Understanding Codependency: The Clinger Attachment Personality Pattern.

There’s a funny portrayal of the clinger personality in the movie Wedding Crashers. The lead character attracts the affection of a young woman who comes on strong and never stops. She throws herself at him, uses her sexuality to enchant him and demands her be a couple with her. The funny thing is, at the end of the move, he realizes she really is the one even though for the first ¾ of their forced one sided relationship, he’s trying to escape her.
Such is the desperate reputation of Clingers: “One day, you will realize how much you love me and never leave me. And I’ll do anything to make that happen.”

In other movies, like Single White Female and Fatal Attraction, clingers are portrayed as dangerous, loose cannons, waiting to kill you should you have the audacity to reject them.

Such is the bad reputation of the Clinger: I’ll get you or I’ll get you back.

It’s all very black and white in those two depictions. But there is a gray area where people display an unhealthy attachment style that’s not so dramatic but perhaps equally as disturbing to the Clinger him/herself or the recipient.

Before we begin, what is an APP or Attachment Personality Pattern?

When you’re born into a family of dysfunction, one that is toxic, abusive, addicted, or alcoholic, you find a way to function in that dysfunction. You end up trying to find a way to survive, thrive, connect, or cope in that family of origin. And I call those are called attachment personality patterns. Essentially, they’re a form of codependency.

It’s important to remember, patterns are not pathology. Your personality is not fixed. You’re not the same person today that you were yesterday from the standpoint of personality. These patterns can be interrupted and replaced with healthier ways of relating.

Let’s get into the 5 core traits of a Clinger Attachment Personality Pattern:

Core trait #1. Clingers develop feelings/fall in love quickly and project a fantasy relationship onto others. Some may call this love at first sight. But a clinger will develop these feelings outside of romantic connections as well. They are quickly smitten with others and imagine soul mates. They will hold the fantasy of meeting the one and project those qualities onto others even when the qualities have yet to be demonstrated. They live more in the fantasy of the potential of the relationship than within the relationship itself. They believe in love at first sight. They make connections and see commonalities where none may be present. One says upon meeting, “I went to Ohio state.” and the Clinger says, “I have an aunt from Ohio!”

Core trait #2 Clinger personalities overshare. They share too much, too quickly.
In an attempt to foster connection and closeness, many Clingers will over share their feelings, thoughts, ideas, and most of all history. One may go to coffee with a Clinger and leave the 20 minute encounter with a full recount of the Clingers childhood trauma.

Clingers have a deep desire to be accepted and seen, and so in that vein, they share as much as they can about who they are to thwart rejection. The odd thing is that they actually create it in some cases through their fire hose approach to friendship or dating.

Core trait #3 Clinger Personalities are loyal to a fault.

Clingers believe the Devil they know is better than the Devil they don’t. Meaning, they would rather stay in a bad relationship or friendship than be alone. So, in order to avoid being alone or feeling rejected they will remain in harmful situations.

Core trait #4 Clinger Personalities do not have good sensory acuity and fail to read social cues. They do not recognize the unavailability of the people they are attracted to. They misread situations. For example, a Clinger may say, “This new guy I’m seeing is so honest. He is a real straight shooter! He told me he was seeing other people. And I love that about him.”

Or if one is giving obvious signs they aren’t interested, such as not returning texts or phone calls, the Clinger will make excuses for the behavior or they will wonder what’s wrong with them that they are making the other person do that behavior. They internalize others “bad” behavior and try to fix it.

Core trait #5 Clinger Personality seeks constant approval, affirmation, reassurance or praise.

Clingers will outright ask for constant reassurance.
They will say things like, “Do you love me?”
“Why do you love me?”
“Do you still want to be with me?”
“Why do you still want to be with me?”
“Where are we going in this relationship?”
“Do you think I’m attractive?”
“Do you think I’m fat, ugly, etc.”
“Does this outfit look good? What do you think I should wear?”
“Do you think I handled that okay?”
“Am I allowed to be upset?”

This results from a low self esteem and the Clinger searches to fix their poor self view via the approval of others.

Of course this behavior backfires and results in others seeing the Clinger ass needy and undesirable.

So, that is the way out of this behavior?

The first step is always awareness. Take a look at these five core traits, grab a journal and ask yourself how these core traits have shown up in your life. How do you behave in your relationships in regard to these core traits? What effect do you think being a Clinger has had on your relationships?

