is significantly higher than
just the twenty to thirty percent, but the more common
research now it's coming out is at least showing that
secure attachment style is on the decline over the last
thirty years as well.

Speaker 2 (13:50):
I don't want to make I'm going to make broad
statements here and maybe they're not true, and they probably
should be more research into it, but I do feel
like there is obviously like a separation between parents and
children more now, like with social media with our phones
that really stops children in a way of reaching out,
but then also like parents from engaging properly with their children.

(14:12):
And we also know that there is a lot of
generational trauma that if not broken, gets passed on. That's
largely like there is like a core moment where you
can kind of fix that, right, And it's like if
people aren't doing the work, then it's not going to happen.
Then you know, that's what happens. I feel like, I

(14:32):
don't know if that's a big broad statement, but we'll
have to say I.

Speaker 3 (14:35):
Thought that was a perfect statement, Like I really really
agree with that.

Speaker 4 (14:38):
I think that we're in a generation now or because
of social media and the phone and convenience, and also
because of like a lot of our culture and a
lot of places throughout the world is like hustle culture,
like work so hard, do all these things, and obviously
like just some of the things that are happening in
the world too, like inflation and financial pressures. It's causing
you know, both parents to often be working, and both

(14:59):
parents some times to be working multiple jobs or to
be overwhelmed and stressed. And just like you said, there's
that generational trauma where if somebody's not right within themselves.

Speaker 3 (15:07):
I always say this, like trauma is literally contagious.

Speaker 4 (15:10):
It's not contagious in like a germ theory way the
way we think of like contagion, but trauma's contagious. In
the more proximity you have to somebody who has unresolved trauma,
the greater likelihood that trauma is going to be passed along, Right,
And so to your point, if we have this fractured
culture and this fractured sort of system that we're living

(15:30):
in in a multitude of ways, of course that's going
to affect somebody's attachment style. And so much of what
really creates secure attachment is is a caregiver able to
be present? Are they able to exercise something called approach
oriented behaviors and psychology, meaning that when a child cries
or they seem distressed, the caregiver goes towards that child,
approaches them and tries to sue them, checking with their needs.

(15:54):
And what that does is it allows a child to
think like, Okay, I'm worthy of expressing emotion. I'm worthy
of you know, negotiating my needs and conveying what they are.
And I get positively reinforced by my parents when that happens.
And in a culture where everybody's on their phones, where
everybody's over stressed or overwhelmed or burnt out and parents
don't have that emotional availability in that same way, and
they don't have as much in bandwidth for those those

(16:16):
approach oriented behaviors. Of course, that's going to affect the
attachment style of children.

Speaker 2 (16:20):
So I really like that point as well. I feel
like that is such a compelling thing because I see
it a lot of the time. And it's not to
say that people aren't trying the hardest and don't want
to raise like amazing, beautiful, well rounded children. It's just
hard to do that when your environment is trying to
keep you like overly stimulated by your phone or overly

(16:41):
engaged in social media or in work or in anything
like that. So this is kind of a follow up question.
Do you think people who are have a dismissive or
a fearful attachment style Do you think that they are
aware as conscious of it? I think you kind of.
I've already mentioned this, right, they're less conscious of the

(17:03):
fact that they have this attachment style is because it's
kind of like protective is they're like, do you think
that it's because that they implicitly have recognized a benefit
in being this way, so subconsciously like choose to be
unaware of it. Why do you think people more so
self report is secure?

Speaker 3 (17:22):
This is such a good question.

Speaker 4 (17:23):
So I think the first two things is like the
fearful woiden and dismissable widen are different. So fearful avoidance
like I was fear who wouldn't trust me? We know
we're insecurely attached like it is allowed and queer like
you'll be on the constant, forever roller coaster of relationships
until you heal your attachment style.

Speaker 3 (17:40):
So like fearable wouldn't they always know?

Speaker 4 (17:42):
They're like the first to know, like something is not
right with my attachment cell because they have extreme highs
and lows, like really good moments and then really really
awful or chaotic moments and trust issues and you name it.
So fearable avoidance tend to know the most. But again
that's that like five to ten percent segment of the population,
the dismissive avoidance, which are a sort of lard or
portion there you'll generally see that I think you kind.

