ATTACHED by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller

by JF

These authors/relationship therapists examine the exact same dysfunctional relationship problem that is described in the book FACING LOVE ADDICTION by Pia Mellody. They have a different explanation as to its origins, and for the most part offer different advice for how to cope with or heal from the problem, but it is extremely obvious they are describing the same problem

Unlike FACING LOVE ADDICTION, which maintains that people’s “attachment style” (as Levine/Heller phrase it) is something profoundly shaped by their primary caregivers when they were children, and unlike FACING LOVE ADDICTION, which maintains that two out of the three “styles” are actually dysfunctions, this book, ATTACHED, teaches that there is nothing necessarily dysfunctional about any of the “three styles of attachment” and that the “styles” are not learned behavior when we are very young, but rather are a trait with which people are born. As is a recurring pattern all throughout the book, unsourced “science/studies/research” is airily given to support this and other claims.

Indeed, there are are very many casual references to some or other “scientific studies, ” very many claims that “research shows” this or that. However, there are extremely few actual specific source citations anywhere in the book. Apparently, very, very often the reader is just supposed to take the authors’ word for it that these “studies” or this “research” have/has actually been done, and apparently it is of little consequence by whom.

Whereas FACING LOVE ADDICTION is written in an even-handed, diplomatic tone, this book, ATTACHED, is decidedly biased against “avoidants” and in favor of “anxious” types–which the former book calls “love addicts.” I must admit, being a “love addict/anxious” type myself, I was constantly tempted to esteem this bias; still, I do recognize it as bias, especially in a book which refers so much to supposedly unbiased endeavors like “science” and “research,” and it is a wonder these authors didn’t temper themselves a bit more.

Whereas FACING LOVE ADDICTION is about healing dysfunctional relationships, this book tends to emphasize the avoidance of, and the getting out of, such relationships. In fact, so much does this book emphasize the latter–the severing of such malfunctional relationship–that it does not view marital vows with a proper reverence, and too many paragraphs of this book could be used as an excuse by hard-hearted married persons to justify to themselves the pursuance of divorce. Thus, this book should NOT be used as a self-help book for married people; a single individual looking to be in a healthy relationship, however, might receive some benefit from reading this–but frankly, if they are planning on getting married someday, then they too should not read the portions relating to married people, or they too might be infected with the cavalier attitude of marital vows evinced by these authors.

Finally, and fittingly, as with all the other blustering references to unsourced “science/studies/research,” these authors give a couple of extremely vague references to “evolution” as a basis for their findings, as though “evolution” itself was an established scientific fact. Ah yes, how fitting indeed.

Rating: Δ Δ
3/2013

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