Attachment Styles, Overcoming Anxiety & How to Feel More Secure

Psychologist Dr. Gina Di Giulio joins us to discuss Covid anxiety, CBT, and the ways in which attachment styles affect our relationships. She walks us through the three dimensions of attachment theory as well as the four main styles of attachment. Jess and Brandon open up about their own irritability and frustrations and they discuss cognitive strategies to increase feelings of security. And on a totally separate note, Jess also weighs in on a listener question regarding how to ride like a pro!

Check out Dr. Gina’s notes below…

Attachment theory: How we attach to other adults strongly corresponds to how we attach to others, especially our primary caregivers, as a child.

  • Adults with different attachment styles will differ in terms of how they deal with emotional intimacy
  • How they communicate in relationships, in terms of their needs and wants, how readily they are willing to consider others’ as well
  • How much they trust others, how vulnerable they’re willing to be in relationships
  • How they respond to interpersonal conflict
  • What they expect from their partner

There are 3 dimensions that underlie attachment styles: 

  1. Closeness – how comfortable someone feels being emotionally close and intimate
  2. Dependency – how comfortable someone feels with needing or having to rely on others
  3. Anxiety – the extent to which someone worries about their partner abandoning or rejecting them

The four attachment styles are: Secure, Ambivalent, Avoidant & Disorganized.

Secure Attachment: 

  • Low on avoidance, low on anxiety
  • Are comfortable relying on their partner, and their partner relying on them in times of need
  • Trust that their partner will be around, don’t worry about abandonment
  • Trusts partner to lead independent life without feeling threatened
  • Doesn’t smother their partner
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • Comfortable with closeness
  • Better in conflict, doesn’t avoid it
  • Forgiving and empathic
  • Effective communicators
  • Regulate their emotions well

Ambivalent (Anxious) Attachment: 

  • Low on avoidance, high on anxiety
  • Insecure in relationships
  • Fearful of being rejected or abandoned, react by becoming clingy
  • Worried about being too little or too much for their partner
  • Sensitive to partner’s moods, take them personally
  • Clingy, demanding, possessive, “Needy” – can scare partners away
  • Don’t regulate their emotions well
  • Moody, argumentative, blame others, poor boundaries

Avoidant (Dismissive) Attachment: 

  • High on avoidance, low on anxiety
  • Uncomfortable with closeness
  • Prefer to be alone
  • Keep partner’s at arm’s length
  • Values independence and freedom (intimacy = a loss of independence)
  • Dismissive, fearful
  • Scared of being hurt
  • Don’t communicate openly and effectively
  • Fear of being vulnerable or “weak”
  • “Emotionally unavailable”
  • Avoid conflict
  • Good in a crisis, “stoic”, action-oriented
  • Emotionally distant and rejecting

Disorganized (Unresolved, Fearful-Avoidant) Attachment: 

  • High on avoidance, high on anxiety
  • Fearful of being rejected or abandoned, react by distancing themselves from others
  • Uncomfortable with intimacy
  • Uncomfortable with closeness, difficulty trusting others, can’t depend on others
  • Unresolved emotions, mindset from past traumas
  • Often abusive and dysfunctional in relationships
  • Lack of empathy, punishing, narcissistic, disregard for rules
  • Often a traumatic past, PTSD, intrusive triggers, anger, dissociation to avoid pain

Attachment Styles and Infidelity

There are many reasons why people cheat, complex and varied – attachment styles is one of them and the dynamic between partners is one of the strongest predictors of cheating. The Ambivalent (Anxious) is most likely to cheat.

Anxious Attachment: Running toward closeness.

  • Might cheat as a means of feeling closeness and feeling an emotional connection and affection from someone else (esp. if their partner is dismissive)
  • Reassurance-seeking
  • Cheat to feel secure, intimacy that might be lacking from their relationship (that they so desperately need)
  • “A self-esteem boost”, way to confirm that they’re wanted and desired by others
  • May be an “insurance policy” if their primary relationship falls apart

Avoidant Attachment:

  • Might cheat as a means of distancing themselves from their primary relationship, running away from closeness, commitment
  • Anxiety and distress activated by closeness, not aware of this consciously
  • May start to pick on their partner instead, complain about them
  • Cheat as a distraction to their feelings, sexual connection is a distraction
  • They are not seeking closeness from another person
  • Often have no intention of leaving their primary partners

Follow Dr. Gina on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

This episode has been sponsored by LetsGetChecked. Use code DRJESS to save at checkout!

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Attachment Styles, Overcoming Anxiety & How to Feel More Secure