Speaker 3 (18:04):
Of nailed it.

Speaker 4 (18:05):
You hit the nail on the head there where they
see it an implicit benefit. You know, first of all,
if I grow up and I can't get my needs
met let's pretend I'm a dismissible boiden for a moment,
and I'm a child and I grow up and I
can't get my needs met in a relationship for my parents,
and I'm wired for biology like I'm biologically wired for attunement,
and my parents are emotionally unavailable. Then what happens is

(18:26):
I go, well, it doesn't feel good to keep yearning
for something and get rejected. So I'm going to adapt
to this by just repressing my need to even attach
to them, And by doing that.

Speaker 3 (18:36):
It creates relief.

Speaker 4 (18:38):
And so now I think that keeping attachment at a
distance is a very good thing. It gives me this
reward feeling instead of it gives me the relief instead
of feeling like, oh, I'm just yearning for something and
keep feeling rejected. And on top of that, dismissible boidance,
because they're suppressing their emotions, are less likely to feel
their emotions and feel that something is off. And the

(18:59):
third layer to is a dismissable voidance end up in
a dynamic where they go, well, I'm the logical one.
I'm straightforward, I use my brain, and I'm not really
giving into my emotions and of course there's tremendous benefits
to that, right, Like, there can be huge benefits of
all attachment styles that are insecurely attached. They have unique
and really beautiful characteristics. But that's still going to be

(19:20):
something that doesn't benefit relationships because when the moment comes
to be raw and real and vulnerable and build a
genuine connection, if somebody's so closed off to that, they
can't even access that properly and they're terrified of it.

Speaker 3 (19:32):
And that becomes a really painful thing.

Speaker 4 (19:33):
So I think to your point, they are already suppressing
their emotions so they don't even feel as much as
something's off, and then they see a benefit in themselves
being that way, which makes it kind of this catch
twenty two where it's even trickier to realize that something's
not right.

Speaker 2 (19:47):
I'm going to ask a follow up question here, which
is do you think that men or women are more
likely to be this way? Because I get this questions
all the time where it's like the profile that you're
you're describing, right, being incredibly rational, Right, Like, that's something
that I think we often associate with men, that they
are like these rational people when it comes to relationships.

(20:10):
And women are emotional, whether that is correct or not,
or this idea of like men are allowed to be
a lot more emotionally closed off. Also the factor of
like parentification, right, Like women are perhaps more parentified, So
does that contribute to them? Like, there's so many questions
where them, Like it's kind of like a scale to

(20:30):
me of like which what contextual and external and environmental
factors are kind of balancing the scale to maybe make
men or women more likely to present this way.

Speaker 3 (20:41):
It's such a great question.

Speaker 4 (20:42):
So it's interesting in different cultures you'll actually see different
attachment style spreads ever so slightly, so, Like, it's interesting,
there is a study done in Japan and it shows
that a lot of individuals are more dismissive avoidant, and
culturally it's like negatively reinforced.

Speaker 3 (20:57):
To be too emotional or too vulnerable.

Speaker 4 (20:59):
Right, So you can some of those dynamics, but to
your point, absolutely, men are more likely to be dismissive
avoidance and women.

Speaker 3 (21:06):
Are actually more likely to be anxious.

Speaker 4 (21:08):
Attachment styles the spread right now looks like there's competing
studies on this stuff, but it looks like it's somewhere
between either eighty twenty or seventy five twenty five men
to women in terms of who proportionally is dismissive, avoidant
attachment style. And so it makes a lot of sense, right.
Men are generally more emotionally shamed, and they're generally taught like,

(21:28):
don't be a cry baby, grow up, don't be so vulnerable,
don't let anyone see you cry. Like a lot of
that messaging, or messaging becomes or conditioning. And so a
lot of that messaging is conditioning somebody to be like, oh,
I can't show these sides of myself. I'll get rejected,
I'll be you know, shameful if I show the side
of myself. And so it gives even more incentive for
somebody to repress those aspects of self. Whereas women, you know,

(21:52):
although this is changing more so recently a little bit,
but women still tend to naturally be you know, they
have this culture where it's like, okay, we can express
our emotions more or share things, or be more open
and vulnerable with each other than we would generally see
in a.

