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Hey, everyone, welcome back to you on purpose, the number one health podcast in the world where you come to get your mind trained for peace and purpose every single week. Thank you so much for being a part of this community. It means the world to me that we have such an engaged, vibrant community. I see us sharing on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook. Thank you so much. And I love, love, love for you to leave a review.
If you're enjoying the episodes, it makes such a difference to the podcast to see reviews coming in. And it will make a huge, huge difference to me if you have the time to take a moment to do that. We already have thirteen thousand five star ratings and I am going to read a few for you right now. Let me just dive into them and see who our most recent ratings are. So this is one from Miss Clavel. Thank you so much, Jay, for doing this podcast.
There's such a diverse selection of topics covid that I can always learn and feel inspired from when I take longer drives. The most impactful has been your conversation with Nubbin Jane. I look forward to a few episodes. Thank you so much for that really meaningful one as well. It totally makes such a big difference. I want to read one more as well.
Here we go. Best podcast on Living a Fulfilled Life from Martina. I absolutely love this podcast. The guest interviews are amazing and Soldz insights. As a scientist and mindset coach, I'm on an epic quest to raise the consciousness of the world. This podcast is my go to source for new inspiration and practical tips. It's by far the best podcast on living a fulfilled, conscious and purposeful life. And on that note, we start today's episode talking about the three attachment styles and how your attachment style is affecting your relationship.
Does your partner often view distance and you struggle to connect?
Do you feel like your partner nags you or is too demanding and you wish you had more space? Or if you're single, does it often seem like when you're getting close to someone they become distant or even ghost you may be?
Or do you frequently feel that people want too much from you? Do you experience problems in your current relationship or in your past relationships that seem to follow similar patterns? Here's the interesting part. ABC News recently reported that a surge in divorce rates is expected as a result of covid-19 confinement. As I've said before, this pandemic in many ways is a great amplifier for many of us. It's underscoring long term challenges. But family law attorney Robert Siegel says it's not just that people are fed up with one another, it's that they're also generally less flexible and willing to compromise in their relationships.
And that mirrors a trend we're seeing in many places around the world, more polarization and less willingness to communicate on challenging issues. While data from multiple sources reports that divorce rates for the first time marriages have actually been trending down since 2008, hovering around 40 to 42 percent, but that trend could be starting to reverse, unfortunately. Now, how do you resolve problematic patterns in your relationships or what can you do to give your next relationship a better chance of succeeding?
I'm sure you want to know. Relationship challenges and unhealthy patterns happen for a variety of reasons. But today we're going to talk about one that doesn't seem to get a lot of mainstream press, but could really be at the core of some of your recurring relationship issues.
That reason is your attachment style. In the 1930s, psychologist John Bowlby was working with children who had severe emotional challenges. His interactions with them led him to look at the roots of these issues, and he traced some of them back to the children's relationships with their closest childhood caregiver, which for most at the time was their mother. He learned that children's connections with their primary caregiver and whether children's needs were met consistently impacted their social, emotional and cognitive development.
Working with psychologist Mary Ainsworth. The pair developed attachment theory attachment is essentially how we bond with other people and connect in relationships. Attachment Theory states that its early attachment experiences with our caregivers and obviously our parents and families and whether and how they met our needs that shapes how we attach to others in our lives, we develop an attachment style.
This impact is made mostly in the first one to three years of life and creates patterns that for most of us continues for the rest of our lives. So now you're probably thinking, I wonder what my. Attachment style is well, that's what we're going to find out. I've created a little quiz to indicate your attachment style. Now, let me emphasize that this is not a diagnostic tool. This is simply an informal quiz. OK, just making sure.
So please don't get too attached to the results.
OK, that was bad. That was really bad. But but really, this is just designed to give you an indication of your attachment style. It's not definitive. According to Bowlby and Ainsworth's, there are four attachment styles and we're going to focus on three of them today. They are the three that are most common and I'll describe them in a minute. But first, here's the quiz. And if you can't take the quiz now, screenshot this part of the podcast so you can come back to this moment, take a screenshot.
The minutes and seconds were in so that you can come back at any time.
And here we go. If you can get out a pen and paper or open your notes, function on your phone and create three columns, let's A, B and C now I'm going to ask you six questions.
And for each question, there will be three options to choose from.
Pick the option that most resonates with you and put it take to the corresponding column on your paper. Ready? Here we go. Question number one, you're at a party or other social function and you see your partner interacting with someone in a way that seems flirtatious. Option one, you take it in stride because you trust your partner option to you become jealous and ask your partner to justify themselves. Option three, you don't say anything about it, but withdraw from your partner, maybe a cold or distant for the rest of the night.
