For the month of November, I read Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller. As you know, I’ve been reading a book every month since August and I’ve been really into self help books but I wanted to move a little bit more toward science based self help not just the typical “You can do it!” type books that are out there. After listening to an episode of Girls Gotta Eat podcast, one of their guests recommended this book to read. It discusses adult attachment styles and the science behind how we build relationships and why we sometimes act “crazy” in them.
Our adult attachment is thought to stem from our childhood and our attachment to our parents. In the past, attachment studies were based on an experiment called “The Strange Situation” where babies or toddlers were brought into a room filled with toys by their mom. The child was allowed to play and eventually the mom was taken out of the room and the child’s reaction was observed. Some children noticed the mom’s disappearance and were visibly distraught while others did not seem to notice. When the child was reunited with their mother, some were immediately soothed by their mother, some took a lot longer to calm down and some were completely unphased. This helped researchers come up with the three attachment styles: secure, anxious and avoidant.
Research shows that your attachment is flexible throughout your life and can be changed based on life experiences. For example, if you were a secure child but maybe your parents had a nasty divorce where you felt you couldn’t express your feelings about it, you might eventually develop an avoidant attachment style where you avoid intimacy and affection at all costs. Or alternatively, you might develop an anxious attachment style where you crave intimacy and affection because you were missing it during a critical point in your life.
What I loved about this book is that it provides simple tests for you to determine your attachment style and then gives detailed explanations on some of the characteristics of those attachment styles, why they happen and how to recognize them in yourself and your partner. But it’s not just a random person in their basement trying to give you relationship advice, it’s based around years and years of research. There’s lots of studies on attachment styles and the authors do a great job of referencing tons of psychologists who got strong results from their research. That’s what I really liked about this book because I felt like I could trust this source of information.
I feel that reading this book has provided a lot more insight into why I do certain things in relationships and why I have the reactions that I have. It also helped me realize what kind of attachment styles my previous partners have had and it’s helped me make sense of why things didn’t work out. As far as self-help books go, this one definitely not the same as any other self help book I’ve ever read. It builds strong cases for why you can trust the information and it gives very detailed explanations. I highly recommend this book to anyone who might be struggling in their relationship or even just wants to learn more about themselves.
Let me know what books you’ve been reading in the comments below!
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