Speaker 3 (22:07):
Group of men.

Speaker 2 (22:08):
Yeah, it's a classic social learning theory, right, Like you
observe how your parents behave, how those around you behave,
and you replicate and you mimic it. And if you're
growing up in a community, in a culture, in an
environment you know, I'm in Australia, right, Like that's a
huge thing to be like a very march o man
and to be very like tough and men don't cry,

(22:28):
and men get out in the field and do all
the work. Like, if that is the environment you're raised in,
even if you know it's incorrect, even if your parents
know it's incorrect and have tried very hard to not
enforce that within you, Like it is still going to
bleed in if it's kind of like the if it's
kind of like what's in the air, right, If it's

(22:50):
the thing that you breathe in, if it's a thing
that you see when you go to school, when you
hang out at your friend's place, when you go to
like the grocery store, when you watch when you switch
on TV, Like it's going to be reinforced or rewarded somehow.
How do you think that both are dismissive and a
fearful avoidant attachment style separately obviously look different for different genders.

Speaker 4 (23:13):
Such a good question, So I would say, if we
break down each one, so dismissive avoidance. As men and women,
they both tend to share some unique characteristics, but men generally,
it's a little bit more socially acceptable for men to
be dismissive avoidance, similar to what we're talking about on
this concept, And so I think it's important to note that,

(23:35):
like your main first influences will be in the home,
because basically how we get programmed from a neuroplastic point
of view is like from neuroplasticity, we get programs farmed
through a lot of repetition and emotion which fire and
wire those neural pathways. And so we may if we're
at home all the time with our caregivers and that's
the major environment where we are being sort of immersed in,

(23:59):
then are more likely to see that. But we have
all these other features and factors coming at us right
where like then we have these other parts that can
either reprogram us or shift or change us if we
have a lot of like I'll share just one quick
example here.

Speaker 3 (24:13):
I had a.

Speaker 4 (24:15):
Client once and she was a really well known gymnast
and she was very very successful. She won a couple
gold medals, and she had a very secure household, but
she was around coaches all the time. She'd go home
from school, not spend any time at home, go to
the gym for four or five hours a night, and
her coach made her really anxiously attached. So we can
have these secondary influences and depending on our repeated exposure

(24:38):
to them, can actually usurp our original attachment style wiring.
So just to speak to that for a second, I
thought it was so important. But dismissive avoidance as a whole,
as a male, you'll tend to see that they present
as very stoic, very unemotional, sometimes.

Speaker 3 (24:53):
Slow to warm up.

Speaker 4 (24:54):
They can be a lot of like the boys boys, right,
They tend to really like to spend time with other
like minded individuals. They get really into their projects a
lot of the time, their hobbies, those sorts of things,
and they tend to be logical, rational, practical, all of
those different dynamics. We'll see those same things as a female.

(25:16):
Dismissible avoidant, Like, those traits really don't change that much,
I would say, more of what changes is society's response
to those traits. So men, it's sort of like they're
okay to be that logical, rational, practical withdrawn sort of
person whereas with women, you know, sometimes it's like, well,
why is she so stand offish or why is she
not warm?

Speaker 3 (25:35):
Or why is she?

Speaker 4 (25:36):
And I think the external response to it is more
what changes rather than anything else. And so I find
that men kind of have an easier time and are
more socially accepted as being a dismissive awoidant compared to women. Again,
overarching themes not always the case, but we can definitely
see that and will sometimes see that dismissive avoidance are
more likely to be kind of like the engineer types,

(25:57):
right to get really interested in that sort of style
of learning, and they tend to really value their safety
and their comfort zone, and they don't like to go
and try tons of new things all the time.

Speaker 3 (26:08):
And again that usually comes from childhood programming.

Speaker 4 (26:10):
So men and women share in a lot of those characteristics,
but it's just the external response to it.

Speaker 3 (26:15):
It seems to change.

Speaker 4 (26:15):
And from a fearful avoidant point of view, generally, fear
full avoidant women will seem.

