Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style


While listening to the Doobie Brothers, he got an angry knock on the door… and had to repair the relationship for that “good feeling.”

Join us as this master relationship coach and expert, Dr. Gary Salyer, teaches us how to track the “four essential feelings” as well as how our attachment styles affect the quality of our intimate lives.

And of course, at the end of our episode, we have a look at Gary’s human design chart. He’s a 6/2 Profile Manifestor with the Left Angle Cross of Uncertainty. He is here to create impact and experience peace.

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Safe To Love Again With Gary Salyer, 6/2 Manifestor, Left Angle Cross Of Uncertainty

How To Foster A “Secure” Attachment Style

Gary, hi.

Baeth, how are you doing?

Assessing Adult Attachment

I’m glad we’re doing this. We were talking about attachment styles and that you had read this giant book on attachment styles. Will you go over that with me again about how there are all these different strategies people use to try and create connection and what the ultimate is for someone who’s secure in their intimate relationships?

I read these big, hairy scientific things for fun.

You’re not a nerd.

There’s one book. It goes through anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. There’s a spectrum here, but it breaks down each attachment style to a little more anxious. You’re getting all the way over to the stuff that would land you in a mental institution. It does it for avoidance. It’s emotionally secure but a little avoidant. It gets you into psychopaths and sociopaths.

They do the same thing for disorganized because those are the three attachment styles. At the end, they’re discussing security. There’s this interesting thing. You read all these strategies and both mental and biological that’s going on in attachment. They make a point that secure can do any of that stuff. All the strategies are available the same way it is to those other brains that got wired, anxious, avoidant, or disorganized.

The difference is the secure are consciously choosing it based on appropriate contextual clues. They’re not bound to it as a grooved experience that’s going to fire off anyway. They’re not choosing. They’re not a choice with it. It’s not internally driven by fears and projections. It’s based on context. I found that one of the most interesting things in that book was the secure have all the same tools that are being issued by the others, except they’re choosing.

You think, “Are they going to go off and be angry like the anxious?” They can. They could get as angry as a borderline, but it’s not grooved. It’s not going to go beyond the context. It is appropriate. They have thought about it and realize it’s the best deal available. The brain always takes the best deal available. They can choose it at the moment because it is appropriate.

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style
Secure Attachment Style: The brain always takes the best deal available, and they can choose it in the moment because it is appropriate.


In most times, we don’t have radical situations. A lot of those strategies and others came from radical situations, radical abandonment, radical intrusion, abuse, and trauma. I find it interesting that all of its tools are available for the secure. If you’re one of the others, this doesn’t mean that necessarily you can act like that because if it is from past pain and it’s not in the context, and this is the rub if you’ve got one of the others, I know it’s in the context, but no, they’re saying as a general rule. You may be using tools based on past pain, but the secure can have what’s called behavioral flexibility.

It is no different than several years ago. My high school refused to give my son his rights as a 504 student. He had a learning disability. After several years of being blown off, I had a meeting with the vice principal and the four teachers who were saying, “No, we don’t need to.” I even had the law there. Finally, I had to look. I mentioned their addresses. I said, “How do I know your addresses? It’s because if this doesn’t change, I will get up in five minutes and call my attorney. You’ll all be served in your classrooms tomorrow for a lawsuit. I’m suing all of you personally. I’m going to make an example of you all.” After that, they dropped it.

Several years later, the school district told me that I had 18 or 19 teachers tell me at Kenny’s graduation, “Thank you. You made us better.” The school district, his senior, asked me to write a brochure to help parents know how to deal with learning disabilities, the 504. I know several years later, they were still giving that thing out. At that point, I had to do something that was not my nature.

You’re peaceful.

You have left me no other alternative. That is secure. If I’m going around suing everybody and going ballistic for sending in the US enterprise to attack a rowboat, that’s different.

That’s a bit borderline secondary psychopath.

There have been thousands since then of kids who have graduated from a high school that would not have because this particular school district wasn’t dealing with people the way they should have. Not only legally, but if they cared about their students.

I’ve often asked people, “Why do I have to ask nice, have to finally get mad, and there’s a change?”