00:00:05 – 00:05:02

You’re listening to the sacs with dr jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight Welcome to the sex with dr. Just podcast i’m your co host brandon. We’re here with my lovely other. Half dr jess how are you. I’m all right. How about you when i’m okay. I’m okay before we continue. I wanna take a moment to say. Thank you to our ongoing podcast supporter. Let’s get checked and encourage you to check them out at. Let’s get checked dot com. They offer at home testing for everything from s. T is to thyroid liver colon. Sexual health iron vitamin task. You order online. They mail it to you. And then you provide the sample back via mail and check your result securely online so do check them out and please use code doctor just at checkout to let them know that you heard about them here today we are going to be talking about at tach moment styles with an old friend of mine really excited to welcome her in just a moment but before we do. I want to get to one of your questions. I’m trying to commit to getting to at least one or two questions every episode. Because they’re piling up and this is a nice easy one. This person has a question about writing writing. What writing the dixon call. Should writing a buddy or no that relate to relationships. Dixie call so they’re just asking for some techniques. They said they’re afraid to get on top. I mean there’s a lot to say about this. And i do have some previous episodes about writing that you can check out but i mean ultimately when it comes to getting on top. Just do what feels good for. You don’t emulate what you see in porn. Just move your body in a way that produces pleasure so rather than focusing on how you look tune in to how you feel and they they also ask some questions about how to get on top but honestly again. There’s no right way to climb on top just can hold your hands above their head while you mount them or you can rollover and climb on board or you can squat down on top of them. They also asked the question. Where do you put your hands and again whatever feels most comfortable for your body you know you could put your hands on their shoulders on the bed in the air. Wave around like you. Just don’t care. It could be on your own hips along their hips against their ankles. If you’re facing down. Ricky bobby your hands. Oh just let them float into the air. If if that’s your jam honestly go for it and in terms of techniques. Because they’re looking for specific techniques. I pulled some from an article or maybe from a book that i had written a long time ago. I mean basically you’ve got the classic where you just bounce up and down from base to tip or you’ve got the cat curl where you you get on all fours. And if you’re facing their face you put your palms next to their shoulders. And you just of arch your back a cat to curl your hips backwards in a semi circle or you can turn around and face their feet and do the exact same thing. You’re on all fours and you curl and roll your hips If you prefer you can sit up straight and roll your hips to trace a large circle with kind of the bottom half along their body and the upper half up in the air so again. It’s kind of just a rolling movement of the hips You can sit all the way down and rock instead of rolling. Just rockier your hips. Like you’re on a rocking horse back and forth. That can feel good if you if you have a clitoris you can be rubbing your co torres. you might squat over them and kind of let them watch as they kind of slide in out and again you could be facing them you could give you giving them a rear view or giving yourself view of your feet. If that’s where you’re into you could be approaching from the side. You could get an into a kneeling position and lean all the way back orlean. All the way forward you could be in a table top position as you. Just kind of. Get on all fours so that you can whisper in their ear You could do a quick change where you kind of alternate between. I don’t know five to ten shallow pumps and then five to ten deeper ones kind of pressing yourself in and out in and out away and back toward them you can also alternate with speed so you go really really slowly for a minute and then you speed it up. And then you go slowly and then speed it up so so many options when it comes to writing and always reticent to give these specific techniques because i just want to remind you that a prescription.

00:05:02 – 00:10:05

They’re not a perfect formula. Really if you just play with what works for you. You’re you’re probably going to enjoy it more than following. Exactly what i’ve said but don’t be afraid of being on top because it gives you the ability to control the depth and the angle and the speed and the rhythm and the movements and you can kind of play with exhibition ism with your body in full view but again please enjoy the feelings instead of worrying about what your partner is thinking. I think many of us are intimidated by riding especially in the light of day. Because we’re worried about you. Know maybe what we look like. Or what our partners thinking or what. They’re feeling but if we could just tune out of that in tune into our own pleasure. I think we’ll all be better off. Your is probably just enjoying whatever it is. You’re doing so. I know as the recipient that’s what i feel. I’m just i’m not. I’m just focused on you and how good it feels and everything else. It’s just a product or definitely own worst critic and this was kind of a longer question about writing. So i hope you feel a little bit motivated or at least a little bit more confident to try some of these things out. Whatever you do. It’s not the last time you’re going to have sex so if you don’t like at this time you’ll find something else you next time or the next time now. Changing gears it’s time to talk about attachment styles joining us. Today is dr jeannette giulio. a clinical psychologist. Ceo and founder of path will clinic in toronto and a friend of mine. Nice to see you from afar. Likewise dr jess. How’re you doing. I’m hanging in there. how about you same. You know when one day at a time. We’re you know we’re in toronto. So we are now in lockdown again. the next twenty seven days. But who’s counting. You know so taking it one day at a time. So are you. Seeing patients. Virtually as well. Yes in person as well so mental health. At least where i practice ontario has been deemed an essential service which means i can see clients in person and some people. Just prefer that What i am primarily seeing clients virtually which is nice who a lot of clients now as you know are working from home So that doesn’t get in the way of them. Doing therapy can talk to them from anyhow anywhere now so i probably seeing about seventy percent or so of my clients. Virtually in about thirty in person. Okay and are you seeing anything pop up or any themes since the onset of covid. Yes for sure So anxiety is say the number one presentation that i’m seeing and that’s true where people maybe are experiencing anxiety pre pandemic and now is just been exacerbated but i’m also seeing a lot of new anxiety and people who don’t have any history of it are now quite fearful and anxious not necessarily you know about the virus itself or contracting there some of that really. The anxiety relates more to Just the unknown right in the uncertainty of this all and what this means for them right personally professionally financially. Uncertainty is a hard thing for people to deal with right and we’ve never been a more uncertain time as of now so this is triggering a lot of anxiety and what i’m seeing now because we’re now in months nine ish kind of this pandemic I’m now starting to see depression. That’s now have emanated right from the consequences of lock downs in the various restrictions. That we’ve been under So you know we were talking earlier on. It’s been a busy time are not just for me for all of my colleagues in mental health. I’ve never seen anything like this in my career. Certainly i’ve never been this busy so a lot of people are having a hard time with everything that’s happening. Yeah that makes sense an icon ask. Are you seeing a lot of anger or rage attached to that anxiety. Because i’m noticing with me that i’m just snappier than ever I wouldn’t i wouldn’t call it rage necessarily but i just like every little thing irritates me when it didn’t use to and one thing that i had kind of a discovery this week doc i i was thinking i was thinking about kind of my frustration and my anxiety. I’m i’m a very low anxiety person. Normally and i actually love stress and i really enjoy risk. And that’s part of why i’ve kind of designed maybe subconsciously or maybe purposely.

