Am I An Anchor, Island, or Wave?

stan tatkin typologies Jan 28, 2013

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

So many people get stuck with this issue of “what am I” when it comes diagnostic classifications. Unfortunately I have become part of the problem. In my book, Wired for Love, I introduced what I thought was a friendlier attachment terminology: secure = anchor; avoidant = island; and angry resistant = wave. I was never fully happy with the classification system as laid out in the book because it seemed to perpetuate the human need to classify and be classified as either this or that. So, let’s put this issue to rest and establish the obvious: most of us do not neatly fit into categories or classifications. In Wired for Love terms think of yourself as being “anchor-ish,” or “island-ish,” or “wave-ish.” And this “ish-ness” can be understood to be state-related (temporary) rather than trait-related (permanent), such as “Last night I behaved in a wave-ish manner,” or “You can be island-ish sometimes,” or “I tend to be more anchor-ish in this relationship than ever before.”

I hope this clears the question of “what am I” to which I say we are all mostly “ishy.”



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