When we talk about anger, a lot of people give anger. I can’t be angry. It’s what flavor of anger. Out of control and burn down the earth stuff. That’s not what we’re talking about. Anger is a protector. When it is secure, it is saying, “Ouch, that hurt.” It is protecting. I once had a dream where anger came up to me and said, “One of my four secure feelings is cherished and protected.” I talk about that in my book. That’s one of the core feelings that you have, and you give and secure.

Anger is a protector. Share on X

Anger walks up and says, “I am the protection and cherish and protect.” If you’re going off, that’s a different thing. It’s not grooved anger. It’s not anger that’s being channeled because it’s the family heirloom that’s given in a family. It’s contextual and appropriate. What we want to see is, in real attachment, the secure isn’t some little Pollyanna nirvana. You have to deal with the real world, but it deals with it in a behaviorally flexible way. It understands the context. It might say, “This is not the best deal available, but it takes the best deal available.”

The best deal available several years ago was I have to prove to some people that they have to obey the law. That was the only deal available. I would’ve rather have chosen dialogue, but they weren’t choosing that. I had to up the game. There’s freedom, realizing that all of the tools are available to secure. We have a wide range of options, but we have thought about it. We have conscious. We’ve weighed the consequences. We’ve talked with friends, and we know this is outside of what I would normally want to run in a relationship, but in this instance, this is the best deal.

It’s because nothing else is effective.

Those can be marginal experiences. Nevertheless, we are all given them sometimes.

Safe To Love Again

In your book, Safe to Love Again, which is an extraordinary book and one of the finest I have read on attachment styles and attachment theory, will you share with the audience the four main criteria for knowing the love itself is safe and it’s safe to further engage with a person in an intimate way?

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style
Safe to Love Again: How to Release the Pain of Past Relationships and Create the Love You Deserve

I asked the question in the book before I wrote it. How can you reconstruct a secure love style when you’ve been given anxious, avoidant, or disorganized? You have to get down. What’s at the real base? As I’m thinking about it, my mind goes back to something called the strange situation. A famous test by Mary Ainsworth and an experiment where you separate children between 10 and 18 months old. We’re talking toddlers, a year old. You separate them from their mother, and you see how they react. How do they react at the reunion?

We find out that you can spot anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure as early as ten months. I said, “If it’s set up by a year to a year and a half by toddlers, and it will track that way, barring intervention, what’s in that month? What’s going on in that mind?” A brain comes out 28% to 40% developed. It has to develop from there. At a year, the hippocampus that has recall doesn’t come on until eighteen months. Prefrontal cortex that does beliefs, stories, and identity, in this part, will not be myelinated, which means fatty tissues around the neurons that turn it on. It will not come on until three years.

If anybody tells you it’s limiting beliefs that are running the show, no, that’s a little later. It’s there to explain things. Let’s run implicit memory and holding feelings. I mean not recall memory. I go, “The only thing up and running are feelings.” What feelings in particular now? Are they telling the baby they’re secure or it’s best to have a fight response, like anxious attachment or an avoidance spot that does flight feelings? When I began to use neo-developmental psychology or feelings to tell a baby, I looked at it in my clients. I began to realize that certain feelings were like a balm on a bad sore. Welcome them with Joy.

You see the babies. They’re happy.

When you wake up at 6:00 in the morning, you go, “Good morning, gorgeous.” She goes, “You must love me.” That’s welcome with joy when you walk in and give each other a six-second kiss because you’re glad to see each other at the end of the day. The second feeling is worthy and nourished to have my needs met. This is when you’re in a relationship where someone is tracking your needs, preferences, and likes.

They’re noticing they’re present in the moment. They can spot it, “Looks like Baeth is tired. I wonder if she needs something or X, Y, Z.” You’ve got these beautiful, what Gottman calls love maps. There’s a flow of give and take equally imbalanced. That doesn’t mean that sometimes one doesn’t get more than the other, but there’s this feeling, “I am worthy. I have my needs met. I can reach out and have them. It’s okay to reach out.”

The third one that comes online is about the time these toddlers are up and running. He is cherished and is protected. They think they’re mom and dad. They get this awareness. The brain develops. One day, they’re across the room. They go, “I’m over here. Mom is over there. I thought we were the same. I’m a self. I’m separate.” They know they’re vulnerable. They need the protection and the cherishing feeling of being looked over and seen.

