Updated: Jun 25
"Hey, we're caught in that thing again."
Has anyone ever told you to learn how to be happy on your own? Well, I have some news for you...
We are social, interpersonal beings and we are designed to grow each other!
Understand who you are
The most basic thing about human beings is that we bond. We are an attaching, social animal and our whole nervous system is wired for that. It's not a choice! It's bred into our blood. A secure bond is the key to health and happiness. We are born longing for this connection. So when we feels disconnected, it actually feels like life or death.
We operate from a very basic
Is there someone on this planet to whom I matter so much that they will be available, responsive, and engaged with me? Or am I by myself?
When we fight, it is always only because at our innermost core we are threatened. When we feel ignored, rejected, or like we've failed, our mammalian brain goes into a panic response of fear. And it's no wonder we feel this way! The experience of rejection occurs in the same part of our brain as physical pain.
Remember, this is natural. It would be unrealistic to believe that zero fighting is the answer to happiness in a relationship. Have compassion by realizing that a fight is just an ineffective way to repair connection. Every moment is an opportunity to choose who you are and how you are going to be in this world.
"How you deal with that panic is the key defining element in your relationship."
Most of the time we don't know how to deal with that panic in a way that keeps us connected with our partner. And that is where the lesson is.
1. Recognize your pattern.
"attack-attack" We're both incredibly miserable but it's your fault, not mine
"demand-withdraw" One of us attacks and one of us withdraws
"freeze-flee" Both of us are withdrawn
Once you've recognized your pattern or acknowledged that your partner is lost in a pattern, you have the awareness to move to step two.
2. Change the emotional music
Rather than blaming another person, share what's going on for you and understand their world too. Talk about your fears and vulnerability in a clear way.
"I'm feeling disconnected and lonely and it's difficult for me to tell you this."
3. Ask for what you need
"I want to feel close to you and what I need is for you to tell me that you love me and I still matter to you. How can we solve this together?"
Chances are, your partner is not a mind reader. But if you love each other and you're willing to set opinions and accusations aside, you've created a relationship of infinite possibility.
We can learn to understand this dance called love
We can learn to see our patterns. We can learn how we trigger each other. And, most importantly, we can learn how to help each other in moments of emotional disconnect to return to a place of love.
This post was based on an amazing podcast episode called "Breaking Free From Your Patterns of Conflict" in the iTunes podcast Relationship Alive.
Let people know how you and your partner get through relationship struggles by commenting below.