00:10:05 – 00:15:01

My work the way. I have right flying all the time you know. Maybe you missed the flight. Maybe you make it in time. Maybe you don’t. Those are the types of things that many people find distressful. But i actually take comfort in it and i realized just last week that even though i’m still doing my work in many ways i’ve i’ve lost my job because my job really entailed travel every traveling every week and working with groups in person and i’m lucky that i’m still getting to do some work online but there is a real sense of loss to the lifestyle that i was accustomed to living that again. I know most people wouldn’t wanna live that lifestyle right. Sometimes people say oh. Can you pack in your bag. And i’m like you would not want to do what i’m doing. No i know it’s sort of his view. You’re a little bit like me. You like to bounce around. So so i made it all about me. Let’s let’s talk about. Let’s talk about frustration and anger. Are you seeing a lot of that. Yeah well frustration you know slash anger irritability right those are all or can be manifestations of both anxiety and depression and you know in a in a case such as yourself where you were really you designed your professional personal but also professional lifestyle to the degree that you wanted it right. You had agency and ownership of that and what this pandemic has done is essentially taken that away right and for people who are very independent. Are you know. Yeah are independent spirits. This pandemic has been hard to deal with because it’s made them feel out of control right. Something was taken away from them rather quickly and there’s this feeling that they can’t really do much about it and that for sure can trigger erna ability anger in many people right but especially people with that very sort of self sufficient independent spirit. Yeah you know something that came up with my therapist Has to do with. How travel creates chemicals that i tend to be low in so she talked a little bit to me about you know having adhd and being one of those people that bounces around. And how my job or my. I mean it’s not a job. My business allows me to naturally cope because the intensity and the toback scheduling of travel helped to create some of those chemicals. Right that i might be naturally low. And so she she was saying. It’s almost like madison right. So many people with different diagnoses have different coping mechanism. Some people will take meds but up for other people. It has to do with lifestyle changes. So i don’t know what you see. Many clients with adhd and how they’re coping during the pandemic. I come from the corporate world so a lot of my clients are executives Or entrepreneurs right and naturally they tend to be More greater risk takers like you were saying before they tend to be Thrive on good stress and look. They’re they’re not risk averse right and that actually those situations that you maybe are a bit risky or exciting that that fuels them right It’s a known fact that a lot of entrepreneurs are in fact have adhd. And it’s it’s like you said they look for situations that maybe people would find risky or the average the average person would find risky of fueling a need right sometimes. There’s this belief that people with adhd are over stimulated and that’s not actually the case right. It’s exactly what you said. They have certain neurotransmitters that are associated with reward. Pleasure feeling good. That are actually lower than say. The average person hasn’t so they need to look for these exciting thrill seeking situations in order to give themselves that natural boost of those good neuro chemicals that they don’t have enough of exactly and now for many of us. That’s that’s missing so we’re really really struggling with it now. Do you deal with so if you’re dealing with so many let’s say entrepreneurs who Perhaps are diagnosed with adhd or have tendencies along those lines. What you see in relationships. And i know we’re going to start talking about attachment theory and the styles in just a moment but i do receive quite a few questions about adhd and we did one podcast interview on adhd in relationships and sex. But do you see patterns arise and. Is there anything we can do. I you know asking for a friend to be better partners For sure so you.

00:15:01 – 00:20:02

People who again are more of that type a Risk averse will thrill seeking adhd What would tend to see in terms of patterns is in relationships is these are folks again who seek stimulation and excitement right and especially now in this pandemic when ways in which they feed that sense or that need for excitement has been taken away This can lead to ra yra ability anger. that’s manifested in their primary relationships right so we see that frustration. They have all this extra kinda pent up energy and they don’t know where to place it or there’s nowhere really you know a healthy outlet to place it on. We tend to sometimes see in relationships. You know thrill seeking behavior. So maybe these folks again. This is a blanket statement but we tend to see perhaps increased rates of cheating or infidelity As a means of against seeking that external investment right they might become a more easily bored say with their partner right and so they need that external stimulation in order to keep themselves excited and know that they’re also exciting to other people Rates of as you probably well know for sure rates of separation and now we’re even seeing sort of divorce because we have some longer term data now from about a year’s data now out from when this pandemic started we’re seeing increased rates in both right separation and divorce and Separations and divorces tend to be higher with people who have again adhd or more of this thrill seeking type a type of behavior. And i’m certainly seeing that in my practice now so increase relationship problems in these folks for sure you said something about not just having their own excitement fulfilled and this applies to all people but wanting to seem exciting to somebody else and that really resonates with me and i think with so many people so yes you want your partner to be attracted to you and be interested in new but of course it can be more exciting when somebody else is interested in you and i think that. Listen if you have a tendency if you’re naturally inclined towards something being aware of it and being able to name it means that you can address it in a way that works for you. Works for your relationship isn’t perhaps destructive to the relationship. So i know for example that i am bored so easily like so easily you know when i used to work on the show i think we shot say ten episodes over the course of a month by the fourth episode. I was like this again. Are we really going to do this again. Even though it was always a new story. I just get bored really easily. I’m not complaining about that. Show but brin news this about me yes i do. It’s funny that you mentioned irritability irratibility as one of the items because speaking about myself. I’ve been very irritable and it was really interesting. Was that you mentioned. Some types of people are cert- seeking thrill and you know that that they’ve lost some control. And i’ve always felt like i’m on the other end of that spectrum where i’ve always wanted control. It’s what actually i have found. And i’m not saying it’s an effective way of doing things but just of easing my own anxiety. It’s like i feel like i’m in control and letting go of. It is something that i have difficulty. I have difficulty with now in the midst of this. I feel like. I have less control like. That’s my concern. And that’s what’s driving all this anxiety for me is that you know like when you walk out the door and listen. I’m still going and running my business. I’m still going out and being careful in masking up and doing what i need to do. But there is this overriding concern of you. Know what if what if you get sick and it’s been difficult but that irritability ellum i have found very much in this in this relationship like me personally. I just get irritated. And we’ve been together now. I mean have been. We’ve been there almost two decades and love her to death. There’s nothing i wouldn’t do for her. And through this entire pandemic i mean. We’ve never spent eight plus months together every single day. And i don’t feel like i’m tired of you in any way but i could see how if this were to go on for another eight months to the degree that we currently have it with no definitive end in sight. How it might be it would just get it would be harder like. It’s it’s harder when you’re always with the same person. You’re not able to do some of the fun things that you did before i gotta ask you what do you what do i do irritate. You know seriously. Because i’m like i’m trying to think of things that this early in the pandemic i was like.