That’s when they’re playing with their toys. I don’t want you to play with their toys. You go out to get a cup of coffee and you’re trying to beat the clock, but they start crying because you left the room. This is the feeling of separation and belonging in the heart of someone who sees an essence in you. They can’t get elsewhere. You are in a protective. This is the right to go out and do your own thing and come back to a we. Not all do my own thing. Invest in a we. The feeling is I am cherished and protected.

The last one is empowered with choice. You could also be empowered with voice. This is when a child gets the terrible twos. It tracks, “Do I have a right to assert my truth? Do I have a right to be the standard of my own experience?” You have a right to create their own experience. To assert and raise their voice in a secure way, in a good relationship, we have to teach babies how to say it securely.

When you add up welcome, worthy, cherished, and empowered, you feel lovable. That may be the fifth one. I talk about the four. If you, great couples, are good at giving four feelings, welcome, worthy, cherished, and empowered, and anytime something is off, you get more anxious or more avoidant. If you get one of those off, you have a few things to work on. You’re talking about where’s their best friend’s coach or therapist. Three or four, you’re in a toxic.

The whole key is to swap out those early feelings of unwelcome, unworthy, not so cherished, and protected or disempowered, and to swap them out for the feelings because they will run the ship. There’ll be protector parts and all sorts of patterns that don’t work out. If we can swap out those feelings for the secure ones, our brain begins to pick, choose, and create differently. What I tell my couples, and this is harder on men because we’ve been trained not to deal with feelings. It is to track the feelings. A couple of years ago, I was in here listening to my music too loud, and I didn’t realize the front door.

Just track the feelings. Share on X

What were you listening to?

I was listening to The Doobie Brothers. I don’t listen to them often, but I used to like them an awful lot. I hear a knock over the music. She’d been knocking for five minutes. The moment I opened the door, I said, “I am sorry. I’ll bet you didn’t feel welcome with joy.” She goes, “No, I did not.” I make a repair there.

You repair it immediately.

We’re all going to give some of those other feelings at times. Nobody is perfect. If you can make that repair and find a way to give a good feeling, track the feelings. At the end of the week, couples, or even if you’re in a new relationship, sit down. How did I do as a partner this week? One to ten. If anything is under a nine, you go, “Where didn’t I show up? What was the feeling I gave you?” Figure out what both of you need to give that feeling to each other.

Track those things and learn the skills that give them. This is why, at the end of every one of those chapters on the four feelings, I talk about what sets it up early, what it looks like in a secure relationship, what it looks like in anxious and avoiding, and what are the skills? If you don’t have the feeling and you give someone the skills, it won’t work. If someone does feel disempowered, and you give them a lot of cool tools like nonviolent communication, good luck seeing them practice it because disempowered is not safe to assert. It’s not skills. You’ve got to feel and be able to give.

I had one person. She had a problem feeling worthy. When people feel worthy, their counterbalance is to criticize their partner. No matter how many times I taught her the feedback loop versus criticism, it would sneak in every little way. She was a master of subtly criticizing the tint. It wasn’t until we helped her feel worthy herself that suddenly she didn’t have the feeling inside to give. We have to carry them. They have to feel safe, welcomed, worthy, cherished, and empowered.

When we have them, we give them certain skills. When we give them, we can create and choose. If we’re not getting them, we know the relationship is wrong. The GPS for love is for feelings. Welcome, worthy, cherish, and empower them. Track them. Know where you’re at. It looks like we’re pointing towards unworthy, Liz. How do we point it back? This is a secure attachment in a nutshell.


What about the rise I’m seeing in narcissism? It seems to have exploded. Would these approaches work on someone who’s highly narcissistic or has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder? It seems to me they might not register or be willing to engage in this process.

I can tell you that from the statistics. The best treatment for facilities within clinical psychology with narcissism is about 14%. They’re tough to do if you get a genuine personality disorder. There’s a lot of pop psychology. People listen to a therapist talking about narcissism. They’re naming every act of self-centeredness narcissism. That’s an abuse.

Look at DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It’s version six. There are nine criteria, and you need seven of them. Normal run-of-the-mill selfishness isn’t that. When you’re dealing with that, it’s tough. If we’re talking like a former political leader, I wouldn’t hold my breath on changing that one. It is much tougher to change that. It’s not all the way over there. We’re over on the spectrum.