Who would you be if you have nothing to prove? What if you were lovable just as you are? How would you behave in relationships without the fear of abandonment?

As you can see, the core fear of the clinger is that they will be abandoned and rejected.

Step two, after cultivating awareness is to seek and participate in your own healing journey from codependency.
Of course, I would love to have you enroll in LYFE School which is our step by step system to uncover and eradicate codependency patterns.

If you would like more information, please feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation at www.LoveCoachHeidi.com

Coach Heidi

The Victim Personality Explained: Overcoming Codependency

Let’s talk about the Attachment Personality of the Victim.

Firstly, what is an attachment personality pattern? When you’re born into a family Dynamic particularly one that is dysfunctional. toxic, abusive, or addicted, you start scrambling and hustling to try to figure out how to do life in that family. You try to figure out how to survive, thrive, connect or cope in that family of origin and you take on a personality in order to function in the dysfunction.

I call those ways of being and behaving Attachment Personality Patterns and they are types of codependency.

As a codependency coach, it’s my hope to help do a couple of things. The first thing I want to do is foster awareness of any subconscious patterns that you might be living out within your current relationships that you once adopted as a way to function.

But now it’s not working anymore.

And then I want to give you the tools and strategies to break free from those patterns once and for all.

Because patterns aren’t pathology, you’re not sick and there’s nothing wrong with you. But there’s a way that you’re behaving and showing up in your relationships today that just isn’t working for you anymore. It’s holding you back from having the relationships that you really deserve and that you really want.

Now here’s what’s ironic about the role of the victim ( the role we’re discussing today) in this dysfunctional family dynamic. Likely victims aren’t the ones reading this! In fact the only time a victim personality will ever search out a video on YouTube about being a victim is to prove people wrong that they’re not actually a victim.

So if the victim personality isn’t reading this, who is? It’s likely the role of the Fixer attachment personality pattern who’s looking to properly diagnose the victim in the dynamic and figure out how to fix that person or help that person best.

I also work with a lot of therapists and I certify coaches, who are likely trying to figure out how to better work with this personality.

Before I dive into the 5 core traits of a victim personality, let me just give you a caveat. This role is particularly hard to help and in many ways and because there is a refusal to recognize that the person is actually in the victim role.

The role of the victim in this functional family Dynamic it is usually played by the toxic or dysfunctional person in the household. If they are actively alcoholic, addicted, narcissistic or toxic, their level of insight is slim to none as far as the impact that they’re having on other people goes.

That said, let’s get into these five core traits first and then we can talk a little bit more about what’s the path out of this.

Core Trait #1. Victim personalities have a tendency to ruminate on past disappointments and perceived wrong doings. Now I just want to give a caveat to say this sometimes there’s the difference between being a true victim and playing the role of the victim in the family becomes more clear.

Please know. I’m not really talking about a true victim here, where one was victimized. Often the role of the victim is the one victimizing others but refuses to acknowledge it.

The one’s being victimized by the Role of the Victims behavior don’t often claim the role of the victim. They see themselves more as survivors and are often unwilling to admit or have trouble recognizing the true impact of the dysfunctional/toxic person on their life.

The role of the victim constantly perceives wrongdoing by others when in fact none may be present. It is in fact the role of the victim perpetuating the wrongdoing and projecting it onto others.

Even though a significant amount of time or opportunity has gone by to heal or deal with the disappointments, Victims tend to get lost in their feelings and ruminate.

You may notice as a coach or therapist, that when you’re trying to help a victim they’re committed to their sadness. They’re committed to their disappointment. They’re committed to ruminating in those feelings and all the attempts to pull them out of that are really futile because again, their level of commitment to that disappointment is so intense.

Core trait #2. Victim personalities have a deep sense of being different or misunderstood, coupled with a hopelessness of ever being understood, accepted, or known.

Victims feel like nobody gets them, understands them, or truly cares to figure them out. Though we can all feel different and misunderstood, it’s the Victim’s attachment to the belief that no one ever will that separates them from ordinary feelings of disconnection.

Core trait #3. Victim personalities have a tendency to blame other people. Victims use blame as their primary strategy to make sense of all of their failures or unfulfilled potential. They believe other people, places or things have been solely responsible for their lack of success. They blame lack of opportunity, even when shown opportunity existed. They will commit to their belief they are free from any personal responsibility.

