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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk with relationship expert Bruce Muzik about attachment theory in relationships.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Love At First Fight – Bruce Muzik
  • Attachment Theory started out as a study of how children created a bond with their parents.
  • Researchers started discovering that the same attachments patterns were in couples.
  • You can be securely attached or insecurely attached to your mate, or child.
  • People who are securely attached:
    • Grew up in a place where they found comfort when necessary.
    • They are comfortable depending on others and having others rely on them.
    • They are comfortable providing comfort and support to others.
    • Securely attached people have long term relationships and fewer fights.
  • Insecurely connected people:
    • Are not comfortable depending on their partner,
    • Not comfortable being depended upon,
    • They don’t reach out for support, and
    • They struggle through the power struggle phase. (See previous podcast w/ Bruce Love at First Fight w/ Bruce Muzik)
  • Two characters:
    • Hailstorm – anxious
    • Turtle – avoidant
  • Think of your relationships. How do you react when you feel disconnected from your partner?
  • In attachment theory, the hailstorm:
    • Grew up in the family environment where comfort was inconsistent.
    • Such a child becomes hyper vigilant of monitoring mom’s proximity and availability.
    • They also monitor mom’s emotional responsiveness.
    • Tantrums test mom’s responsiveness when they aren’t getting the things they need.
    • They get into relationships where they have a constant need to feel securely attached.
    • When they perceive they are not securely attached to their partner, the hailstorm can’t address such things reasonably; they get angry and aggressive.
    • They are so angry that mom and dad didn’t comfort them when they were children, that they become clingy in relationships.
    • Hailstorms don’t speak straight to their partner to get your needs met; they get manipulative, angry, controlling, etc.
    • Protest behavior pushes the partner away and creates the hailstorms worst fear – abandonment.
  • Hailstorms end up in relationships with turtles:
    • Turtles are the opposite of the hailstorm.
    • Turtles often appear dismissive.
    • Turtles grew up in families that had no comfort. “Big boys don’t cry.” A popular form of parenting in the 70s. Very destructive.
    • Children cannot regulate their emotions. Mom and dad are the only ones who have the ability to fix what is affecting the child’s emotions.
    • A child will learn to numb themselves, and they grow up into adults that struggle to know how they feel.
    • They look even-keeled, but they aren’t feeling much.
    • Turtles appear independent, but they aren’t truly autonomous.
    • Their independence is a character flaw. They are incapable of depending on others.
    • They’ve never learned to allow people to depend on them. They always keep other human beings at arm’s length.
    • They worry their emotions will get turned on and they will be left vulnerable and open to harm as they were as children.
    • When turtles get into conflict, they shut down their heart and retreat. They are incapable of empathy during this time. When they have alone time, their heart gets reconnected with brain, and they can feel the desire to reunite with their partner.
  • This disconnect is the worst thing for a hailstorm partner.
  • Hailstorms fear abandonment, so they start protesting and becoming critical and demanding, which pushes the turtle deeper into the shell.
  • Turtles worst fear is rejection. They secretly believe they are flawed. Why else would nobody come when they called. Most of their relationships end in the same way.
  • They are terrified someone will need them, and they won’t know what to do, and they’ll be discovered for being flawed. If the turtle lets their hailstorm partner too close, the partner will realize they are flawed and reject them.
  • Turtles main fear is rejection.
  • The second fear is engulfment: losing independence in a relationship. This may be the result of having a helicopter parent.
  • A third insecure attachment style is called fearful avoidant:
    • Usually typified by someone growing up in a chaotic family environment.
    • Painful extremes. Abuse.
    • Fearful Avoidants crave intimacy but are terrified of it.
    • Parents were unstable. They provided some comfort, but also provided abuse.
    • These people struggle the most because they lash out at their partner when things go wrong, then disappear.
    • These need to find a great attachment therapist –
  • These three styles of behavior aren’t types. They Are learned behaviors. They are easy to unlearn too, once you understand what is going on and how to become secure.
  • Secure people are comfortable being dependent.
  • Secure people are comfortable soothing and comforting another.
  • If you want to become a secure couple, learn how to depend on your partner. And how to be dependable for them.
  • How can you become more secure?
  • It is easier to help somebody help their partner than it is to help themselves.
  • What are the things that happen in your relationship that has you so insecure – broken toes.
  • Think of the relationship as a dance – one person leads and the other follows.
  • Imagine your partner has a broken toe, and you don’t know about it. Every time you bump it, they react strongly, and you don’t know what is happening.
  • Now imagine you have multiple broken toes that you aren’t even aware of, you just keep reacting whenever your partner strikes them.
  • Step 1 – know your broken toes.
  • Step 2 – know how to soothe your partner’s broken toes.
  • Step 3 – know how to ask for what you need at the moment.
  • Step 4 – know how to ask what your partner needs at the moment.

In this episode Joel and Antonia talk with relationship expert Bruce Muzik about attachment theory in relationships. #podcast #relationships #love

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  • David
    • David
    • July 4, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Indeed Rey, that is my wife, and INFJ, very similar and I am the extrovert. It certainly makes it more challenging to connect.

  • Gina R M
    • Gina R M
    • June 28, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    As I write this comment I’m looking at the list I’ve made over the last two weeks.
    The steps for leaving my marriage.
    I just listened to this powerful podcast.
    I am a fearful avoidant (ENFJ) married to an extreme turtle (ISTJ).
    This is my third marriage and his second.
    I’m not in my best space at all at the moment, however, this podcast was so on point it was almost painful.
    I’m not sure how our story will end but I’m grateful for this. Thank you!

  • Rey
    • Rey
    • June 25, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    What makes this complex is types as well. As an INTJ, being independent and poor emotional response is quite normal for me. One can hardly rely on recollect his childhood behaviour. Also if one is in the middle does it mean he shows small symptoms of both sides?

  • Gem
    • Gem
    • June 25, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I just listened to this, and I like the practical advice that was given for how others can help in a relationship with hailstorms and turtles. Many people certainly do display these characteristics and it is really important to keep in mind what best helps them. However, I am a bit skeptical about the theory regarding how deterministic it seems to be. I am fortunate enough to have had a wonderful childhood. My parents were extremely loving and attentive, and I basically only have happy memories there. I do identify most with the secure type of attachment. But your parents aren’t the only people who have a formative impact on you as a child. I somehow ended up acquiring this deep seated belief that I don’t matter, or that I’m necessarily “less than” everyone who I care about — not the absolute worst, but never good enough. This almost certainly didn’t come from my parents, but I do think it came from growing up non-American in America. My parents immigrated here from England four years before I was born, so until I was about 10 I was essentially all British — where the culture is very much “take care of other people first, then yourself” — living in a society where the culture is very much “take care of yourself first, then other people”. As a result, I never really got to be first, and I think that messed me up pretty good. While I am pretty secure in my relationships, in times of stress (and with partners who I am less secure with), I relate very strongly with the turtle — but not where it’s supposed to come from. You say in the podcast that these are learned behaviors, not types, and I have to agree with that, but I think that people can learn to be turtles or hailstorms through other means than just their parents.

  • Chandra
    • Chandra
    • June 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I was listening to this and identifying with both. I took an attachment style test online and it put me at anxious-avoidant, but up in the corner of the graph near secure. When you started talking about the anxious-avoidant toward the end of the podcast, I started crying. I guess that means it must hurt more than I’d realized. I see a therapist, and we’ve identified one of my painful core beliefs, but we haven’t addressed attachment style, so I will mention it to her. My husband got “secure” on the same test. Married 14 years. I test INFJ. He tests INTJ. Thank you for speaking about this. It is helpful and it gives hope.

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