Speaker 3 (26:20):
Very warm and very you know, kind.

Speaker 4 (26:23):
And available until real attachment forms, and then they push
away and they fear and those hot and cold patterns
come about. And I find that that is kind of easier,
if I had to say, between men and women, it's
a little easier for women to be like that because
they tend to be deep and they want to emotionally
connect with people and they care about like understanding human
behavior and psychology. Whereas you know men that are fearful avoidant,

(26:45):
if they're big feelers, if they really feel everything.

Speaker 3 (26:48):
And then they're like hot and cold.

Speaker 4 (26:50):
It's confusing for them, right because they don't have as
much support in their ability to emotionally process. So those
are some of the differences. I would say, like the
traits and characteristics don't change mine, but more how they
then relate to a society based on their gender with
their unique attachment styles.

Speaker 2 (27:08):
I feel like it just goes to show that we
think that we're just socialized as children, but we are
continually socialized as adults, right, and there continues to be
these influences from our environment that can make us who
we are, and especially influence things like attachment style as well,
which is a core component of I think becomes a

(27:31):
more core component of our identity and how we relate
to others the older we get, as we want to
form those more serious long term friendships and relationships and connections.
I feel like recognizing this is one thing, and it
could probably feel quite overwhelming when you kind of finally

(27:54):
wake up and smell the coffee or kind of begin
to realize that this is not helping me anymore, that
this is something that I needed to survive a childhood
experience that I am now out of, I'm now separate from,
and I do want to be able to connect and
I do want to find meaningful, deep, secure love. How

(28:15):
do we kind of approach healing when we get to
that point of acceptance? First, the next step is obviously
so obviously you can't rewrite history. But the next step
is to think about your future self and how you
want to change for them. How some of the ways
that we go about not undoing but accepting and healing

(28:38):
this part of us.

Speaker 4 (28:39):
Yeah, it's such a beautiful question. So we created a
body of work and we had about thirty one thousand
people go through our programs and take this information and
we see within about a ninety day period, we can
change our attachment style. Now, that's the median of people, right,
There's people who fall outside of that, who may not
be you know, who may have way more childhood trauma.

(28:59):
And it may take more than ninety days, but the
vast majority of people can become dominantly securely attached in
that ninety day period and it's through focusing on a
few crucial areas. So number one, and when we say
like healing those parts of ourselves and accepting part of ourselves,
I think it's we walk this really beautiful line between
being able to be self accepting but also realize when

(29:21):
there's a need for transformation. Right, Like, we can have
a child who does something wrong at school, you know,
breaks something or get angry or throws a temper tantrum,
and it doesn't mean we like shame the child. We
can be like, honey, I love you, I care about you,
I want you to feel okay, and that's not acceptable.
At the same time, let's work on changing that behavior.
So it's really like that attitude that we want to

(29:43):
have to sell first, where we can be accepting of like, hey,
this isn't my fault.

Speaker 3 (29:47):
I didn't choose my attachment style.

Speaker 4 (29:49):
It was whatever repeated things that got exposed to and
it is still my responsibility because only I can do
that work. And so that work can look like going
to counseling or therapy, but that work can also look
like doing deep in our self work. And so there's
really a few crucial areas that when we target these
things we can become securely attached.

Speaker 3 (30:08):
So crucial area.

Speaker 4 (30:09):
Number one is reprogramming core wounds. Our core wounds are
like our relationship baggage. It's whatever we've been afflicted with
as children we will fear as adults. So if you
had a lot of broken trust as a child, you
will as an adult be like.

Speaker 3 (30:23):
I will be betrayed, and that's a core wound.

Speaker 4 (30:25):
Or if we had a lot of real or perceived
abandonment in childhood, you know, through inconsistency or divorce or
one parent pulls away, you will probably believe I will
be abandoned. As an adult, if you are criticized or neglected,
you will believe I am defective.

Speaker 3 (30:41):
And that's how people are going to see me.

Speaker 4 (30:42):
And so you can hear that in the different attachment styles,
the fear full avoidant, the anxious that dismissive avoidant. And
so when we can first find our core wounds, we're
not born with these things. We can just rewire them,
and so we rewire them and I can always share
a tool in a little bit, but we rewire them
through repetition, emotion, and imagery because that's what's necessary to
recondition the subconscious mind.