If you’re working as a coach or a therapist with the victim personality, it can be extremely frustrating because as soon as you build enough of a relationship with your client to gently move them in the direction of assuming accountability, they will often be greatly offended at the notion and may even stop showing up in session in protest.

Core trait #4. Victim Personalities have a deep-seated rescue fantasy and look to others to provide a sense of security and safety while simultaneously holding the belief it is impossible to be rescued. So while they believe that nobody really gets them, understands them and nobody ever will, they have this fantasy they play over and over again in their mind that someday the right person will come along and save them.

And because feeling safe and secure is an inside job and people are fallible, the Victim Personality never feels secure, but blames the other for feeling that way.

This is like a prison for the Victim personality. They want to be understood and rescued, but do not believe it exists.

Core trait #5. Victim personalities demonstrate a level of treatment resistance by refusing to use the tools given to move out of the role.

If you’re a coach, clinician or even a Fiver Attachment Personality Pattern, here’s what you need to know: Victims will not use the tools to get better. It can be maddening. You may pour effort into helping by providing concrete strategies to help your client shift their perspective and you will be met with an excuse as to why that particular technique won’t work for them.

They’ll often use the defense of being misunderstood or not “gotten” as to why that particular strategy won’t work for them. Feeling different prevents them from believing that particular strategy will help them.

If they do use a technique, they will be inconsistent. If you asked them why they stopped, they’ll tell you it didn’t work for them. But when you point out the inconsistency as a possible reason for failure, the Victim personality will become argumentative, feel confronted and claim you are not getting it.

All of this seems bleak, I know, as far as being able to help this personality make a shift.

But the say out is clear. The only way a victim becomes healthier is through awareness (they are in the role), accountability and personal responsibility (seeking treatment) and consistent action (working a recovery program).

You cannot “get through” to a Victim Attachment Personality Pattern

And all of your attempts to help them “see the light” are futile unless they are taking the initiative to actively seek their own recovery.

Often, once in a treatment program they can see their victim mentality and make progress. But this takes time and all of the breaking though is done by the victim’s hard work and dedication to getting healthy.

So how can you help? Encourage the Victim Personality to get into recovery. If they are actively using drugs or drinking, recommend they get into treatment. I have several videos on my YouTube Channel to help with this.

If you want to discuss how to heal from your own involvement with a Victim Personality, please reach out at www.LoveCoachHeidi.Com and schedule a complimentary consultation.

