Intimacy is not a mystery or a matter of luck. It’s a skill you can learn. That’s why I have put together this relationship advice and hopefully save you some money on the marriage counselor.
Stay tuned if you want to learn about the core needs we all have and how they cause problems in your relationship if they are not meet.
Let’s look at one of our key needs in a relationship and the main reason we seek out relationships in the first place.
It’s our need for safety and comfort.
We feel safe when we know we have someone we can depend on and someone that is response to our needs and they will be there when we need support.
However, within this is also the potential fear of loss or rejection as we get more attached to someone and this is even more prominent for people that had parents that did not attend well to their needs or were neglected.
These people can easier get triggered and feel insecurity, anxiety or Jealousy for fear of abandonment.
Emotional responsiveness is key to relationships that flourish.
When our partner is not emotionally responsive it creates insecurities that will play out in feelings of jealousy or anxiety that often are experiences as controlling or clinging behaviour.
Our main strategy when we humans feel fearful is to try to control.
the need to control and inhibit their partner eventually leading to a drop-in desire and intimacy, and makes way for resentment to take its place as the other party have to supress their free expression to accommodate their partners anxieties.
I just want to clarify that if you are the partner that feel anxious or clingy then there is nothing wrong with you at all.
This is a learned behaviour because your main caregivers were not able to meet your needs or to some degree neglected you.
They might not have done this on purpose or even be aware they did so but the effect is none the less the same.
Just remember you are simply applying strategies that you learned worked best as a child to protect yourself so there really is nothing wrong with you and it’s perfectly natural that you have that response.
The partner that feels the attachment is threatened and fears abandonment will often attack in the form of criticism, anger or blame to get a response causing conflicts that can seem unrelated.
They need to feel their partner is responsive to them.
Because nothing is worse than no response. Indifference.
Except perhaps direct violation and abuse.
So often you can calm these attacks down by addressing the underlying attachment, fear.
You do this by being emotional responsive.
Being emotional responsive means that when you sense a need for security or that they feel insecure, often expressed in jealousy or trying to control you, then make them know how much you care about them and how important they are in your life.
We will talk more about this later in attachment languages as your partner will have their own language for how they feel valued and safe, and once you know this it’s very simple to give them what they need.
If there is no emotional responsiveness the partner that is attacking to get a response will give up on having their needs meet and will instead give up and retrieve.
This might seem like peace but its often the final death blow to a relationship if the attachment wounds are not dealt with.
At this stage a relationship either fall apart or they live together as two disconnected people.
The cause of many emotions such as irritation, resentment and anger are attachment fears.
The fear of being left or that the other person does not care about us and therefore is not a reliable attachment that will keep us safe.
We learn to know who we can trust to keep us safe by how responsive they are to our needs.
That’s how we learn as children and these patterns will continue the rest of our lives, but we can change if we experience a responsive and safe attachment.
Once we address attachment fears our individual needs become much easier to express and for the other to hear and respond to.
Just as a child we all need to know someone will be there for us, care about us and value us…
We need to know we are safe before we can go and explore the world, and experience the excitement it holds.
When we lash out or get defensive it’s often because we feel unsafe and feel our attachment is threatened, we fear our partner won’t be there for us anymore.
Only when we engage with that need can we get past the nagging, arguments and withdrawal and deal with the root of the issue.
It’s important to understand if you are stuck in one of 3 patterns that cause conflict:
The 3 patterns are:
This is a cycle of anxiety and while it might seem like personal attacks it’s one or both partners feeling scared of losing the other, or that they will not be there for them if needed.
It’s actually a scream for you to be responsive to their needs and a sign that they care so much about you.
If there no longer cared they would not make the effort to try to get a response, so I know it might be hard to get your head around but even the attacks are a way of showing they care and them being unaware that they are triggered, that they feel anxious and unaware what their needs are.
So while you can learn to see when you partner is triggered so you can address their attachment need and show them you are here for them and will respond to their need, they can learn to recognise when they get triggered, manage their emotions and figure out and express their real need clearly.
This is something you can learn how to do in my eBook.
When we focus on the argument, we just see the action and not the cause.
The first step is to spot these cycles and identify the attachment fears.
The aim is to spot these auto responses that create disconnection and heal them.
It can be hard to admit to having attachment fears or that we need someone to feel safe.
Our western society glorifies individuality and not needing others.
Have you ever heard the “just learn to love yourself”, “you don’t need someone else you can be happy on your own”
Well, research have clearly shown the above quotes to be incorrect.
We learn to love by experiencing this in our relationships and if we don’t have a map for love then we can’t just love ourselves.
Also, extensive research showed that the most important factors for our long term emotional and physical well-being are our relationships and how close they are.
As humans we need each other to survive and to flourish.
Our most fundamental needs depend on others.
We need to learn to embrace this and see needing each other as a healthy expression of our humanity.
The shame we as a culture have created around needing others is holding us back.
Rather than judging your partner as needy or insecure, a more correct description would be that your partner has likely had a close attachment broken at some point in their life which has created a very real fear for them.
If you address this you can help them heal and you both get a more intimate relationship.
Logic goes out the window when we are triggered and fearful of losing our key attachments.
Our most basic responses of fight, flight or freeze tend to be our automatic options.
So, we need a way to first calm that response, because all the best advice in the world will not help once we are fully triggered.
So, when you feel triggered there are a few ways to restore calm and if you want to know more about them you can check out my eBook.
Have a great day and see you soon.