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January 25, 2024 26 mins

Do you know your attachment style? Jana is talking to relationship coach Jessica Baum to fill in the blanks on anxious attachment styles. 

Find out how they form, how to handle anxiety, and what to do when you feel an emotional trigger. 

Plus, Jana opens up about why her attachment to Allan is unlike anything she’s experienced before. 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Wind Down with Janet Kramer and I'm Heart Radio Podcast.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
All Right, Today's Thursday Therapy. We've got Jessica Bomb coming in.
She's got a new book called Anxiously Attached Becoming More
Secure in Life and Love. Let's get her on. Well, Jessica,
I'm really excited to have you on today's Thursday Therapy
episode of wind Down. Your book is well. First of all,
I think it's such an interesting topic because I recently

(00:26):
said this to my dad, because you know, I've done
therapy forever and one of the things that I learned
about myself is I'm extremely or I was. I'm a
recovering anxiously attached person. So I that was how because
I just never felt that love or the you know,
as a child, I always kind of I craved the love,

(00:46):
so I would cling on to people, which then you know,
most and most of the time the people that I'm
clinging on to were avoidant, so which then made me
more anxiously attached. So do you see that as being
how people kind of grow into this anxiously attached just
from their childhood.

Speaker 3 (01:04):
Yeah. Absolutely, And I talk about this a lot in
my book.

Speaker 1 (01:08):
But really anxious attachment and attachment in general starts so
early on, and anxious attachment starts in our nervous system,
So we didn't get a lot of lending of the
parasympathetic nervous system from our primary caregiver to learn a
lot of self regulation. So we need a lot of

(01:28):
coregulation and we tend to depend on other people to
help us feel safe. There are other hallmarks that happen
when we're younger, and one of them is inconsistency. So
even if we form a connection, we have a somatic
feeling in our body that the connection could drop, and
some people equate this to abandonment issues or quote unquoteqote

(01:50):
dependent traits. Those all stem from really early wiring that
we might not even be conscious of. And by the way,
our parents are not guilty, like they're doing the best
can in their nervous system responses. But all of this
is wired way before real really we really even know.
And so we take those early adaptive patterns and we

(02:12):
reenact them in our romantic relationships, and so that's where
it starts to become like mind blowing.

Speaker 3 (02:17):
It's like why am I acting this way? Why am
I clinging?

Speaker 1 (02:20):
Well? Part of you remembers inconsistency. A part of you
has some abandonment in there. A part of you is
scared of disconnection, as you should be, and a part
of you is so fearful that when that gets activated
or awakened in you, you reenact what a baby would do,
which is to reach out and maybe get a little
bit clingy, and you know, and then we pick people

(02:41):
who are overwhelmed by that and push us away, and
then we're stuck in this miserable anxious avoidant dance, which
I talk about in detail in the book.

Speaker 2 (02:50):
So for those that are listening that don't know, you
know what anxious attachment is. I mean, what would you say?
How could someone go, Okay, here's the five second quiz
that would go, all right, I'm anxiously attached. Because it
says here that forty five forty seven million Americans identify
as having an anxious anxious attachment style. Whether that being

(03:14):
what anxiously attached avoidant. I don't know what the other
ones are. I just know the two because I've either
been one or been with the other one, right, right, right, So.

Speaker 1 (03:22):
There's four different there's four different styles. There's secure, there's anxious,
there's avoidant there. Yeah, secure makes up a good portion
of the population. The forty seven million is talking about
just anxious, and then there's insecure. There's the other insecure
is avoidant, and then there's fearful, and those are like
kind of the regular names.

Speaker 3 (03:43):
So i'll, you know, i'll.

Speaker 1 (03:44):
Avoidant is very different than anxious, and so anxious people,
like I said, the hallmark really knowing, are more of
the quota pendent traits.

Speaker 3 (03:52):
So they can leave their body.

Speaker 1 (03:54):
And sense what their partner is feeling, and they can
be people pleasing and self abandoned in order to stay
in connection, because connection is our biological imperative when we're
really small, if we learn to monitor our parents' needs
or understand the temperature checking of the room, we take
those adaptive strategies and we bring them into our adult relationships.

(04:17):
So that inconsistency or feeling like the shoe is going
to drop is a hallmark of anxious attachment.

Speaker 3 (04:23):
And I guess the biggest thing I want to drive.

Speaker 1 (04:25):
Home is these really early ways in which our nervous
system tries to stay in connection and adapts it are
the same ways we end up staying in connection and
adapting when we get adult, we don't change because we
are an adult. We have conscious awareness that we're an
adult and we're in a relation. We have parts of
ourselves that are still responding to fear in ways that

(04:45):
we learned when we were small.