So if you chose option one, take it in stride, give yourself a tick in the column, see if you chose option to become jealous, put a tick in column A, and if you choose option three, distance yourself from your partner.
Put a tick in the B column.
Right. So you understand how it works. I'm going to tell you every time. So, for example, the question again, you're at a party or a social function and you see your partner interacting with someone in a way that seems flirty. Option one, you take it in stride because you trust your partner option to you become jealous and ask your partner to justify themselves. Option three, you don't say anything about it, but withdraw from your partner, maybe a cold or distant for the rest of the night.
So I want you to put a tick in column C if you chose option one, if you chose option two, becoming jealous, but taking column. And if you choose option three, distance yourself from your partner, put etic in column B. OK, great. Let's go to question number two. Now you get it. When you start to feel close to someone, you do want option one.
You enjoy the feeling and look forward to seeing where the relationship goes. Option two, you start daydreaming about where and when your wedding will take place. Option three, you put on the brakes to ensure things are not moving too fast.
So if you choose option one, you enjoy the feeling, put it take in column C, if you choose option two, you start planning a wedding, put a stake in the column A, and if you chose three, put on the brakes, put it take in column B. All right. I'm doing this at the same time, by the way. So I've got my pen and paper out to. OK, so next question number three. When it comes to the relationships in your life, option one, you look to others to provide you with a sense of security.
Option two, you have more acquaintances than friends or a romantic partner. But that's fine because you can take care of yourself. Option three, you have a variety of relationships in your life and you enjoy being able to rely on others for support as well as having others rely on you. If you chose option one, others help you feel secure. Put it protecting column. If you choose option two, you can take care of yourself. Put a tick in column B, and if you chose option three, you have a variety of relationships.
Put a tick in column C when you're doing this exercise, you've got to remember this. Like you've got to do a self assessment. You've got to be really honest with yourself. You've got to be open to how you feel about it. You don't need to make it complicated for yourself, make it difficult for yourself. Just be honest with the answer that seems to make the most sense to you. OK, question number four, the best relationships. Option one, feel uncomplicated option to feel like a team.
Option three, feel safe. Now, I know this is a harder one to choose for many of you, but again, pick your strongest response. Like if you were to rate these, choose whatever is at the top of your list. So for option one, you feel that the best relationships are uncomplicated. Give yourself a take in column. Be forbidden to you feel like the best relationships are a team. Give yourself a teaching column C and for option three, you feel safe.
Give yourself a tick in column a question number five.
I sometimes worry that option one, my partner will leave me option to my partner once too much for me. Option three, I sometimes worry about issues with my partner, but generally I don't have big overall worries or anxieties about the relationship. If you win with option one, you worry your partner will leave.
You give yourself a take in column. If you end with option two, you worry your partner wants too much. Give yourself a teaching column B and if you end with option three, no overall worries about the relationship, give yourself a stake in column C. OK, last question.
When my partner and I disagree, listen carefully when my partner and I disagree. Option one, I generally feel comfortable expressing my thoughts and opinions. Option two, I feel nervous to say how I feel. Option three, I try to say as little as possible when me and my partner and I disagree.
If you choose option one, you feel comfortable expressing yourself. Give yourself a tick in column C. If you chose option two, you feel nervous to say how you feel.
Give yourself a tick in column A, and if you chose option three, you're trying to say as little as possible.
Give yourself a tick in column B now go ahead and hit pause if you need to and tally your scores. How many ticks do you have in each column? Right. How many ticks do you have in each column.
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Blankest dot com forward slash Jay. So we'll get to what your scores mean in a moment. First, let's talk a little bit more about the signs of attachment so we can understand a bit better how it forms. Very young children can't self regulate. That means not only can we not meet our own physical survival needs, like we can't feed or dress ourselves or protect ourselves. We also can't meet our own emotional needs or identify our emotions, our needs for comfort.
When we're upset, we rely on those closest to us, our primary caregivers, to help us regulate our feelings and our nervous system and to help teach how to identify and deal effectively with what we're feeling. The vagus nerve is a large nerve that originates in your brain and runs all the way to your large intestine. It is the main nerve in your parasympathetic nervous system. Scientists have discovered that when we stimulate the vagus nerve, it causes us to relax.
Now, when we're adults, we can stimulate the vagus nerve manually, such as through several minutes of deep breathing. When we're very young children, though, we lack the ability to regulate our own nervous system. That's why it's so hard to ignore a baby's crying. Not only is it loud, but we're actually biologically wired, especially mothers, to attuned to that sound.
