Dr. Stan Tatkin | Healing Toxic Relationships: What’s The Bite That Fits Each Other’s Wounds?

“Love isn't the glue. Love is not enough. Attachment biology is the glue that we confuse with love. Purpose is what keeps us going and keeps us together over time happily. What is our purpose at any given moment? Is it shared or is it just mine?

You and I have to create consensus so that we find always where we agree and where we're the same, and not simply go for the low hanging fruit which is where we disagree and where we're different. Consensus builders know how to do this. I want apples and you want bananas, we fight. It didn't occur to one of us to suggest: But do we both want fruit? This could be arranged.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin

Wellness + Wisdom Episode 548

Dr. Stan Tatkin, a best-selling author and developer of a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT), joins Josh Trent on the Wellness + Wisdom podcast episode 548 to talk about the challenges people face in romantic relationships, attachment styles, and why love isn't enough.

What is the glue that holds two people together in a romantic relationship?

In this episode, you will learn what makes us feel threatened by our partners, how insecure attachment styles can be handled together with our partners, and why we pick the people in our lives based on our memory.


Listen To Episode 548 As Dr. Stan Tatkin Uncovers:

[01:30] Wired for Love

[09:20] Attachment Styles in Relationships

  • Why we can feel threatened by our partner.
  • Prefrontal cortex and empathy.
  • Why attachment system is a biological mandate and can be confused with love.
  • New patterns can't be created in a state of threat.
  • How insecure attachment style can be handled together with our partner.
  • Why secure attachment style can fluctuate to other attachment styles.
  • The difference between secure functioning and secure attachment

[27:15] Love Is Not Enough

  • How relationships make us grow up.
  • Interdependency, dependency, and codependency.
  • How the threat system starts to show up in a relationship.
  • Unpacking why we need principles to be able to hold each other accountable.
  • Why we need to think ahead and not be naive.
  • How you can protect the union between you and your partner by creating peace.
  • Why we're naturally xenophobic.
  • The reason why we need a shared purpose.
  • Acting out on our xenophobia and why we should stop denying it.

[49:30] The Challenges of Romantic Relationships

  • How our survival instinct takes control over us in situations that are seemingly not life-threatening.
  • Our fear changes our outward behavior to look threatening.
  • Why we pick the people in our lives based on our memory.
  • What attracts us to another person tends to end up being what we'll have an issue with.
  • How we protect our own interest by directing our sense of disturbance outward.

[01:05:00] The Problem with The Human Condition


Power Quotes From The Show

Confusing Attachment for Love

“The attachment system, as I see it, is a biological mandate that says “I can't quit you.” We confuse it for love. The attachment system is nature's glue that holds us together and we think it's love but it's actually a very primitive existential threat, going all the way back to infancy that losing our primary attachment relationship feels like death.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin

Relationships Only Exist in Our Heads

“Relationships actually don't exist, except in our heads. It's an abstraction. A relationship is something you and I create from scratch. You can't take a picture of it, you can only take a picture of people. It isn't relationships that's so difficult. It's human primates. They're difficult creatures; war-like, impulsive, aggressive, self-centered, selfish, moody, fickle, xenophobic, and easily influenced by groups.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin

Mutual Respect + Social Contracts

“I can't screw you without screwing myself. Anything I do to you is going to happen to me. That's why it's a two-people psychological system. Two individuals are two generals, two bosses that have to respect each other, and be formal enough to respect each other, but they have a pact or several pacts, social contracts, to ensure that they behave in a way that's fair justice and collaborative and cooperative at all times.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin



Links From Today's Show 


About Dr. Stan Tatkin

Dr. Stan Tatkin | Healing Toxic Relationships: What's The Bite That Fits Each Other’s Wounds?Dr. Stan Tatkin, is a distinguished author, renowned for his notable works including “Wired for Love” and “Your Brain on Love.”

Residing in Southern California, he actively practices as a clinician while imparting his expertise as a teacher at Kaiser Permanente and serving as an assistant clinical professor at UCLA.

Recognized for his exceptional contributions, Stan Tatkin introduced the groundbreaking Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® (PACT). Together with his spouse, Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, he established the esteemed PACT Institute.

PACT seamlessly integrates developmental neuroscience, attachment theory, and arousal regulation, rendering it a highly regarded method for addressing even the most complex relationship dynamics.


Relationships Are Hard, But Why? | Stan Tatkin | TEDxKC

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About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, daughter Nayah + a cat named Cleo. He is the host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath + Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 20+ years as a trainer, researcher + facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. Helping humans LIBERATE their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual + financial self through podcasts, programs + global community that believe in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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