00:20:02 – 00:25:39

Am i doing anything to irritate you. But i haven’t checked well first of all. You’re a lot more patient than me. like there’s no denying the with me at least you’re more patient with me. Then i am with you like little. Things irritate me very easily. Like i’m the type of person that you leave a wrapper on the counter. I’m like a robber on the calendar. I may not say it out loud but it’s happening in my head and in my heart. The and i’m not making excuses. Earn a lot of things that i think you do that take me. There are certain things that i’ve been trying to do to reflect on my own behavior which have mitigated some of that. Irritability that i have with. Maybe things that you’ve done so anyway going back to things you do that bugs me. Okay i i’m like you don’t ever clean the shower after shower. She will go out of her way to make sure that sees the first one to take a shower. Just because the sequence of events is i go in the nice squeegee. We have a famous class shower and screw county. I’m a little bit specific about how not to get dirty third time. I’ve heard this is one of your podcast is the glass shower. But but like so but but but but let me but let me take more importantly if it three times and i feel like i’m hearing it for the first time the real issue is me not listening what i was thinking. I must have said this. A bunch of not even realized right but when justice away and she’s flying all over the world right. You’re not seeing as much of that race or the little things that are partners. Do that annoy us We’re around them now. Twenty four seven and that’s going to build irritability and frustration and anyone doesn’t matter who you are right so what you said earlier is also that the the issue of feeling out of control and that’s that’s hard again for for many people but especially people with anxiety who one of their primary means of coping with their anxiety is of course wanting to control everything right. It’s a false sense of control because of course we don’t have control over or anything but it’s a a sense of control that they have nonetheless when they try to cover all their bases try and predict or think about for everything that can go wrong and you know do whatever they need to do to prevent those well all of that right. Those false control mechanisms have also been taken away in this pandemic right. So what does that lead to exacerbated anxiety frustration anger depression excetera. I wholeheartedly agree with you. In this false sense of control and i think you believe that you can control every element and you can’t and i’ve learned that through my business. It’s like you take every possible. Step that you can. It doesn’t always work out but one thing that somebody a friend of mine said to me years ago. Was these little things that you do get irritated about. It’s like just remember that one day you will reflect back and want to do them like the things that you perceive as being a chore like for instance last night. Just ten o’clock at night. Which isn’t that late. But it’s late now during a pandemic just. I know that you wanted me to make you popcorn late at night. And i don’t pop it in the microwave. I make it on the stove top and do things. I make a pretty amazing popcorn. Yeah it’s not very healthy but the point is is that last night. I knew that you wanted that. I knew that it was an inconvenience if you will because of course i wanted to relax and just you know wind down but i remembered that you if you were here. I would want to do that. Like i would want to make. You did it. Because i didn’t want to ask you. Last night was just like you know what i need to do. So a friend of mine years ago was like the things that you perceive to being. Yeah their chores but there will be a day that if you couldn’t do this that’s all you’d want to do is to do this chore for someone and i remember thinking that with our dog. I was like you know it’s raining. It’s two degrees. it’s a terrible day. I’m waiting for my dog to go to the washroom outside. This stinks and i was like you know one day. She’s not going to be here. And that’s what i’m going to do so i take those chores and turn into things that hopefully can be reframed them. The language of that is like oh. I have to take the dog for the walk versus. I get to take the dog for the walk. Like i do anything right now to get to take my dog for a walk but i can’t do that ever again either and you were so sweet making me that when you brought up the popcorn i was so excited i squealed actually. Didn’t know if you were being facetious sarcastic. And i was like oh you made me pa combined. You must me so. We tricked dr gina into therapy. But i do want to talk to you about attachment styles in attachment theory. Because that’s something we haven’t covered on the podcast So could you give us a rundown of what into attachment theory entails sure so attachment theory stipulates that how we attached to other adults strongly corresponds to how we attached to others especially our primary caregivers in infancy gay so it goes back to that early in the first year or two of life how we attached to our primary caregivers or caregivers will dictate and greatly influence how we relate to others as adult especially in romantic relationships so how we communicate with others whether or not we trust people.

