Stan Tatkin has coined the term “wave” for tendencies generally described as an anxious ambivalent attachment style. While an “islandish” person fears loss of self and loss of their independence, the “wave” develops a fear of losing the relationship. Their fear is of being rejected, left or abandoned. They worry that they are too much or too needy. Like a wave coming in and going out, they go back and forth between wanting to connect and fearing rejection. That often comes from a parenting style where the parent was loving at times and preoccupied at other times.
Stan Tatkin has coined the term “island” for tendencies generally described as an anxious-avoidant attachment. Do either you or your partner have “islandish” tendencies: needing space, being more independent or even being a bit of a loner? “Islands” also tend to focus on their intellect and rational discussions instead of comfortably talking about their feelings or their partner’s.
What is going on in our adult relationships is directly connected to our early childhood attachment experiences. Even if you have learned an avoidant, ambivalent, or disorganized attachment style, “we never lose our inherent capacity for secure attachment” (Diane Poole Heller). Our close, loving relationships offer the perfect realm to develop secure attachment skills with our partner.