Speaker 2 (04:48):
What age do you think that starts or that you
remember that attachment in.

Speaker 3 (04:53):
Womb we have cellular memory.

Speaker 1 (04:55):
In womb, we internalize like we have cellular memory and womb,
and we have something called implicit memory or sensational memory
from zero to about four. So when you're in a relationship,
in your gut drops, or you have really strong sensations,
or you feel a big panic, some of that is memory.

Speaker 3 (05:16):
That is actually memory.

Speaker 1 (05:18):
It's not the memory you think about explicitly, like you
remember going to Disneyland. Sensational experiences are how we store
memory before that part of our brain develops. So when
your boyfriend doesn't contact you back, or when you see
someone really checked out, or when someone's on their phone
and they're not paying attention to you and your whole

(05:38):
body lights up, that is your memory system saying connection
is gone.

Speaker 3 (05:43):
This is really scary.

Speaker 1 (05:44):
I'm shifting out of a sense of safety into a
more activated place.

Speaker 2 (05:50):
Yeah, It's fascinating to me the whole thing, because I
mean I definitely have always been anxiously attached up until
about little after my divorce. I dated someone too afterwards,
and it was just that same thing falling into the
you know, into someone who was showing the patterns of
you know, saying their present but then doing X, Y

(06:12):
and Z things that weren't lining up. That triggered that
anxious feeling that I had in my last marriage where
I was like, can't trust it, not safe and then
I just cling onto to not lose, you know, and
to feel secure and happy in all the things. But
it was again such a disservice to myself because I'm like,

(06:33):
this is you know, I'm clinging onto something in someone
that's not healthy for me, and I'm not healthy. So
it was like the too healthy you know, unhealthy people
together and like that to me is is interesting because
a lot of people will reach out and go, okay,
I'm with this person and he's cheated again, or what
should I do? And I'm like, you know, of course,
my whole being is like now knowing where my road

(06:58):
was was like leave, Like what do you do? But
I can't say that right, So I'm like, you have
to make decision for yourself. You'll know when enough is enough.
But would you say those people are then anxiously attached
because of the wounding in a relationship.

Speaker 1 (07:11):
Yeah, your questions are so simple but yet very very deep.
And we have an anticipated somatic experience of what a
relationship and connection might feel like, and we might gravitate
towards people who feel familiar and reenact some trauma in
our relationship, and circular dances or cycles might happen. And

(07:38):
because connection is literally our biological imperative, we can be
very scared to leave the relationship for so many levels,
Like consciously we're scared because being alone is hard, but
subconsciously there could be other things going on that keep
us as well in relationship patterns that are really consciously

(07:59):
we know are unhealthy for us, but are so hard
to leave. And so you know, we are designed to
stay in connection even when it's unhealthy. We will forego
some things to stay in connection because.

Speaker 3 (08:12):
That is our survival.

Speaker 1 (08:14):
The more work we get we do with what lives
in our body and our embodied memory and our and
our childhood and connecting to the root of these fears
and these things the allure of the cycle or the
allure of someone who really can't meet our needs lessons,
and we start to possibly attract people who are more

(08:34):
present and consistent and start to help our nervous system
understand what is healthy love, which feels very different from
kind of a roller coaster relationship. So you're you're describing
maybe what people would talk about as trauma bonding or
codependency or twin flame, and it's like, all of these
terms are you know, we can judge them, but truly

(08:56):
we need to understand that we pick people for a
reason and usually reenact a lot of what our belief
systems in our body anticipates, and we stay for a
lot of reasons, and there shouldn't be a lot of
judgment there.

Speaker 3 (09:08):
I would just hope there's a lot.

Speaker 1 (09:10):
Of curiosity around, Okay, I'm not getting my needs met
in this relationship and it's really hard to leave. Can
I get some support around this? And where can I heal?
And the more you heal, the more the right decision
hopefully comes through for you.