I remember one time I was out with a friend who has a baby. We were sitting at an outdoor cafe and even though her baby wasn't with us, the baby was with her father. Every time a baby cried anywhere, my friend would stop and look around like a reflex. Now this is where it gets super cool.
Part of the vagus nerve is attuned to other people's facial expressions and the sound of their voices as babies. If we're upset, we see that calm kind face and hear that soothing voice from a caregiver, maybe get a hug and we calm down. In fact, research indicates that's why so many mothers instinctively sing to their babies to calm them. The specific tones of a mother's voice, especially though it's not entirely a caregiver or gender specific, send a message to the child's body that everything's OK and they relax.
Now, whether or not we're sued by our primary caregiver and whether that soothing was consistent or not is the driving force behind our adult attachment style. So here are the four attachment styles of the four styles. One is secure and the other three are considered types of insecure attachment. Those are anxious, attachment avoidant attachment and disorganized attachment. Now for the quiz, I included the three most common styles. Guess them secure, anxious and avoidant.
Those are the three most common styles. Before we get into the details, I want to note that none of this is about blame or criticism of you or your caregivers. It's about gathering information so we can be more thoughtful and aware in our relationships moving forward. That said, some things might come up for you in uncovering your attachment style that will be helpful to have some professional help to process. So if you find that's the case, please do reach out to a skilled therapist or counsellor or other trained professional for support.
Now, if you've tallied up your scores, you'll probably see that you've got takes in more than one column. That's because most of us are not all one attachment style. What we usually have, one that's dominant. We can show characteristics of other styles. So if you have most of your takes on the letter A. it is likely you have more of an anxious attachment style. If you have more of your tics and the letter B. It's likely a more of an avoidant attachment style.
And if you have most of your takes on the column, see, you most likely have a secure attachment style.
Now, I did this exercise before. I've ever done this before as well. And I found myself to be in column C and I have maybe one or two in Colombe.
So so there's a part of me that has that too. So if you have the anxious attachment style, this is for you, right? Column and I want to give a shout out.
Some of the following information on attachment styles is from Councillor Adam Young, who's a licensed clinical social worker. According to estimates, which vary a bit, roughly 20 percent of people have the anxious attachment style.
Typically, people with an anxious attachment style can appear overly emotional, anxious attachment types, often when their partner or friends to prove their love and commitment that that person who wants to be your best friend or your boyfriend or girlfriend immediately, or at least very quickly anxious times also often struggle with self-criticism and insecurity. They tend to anticipate that their relationships will fail and so may often be jealous and need a lot of reassurance. Now, how this anxious attachment style developed in early childhood is because their primary care givers, attention and care was inconsistent.
Sometimes they got it and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes when they were crying or otherwise needed to be supported and consoled, their caregiver met their needs. But maybe at other times they were too busy or concerned with their own needs because of this. Those of you with an anxious attachment style as a child didn't know what to expect. This created a feeling of anxiety and uncertainty around getting your needs met. So if that describes you again, nothing to feel bad about here.
This is just information that you can use in a helpful way. Now, if you scored mostly let it be in the quiz, you likely have an avoidant attachment style, according to estimates, which again vary a little bit.
About 20 percent of people have this style. People with avoidant style, instead of seeking support from others, rely exclusively or almost exclusively on themselves to meet their own needs. Now, to some of you, that might sound like a good thing and it's not bad. But keep in mind that we're wired to connect with another. Our brains are wired in such a way that we seek connection and to meet our needs in part on our own and in part in relationship with others.
People with avoidant attachment try to be completely independent. They believe no one can understand or meet their needs as well as they can, or in more extreme cases, they may be convinced that they don't have needs and they may have difficulty identifying and describing their feelings. People with this style will often avoid emotional interactions by making a joke to diffuse the situation or change the topic, or they may bury themselves in a book or their phone to avoid emotional conversations.
People with this attachment style often feel anxious or trapped when a partner or friend expresses needs, especially emotional needs. If the relationship feels like it's becoming too close, they may break it off entirely. In early life, people with avoidant attachment didn't feel like their needs and ones mattered to their primary caregiver, who usually wasn't available to them. That's extremely painful for a kid. And so to mute that pain, they began to convince themselves that they didn't really have needs and that created a disconnect with their feelings.
If you mostly answered, let us see, you have a primary secure attachment style. This is the most common attachment style, with estimates that around fifty to fifty five percent of us have secure attachment. Your primary caregiver or caregivers acknowledge the met your needs consistently. As a result, you tend to feel secure in relationships and you both offer and ask for help and support willingly.