00:25:39 – 00:30:17

How vulnerable were willing to be in relationships how we respond to interpersonal conflict. Our expectations of our partners. All of these things can be greatly influenced by the lessons that we learned in how we attached to our primary caregivers in the very early stages of our lives and you say there are three dimensions that tend to underlie attachment styles right so three dimensions and where we lie on. These three dimensions will characterize the type of attachment style that we have and they are closeness dependency and anxiety closeness how comfortable we feel. You know being emotionally close and intimate and vulnerable with other people Dependency so the degree to which we think that it is safe to rely on our our partners or other people and vice versa. The degree to which we’re comfortable with others or partners relying on us and then lastly anxiety the extent to which we worry about our partners leaving us or abandonment so again where we lie on these three dimensions right in there. not so categorical. They really do run along. A spectrum will define and characterize the type of attachment style that we have and they divide the attachment styles into four categories so the four attachment styles are secure. Anxious avoided and disorganized. I can take you through a run through of of each of the four okay so secure attachment so this is the healthiest type of attachment These folks are low on interpersonal avoidance. So in other words they don’t avoid relationships and they’re low on anxieties in other words. They’re not insecure in relationships. They’re really comfortable. Great on that dependency dimension. The really comfortable relying on other people on their partners and vice versa. They’re also really comfortable with their partners needing them. Right they don’t feel smothered by that at all They trust that their partner is going to be around so they don’t worry that their partner is gonna leave them right. They don’t worry about being abandoned rejected by their partner The trust that their partner can have their own independent lives right in there not threatened by at all. They have a really healthy dose of self esteem. Really comfortable with closeness. These folks are really good in terms of navigating interpersonal conflict So they’re really good in other words with relaying their needs and wants to their partner and vice versa. Empathizing with their partners needs and wants and really sort of understanding that and not being threatened by that if they differ from. There’s the really empathic. And they really know how to regulate their emotions. Well as so secure attachment get the healthiest type of attachment of the for the second one is known as anxious attachment sometimes called ambivalent attachment. So these folks are also low on interpersonal avoidance. Another they don’t similarily. They don’t avoid relationships but they’re high on anxiety pay meaning. They’re very insecure in relationships. So the worry about being rejected or abandoned by their partner. They’re fearful and they sometimes then react by becoming really needy or clingy You know to their partner. Because they’re worried about them leaving. They worry that they’re not good enough for their partner. They tend to be really sensitive to their partners mood so if their partner comes home one day and partners really angry or upset they tend to internalized that personalize it and make it about them right and accept responsibility for their partners moods and behaviors They can be really are to demanding. They have really high expectations of their partners. They sometimes can scare partners away because of this they just be too much and they don’t regulate their emotions well so they can be quite moody or argumentative at those are that tends to be An expression of of their anxiety and the don’t tend to have good interpersonal boundaries.

00:30:18 – 00:35:03

So that’s the anxious. Attachment third is the avoidance attachment sometimes called dismissive so these folks as compared to the previous two attachment styles. they’re high on interpersonal avoidance. In other words they don’t wanna in relationships k. If they are they avoid the intimacy in a relationship. They’re not comfortable with intimacy at all and they’re low on anxiety. They don’t feel insecure because they don’t really care all that much right about forming intimate bonds. So the ideas while you know if they end the relationship their partner leaves them. It doesn’t really upset them too. Much case with a very low on interpreting zaidi. They’re uncomfortable with closeness. Like i said uncomfortable with intimacy and because of this. They tend to keep partners. At an arm’s length the really value their freedom and their independence. So for them intimacy intimacy. I mean with the capital. I write physical entities but truly intimacy in all of its meanings equates to a loss of freedom for them and this is why intimacy scares him and terrifies them so much. They’re not good communicators again because they don’t care all that much about intimacy so they’re not gonna invest even in learning how to communicate effectively or put in the work that’s required to sometimes do that. They’re often described by partners or other people as being emotionally unavailable right. They’re almost like have this stonewall stoic presentation there really emotionally distant can sometimes be quite Rejecting in relationships and then the last one is the most unhealthy type of attachment. Which is the disorganized sometimes called the unresolved attachment style and it’s disorganized. It’s what it sounds like. it’s disoriented because it’s all over the place so we tend to see all kinds of sometimes opposing behaviour and interpersonal behaviors. In with this type of attachment style. So these folks are high on interpersonal avoidance. So they similarily tend to avoid Sort of intimacy and closeness in relationships. But they’re also high anxiety right. It’s an interesting combination. see why they’re called. This organizers a bit of pushing poll right there They avoid intimacy and yet they’re fearful of being rejected or abandoned at the same time. So they chew react With by distancing themselves from other people they’re uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness. they really have difficulties trusting other people. they feel that they can’t rely on others. They often have a lot of unresolved emotions or complicated mindsets that stem from earlier. Traumas and i don’t mean single. Traumas like being in a car accident but we often see very complex chronic trauma in these folks such as years of injuring abuse. Say childhood they Sort of lack empathy. They tend to be punishing in relationships. There’s a general disregard for rules which we also tend to see a lot of criminal behavior with this type of attachment style They tend to be quite punishing and narcissistic and again. This is one of the most unhealthy dysfunctional attachment styles of the four attachment styles. tend to be passed down generation only because we can also learn right these attachment styles in childhood depending on what we see with our primary caregivers and we think about inter generational trauma being passed. Down You know when i whenever i see models like this I always see that they can put perhaps be useful. But also i think they can be Kind of problematic in that people will diagnose other people You know you hear people say well they. They were There are confirmed narcissist or they’re emotionally unavailable and just diagnosing people because their style or more importantly the way you interpret their style doesn’t jive with you. So i’m happy to hear from the onset that you talked about this kind of continuum and how it’s not that somebody is one hundred percent secure or one hundred percent anxious or one hundred percent. Avoid enter disorganized. When i think about these various attachment styles. I would think that we all exhibit components of each of them absolutely right.