Speaker 3 (31:01):
So there's a really easy tool to go through that.

Speaker 4 (31:04):
But Number one area court wounds. Number two we learn
our needs and how to meet them ourselves. So each
attachment style is unique needs. Anxious tend to want a
lot more certainty, consistency, validation, encouragement to be made a priority,
to feel important.

Speaker 3 (31:20):
Fearful avoidance want a lot of depth.

Speaker 4 (31:22):
They want novelty, they want growth in the relationship, they
want deep connection, but they also want freedom and independence
and dismiss of avoidance. They tend to actually respond very
well to acceptance, support, empathy, and then small pieces of
appreciation or acknowledgment and then being able to also have
their freedom and independence. So each attachment style has different needs.

(31:44):
When we learn to meet our own needs and then
number three communicate them to other people, that's like the
framework for how we give and receive love. People talk
about love languages and that's great and it's meaningful, but
meeting each other's needs is much more impactful than the
five love languages and just as an example, like I
have a big love language around quality time. But if
I'm watching a movie on Netflix with somebody versus having

(32:06):
a deep conversation, the deep conversation meets my need for
emotional connection. That's going to be way more important to
me than just quality time. As an overarching theme, like
deeply emotionally connecting with somebody is way better. So our
needs and learning what those are for each of our
unique styles and meeting them for each other is like
this huge set of ingredients and a roadmap to finding

(32:26):
deeper connection and love. SOEs learning to meet our own needs,
learning to communicate our needs to others using healthy strategies.
Sometimes we go you never spend enough time with me,
instead of hey, I miss you. I feel disconnected this week.
I'd love to plan something fun on the weekend. That's
called positive framing. When we positively frame or more likely
to get heard so we can be core wound reprogrammers,

(32:49):
meet our needs, learn to communicate better, and then learn
healthier boundaries in our world. These are four of the
most important components to becoming securely atime. When we can
really target those, we can actually heal any maladaptive patterns
that we were taught and we can leave the relationship
baggage that we have from childhood in the past where

(33:10):
it belongs.

Speaker 2 (33:11):
Oh my gosh, that is so such like a perfect equation.
I feel like and I love that you've spoke about
needs instead of love language. I will say, I think
love languages are like an amazing idea, but there is
not as much research on them as you would probably
like for such a huge term like used in psychobabble.

(33:32):
And something they say is that it's not really a
complete picture of what we need as people and as
emotional beings. You know, five love languages does not make
a relationship, does not make a human like there is
a deeper core need behind each of them that can
be met, not just through that expression that we normally

(33:52):
talk about. Do you think that it's easier to heal?
I'm going to ask you one final question. It's another
hot seat question. So yes, I'm sure you have an
amazing answer, But do you think that it's easier to
heal and avoid an attachment style, dismissive, le fearful when
you are single or in a relationship.

Speaker 4 (34:12):
Oh my gosh, what a great question. So I will
say it depends on a number of factors. So we
get this question all the time in our programs. People
will constantly ask me this in like the weekly webinars
we do, and I would say that it depends on
how codependent you are. The reason being that if we
are in a relationship and we're highly codependent, so what

(34:34):
usually this means if you're anxiously attached or even fearful avoidant,
we tend to have a lot of those more codependent
patterns where will kind of people please or put other
people before ourselves, And because people wouldn't share in that
anxious side, it's it's quite a likelihood towards codependency. So
if we are more codependent and we're trying to heal
our attachment style, well in a relationship, sometimes it's hard

(34:54):
because we will get really locked into prioritizing the relationship
over our own self work. But if you're somebody who's
highly committed to your personal growth and it's like a
huge passion and you can really trust yourself to be
mindful of that, then the reality is we can see
faster progress in a relationship as well, because that's the

(35:15):
real life work, right, that's like where we're really going
to do that work and have to communicate differently and
have to reprogram our core wounds so we don't take
things personally and have to like actually share our needs
with somebody so we can have really profound results in
a short period of time if we're highly committed. If
we're not that committed, we're just kind of dabbling around
and like, oh, you know, I'm kind of I read