The fourth attachment style, which I didn't cover in the quiz because it's less common with only about four to five percent of us having you is disorganized attachment in this case, which usually involves childhood trauma. The primary caregiver who the child relied on to meet their needs was also a source of fear. Perhaps they were verbally or physically abusive. People with this style often feel real trouble connecting relationships and can display a variety of behaviors from both the avoidant and anxious attachment styles along with others.
So those are the attachment styles. Now, incidentally, you won't see many secure types portrayed in popular programming because they make for the least drama. Remember Chandler from Friends? His high anxiety and fear of losing Monica and his jealousy and reluctance to believe she truly loved him, revealed his anxious attachment style. You can also think of Tony Stark Iron Man as a classic avoidant type.
Remember how he would use his sarcasm and obsession with technology to try and keep people from getting close to him and avoid emotional interactions? Now that you know the attachment styles, you can even play a game with your partner or friends watching shows and identifying the different characters styles. That could be fun and a great way to see this in practice. So how do you take this information? We learn from the test about your own attachment style and use it in a positive way in your current or future relationships.
Here are three steps to doing that. Step one is to give yourself a chance to digest and process what you just learned. There's a lot there. Now, some of you will want to do that by yourself. Others process things by talking them out. I'll advise you that if your partner wants to process by themselves and you want to talk it out, maybe connect with a friend or other loved one you can talk to, you can give your partner a bit of space to process what they're going to even take some time to make some good notes.
You'll probably be recalling incidents from past relationships or your childhood and go ahead and write those down. Step two is for you and your partner to share what you've learned about yourselves with the other person. You're not going to focus on the relationship at this point. You're going to take turns sharing what you've learned while the other partner just listens. Now, if you're the listener, I want you to resist the temptation to comment on what the other. And is sharing your role at this point is only to listen if you need to say something, you can acknowledge I hear you or yes, I'm listening or what I'm hearing you say is and making sure that you're on the right path.
And remember that vagus nerve research, your facial expressions and tone of voice, communicating to your partner that it's safe to connect. If not, they might not feel they can be open and honest with you. Step three is going to be having that conversation where you discuss what you've learned about your attachment style and your partner's impact, your understanding of the dynamics of your relationship. I think this is an opportunity to exercise compassion. Hopefully now you have a greater understanding of what's behind a repeat pattern or a problem.
Now, this conversation can be a follow on the conversation in step two, where you just listening, but you might need a little time to digest and process what you've learned about each other so you can make these separate conversations to slow the whole process down. It's not a race. The good news is that when we make an effort to connect with one another in this way, over time, we can actually shift our attachment styles. Psychologist Jeffrey Simpson and Stephen Ross say that our attachment styles can change when we have new healthy relationship experiences.
They call this phenomenon partner buffering. Essentially, that partner is helping you reprogram your attachment style.
Again, remember, this isn't an overnight change. It takes time. But for example, someone who has an anxious or avoidant style, who has a spouse with a secure attachment, can gradually learn to become less insecure or feel safer identifying or expressing their feelings. Maybe you've had that experience right. You might not even have been the person you're with now, or you may be single, but still have had that person in the past who accepted you for you.
And there was a shift. You started to become more willing to be open and vulnerable and you learned to trust them. Or maybe that does describe the person you're with now. But for you who are secure attachment types and who are with anxious or avoidant types, know that it takes some patience and consistency on your part, providing reassurance to an anxious, attached partner by texting when your meeting is running late or you're stuck in traffic or allowing and avoidant partner to take their alone time when they need it, letting them go off to read or play a video game if they feel overwhelmed over time.
This encourages trust and safety in a relationship. So those are the three steps you can take to use this attachment style information to shift the dynamics in your relationship. And if you're single, you can use the information to reflect on your prior relationships and to see the patterns and behaviors that might not have been serving you well. Maybe you've had a tendency to want to move things along quickly and you feel that scared of potential partners or when you started to get close to someone, you feel anxious or trapped and broke things off.
Remember, you want to be loving and accepting and understanding and compassionate towards yourself. And over time, as you work with this knowledge and work with your partner or a future partner, it's likely that if you have an avoidant or anxious attachment style, your attachment style will change to become secure. It might not change completely, but you will at least be more aware of your tendencies and where they come from, which will enable you to make more empowering choices.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of On Purpose. Make sure you share what you learned from this in your Instagram feed and Twitter and Facebook. And please, please, please take a moment to leave a review. I hope this has been useful and powerful for you. I can't wait to see what you learn and what you practice in this one. Thanks for listening and always come back to you on purpose.