I’ve been reading this book, “Attached” by Amir Lavine and Rachel S.F. Heller. In it they explore adult attachment sciences. They outline that, whether situationally or genetically, we each have a secure base in our relationships. That is a relationship which fills our physiological and psychological needs. Those needs are manifested in three forms: anxious, avoidant, and secure.
Each human is hardwired to attach to other people according to the terms of one of these categories:
Anxious: Is what we would deem classically codependent. They have a huge capacity to love. At the same time, they require a lot of love. They are constantly in fear of isolation or loss of the relationship. They need consistent physical, emotional, and intellectual affirmation. As a society we have vilified this form of codependency even though it is wired in a person’s DNA. In studies, this person exhibited high levels of stress unless they were in proximity or even held the hand of the person they were attached to.
Secure: This person is warm and loving, enjoying the need for intimacy from whom they are attached to. They are confident in their self-image and can do with or without a relationship. It is not a necessity. However, they do feel better inside a healthy attachment. They tend to stay in relationships the longest. These types are hard to snag but supposedly make up a larger majority of people. This shouldn’t be mistaken as healthier than the others. It’s just how a person is wired. They like and at times feel the necessity of a relationship and are well equipped to roll with the punches.
Avoidant: Is narrowly focused on independence and self-sufficiency. Too much closeness in relationships is uncomfortable for this type and they have a way of keeping their distance emotionally, mentally, and physically. This person struggles for control over the relationship, trying to keep it on their terms. They make up 25% of the populace yet greatly outnumber the other two types in the dating pool. They lack commitment or are constantly dissatisfied with what commitments they have.
These aren’t black and white measurements. None of them are better or worse than the other. It is just a realistic understanding of how we are hardwired. The idea is that if we know how we experience attachments then we are more empowered to make healthy ones.
The book allows for each attachment to exist. It even breaks down cultural misconceptions on how we should be attached. If we were to follow the message of “independence” and “autonomy”, that seems to be at the center of relationship advice, none of us would stay married or get married.
As Christians, I believe that it’s important to learn as much as possible about how God created our brains. While I know this book is primarily talking about romantic relationships, and that’s why I was curious to read it, I do think it has implications to our relationship with God. Do we find ourselves secure in it or are we anxious? If we have an avoidance attachment, how do we let God close enough to us? I encourage you to read this book to learn more. Hopefully it will produce healthier relationships for you.
If you’ve read The Husband, I’m curious to know your thoughts on the type of attachments you see in the narrative.
Aaron Daniel Behr
May 7, 2018
Mount Vernon, Ohio