I told one person that was over on the spectrum. They were far closer to MPD. People have said I’m a narcissist. What do you say? I said, “We could use that designation, or we could understand it this way. You had an intrusive mother who was always trying to swap you out for someone else so that she could feel grandiose. She’s a narcissist.

There is a reason why some part of you is intent. The best deal available was to protect your sense of self at all costs. The good at 2, 3, and 4 is not so good now because now that is sucking all the energy from other people’s cells, and they don’t feel loved. We can call it a label, or we could call it an early adaptive strategy.

If they’re a hardcore narcissistic personality, they’ll try to run a game back with you. When people are more over there, it can work. When they’re hardcore, a few have done it. I’ve seen it in a couple of podcasts people but 1 in 7 are going to come back. The reason is we know that since 2005, narcissistic personality has been on the rise from something like 5%. Some people have said that it is past 10% to 15%.

Think about social media. The core of narcissism is what I call a wounded right to create your own experience. You go grandiose to do it versus shame. What feels better, shame or grandiosity? It’s grandiosity. The early brain makes that. It’s protecting that wound of, “I don’t have a right to have my true, authentic self. I talk about this in the book, not much, but there’s a paragraph or two.

If we look at that, the real case and the right to have your experience have a right to be good and bad. That’s all through excel. Strong, weak, light, dark, kind, meek, we all have these. The original wound is I have to be what somebody else wants me. I have to be strong, light, and all this other stuff. We can’t look at the dark side.

What does social media do? How many people get up there, and it’s all about, “I’ve got the little time of my life?” You see perfect couples and apps that take away the wrinkles and give you big dough eyes. I had one client tell me that her daughter was afraid to be with people and go on Saturday night in high school to friends because the app made her look good-looking. She didn’t look like that. They’d notice it. This is how you create narcissism. She can’t have all of her. She can’t be loved for who she is. She has to be loved for an app that creates a more grandiose version of herself that she can’t be normal.

This is how you bring narcissism. You’ve got a culture of individualism that accents the individual’s growth. You get social media that’s all about the good stuff. That’s why one time I put on a post at me at 7:00 in the morning with Caesar’s hair and said, “This what Dr. Salyer looks like at 7:00 in the morning. This is what I call a right to create my own experience. How many of you have seen a post like this? You haven’t. I’ll bet you all look like that at 7:00 in the morning.”

I’ve thought of starting to post all the unvarnished parts of myself. If you still like me, you like me because this is what I look like. When I’m mad, this is what I sound like. Here I am. We all have that. Everybody takes a shit and gets upset. I have a question for you about dating. I have three questions, and they’re related.

The first one, and this feels important because I do feel that with the advent of insurance codes in the 1950s and the pathologizing of everything human, we don’t even know what normal or secure looks like. You’ve described it with these four emotional experiences, welcome with joy and that type of thing. For a person scanning for what a secure relationship over the long term would feel like, can you give some criteria for that? That’s the first part.

What is normal? What is secure? How does an anxious person handle dating versus an avoidant person? Where would be the edges that they could push so that as they open up their heart and they make themselves more vulnerable, they can trust that they’re allowing the right person into their life versus choosing from that unconscious wounded child place trying to protect the core self?

What Is Normal AKA Secure?

The first question is, let me get a little more straight on, what does normal look like?

What does normal, AKA secure, look like? We hear so much about what is wrong, but how do we know what’s right? I don’t mean right and wrong, but correct for the individual.

I would want to say that I do believe the therapeutic guilt over pathologies. Some people are even noticing it. The original DSM back in 1954 had 52 categories. By DSM 5, it was 316. Someone puts out in one of her books in a little sentence, “If you don’t give somebody a pathologizing label, the insurance companies don’t want to pay for it.”

More normal behavior is getting pathologized. For instance, seasonal affective disorder, if it’s extreme, that might be one thing. I’ve had that for a couple of weeks. Seasonal affective patterning, why do you call it a disorder? With the advent of the internet, more therapists are talking about it. Lay people come in and read. Everything is dysfunctional. We’ve got a name for it. I saw something. I wish I’d marked it down. It was the most common thing that people do when they screw up in life. It’s a disorder.