The Fixer Attachment Personality Pattern: Overcoming Codependency

The Fixer Attachment Personality Pattern: Overcoming Codependency

5 Core traits of a FIXER Attachment Personality Pattern: Overcoming codependency When I was a little girl, right in my back yard was a tall tree. It was just the right tree for climbing into, settling into a little windy branch, and pretending to be in my invisible jet. I didn’t simply love wonder women. I thought I was wonder woman. Who were you? Did you like spier man or super man? The bionic woman? The world loves a good superhero. And why not? They make life so much easier, safer, and often better for everyone around them. What’s so bad about being a superhero? Well, a lot. Especially in the context codependency. When we’re young, if we’re born into a dysfunctional family where there is addiction, abuse, or toxicity, we take on a way of behaving and being to survive, thrive, connect, or cope in that dynamic. I call these ways of being Attachment Personality Patterns (APPs). Think of them like masks we wear. Instead of being who we really are, we become who we need to to function in the dysfunction. We ask ourselves, “Who do I need to be in order for this to work?” One of the 8 Attachment Personality Patterns is The Fixer. You can think of the Fixer as the Hero in the family. As a child, this will usually be the most responsible person in the house. The parents can be addicted, and the Fixer is making the other sibling’s breakfast and checking homework. The toxic parent will often reference the Fixer as proof that their drinking isn’t that bad, thinking everyone is okay, even though it’s the Fixer making sure of it. This personality pattern helps the child survive in the house. They make everything run when it would other wise fall apart. They aren’t afraid to call out the problems. They are adept at spotting them. The problems for the Fixer usually develop later in life when the strategies they used once upon a time to rescue their family members has turned into a way of operating in most relationships. Though it’s a new day, they are acting out of an engrained pattern. Before I give the 5 core traits, I want you to understand that I’m not diagnosing you. As a coach, I deal in patterns, not pathology. And it’s my belief that any patterns can be interrupted and changed. The first step is awareness, So, it’s important to identify yourself in the APPs so that you can consciously break the patters that were once on auto pilot. Core Trait 1. You consider yourself an empath. You have a knack for knowing what people need. You seem to feel their energy and find yourself in situations where you are highly attuned to the needs of others. You often can feel what others are feeling even if those others are unaware of what they need or feel. While this is a wonderful quality, it presents a problem when you are not equipped to protect yourself from the energy of others and you find yourself getting sucked into their emotions. Core trait #2. You have a compulsion to help even when help is not asked for. At your worst, you may become overbearing, inserting yourself into other’s problems. Because you believe you know what needs to be done to fix the problem, you may leap into action without being asked. You may also find at your core; you believe most people are incapable of taking care of their own problems. Core trait #3 You must be needed to have a relationship. If you do a relationship inventory, you find you play case manager, therapist, or coach in almost every scenario. Your relationships are unbalanced. You do all the giving and others do all the taking. Your primary goal is to tend to the needs of others around you and you become hyper focused on finding and solving their problems. You find this endears you to others as they come to rely on your help. Core Trait #4 You become resentful when others don’t take or follow your advice or don’t appreciate your help. Core trait #5 Your problems go unrecognized and your needs go unmet. While you are busy fixing others, you’re not able to focus on your own shortcomings. At it’s worst, you can be oblivious to your own issues. You put your needs on the back burner in favor of helping others. As you can imagine, any one of these traits would warrant concern. But if you happen to have more than one, you may be a Fixer. If you see this pattern in yourself, know that there is a way out. On the other side of this codependent behavior is freedom to be loved for who you are, not what you DO for others. Fixers believe at the core that they’re not lovable unless they’re helping others. Fixers get their self-esteem from solving other people’s problems. Fixers believe they must “earn their keep”. Bit what if none of that was true? What if you didn’t have to fix one more person or situation in order to be lovable? The way out of this codependency patten is to begin to work a recovery program. We’d love to have you in LYFE School which stands for Love Yourself First Empowerment. It’s a step-by-step system to overcome this old programming so you can have the relationships you deserve, If you are curious about that, you can find out more at lovecoachheidi.com Please leave your comments and let us know what resonates with you! Love, Coach Heidi

The Controlling Attachment Personality Pattern: Controlling Codependent.

The Controlling Attachment Personality Pattern: Controlling Codependent.

The controlling Attachment Personality Pattern

Most of the articles you read about a controlling person will actually be describing an abusive person. And that’s simply because all abusive people are controlling. But the fact is, all controlling people aren’t abusive. So, if you are in an abusive relationship where you are being hurt in any way, please call the national abuse hotline. Thehotline.org

Today, I’m not necessarily outlining abuse. I’m simply giving a perspective of a controlling person as it relates to attachment patterns.

I created the patterns as a way to describe what happens when we grow up in dysfunctional, toxic abusive homes. When we’re born, we find a way to thrive, survive, connect, or cope in that family. I call these Attachment Personality Patterns or APPS.

Today, we are taking a look at the Controller.

Before I write about the 5 core traits of a controller, you must know that there are many more traits, especially if we are discussing an abusive person. For the sake of this discussion, I’m speaking of a person that does NOT cross the line of abuse, but their behavior is still dysfunctional and codependent.

The controlling pattern is a codependency pattern. And we can work to get healthy from codependency by understanding how to have healthy, mutually beneficial and respectful relationships.

Personality is not fixed. We can change. Personality disorders however are different. I am not diagnosing anyone nor am I dealing in Personality Disorders.

I am coaching on patterns, not pathology. I am looking at these patterns through a compassionate lens and assuming the best about the controller. I’m going to assume they are not consciously or maliciously trying to hurt anyone. I’m choosing to believe this pattern is unconscious and that they desire to change when the pattern is made conscious. I’m attempting to foster understanding and empathy by explaining the traits of the pattern and likely their point of origin.

That said; let’s look at the 5 core traits of the controller.

  1. You try and convince others how to think, feel, act or behave.

A 22 year old young woman is standing in the kitchen looking at the floor. “I can’t believe he left me!” She finally sobs.

Her mom, growing increasingly disappointed and annoyed says, “Charlotte, snap out of it! He isn’t that great anyway. You should feel that way. You should be glad! He did you a favor. You dodged a bullet!”


Now think of a wife shaking her head at the TV, “I can’t believe this election! If he wins, this country will go to Hell.”