Speaker 2 (09:39):
I think one of the coolest things that I my
transformation after my divorce was realizing, like a the work
that I still had I had so much to do
still that I had a big part to play, and
then if I wanted to attract a healthy relationship that
I'm like, I had to do even more work, even
though I'm like, I've been doing therapy forever, Why am
I still having to like go? So it's like but

(10:00):
then it was just reworking different things. And then you know,
when I was I was feeling more healthy and getting
out there, and I took a little time off, just
a little, but I felt that I was choosing different
because I also felt healthier. But I remember when I
met my fiance, I was like, all right, this just
feels so different. And I remember telling my therapist too,

(10:21):
I said, for the first time, I feel safe, and
that feels weird to me. It almost was like I
felt unsafe, but I wouldn't feel unsafe. I felt safe,
but so safe that it felt I didn't know if
I could trust it because I've never felt that before.
And so I had to work through that, going okay,
what is what is a man showing up doing what

(10:42):
he says like actually does like this is this is amazing?
And then it's me going okay, I have to show
up as my healthy self and not be anxiously attached,
which I wasn't. It was just but it was just
it was wild to go, Okay, now there's two healthy
people that are doing you know, that have done a

(11:02):
million wrong things in the past, that are doing the
right things now. But to trust what it was then,
like I've always had it up and down relationship and
we've been together for a little over a year and
we've never had a fight, Like, but past relationships it'd
be I mean again, when's the next show gonna drop
explosive fights? Like? And I'm like, this just feels different
and it feels almost foreign to me. And I'm like,

(11:24):
that's that was a hard thing to process when I
first met him, because I'm like, wait, we haven't fought yet.
This is weird, you know, like this feels in a
weird way way unsafe. I'm so confused how that's even possible.

Speaker 1 (11:35):
Yeah, well, I mean, thank you for being so vulnerable.
I can totally relate to that.

Speaker 3 (11:40):
One. Fighting is actually healthy. Conflict is healthy. So I
hear you.

Speaker 2 (11:45):
We have conflicts, but we don't have like when I
say fights to me, fights are like explosive, you know,
slam doors nasty words like that was the stuff that
I've that I've been used to, and but we definitely
have like I don't agree with you. We get a
little snippy, but not ever like a full blown thing, right.

Speaker 1 (12:05):
Yeah, no, And I hear you, yeah, I conflict is
healthy rupture and repair, which we can get into. But
what I hear you saying, which is really awesome and
so awesome for the listeners to hear, is that you
took some time to yourself. You probably worked on some
relationships in your life, building some security outside of romance,

(12:25):
and then when someone came in that wasn't high conflict,
it felt different in your nervous system, and it took
your time to understand that this is actually a new
way to love, right right, and so, and old stuff
can still come up, and it probably will because that's
what your system. But because he was consistent and you
were consistent and it was new, you're able to find

(12:47):
a new sense of safety in that in that relationship.
And that's amazing and that's what every anxious person strives
to hear, that that that possibility is there. And I
I can relate to what you're sharing in terms of
taking some time off and building some safety outside of romance,
and then relearning what romance might feel like in your

(13:10):
nervous system and understanding that familiar is different than safe,
and so what might feel safe actually might feel scary
for a lot of people who struggle with vulnerability and
true intimacy. Right, And so if we don't do the work,
a really safe person might bring up, wow, this is
real connection here versus like you know, one of those

(13:32):
fairy tale or fantasy bonds that feel like more like escape,
like escaping from our pain.

Speaker 2 (13:39):
Right, No, that makes sense. And there's a thing you said,
you created this self full method. What is that?

Speaker 3 (13:46):
Yeah?

Speaker 1 (13:46):
So I talk about in the book, I talk about
different nervous system states, and I talk about people who
are anxiously attached being more selfless. So we self abandon
and we temperature check people, please, we can leave our body.
We are like we know, I know what my dog
is thinking right now, right, Like, we're very like in
touch with our environment and we've had to.

Speaker 3 (14:07):
Be to survive.

Speaker 1 (14:08):
And that's a state, right, And then there's another state,
and we attract people who tend to go to this state, right,
this is the avoidant where they're very self focused and
they can shut down and not be attuned to the
needs of others.

Speaker 3 (14:22):
So like we have these states, and both.

Speaker 1 (14:24):
The selfless and selfish states are born of sympathetic activation.
So both those states of I'm going to overtake care
of you and I'm going to people please you is
out of fear, right, and I'm going to only focus
on myself and I'm just going to stay focused on
myself as actually born of fear too. And then there's
a middle state I call self full state, and it's
really a ventral state of connection. And we are actually

(14:47):
oscillating through these states all day long. It's not like
we stay in one. We might gravitate towards one when
we're scared, but self full is like when we're feeling
so much safety in our relationship that there is a
fluid sense of exchange. We can ask for our needs,
we can speak up, we have boundaries, we can get close,
we can move away. Basically we feel safe and so

(15:09):
different things take us out of safety. I can honestly
say that, and if you're listening, like I can, I
can be selfless at one point in my day, and
I can feel selfish and in my relationships if there's
enough safety being built, we hopefully are in the self
ful state more and more that window of tolerance expanse.

Speaker 3 (15:28):
Does that make sense? Yeah?

