One of the more interesting findings described in the book Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller explains how one’s attachment style is stable but plastic – that it tends to remain consistent over time but can also change.

What are the circumstances of such change?

Usually when someone is dissatisfied with their predominant attachment style – those with an anxious or avoidant style.

Approximately 65% of the population has a secure attachment style and possesses the more constructive relationship skills like the ability to communicate their needs, establish intimacy and not react to their partner’s defensive behavior.

As a result, “secures” serve as a model for the other types.

Since Levine and Heller’s research points to the plasticity of one’s style, that means anxious and avoidant types can adapt their behavior to mirror that of a secure.

And one of the ways they can do that is through security “priming”, which is adopting the behaviors of secure people from a past relationship or a secure role model in their lives.

Here’s a great example from the book:

“Once when I disagreed with my manager, I came out very strongly against him.  But he showed a genuine interest in what I had to say and created a dialogue with me instead of a dueling match.”

Can you see how a change in perception can lead to a shift in your style?

This is great news, right?

If you possess one of the two insecure styles, you can gradually change toward greater security.

And as a result, you can behave more constructively in relationships.

And enjoy better mental health to boot!

To use priming, think of a secure person in your life.  Then conjure specific images and memories of how they behaved:

  • How they spoke to people
  • What they chose to ignore
  • How they behaved when their partner was going through a tough time
  • Their general outlook on life

If you’ve struggled with an anxious or avoidant attachment style, try security priming.

It can totally transform your experience in relationships.

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