“Sherry, are you nuts? I can’t believe I have a wife who could feel this way. I really wish we were on the same page! You know, it makes me wonder about you when you think these things. Are you being gaslit by the other side? Let me show you the facts. If you knew a little more about what’s really happening, you wouldn’t feel this way. Let me help you.”


At the end of the day, people are allowed to think what they think and feel what they feel. But the controller wants others to think and feel the way they do.

A controller mistakenly believes that when others differ in opinion, it means something about them. They almost need others to see things the same way as they do to feel connected to them.

They don’t get that others can differ and intimacy doesn’t have to be sacrificed.

In the past, it’s likely a controller needed to think or feel the way their parents did and wanted them to. They were probably not allowed to have their own ideas and in an attempt to stay close to their own family or not get hurt, they learned that to agree and go along is to love. Many controllers come from a family that said, “Think or feel this way for your own good.” Much like the examples above, the Controller is trying to “help”.

  1. Manipulate outcomes by any means necessary.

If a controller is not having any luck controlling, they are likely to try another method. They employ many strategies to get compliance.

Some controllers use charm and charisma. They will use their influence under the guise of “leadership” and attempt to seduce another into compliance. Many will use sex, show copious amounts of affection, affection and approval, but it’s not genuine. It’s only in an attempt to get what they want. Think of a car salesman pretending to be interested in the safety of your family or how fabulous you look behind the wheel. They’ll shower you with compliments in an attempt to manipulate an outcome. After all, “Not many people get it. But you do! You’re smart! And someone as smart as you can clearly see the best option and this car is it.”

  1. Unwilling to compromise, negotiate, or cooperate.

A controller will go along in one circumstance only: when it’s what they want.  While the Perfectionist APP, feels like they know the right thing to do, a controller thinks they know what’s best for them and usually for everyone else too.  So, when others disagree with what that thing is, a standoff ensues. And usually the Controller is committed enough to wear down his/her opponent.

  1. Hyper vigilance and compulsive independence

Controllers have trust issues. Period. So, they will be hyper vigilant waiting for others to let them down, screw up or screw them over. So, they look for problems (like the Perfectionist). And likely when they find the problems, they will blame others. It’s a rare occasion when a controller believes they are solely responsible for something going wrong. And that’s because there is a component of being compulsively self-reliant. Many controllers will choose to take on most things themselves because they believe others are incapable of doing anything right.

Most Controllers need to be in control of projects as well as people. They will micro manage you in the office or in the kitchen.



  1. Conditional Love

Controllers want to convince you how to behave and they want you to behave in a way that supports them. They do not want to be confronted, criticized or objected to. So, when you’re going along with the program, a Controller approves of you and “loves” you. Now of course, that is not love. But like a Withholder APP who withholds approval, affection and attention due to fear of becoming too connected to you, a controller will do it to try and manipulate your behavior. So, they may say something like, “You know Charlie, I love you so much more since you got that promotion.” Or, “Tammy, being needy isn’t a good look. When you’re complaining, I lose my attraction to you.”

I want you to know there are varying levels of intensity within these behaviors. And in the most severe cases, any of these behaviors can in fact be abusive. So, if you feel that you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help.

On the other end of the spectrum in severity are a set of traits that leave you feeling exhausted, lonely, and create chasms in your ability to foster true intimacy.

How does the Controller develop this attachment personality pattern?

This pattern is very common in those that grew up in addiction, dysfunction or abuse.

It was important to the Controller as a child to be “in control” of whatever they could control in an “out of control” environment. In the chaos, control became a way to maintain safety. This pattern could have also been instilled when a child witnesses domestic violence.  They may have heard from the perpetrator, “If you would have listened to me or done things my way, this wouldn’t have happened.”

They learn early on the lie that being under someone’s control could have prevented abuse when in fact control in its most severe form is abuse.

As a reformed Controller, I’d like to think that I was never abusive. But what I know now is that my behavior was hurtful. Not allowing others to have their own thoughts, feelings or perspectives is hurtful. Only doing what I wanted to do and refusing to negotiate was unfair. Showering someone with compliments I didn’t mean to influence them was inauthentic. Taking love away to try and motivate others to behave the way I wanted them to was unhealthy and hurtful..

But I now understand that I did those things unconsciously and without malicious intent.

The thing is that once I saw how I was behaving, I was confronted with the choice to change.

I chose to change. I wanted authentic connection and true love. I wanted to learn how to let others be who they are, not who I wanted them to be for me.

And you can too.


Coach Heidi