Knowing about the thought patterns that deny you the ability to get close to someone is only step one.
The harder step requires you to start to identify instances in which you employ these attitudes and behaviors, and then you can embark on the voyage of change.
Learn to identify your deactivating strategies:
When you tell yourself “she is not right for me”, stop yourself and think.
Ask yourself “is this actually a deactivating strategy right now?”
Are the small imperfections you’re starting to notice really your attachment system’s way of making you step back?
If you thought she was great to begin with, you do have a lot to lose by pushing her away.
Focus on mutual supports, and deemphasize self-reliance.
When your partner feels she has a secure base to fall back on, and when you don’t feel the need to distance yourself, you can then look outward, and do your own thing.
You’ll become more independent, and your partner will become less needy.
(People whose basic needs are met aren’t desperately trying to get their needs met. They are therefore more independent. See the dependency paradox in chapter 2.)
Find a secure partner, not someone with an anxious attachment style who will exacerbate your avoidance in a vicious cycle -often perpetually.
We recommend you choose the secure route.
You will be less defensive. There will be less fighting and less anguish.
Be aware of your tendency to misinterpret behavior.
Negative views of your partner’s behaviors and intentions infuse bad vibes into the relationship.
Recognize this tendency, notice when it happens, look for a more plausible perspective.
Maybe they do have your best interest at heart.
Make a relationship gratitude list. Remind yourself on a daily basis that you tend to think negatively of your partner.
It is simply part of your makeup if you have an avoidant attachment style.
Change your objective to notice the positive in your partner’s actions. Take time every day to think back on the events of the day.
List at least one way your partner contributed, even in a minor way, to your well-being, and why you’re grateful they’re in your life.
Stop idealizing that one special ex. Stop and acknowledge that they never were a viable option and they’re not a viable option now.
Remember how critical you were of that relationship with that ex and how leery you were of committing.
Stop using them as a deactivating strategy -focus on someone new
Forget about “the one” -that is all a story you made up in your head.
You have to be an active party in a process.
Do not wait until “the one” (who fits your checklist) shows up, and then you expect everything to fall into place.
You can make them into your soulmate by choosing them out of the crowd, allowing them to get close, and making them a special part of you.
Adopt the distraction strategy.
It is easier to get close to your partner if there’s a distraction -focusing on other things like a hike, sailing, preparing a meal together -will let your guard down and make it easier to access loving feelings.
(See chapter 8 for additional avoidance, busting tips.*)
*Securely attached people keep even emotions in the face of threats, and it comes effortlessly for someone who is secure.
They simply are not as sensitive to the negative cues of the world.*
Sue Johnson - the clinical work and writings that creating true security in the relationship and recognizing that you are emotionally dependent on your partner on every level is the best way to improve your romantic bond.
Dr. Dan Siegel helps people become more secure. He teaches people with insecure attachment how to narrate their past history in a secure fashion.
I have enjoyed sharing with you a few of the ten books I recently read about attachment. I go in spurts with different topics that catch my interest. Every few years I read a little more on attachment and the same information lands differently depending on who I am working with and what is going on in my personal life, as well.
Feel free to use the information to buy some books and do a deeper dive, or have a better conversation about improving the relationship.