I see all these articles. Fifteen signs that you’re this or that. I read all these articles. I’m like, “Depending on the circumstance, any one of these behaviors would be appropriate.” It depends on the context. It depends on what’s happening in the environment.

Normal is not perfect. Secure folk aren’t perfect. We are living. We are growing organisms. A good relationship needs to respond to each other’s bids. The high is about 85%, but for as little as 38% of turning towards each other’s bids for attention, you can have secure that’s amazing. We’d like it to be above 50%, but you can still feel relatively secure in a relationship where you’re screwing up to some extent or not being present or attuned almost 60%. Think about that. This is not perfection. We’re not going into love nirvana.

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style
Secure Attachment Style: Normal is not perfect. Secure folks aren’t perfect.


It’s hard to work if you’re tripping.

Ed Tronick has been doing attachment research since about 1970. He started with little kids. You can see him on YouTube. It’s called the Still Face Experiment. It’s when a mother goes still, and the baby goes, “What happened there.” There’s no response back. No matter what the baby does, there’s no response back. That creates a disruption or disrepair. There’s the repair. When she comes back, the baby is going, “Mom is back.” He began tracking it with couples. About a third of the time, we’re connected. We’re doing good. We’re responding to each other.

Another third of the time, life has a tendency to pull us apart. We’ve got our own stuff. A third of the time, in repair. It’s connect, disconnect, and reconnect. Connect, disrepair, and repair. Seventy percent of the time, we’re in some state of repairing or being in disrepair. The true art of being secure is you have to repair like they used to do voting in Chicago, early and often.

The minute there’s a little tiny hole in the wall, you have to patch it because otherwise, the whole city is going to flood.

Normal is you’ll have your stuff. What I would say is the secure are looking at, “I have a pattern of not being present.” She’s told me that. I wonder how my brain is creating this. How am I doing this? Every time that thing comes off, and I give it connection and priority, this thing has replaced them. I need to be able to turn that off and have some we-time with this person that I love. This has to get priority. You are looking at your own stuff, and you are creating a right to create your own experience. You are empowered to rewire yourself.

This has been my life journey. How do I become more? I observe my experience from a wise higher self. I go, “Of all the experiences I could have created, look at the one I did. I wonder how I did that and how I can do it better.” This is the art of being secure. In any relationship, it will evolve and grow as people’s needs change.

There’s no one set of criteria. There is some truth to the statement in the heterosexual world that men marry women hoping they’ll never change, and women marry men hoping they will change. There’s some truth to that. The real point is knowing how you adapt and stay, and you will have to rework noticing. Every time she does this, I get this reaction. I said, “Mom, I’m running that stuff.”

I can still remember being married the first time. I married a pastor’s daughter. My best friend was from third grade. One time, we were hanging out several months into marriage. Sometimes, she reminds me of my mom. He looked at me like I was crazy. He said, “Take that crap home. Use another word. What are the chances that a pastor’s daughter is acting like a borderline woman who has got into bar fights with men?” He goes, “Don’t run that crap on her.” I thought, “I’m looking for it. I’m not a scared five-year-old anymore. I don’t have to be looking for confirmation bias being what it is.” You have to look and go, “That’s not fair. That’s not cool.”

That was a place where I was like, “It’s time to let go of some of the defenses and the grooved ways of seeing things.” At one time, it was good looking out for all that crap. You didn’t know where it was coming from. It was the best deal available, but not so good several years later, and you’re married for the first time.

Anxious To Secure

This is the art of being secure. That’s normal. You have a right to be flawed and fabulous. You take no BS, and you give no BS. When you get BS, you own up. For the anxious, the growth point for them is their fight response was based on early attachment. Attention and support are not there. Some part goes, “How do I lock this thing down?” You become hypervigilant. You start to manage the crap out of things.

You have a right to be flawed and fabulous. Share on X

The fear of when love goes away is the annoying fear under the most anxious attachment. One person I work with drove away two wives, saying, “When does love go away?” Both said after several years, “If you don’t know, I’m going to stay now. I’m done being mistrusted.” You have to get comfortable with separation. You’re going to have your days of discomfort. It doesn’t mean you have to yell. You can have too many bids for attention.

