Does it feel like you keep attracting the same relationship dynamics in your life? As frustrating as it is, our guest today shows us that healthy relationships are possible. Join me as I chat with licensed clinical therapist and relationship coach Christina Abood about the ins and outs of attachment styles.
Christina deep dives into each attachment style and even offers us some practical tips on how to get to a securely attached place and feel safe in our bodies.
Let this episode remind us that the more we work on ourselves and become the person we want to be, the easier it is to attract our dream partner to us!
In this week’s episode, we discuss:
[01:32] About Christina Abood
[02:56] Why Christina integrates attachment styles into all of her work
[06:54] How we subconsciously attract people
[08:40] Avoidant Attachment
[12:50] Anxious Attachment
[16:03] Disorganized Attachment
[18:11] We are wired to be securely attached
[21:12] How to repair our attachment style & implement positive self-talk
[25:05] Validating our feelings, self-soothing, and fulfilling our needs
[28:32] Being in alignment with yourself & attuning to others
[32:31] Regulating your nervous system
[35:45] Mindfulness exercises to help you tune into your body
[42:07] Being mindful of what you surround yourself with
[47:10] Divorce statistics & healthy relationships
[49:24] The importance of personal growth
[51:35] Christina’s favorite date
About Christina Abood
Christina is a licensed clinical therapist, a dating and relationship coach, and a podcast host. She is the founder and owner of Beyond Thought Therapy and is passionate about helping people create lasting healthy love for themselves and their romantic lives. She works with her clients to heal past wounds and limiting beliefs while teaching them how to foster self-confidence and self-trust.
Why Christina integrates attachment styles into all of her work
Throughout Christina’s relationships, she found that she kept attracting the same type of man. After ending a relationship that she felt couldn’t get any deeper despite the love that they had, she looked into attachment theory. This led her to learn that these relationships weren’t working out because in each one they were both insecurely attached people. Our attachment style is the way that we connect with others and we’ve learned this early in our lives.
How we subconsciously attract people
Christina shares that we unconsciously attract people into our lives without even realizing it. We continue to choose partners that feel safe and comfortable for us and ones that fit our relational template. This “blueprint” was learned at the age of one or two so if we want to break a pattern, then we need to work on our attachment styles to get in a more secure place.
Avoidantly attached people tend to keep others at arm’s length and it feels very difficult to get close to them on a deeper level. Growing up they felt some sort of neglect and they might have felt that emotions were pushed to the side, maybe they were left alone a lot, or maybe they felt rejected in some way. These are the people that push away relationships, even if it’s unintentional. They don’t like commitment and tend to sabotage their relationships.
Anxiously attached people experience a lot of anxiety about whether their needs are going to be embedded in the relationship. They want to feel loved and in the past, they might have felt a lot of inconsistently from their caregiver. They have a mistrust of love and are very attuned and hyper-aware of subtle changes in others. The fear of abandonment is a subconscious thing that happens to anxiously attached people.
As adults, people who are anxiously attached are very sensitive to rejection. They’re often the people pleasers who lose themselves in a relationship. They may also struggle with codependency and are very hypersensitive to boundaries.
Disorganized attached people experience a lot of fear. This one is a little less common but when they were a child they felt a lot of confusion and fear around their caregiver. They typically get stuck in a trauma response and can go in between anxious and avoidant in relationships. They can also experience a lot of emotional dysregulation and sometimes even get to the feeling of being checked out in relationships.
It’s important to remember that attachment styles aren’t black and white and you can be all over the spectrum.
We are wired to be securely attached
We are wired to be securely attached and we always want to be moving towards this. You can be in a loving relationship with an insecure attachment style but it’s going to be a lot more difficult. If you are single, Christina recommends working on this because then you will attract people from a better place. We all have secure attachment within us.
Securely attached people like their interdependence, connecting with others in healthy ways, having a growth mindset, and being flexible. They can also think about a range of possibilities. They are able to resolve conflict without drama, are comfortable with boundaries, and can handle a full range of emotions. Becoming securely attached is not about perfection but it’s having a baseline of being secure within ourselves and all of these different skills that it would take to be secure.