00:35:03 – 00:40:05

That’s the sort of the fact of it. And the reality is that we are all lately a combination Of all four and that is gonna vacillate and the that runs along the spectrum too. And that’s going to be influenced by what’s going on in our lives The the type where our partner is for those of you know of us in relationships where they’re at in terms of their you know the spectrum of their attachment style and how that as you said or doesn’t jive with us You know it can change with with maturity with Therapy so certainly Yes we are not you know definitively one hundred percent one of these four types but rather a combination of all four and depending on what’s happening in our lives at any given time right. The first thing that comes to mind for me is collective trauma because You know. I think these psychological lenses can be so helpful for us to look at ourselves and kind of recognize. Oh yeah that is in me. Or i’d like to have more of that or less of that. But also they’re all these environmental socio cultural factors related to our identity related to your age to your race to your family background to culture all these different components that can for example. Make if you take for example you know. Avoid enter dismissive Somebody who is maybe scared of being hurt while i think about for example racial trauma and how you might How you might move into the dating world having lived a lifetime of racial trauma or somebody who you know is let me see what i’m just looking at this list. I had some notes here. You know being fearful of being rejected will again. I start to think about the values around sexual social capital. And have you been told that you are worthy. Have you seen representations that remind you of yourself in popular culture or even around you s- to tell you that you are deserving of love that you’re deserving of a healthy relationship that you’re deserving of being in a committed relationship or any relationship doesn’t have to be committed in from a sexual perspective the that you’re deserving of sex and in the absence of You know a broader representation of people in in whether it’s pop culture or in politics or on the front page of the newspaper or in leadership. I would think that all those things can so adversely or positively affect this. You know the way you embrace or way reflect these attachment styles so i know that you must work on attachment styles with people so if we can say that secure attachment styles make four more stable or more fulfilling relationships. How do you become more secure in your attachment style. And i should just mention that. I met dr jeannette when she was training me and cognitive behavioral therapy so i imagine. Cbt is one of the tools in your arsenal. One of them right. So the good news is if the goal right or the the holy grail of attachment is secure attachment Because that has been deemed the the healthiest type of attachment style. One can become securely attached anytime at any age. So this idea that you know we are primarily a product of our childhood for example is just. It’s just not true. It’s not true to what happens to us in childhood that matters. It’s how we cope with it right and and our behavioral response to maybe triggers or. Yeah an overarching. Maybe mindset that was primed in childhood but that mindset right in those behaviors that or manifestations of early learnings can certainly be changed right and one of the ways. Yeah shirt what you said. Cognitive behavior therapy because what cognitive behavior therapy helps people to do is to change problematic or unhelpful. Ways of thinking. Right mindsets and unhelpful ways of behaving again that our responses to triggers right that have been created by sort of scheme as they were created and childhood And cvt card behavior therapy for short can be quite effective so it’s not a panacea to secure all the ills of the world. It doesn’t work for everybody but the efficacy rates are pretty high so depending on you know what we’re treating what type of anxiety or whether it’s depression the efficacy rates run anywhere from about sixty seventy percent and it’s also A short term treatment.

00:40:05 – 00:45:02

Right this is not a treatment that you have to be in for years right or forever very different from earlier. Say psycho dynamic therapy that tends to be longer term. An average of course of cbt is about twelve sessions and you can make a significant impact in terms of somebody’s mindset again and changing behaviors In that period of time so really we’re looking at about four four months or so of therapy Which is fantastic and those gains have also been shown to be maintained long-term as well so. Cbt is one way to help. People change their attachment style Another type of therapy which. I often integrate with my cvt work. Which does a really nice job of again helping people to move to. More more secure types of attachment is eft or emotion focused therapy And that really is the gold standard for couples. Therapy has been shown to be the most effective and that therapy really does a nice job of doing a deep dive into people’s attachment styles. But not only that but really looking at how each partners. If we’re talking about a to partner couple how each partners attachment styles interact with one another and how that dynamic plays out in sometimes how it can play out an unhealthy manners and teaches people how to not necessarily change their attachment style per se but to be aware of their attachment style. Right and how. It’s playing out with their partners Attachment style in how to change the typical behavioral response right or the dance say of behavioral responses that we sometimes see being played out between couples So emt does a really nice job of helping people to uncover that it’s possible we can all move towards a more sort of secure healthier way of attaching. We just have to want it and we have to be willing to put in the work to get there. It’s not easy work right it. It takes time and it sometimes can be really hard and even painful work in the short term But you know for longer term gain. It’s absolutely possible. And so your your clinic path. Well you folks can check it out at pathway. L. dot ca you do offer digital online sessions as well. And what. I what i really like about. Cbd as well as if t is that folks can take the tools and work on it on their own right. So if you’re talking about an average of twelve sessions some people might use all of those other people might just need to check in sort of like you know brennan’s going to physio right now. The physio shows him some exercises he doesn’t need to go to physio every single time he does those exercises and i’m glad that we’re looking at therapy differently than ten. Twenty thirty years ago where people can become their own therapists. I i always noticed that talking with one of my friends luna helps me to figure out a bunch of stuff that that i call them like therapy breakthroughs and i have a list of them. You know what. I’m struggling with something. And sometimes i get them in therapy but sometimes i get them talking to luna who is quite qualified as well right absolutely. I think that’s the hallmark of you. Good effective therapy right is teaching people essentially how to tap into the best therapist that they have which is the therapist within themselves and arming them with tools that they can then use in the future when needed if they feel triggered a successive therapy. Can’t be predicated on somebody going to therapy every week That’s just not feasible right on for many people. This is also not practical. I always tell me. Will you the most important work that you do in therapy is actually the work that you do outside of my session. I’m with people typically for about an hour. You know an hour in somebody’s week is but a mere drop in the bucket of time right. So that our. I’m helping people to Maybe arrive at some insights that they haven’t had before but more importantly help to set them up so that they can behaviorally respond to those insights differently when they walk out my door. Which is the really important in meaningful work that they have to do. And we know that yes. We don’t have to be in therapy regularly by regular i mean weekly or for a very long time in order for that to happen nor does that Change to happen in person right. We know now that online therapy.

