Our culture has taught us to point out that emotion is "emotional". To point out the desire for love as "despair". To point out the need to be loved as "to be in need". It is not surprising that knowing what to look for in love, understanding what we need, and being in love can be so confusing.
How we learn to think of love
What we want in a romantic relationship is actually there long before courtship begins. We learn our behavior in relationships even before we turn 2 years old.
As infants, we are helpless. The only way to communicate is through our cries. The way that adults respond to these cries teaches us early on whether we can count on our carers to show up and take action on our behalf. Caregivers can build secure attachment and trust with a child or develop insecurity.
If our carers respond, we learn to trust internally that they will appear and tend to our emotional needs and cry out for help. If our carers do not respond, our screams become louder and louder. These loudest screams can carry our carers to respond or even be ignored. Eventually we learn to integrate this experience and wait for it in future relationships. How we adapt to this emotional injury results in our long-term strategy.
When adhesion injuries affect a relationship
Just because we grow up does not mean that our needs and desires go away. They appear in the love of adults and demand to be respected. Often this "ask" is not a word. Even when this happens, partners may find it difficult to come up with and respond to these needs because they have their own needs that they also seek to meet.
Relationships are difficult. It is hard to know how to love if you do not have your own experience.
Relationships are difficult. It is hard to know how to love if you do not have your own experience. Love and relationships require us to show up in ways we often learn little to do with trial and error.
Old adhesion wounds can drag us into relationships that have a hard time delivering what we need. They may find it difficult to deliver what our partner needs. Some couples have been going on for months without even knowing how fast even a tiny smirk can trigger a detachment cycle that is very familiar and very difficult to get out of.
In many relationships, what is lacking is an understanding of each partner's individual attachment style and how it affects the way they connect with each other. This can ruin a relationship or a marriage by overturning it like a house of cards.
Married couples often stick to this negative disconnection pattern for years before seeking help. The end result of months and years of this cycle can cause growing frustration. We may feel defeated, alone, misunderstood, or simple. Often we withdraw from ourselves, staying with our significant others but unable to get past them and express our feelings and needs.
Emotionally focused couple therapy
Emotional Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) can be the solution for a couple trying to understand the negative cycle they are accepting. Through my EFT training, I help couples look deeper into the challenges of their relationships to increase their bonding, understanding and secure attachment. I hope for couples as they learn to keep it for themselves.
EFT can create the security that is often missing between partners who are integrally connected. This process involves taking risks together. I help people share thoughts that they feel are too frightening or vulnerable to express themselves to their partner. In the process I have learned so much from my clients, including how I slow down my life to create opportunities for good understanding. It is important to truly share one's heart and words before making assumptions about the truth of the other.
As EFT designer Sue Johnson says, at the end of the day people just want to know "Are you for me?" And "Are you really interested?" As an EFT therapist, I can certainly respect and appreciate these questions . Most of us in a relationship want to know just that.
As a therapist and couple working through the three stages of EFT, the partners may feel a bit relieved. However, they will see the best benefits if they complete all three steps, whether they are a married couple or have been married for years. An integrated EFT course can help couples create lasting security in their relationship. Couples can be more responsive and connected rather than moving away in their own agony.
If you would like to meet an EFT therapist in your area, you can look for a therapist here.
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