Speaker 2 (15:29):
Are you also saying too when you when I hear
you say that is on the flip side of where
the attachment stuff is. Maybe one day you can be
avoidant one. Is that the same kind? Does that work
for the same thing? Where like sometimes you can be
the avoidant one or the anxious one or is it
is that what your're a meaning is Yes?

Speaker 1 (15:45):
And like this and not to get too deep into
attachment theory, but like our attachment style can fit into
a category and it changes, and we have avoidant protectors
and we like I will personally move and I don't
know so much anymore. Actually I don't think I do
this anymore. But I typically would move into the maybe
the people pleasing state if I'm scared, But the more

(16:08):
work that I do in maybe not so much, I
might use my voice more and if I'm really triggered,
I might move to the other pendulum of like selfish state.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
Right, So, like it's.

Speaker 1 (16:19):
Kind of knowing where your nervous system kind of gravitates
to and with whom, and it very much. I don't
know that it relates directly to attachment theory, but almost
like the protectors or the way we cope with fear
in our relationships and our nervous system.

Speaker 2 (16:36):
These states, and as long as it's the pendulum goes
from let's just say avoidant to secure avoidance, so it's
at least but not between the other not great ones
like anxious avoidant anxious avoidant, where at least it's like
anxious secure. A secure is that like the kind of
the hope that you're at least you have a piece

(16:58):
of the secure in you.

Speaker 3 (17:01):
Yeah, I mean, obviously that's the hope.

Speaker 1 (17:02):
Like right now I'm not activated, So right now I
feel self full, like I can speak up with you.
I feel comfortable sharing my voice, like you know, I'm
not over people pleasing, so like you kind of know
when that stuff comes up. The problem with so, if
it is a pendulum or a spectrum, is people on
the self selfless state, so they anxiously attached or more codependent,

(17:23):
and the people on the selfish which you might look
at is narcissism or extreme avoidance. Right, both those states
are born in fear. So the problem with those states
is they're never getting into connection. So if we're in
a people pleasing state constantly, or if we're in a
state of self like we're shut down and only focused
on ourselves. It's not that there's anything wrong with those states.

(17:46):
Inherently there are states of protection, but they're not getting
into connection. So we can't get into connection when we're
in sympathetic activation like when you're in fight flight or
people pleasing or all of this, we're not calming our
nervous system down enough to feel safe enough to form
into missing connections. So those states tend to put people

(18:07):
to people into fear so much that they're missing connection
in the relationship.

Speaker 2 (18:12):
Does that make sense that that makes sense? Yeah, for sure.
I also know that I can. It doesn't happen a lot,
but I can get so out of body sometimes because

(18:34):
of past triggers that I can't even have a conversation
until I'm out of that mode because nothing that is
said to me, I will rationalize in a like an
in a in my right brain at all, I'll just
I'll react, react, react, react, And it's not so I'm
like and it's you know, my fancy sees that now

(18:55):
he's just like you know, I love you, and I'm
here when you're you know, when you're ready to to talk.
But I'm like sometimes I'm just like I need a
minute because I'm like, I can just be so activated
with passings that are not have nothing to do with
the actual thing that's happening. Is just is a trigger
from something that came up in a conversation that has
nothing to do with him.

Speaker 3 (19:16):
You know, yeah, absolutely, I understand that.

Speaker 1 (19:19):
And you know, for the listeners, it's like we can
get awakened at any moment, and I like to say
it awakened instead of triggered, because something old was.

Speaker 3 (19:26):
Awakened in you. And when you're like, I'm not in
the right brain, you're literally not in the part of
your brain like has empathy and can connect because you
are activated in a way that your brain is running
for life or shutting like whatever it's doing, it's in
a survival stance, and so then your thoughts are survival
or defensive or accusatory because your system is activated. And

(19:49):
then it's very hard to get back into the sense
of we or calmness. And it's great that your fiance
is able to say, Okay, like I'm here, I'm here
for you, And so how you get to a place
of de escalating yourself and you get back to a
place of connection and you're able to understand, like, I
can't connect in that state, and so he's not provoking

(20:10):
you in that state because he's not activated when you're
in that state. So he's able to give you that
space to give.

Speaker 1 (20:16):
Yourself where another person might say, oh my god, she's
in this activated state. Now my nervous system is subconsciously
picking up on her activation, and now I'm going to
get activated, and now we're going to fight.

Speaker 2 (20:27):
And that was the dance of all my other past
where it's just you know, in all of those bad areas.
But when someone is going through like anxiously attached, something's
coming up for them. What are some tips to regulate
and not go left or right?

Speaker 3 (20:50):
What? Another beautiful question.