(35:37):
about personal growth once a month or something like that.
Then it's going to be easier to stay committed when
we don't have the distraction of codependency by being more
anxious leaning in our attachment style. Dismissive avoidance tend to
actually do really well at healing when in a relationship
because they're more action oriented, So they tend to do
better when they're actually like showing up if they're committed

(36:00):
to doing so. And so I would say overall, you'll
generally see that easiest to hardest to heal. I would
say anxious and dismissives generally heal a little quicker because
they have less attachment trauma. Fearful avoidance generally have a
little bit more, although when you get them into personal
growth related stuff. They tend to like go a million
miles an hour and really get stuck into the work

(36:22):
because they tend to really like the depth of all
of that stuff. Those are those fearful avoidant needs and
they like growth. But we will see that as long
as somebody is highly committed in or out of a
relationship can work. I personally, when I first started doing
a lot of healing work, was really single for like
three and a half years. I was like not dating
anybody anything, and I was really codependent, and I think

(36:45):
that was good for me. But in retrospect, like I
didn't need three and a half years, Like I could have,
you know, done the first year or two of work
that I did and then gotten back into relationship and
I had a lot of work to do. But you'll see,
if people are committed, that's really the overarging factor. Whether
you're in or out of the relationship, are you doing

(37:05):
the work, are you willing to stay consistent with it?
And as long as you're doing that, I think that
you can actually have more of an upside on being
in a relationship because it can create more rapid growth
more quickly.

Speaker 2 (37:16):
That is such an amazing answer, and I love how
there's like, it's not just a simple one. You know,
it's not just like no, yeah, you should be single
before you fix this. You know, you need to be
single in order to work through this. It's like, No,
there are a lot of people who are in relationships
that have been quite successful, but they just want them
to be better, and they just realize that maybe these
won't this won't last if this underlying pattern is not addressed.

(37:40):
So that's kind of all the questions I have for
you today. Thank you so much for coming on the
show and breaking this down. Is there anything else on
avoidant attachment styles, on this on theory that you haven't
mentioned that you want to quickly say something about.

Speaker 4 (37:55):
I'll think one last really quick thing, which is that
I find it to also be really be powerful as
an accompanying healing strategy that we do a little bit
of nervous systant regulation work. So if anybody is on
this journey and they can just apply a simple tool
like meditating in the morning, or breath work in the evenings,
or just something that's helping them get out of this
constant fight or flight and just get more back into

(38:18):
their body and present in the relationship to self.

Speaker 3 (38:20):
It's usually like the fifth major pillar I'll mention after.

Speaker 4 (38:23):
The core wounds and the needs and the boundaries and
communication as this kind of honorable mention that can just
fast track the healing process.

Speaker 3 (38:31):
So another really great thing to focus on for sure.

Speaker 2 (38:33):
Yeah, it's honestly amazing because I feel like when you're
i don't know, reconstructing how you see love and how
you see others and how you see connection, like, it's
going to be pretty scary and there will definitely be
moments of like distress and moments of perhaps panic and
being able to slow down and say to yourself, this
is just an emotion, this is just a feeling. This

(38:54):
is nothing that's going to end my life, nothing that's
going to ruin my life. It's just my nervous system
doing what it's meant to do, which is respond to
a perceived threat. Yeah, I feel like we're going to
be so much more successful. So thank you again for
coming on a reminder that Ty's had another episode with
us back in December, I think on Anxious Attachment Stars

(39:18):
if you want to go and listen to that one
as well. As always, if you enjoyed this episode, please
feel free to leave us a five star review on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts. I don't know wherever you're listening,
and make sure that you're following along. It really does
help the show to grow and to reach new people
who might need to hear some of the things that

(39:40):
we're talking about. If you have an episode suggestion, if
you have a contribution to this episode, something that we
didn't talk about, something that you would want us to
expand on further your own experience, please message me at
that Psychology Podcast. I would love to hear from you,
And as always, until we speak next stay kind, be safe,

(40:01):
and be gentle with yourself. We will be back next week.
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