Download Episode Here right click link and select “Save Link As…”

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

To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:

Subscribe with iTunes
Non iTunes Link
Download The Android App
Subscribe on Soundcloud
Subscribe with Stitcher

If you like the podcast and want to help us out in return, please leave an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and its ranking in iTunes immensely! We would be eternally grateful!

Want to learn more?

Discover Your Personal Genius


We want to hear from you. Leave your comments below…


  • RedMelodyFlashT.
    • RedMelodyFlashT.
    • June 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Waouh ! Very impressive conference about secure and insecure way of being in an intimate relationship. I love the image of “broken toes”, it is really appropriate to understand how to stop a fight. Thanks Bruce, Antonia and Joel !

  • Bruce Muzik
    • Bruce Muzik
    • June 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Poppy. Great question.

    Attachment styles generally don’t affect friendships (or other non-primary relationships) unless that friend is an attachment figure.

    An attachment figure is someone we explicitly or implicitly rely on to do things for us that nobody else would dream of doing for us e.g. supporting us financially when we cannot, comforting us when we are sad, caring for us when we are sick, providing for us when we cannot, reassuring us that we are loved and our relationship is safe, listening to us “download” our day and the end of the day, etc etc etc…

    We rely on our attachment figures to ensure our physical and emotional safety.

    For the most part, attachment relationships are formed with our primary caregivers and our lovers, but it is definitely possible that a friend could become an attachment figure if they fulfill some of the roles I listed above.

    I hope that helps you understand is more clearly.


  • Theresa Moynihan
    • Theresa Moynihan
    • June 15, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    I am a fearful-avoidant. I am also a sexual abuse survivor. This podcast is on point. I have done a lot of work on my attachment style with my therapist. I am currently in a relationship (6 months) with a man that has anxious attachment style and we are learning to have a secure attachment. Thank you for sharing this, it is very important.

  • Melissa
    • Melissa
    • June 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Great talk, thank you. Very accessible and helpful – like the messaging about identifying problems in attachments styles does not put people in a box forever and pathologised, it is the starting point of awareness, insight, the aha moments of working out why what is happening is happening in relationships and then decision making and growth towards developing secure attachment styles. So many early attachment theory made out that once you have one style you are stuck for life with that style and can’t do anything about it; which is not only not helpful, it is also not true. Thanks for your message and your way of sharing it.

  • Tasha
    • Tasha
    • June 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Poppy, I think there needs to be more of a degree of independence in order for a friendship to thrive. Yes, it’s still important that we speak up about our needs to our friends, comfort them and allow them to comfort us and so forth. However, if the relationship becomes too attached like an intimate relationship, this will put too much pressure on the two parties to maintain such a commitment. Friendships, IMO should be more loose, free and supportive in a sense that you can go off and be who you want, do what you want and still have a supportive friend there when you need it.

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.