“Attached” by Levine, Heller

She assumed the problem was that she is too needy. Research findings support the exact opposite. Getting attached means that our brain becomes wired to seek the support of our partner by ensuring the partner’s psychological and physical proximity. If our partner fails to reassure us, we are programmed to continue our attempts to achieve closeness until the partner does.

It turns out that the ability to step into the world on our own often stems from the knowledge that there is someone beside us whom we can count on – this is the “dependency paradox.” If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right person to depend on and travel down it with that person.


This is an important lesson for someone with an anxious attachment style: If you wait a little longer before reacting and jumping to conclusions, you will have an uncanny ability to decipher the world around you and use it to your advantage. But shoot from the hip, and you’re all over the place making misjudgments and hurting yourself.

Activating strategies: to reestablish closeness with partner. When they fail, you may resort to

Protest behavior:

-excessive attempts to reestablish contact


-keeping score

-acting hostile

-threats to leave


-making him/her feel jealous

What you are comes down to:

  1. Your comfort w/ intimacy and closeness
  2. Your anxiety about your partner’s love and attentiveness and your preoccupation w/ the relationship

1, not 2: secure

1 and 2: anxious

not 1, 2: avoidant

One other helpful pillar is responses to “effective communication.” Avoidant’s turned off. Secures do it. Anxious like it, even if they can’t do it, because it means closeness.

Avoidant + Anxious in relationship: Each affirms the other’s beliefs about themselves and relationships. The avoidant’s defensive self-perception that they are strong and independent is confirmed (certainly in comparison to the “needy” anxious person), as is the belief that others want to pull them into more closeness than they are comfortable with. The anxious types find that their perception of wanting more intimacy than their partner can provide is confirmed, as is their anticipation of ultimately being let down by significant others.

You (anxious) now start to equate the anxiety, the preoccupation, the obsession, and those ever-so-short bursts of joy with love. WHat you’re really doing is equating an activated attachment system with passion.

Playing games in courtship works best on avoidant types. You hurt yourself in the long-run if you are not avoidant since your attractiveness is based on your broadcasting of not needing much closeness when in fact you do want that.

Dealing w/ someone less than can be done:

  • stop taking personal offense when their mate pushes them away and accepts it as theirĀ nature
  • stop urging changes
  • get friends to fulfill some needs you expected a partner to fulfill

But make no mistake: the compromise is in no way mutual; it is wholly one-sided. Instead of engaging in endless conflict that results in nothing but frustration and disappointment, they have decided to change their expectations and reduce conflict to tolerable proportions.

Secure principles for conflict:

  • show basic concern for the other person’s well-being
  • maintain focus on the problem at hand (don’t change the subject. don’t cite other TRUE examples. don’t make personal attacks)
  • refrain from generalizing the conflict
  • willingness to engage
  • effectively communicate feelings and needs