How to repair our attachment style & implement positive self-talk
The key to feeling secure and confident in life starts with the relationship with yourself. Many people underestimate the importance of self-validation and self-compassion. It’s about how you talk to yourself on a daily basis. Are you constantly beating yourself up, criticizing every move, or berating yourself for having emotions?
Christina reminds us that learning to speak to ourselves with compassion, like you would a small child, helps a lot. It’s about being gentle while allowing ourselves to feel emotions, even if it’s just for a few minutes before taking a step back. With this practice, you can change your negative self-talk and build a more secure relationship with yourself.
Validating our feelings, self-soothing, and fulfilling our needs
Christina shares that our childhood experiences create subconscious blueprints for how we relate to others. If we want to make an impact on our subconscious mind we need to keep things simple, offer self-compassion, and understand instead of overthink. She tells us when we’re deep in emotions, try setting a five-minute “pity party” timer to acknowledge what’s bothering us then move on.
It’s important to be present for others but it’s also important to show up for our own needs. We need to learn how to self-soothe and comfort ourselves. In a relationship, it’s crucial to realize that your partner can’t fulfill all your emotional needs – you must take care of yourself too!
Being in alignment with yourself & attuning to others
Being secure is all about aligning with yourself and understanding your relationship with both yourself and others. It involves tuning into others, being curious about their experiences, and practicing empathy to truly understand them on a deeper level.
Christina shares that we need to start tuning into ourselves with compassion and asking ourselves “What do I want?” instead of “What should I do?”
If you’re single and looking for a partner, it’s important to have an understanding of what you want and how you want to feel with someone. If you’ve never experienced a healthy secure relationship, it can be challenging to recognize what’s good for you. Start tuning into your gut feelings or any intuitive messages that come up.
Regulating your nervous system
Another important aspect is regulating your nervous system. If your nervous system is constantly dysregulated, it can be hard to feel safe in your own body, which makes it difficult to recognize safety in a relationship. The fight-or-flight response often takes over, leaving you in a state of fear or anxiety.
To regulate your nervous system you can use different bodywork techniques or work with a coach or therapist who can help. The goal is to transition from a state of chronic dysregulation to a more regulated state. Remember that it’s a journey of self-discovery and healing, and it takes time and practice!
Mindfulness exercises to help you tune into your body
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that helps you become more present and aware of your thoughts and feelings. It’s about being present in the moment. Christina shares that you can start by checking in with yourself a few times a day: pause, close your eyes, and take a few minutes to assess your emotions and physical sensations. Write down what you observe because it helps you become more in tune with yourself and what’s happening in your body. Even if you can only do this once a day you’ll still notice a significant difference in how you feel.
Another grounding exercise involves noting five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can smell, and two things you can hear, which helps bring you into the present moment.
Being mindful of what you surround yourself with
One thing that people can do is spend time around secure couples and see what their interactions look like. If you’re constantly around dysfunctional couples, it’s much more likely for you to also fall into those patterns. Make sure to be mindful of who you spend time around in general. Also, think about the types of shows and movies you watch because this impacts you whether you know it or not.
Divorce statistics & healthy relationships
The divorce rate is 50% and out of the other 50%, 30% of those couples are unhappy. That leaves us with 20% of marriages that are truly successful. This doesn’t mean that healthy relationships don’t have their issues, it’s how they’re able to relate to each other, despite those issues. A lot of people just want a relationship and they aren’t thinking about healthy love. But being able to come into a relationship and maintain that love and connection (while having that juicy relationship) is the goal.
The importance of personal growth
Moving towards a more secure place in your life and relationships is entirely possible, whether you’re single or in a relationship. Becoming the best version of yourself is the most important part! As you become more secure in yourself you’ll naturally attract the kind of love and happiness you desire in your relationships. Love should have its ups and downs, but it shouldn’t be a constant struggle. When you’re secure in yourself, it’s easier to be there for each other and handle challenges in a more graceful way.
Christina’s favorite date
During the pandemic, she went on a bike-riding picnic date. Her date made so many things for them to eat and it was so thoughtful. Let this be a reminder that dates don’t have to be extravagant to be appreciated!
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