00:45:02 – 00:50:03

There’s a lot of research now that has looked at specifically online. Cbt and it has shown that online cvt is just as effective as in-person cbt. There’s no difference right there. Therapeutically equivalent in terms of outcomes which is also great right because again it allows Maybe people who don’t live in say cities where or cities period or more rural areas. Where there aren’t very many therapists or maybe even therapists at all right to access that help. Bridges renders therapy more easily accessible And with equal if Equivalences in terms of efficacy. So that’s really exciting for me as a therapist as well it really is and it makes just. It’s so much more accessible. And i like that. You’re saying that the best therapist you have is the therapist in yourself so if folks are struggling with attachment. Maybe they’re feeling you know. High on avoidance or high on anxiety or very fearful of rejection or just really second guessing themselves. Where can they begin right now on their own like. Is there a question they can ask themselves. Is there a prompt. They can use to reflect upon to feel more secure with a reminder that with these attachment styles. they’re not permanent states of being So where can we begin right now to leave people right so you one thing i’d ask if your listeners to ask themselves is where do they lie on those three dimensions. That underpin attachment style so closeness dependency anxiety right so i would ask myself. So how comfortable am i with intimacy in relationships. Is that something that scares me or not. How comfortable am i being vulnerable with. People getting close to people in the true sense of closeness. Right emotionally close I would have listeners. Thinking about that dependency. How comfortable in my relying on others is that something that scares me. Am i okay with it and vice versa. How comfortable in my with other people relying on me and then kylie anxiety m. i. fearful of rejection. And if so why might that be. Am i worried about people. Abandoning me are not right so i have your listeners. Think about where they lie on those three dimensions of closeness dependency in an anxiety. And then think about why that might be and how that might be manifesting in their lives in terms of their behaviors right and then just choose one. You wanna start start small. You’re either choose the one that you think might be a bit easier to tackle or maybe you choose the one that is interfering with your life. Most right that’s for your listeners to decide but you know for example. If i decide okay maybe i really wanna work on becoming a more comfortable with emotional intimacy with people so i might then give myself some homework of trying to challenge myself on that and say okay well this week. I’m going to call one of my friends. And i’m really going to share something personal with them. I’m going to challenge myself to knock down these emotional walls that i keep to defend myself and really share something other than hey you know the weather. What are you up to something. That’s more meaningful and try that on for size and see how that works right. So that’s something that you can start with right away today and doesn’t require a therapist right or much work. It doesn’t cost anything right. I love that. I love that. You’re giving release specific really manageable stuff right. It’s not like open up to everyone. And i’m gonna be vulnerable with everyone in my life. I’m just gonna make one phone call and put myself out there in this one way Really really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us We are. We are friends. And i’m so thankful for that. But sometimes i wish we wouldn’t weren’t because then you could be my therapist versa. Folks you can learn more about dr dena giulio at pass. Well dot ca. Follow them on instagram at path. Well clinic and they’re on all social media in fact on pathway clinic. Thank you so much for chatting with us today. Thank you for having me. Great fun really appreciate it. Really appreciate this discussion. And i appreciate the expertise. Dr jean bay brings but also the the nuance and so i would encourage people to keep exploring the attachment styles but please please please. Please do not be hard on yourself and don’t definitely don’t assign and attachment style to your partner. I always recommend you begin with yourself. I actually. that’s something. I noticed earlier in the conversation With dr gina. I asked you a question about something and then you turned it around about working on yourself.