I worked with a couple once where she had read about attachment. This is a true story. They’re both professional people. She says, “He’s avoidant.” I go, “What’s going on?” She says, “I text him when he’s at work. He only responds 50% of the time. The other 50%, he hangs me loose, and I don’t know what’s going on. It bothers the crap out of me. I’m not getting the attuned response I need.” Bring him in together next session. Ask him about it. She goes, “He pulls out his phone. She texts me 60 times a day. I have been responding to about 30.”

I lose my mind with ten.

Notice it is 50%.

He’s trying, but the man has to get some work done.

She’s labeling him an emotionally unavailable man because of what she’s heard on a podcast.

It’s her perception.

He’s almost ready to lose his job because he texted her back, trying to meet her anxious bid at the wrong time in a meeting. The higher-ups came down on his butt like you wouldn’t believe. This is what anxious attachment misconstrues is about. She needed to be more comfortable. We had to work with that fear of when love goes away.

For a two-year-old, if someone is in a room with you for 2 or 3 hours, you can get your butt in trouble. That’s that normal childhood cry of “I need to be cherished and protected in a week.” There was no map. She didn’t have that feeling when she got more. We got the feeling inside of her, “I’m cherished and protected.” As an adult, 3 to 4 hours without contact is good. They’ve got to become more tolerant of distance and separation.

I’m going to point out something. I’m dealing with the right to separate and belong. This right to separate and belong is at the core of every couple that I’ve ever met with, one or both won’t have it. They don’t understand how to cherish and protect. They don’t have the feeling internally. They don’t know how to separate, belong, and create a “we.”

If we go over to the avoidant side, the theory is, when does love stay? A lot of times, they didn’t get enough attention. They said, “It’s best to do it on my own.” “When does love stay” is a little bit off. I shouldn’t have said it quite that way. It can be in a few minor instances, but it’s the idea that I have to do it on my own. This is deeply subconscious. Avoidant babies learn to walk, on average, two months earlier than the secure or the anxious. Why? It’s because they know the cavalry is never going to come over the hill for them. That binky you want to cross the way. You can’t yell or scream enough to get it. You better walk and get it yourself. This is not conscious. No baby learns to walk early. This is deeply unconscious.

When they are not doing their Marlboro mate thing out there by themselves, the only thing you ever saw with a Marlboro man was a horse. The original Marlboro man was a guy who was married his whole life. He had three kids. It was secure. You have to be a handsome double, but nevertheless, we talk about this. They will get the heebie-jeebies with dependents. The dependence on closeness is the same thing as not always there.

Are you too needy when you’re like, “Can we have a conversation? It’s been six weeks since we had sex. You’re too needy.”

They’re not only scared of closeness. They learn they can’t depend on dependence. We are going to freak them out because they never learn to trust a “we.” Their discomfort is, “What do you mean I have to share my feelings?” They’ll do things. You’re working with the unavoidant. Let’s say this, as a husband in this instance, you’d say, “How’d you feel about work?” He’s like, “I felt that Bob didn’t do good with PowerPoint.” What’s the feeling? Give me an emotional word I had to give them. I have to use one of those words. Yeah, like sad and angry.

They didn’t get the emotional attunement. The parents did not have an emotional coach. They did not get a map of their own interior. It is not that they’re being pernicious. They’re learning their feelings for the first time. The discomfort is going to be with feelings and dependence. With the anxiety, it’s with separation. The right to separate and belong is the heart and soul of secure attachment.

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style
Secure Attachment Style: The right to separate and belong is the very heart and soul of secure attachment.


Go out and do your big thing, but while you are out there pursuing your self-actualized dreams, this is the difference between cultural and radical individualism and secure tasks. You get to go out and pursue your greatest dreams on the high-wire act of your aspirations. Somebody is going to be the safety net underneath. That is secure attachment.

When you both give each other that, and you are beautifully supporting each other’s dreams, separate. With my beloved, she’s doing something different in life. She doesn’t want to talk about attachment. She’s over in the financial world. I’m sure I don’t want to talk much about annuities and everything else. She finds that all interesting. You listen to and support each other’s dreams. There is repair and disrepair.

If you notice, neither the anxious nor the avoidant knows how to make a decent repair. One superheats the conversation, while the other one puts it on the frozen tundra. A lot of emphasis has been given, especially in women’s coaching circles, on the emotionally available man. My experience is that the anxious can overheat, and overheating will kill an engine the same way as underheating. Too much heat. Too little heat. One is not better than the other. In fact, the book attached has a well-known bias that a lot of people have read against avoidance.

