Is our brain built for love or war, connection or self-preservation? The attachment drive for a secure base involves neurological and neuro-endocrine systems and subsystems that determine such things as proximity seeking and contact maintenance. Couples most commonly enter therapy due to repeated, anticipated, and intense periods of mutual dysregulation whereby attachment injuries and adaptations become reanimated. In order to make the most of attachment theory, the psychotherapist must incorporate a working knowledge of the neurobiological processes that underlie all primary attachment relationships.
Comparisons have been made between severe avoidant attachment and disorders of the self such as antisocial personality, schizoid personality, and narcissistic personality. Each of these disorders, including avoidant attachment, can be grouped together as one-person psychological organizations in that they operate outside of a truly interactive dyadic system, and primarily rely upon themselves for stimulation and calming via auto-regulation. The chronic need for “alone time” can take many surprising forms throughout the lifespan, directly impacting romantic relationships.