00:50:03 – 00:55:03

And i meant to say june on like yeah. These are like the dream clients for therapists. Who are like. here’s what i’m struggling with. Here’s what i can do about it. Here’s what i’m thinking rather than all my problems come from external sources. It’s his fault in her fault and their fault. And that’s not to say that other people don’t adversely affect your life or affect the way you you feel or the way you behave burden even the way you think to some degree but you do have some agency. I’ve i’ve found recently. I’ve started to journal again. That’s given me an opportunity to reflect on my part. In how i’m feeling or how i’m interpreting things which has been really really helpful. It’s kind of like okay. What’s the problem but like when i reread the question. It’s like well. What am i doing or how my responding to it. And what’s my role in this and because right now we have an opportunity to talk about my own role and things. I want to apologize to you. Because i think at the beginning or rather during this conversation i alluded to the fact that we’ve been together for so long i think in an attempt to be funny didn’t realize than actually made you feel bad when there is nothing in the world that i want more than to spend another sixty years of my life with you and i’m using this platform rate here. This podcast to apologize to you for coming across that way. Because i think in an attempt to be in an effort to be funny In the moment. I made it out like it’s been such a long time when there’s nothing that i want more than to have more time with you the same way. You don’t have to apologize for rails. I mean the therapist is gone now. So it’s how i feel. It’s taking a page at dr. julius book. I you know being vulnerable being real being honest with yourself and not trying to perform for anybody else. And that’s what i’m doing right here a little impromptu which is just saying to you. That’s what i want. So i i’m sorry for coming across that way i’m not. I’m not even sure you didn’t have to say sorry that thank you. It’s interesting one thing that i think of when i look through the attachment styles on my notes is that i do know that. We’re we’re both really open to being reliant on one another for different things I don’t feel smothered. I feel like you really wanna be close. I always appreciate that. I don’t ever feel have to fight for you to be vulnerable. I think sometimes you maybe don’t have your words in the way that i expect you to but that comes back to my own expectations. Oh man we could really delve into this. I know we’ve been delving into it for a while now. But i mean just in this conversation but yeah sometimes i’m like well. Why don’t you say these words this way. But i realize that. I’m projecting my expectations and the fact that you know i’m really verbal person. I never stopped talking like to read Whereas you’re a little bit more thoughtful with the things you say. No i mean. It’s a. I try and i want to be more like you. Gina was telling us about the different attachment styles. I found it really interesting that you have so many like the thrill seeker the the sometimes enjoying the adrenaline that comes. Are you gonna make the flight. Or you’re gonna make your speech you’re gonna get on stage. That’s when she was talking about like adhd but for me. I am the. I’m very much the opposite. I have a presentation and say i need to three days in advance. What i’m talking about. But you thrive under those circumstances and it can drive people up the wall. I mean kelly. Who is my brand manager and also produces this podcast. Who will who will be listening She wants she likes things done ahead of time and i like to do things right when they have to be there for making sure. I actually get things done But also little things. When i when i was traveling a lot i remember you would always ask me questions like a. When are you going here. When are you going there What’s your plan here or did you pack this. And i’m like i’m like man. I don’t know kids forgot it. No no no no not so much. That as i’m like it’s in the. I cal- i trust the eichel I moved from day to day from moment to moment. And when you ask questions about things that are going to happen. Three days away from me if feels like it’s three months away. I know three days from now feels like tomorrow to you but to me. It just feels like it’s so far off in the distance and over the last twenty years. I think we’ve learned to understand one another’s approaches like i know. Sometimes i just have to give you an answer because it puts with ease. And i think you know sometimes not to ask me because i i’ll i’ll find it like oh i don’t know if the words irritating as much as I find it unnecessary. But then it’s it’s just not necessary to me. It’s necessary you know but again for me going back to the journaling and the entry it’s when i think about things from that perspective and i think about what dr gina said.

00:55:03 – 00:59:08

Today i can put two and two together. Whereas in the moment when i’m when we’re having an argument discussion when i’m out and i’m presented with an opportunity to change my behavior us. Cpt or use any of those techniques. I find it difficult so having a chance to reflect on it you know eventually i will get there so yeah i think i mean i want to say that. I don’t know anyone else who’s kind of so good at pushing their comfort zone and adjusting their behavior. I i watch you. And you’re one of those people that if i say i like something even if you’re uncomfortable with it you just you push through and do it like i. I’m thinking about sex. I am not verbose. I am not very expressive. When it comes to words words and as i’m struggling with them right now but there that’s one of the challenges that we had this relationship as you want me to express myself a certain way you know the jamaican you’re just his so the like top inexpressive few says. Oh it’s like poetry. And i’m stumbling over six words. I’m trying to say but i do try. I know you do and you’re again. You’re being too hard on yourself. You’re you’re still a super articulate persson in your expressive in lots of other ways. But i do i have to say and i know we kind of just started chatting ourselves but we’ll just keep going and For real. i find that you are just willing to make shifts and willing to say. Oh that rather than saying oh. I’m not like that or no. I wasn’t raised that way or no. That’s not me you’re like okay. This doesn’t it isn’t not aligned with my personal values. So i can try that right. I can try and do that thing. That might feel really good for you. Even though i don’t feel naturally inclined to do it. And i think that’s a really important point when it comes to attachment styles that they aren’t set in stone and so you don’t have to say. Oh but i’m always going to be this way because i’m fearful of being rejected or abandoned and i react by becoming clingy. You can say okay i. I am fearful of being rejected. Which by the way we all are to some degree that we all have a fear of rejection. But here’s what i can do about it. Here’s how i can think differently. Here’s how i can dig a little deeper Here’s how i can behave differently. And let’s see. Some of those fears become assuaged. The there are three things that i feel like. I’ve learned over the years thinking about these. It number one is that it doesn’t always happen quickly. Number two is that it might be painful. But i always number three. Which is i’m doing this in the hopes in in the belief that it will get better and it doesn’t always mean that the relationship will necessarily get better but sometimes the relationship with myself the understanding of myself will get better and ultimately. That’s what i’m hoping for which is to improve in at specs of my life to to to to live my best life really. Can i ask you that. You’re generally yeah of course. Are you doing that. Like is it every day. No it started out three or four times a week. And i really found that writing things down. Help ease some of the anxiety and the stress. It gave me a chance to reflect and it’s whittled down over the course of the last month or six weeks that i’ve been doing it only to once or twice a week and again i’m hard myself. Even you know. I should do it more but when i reflect back on the entries which aren’t terribly long. I find it very very helpful. So it’s it’s been it’s been good and hopefully it’s the start of a long journey. Thank you for sharing that with me and with everyone. So thank you to you for listening. Hope you have a nice long weekend if you’re down in the states or wherever you’re at have a great one. You’re listening to the sex with dr jazz podcast. Improve your sex life improve your life.

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