A Brief Guide to New Relationships for the Anxious Attachment Style

I want to acknowledge that even though I speak a lot to navigating established relationships with long-term partners, I see MANY people in my practice who are not currently partnered. Their goals are often to work through their old patterns so they can show up in new relationships in a grounded, clear, and confident way. So this week, I want to share more about that experience (as it can be nervewracking and overwhelming for folks—because dating is HARD!) and provide some support, specifically for people with the anxious attachment style.

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How to Tell an Avoidant Person That They're Avoidant

This blog post has been highly requested and I’m happy to share some insight into this tricky dynamic and shed some light on why it can be challenging to have conversations about our attachment styles in the beginning stages of learning about attachment theory—especially if we have an attachment style that is designed to protect us and reduce the impact of interactions that cause us to feel out of control or overwhelmed. Of course, this doesn’t mean the conversation won’t be uncomfortable (it probably will be to some degree), but remember that the emotional response from the person is more about their own experiences and less about you.

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Understanding Avoidant Attachment

I want to start off by sharing something vulnerable with you. An interesting thing has happened for me as I’ve been working on the Understanding Avoidant Attachment Course.

I started to doubt myself.

I started to feel disoriented as I came up against all of the ways that I too have been conditioned to believe that the avoidant style is “bad.” I started to ask myself if I really know how attachment theory works, if I even understand attachment and connection and how to heal our relationships. I was incredibly uncomfortable and also really sad. Moving forward required me to tap into my resources, ask for help, and sit with the doubt long enough to transform it into something I could work with.

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What's on your secure attachment playlist?

I’ve been interested in continuing to connect with you in ways that shake up the traditional blog post. I love attachment theory because once you learn about it, it’s easy to apply it to all of the relationships in your life. One of the most beautiful ways we express our feelings about relationships, connection, and love is through music—so I started to consider what it might be like to create a Secure Attachment Playlist that captures the stability, consistency, and warmth of secure connection and allows us to tap in to that feeling whenever we want.

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The Fluidity of Attachment and Healing

I receive this question often: “Can my attachment style change?” And the simple answer is yes, definitely.

The more complicated answer is something like “yes, definitely, depending on who you are with, what the relationship feels like, and the work you have done to shift your style(s) and heal yourself."

Because fear, instability, uncertainty, and inconsistency can activate our attachment wounds, the relationship we find ourselves in at the moment can make all the difference as far as which characteristics or tendencies are showing up. And don’t forget: every person has each of the attachment styles to some degree, they are just activated at different times and in different contexts.

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A Conversation with The Breakup Therapist

Y’all, I am so excited about the blog this week. As a proponent of healthy relationships, I am also a proponent of healthy breakups—because breakups are part of the relationship continuum. Sometimes after digging in to the personal and relationship work, we might realize that we have come to the end of a partnership (note: this comes back to the idea that the work in relationships may not have the outcome we were hoping for). This realization can be painful or liberating or unimaginable (or any combination of those emotions) and to me, it’s really important that we navigate this part of the relationship in a way that allows for dignity for ourselves and our partner.

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Is Your Partner Avoidant or Abusive? Let's talk about the differences.

I receive many comments on my blog posts about people with the avoidant attachment adaptation. Some people feel relieved to know that there are ways to work with this attachment style and foster more secure connections in their relationships. Other people respond strongly to the posts, letting me know that they don’t feel it’s at all possible to work with this style and people with the avoidant adaptation should absolutely be avoided.

So that’s what we’re talking about today.

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Family-Building + Attachment with Ariel Shumaker-Hammond, MPH/LCSW

In my practice, I work with lots of folks who are interested in growing their families. What we know is this: the family-building time of life is lovely and magical AND extremely stressful for many people.

Because this topic is so complex, I wanted to interview someone who not only has personal experience with the ups and downs of family-building but professional experience, too, and I couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate or skilled than my friend and colleague Ariel Shumaker-Hammond.

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How to Apologize When You Haven't Done Anything Wrong

Have you ever been in a relationship where your partner let you know they wouldn’t be able to move on until you apologize to them? And you’re wondering why you should have to apologize when you don’t even know what you’re arguing about (and you clearly didn’t do anything wrong and they should get over it)?

Yep. It’s definitely a thing.

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Are you a good partner?

We are usually not taught how to be in relationship with other people, at least not explicitly. Our learning comes from our experiences—and until we are actually in a romantic partnership, we don’t know how to do it. We learn as we go.

Many of us have a tendency to focus on what our partner isn’t doing rather than what we could be doing better or differently to improve our relationship(s). When we focus on what isn’t happening, we aren’t bringing our best selves to the partnership.

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Heart-Led Communication and Radical Emergence with Jordan Grob, LCSW, LCAS

Y'all know how much I value REAL connection, communication, and understanding in relationships--so when I learned that my friend and colleague Jordan Grob, LCSW, LCAS was launching her coaching practice that centers heart-led communication, you better believe I reached out as soon as I could and asked that she share some of her knowledge and wisdom with all of us!

In the blog this week, Jordan shares some of her favorite communication tools (that you can start using TODAY), the barriers to connection she witnesses (specifically for millenials), and why it's SO DAMN HARD to just put your phone down.

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