Speaker 1 (20:51):
So the missing developmental link for people who have anxious
attachment is they don't have the ability to self regulate.

Speaker 3 (21:00):
So when they will be yeah, yeah, I know, I
like I struggle.

Speaker 1 (21:04):
I actually struggle a lot with sleep like self downregulating right, Like,
So when we're born, we are not born with a
fully developed parasympathetic nervous system. So if our primary caregiver
was not in their parasympathetic nervous system, and for those
who are listening, that's like the system that like helso
soothe and calm down, rest and digest. So if my

(21:28):
mom and bless her heart, she wasn't and that was
not her fault, right, she was going through a lot
of stress. She wasn't in her parasympathetic enough that I
didn't develop internal ability to self regulate that well, so
I need what's called a lot of coregulation. And this
is where I think a lot of you know, shame

(21:49):
or misunderstanding comes up because anxiously attached people sometimes can't
calm themselves down literally right, And so this is where
substance abuse happen. And this is where dependency codependency happens.
So understanding that I need to call someone who can
help me hold space for this disregulated part might be

(22:12):
the only option. Or using a substance. Unfortunately that becomes
codependency could be turned on the you know a lot
of people could develop addiction because we can't get ourselves
to calm down, and that is not our fault. So
I think just understanding and having some compassion around the
developmental pieces of how you might have survived and adapted

(22:34):
and what you truly need now is like half the
battle of taking out any shame about what comes up
for you. I know I can sometimes calm myself down,
and if I can't, I've got a few people that
will hold space for me and let me be anxious
and and not fixed me, but like, you know, be
there for me if I'm really justsregulated and that that's

(22:56):
just something I know I need as someone who struggles
with a little bit more anxiety, and there's no shame
in that. I mean, I'd like to get to a
point where I'm like, I internalize all those people and
I need them less and less, because that's actually what
a secure child does, is it takes in that parasympathetic
and the essence of someone who's calm, and then we
have that inside our system. But sometimes if we didn't

(23:18):
get that as an adult, that's when we have to
form relationships with therapists and coaches and really secure people
to start to understand that their nervous system is there
for us, and then we internalize that sense of safety
eventually as an adult, so we're kind of changing neuroplasticity
at that point.

Speaker 3 (23:36):
Yeah, yeah, I get it.

Speaker 2 (23:39):
Well, I feel like we're all just we all have
our staff right, and we're all we're all trying to
figure it out. And it's you know, it doesn't help
with things that we've either a gone through in childhood
or relationships or just everyday you know life. It's it
can be complicated, it can be hard. But you know,
I love the fact that you have this book and
you know people can can you know, you can always

(24:02):
work on yourself, right, Like That's where it's like, I
still go to therapy even though I have a very secure,
I feel safe relationship all the things, and I feel
happy inside, you know, I feel good like I love him.
But I also know that I would be okay either way.
And I think that was a good place to finally
get too, because I didn't think I could ever be
okay without someone in my life. And that's what I

(24:23):
you know, your book is, you know, becoming more secure
in life and love. And I think, you know, even
just loving yourself is the key piece to healing, you know,
all that anxious part of you.

Speaker 1 (24:35):
You know absolutely, and I don't think we learn how
to love ourselves until we internalize people who love us.
So like there's a paradox to that too, but yeah,
like we have to feel a spelt sense of love
in order to understand how to get that to ourselves.
What this book tries to do is really help the

(24:56):
reader form some compassion and so to understand the developmental
pieces of how their nervous system works, how they show
up in relationships, how they can begin to heal what
they need to heal, because we need healing relationships to heal.
And your example of your fiance and how he's providing

(25:18):
a new, disconfirming belief for you, like you're re experiencing
a new sense of safety through someone who has a
safer way of kind of navigating the world.

Speaker 3 (25:29):
And you're still doing therapy, which as a therapist.

Speaker 1 (25:33):
I will fully admit that I am constantly doing my
own work and it just keeps coming up, and it's
just it's really great that you're being vulnerable and sharing that,
and I think I share a lot of my own
personal stuff as a professional and as a human who
has suffered in the same way that you have in
this book and tried to provide those tools and just

(25:53):
the general insight and compassion for the reader.

Speaker 2 (25:56):
Well, Jessica, I'm adding it to Kart, so thank you
so much. Are coming on and everyone get her book.
Anxiously attached becoming more secure in life and love. Thank
you Jessica for coming on.

Speaker 3 (26:07):
Thank you so much. Appreciate you. I appreciate it too.

Speaker 2 (26:11):
All right, thanks friend, Bye, all right, bye bye
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