I noticed that. I read the book. I was like, “That’s not fair to the avoidant.”

They told the anxious, “Marry the secure.” They told the secure, “Marry an anxious person because once they calm down, they will be the most loyal of people. They will have that secure relationship.” After that, some astute observers and researchers said, “Is that the secure will pull the anxious up on their pedestal?” After you do the research, you find out that 68% of the time, the anxious pairs up with the secure. The anxiousness doesn’t heal by itself. All that anxious does, the story I told you about. Sixty-eight percent of the time, they pull the secure off their secure pedestal and become what’s known as situationally avoidant or situationally anxious. In this instance, it’s legitimate, like I talked about. It’s contextual.

There’s no difference. I haven’t ever used it in public. You can have an emotionally over-available partner. I would like to use “partner” versus “man” or “woman.” They are emotionally unavailable women. Notice that it’s not the avoidance that got it naturally, so did the anxious. Both of them took the best deal. I can still remember when part of me chose to be more avoidant. At four years old, up in there playing with my rockets, I’m thinking, “I want to be with mom down in the kitchen.” I think of how many times I’ve hit the wall when she’s angry. I say, “I’d rather play with my rockets.” Distance and being by yourself, it’s a better deal.

When I ran that with my first wife, and she said, “I’m lonely,” it wasn’t so good. That’s the best deal available, the same way the anxious took. It’s to stop judging it and realize that whatever you did, whatever your pattern is, there is nothing wrong with your brain. It took the best deal available. If a brain gets to choose to turn crappy and crappy, it will take crappy. You can observe your experience. You can look at those fears and say, “I have to be texted back in ten minutes. I better wait three days to make sure I’m not too close.”

Instead of doing these little games and coaches trying to give little strategies instead of dealing with the real problem, you can look at that and go, “Is it necessary to think somebody asked me on a chain and has to respond in ten minutes to say they care about me? Is it caring to make a woman or a man wait three days while I’m playing grandiose Joe cool, and one part is scared of closeness?” It’s looking at that and having the courage to say, “We all deserve better than this. I deserve to give better. I deserve to get better. I deserve to not give BS and to take no BS.”

If we can all use that beautiful, wise self that can observe and start rep padding ourselves, work with a coach, work with a therapist, to get somebody that understands the deep work, not prefrontal talk therapy isn’t going to do this. Labels aren’t going to do this, but if you do the deep work, this is when we change the world.

If you're going to do the deep work, this is when we change the world. Share on X

Thank you, Gary. On that note, let’s end here. I’d love to have you back. This is amazing. For everyone reading, the info will be down in the description. Thank you so much, and I’d love to have you back for a longer session. This was profound and useful. You’re bringing a voice that’s needed now in this dialogue because I see online battles between the sexes, people making women wrong, people making huge groups of people. Men are wrong. Women are wrong. This is wrong. Everyone is looking for someone to blame instead of being like, “How do I show up? How do they show up? How can we find a way to meet?” Thank you so much. Any final words of wisdom for our readers?

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment Style
Secure Attachment Style: No matter where you are now, you’re not screwed. Your brain just took the best deal available. Change is doable and you have a right to a secure love.


I heard a phrase, and it’s got limited, but it tends to be true. It’s like, “Blaming is for sissies.” Taking responsibility is a higher self in an adult talking. The biggest thing that I want to leave everyone with is no matter where you are in love, you’re not screwed. Your brain took the best deal available. Change is doable. You have a right to secure love. You were born with that. It is a birthright. Reclaim it. That’s my goal.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.


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About Dr. Gary Salyer

Align To Your Design | Dr. Gary Salyer | Secure Attachment StyleDr. Gary Salyer is a transformational relationship mentor. For the last decade, Dr. Salyer has been in private practice offering singles and couples heart-centered transformation so they can re-write the rules for love in their brains and create a love that lasts.

Dr. Gary speaks to a national audience as a featured expert on various celebrity TV and radio shows such as Hay House Radio and Coast to Coast AM. He is the author of the ground-breaking book, “Safe to Love Again: How to Release the Pain of Past Relationships and Create the Love You Deserve.”