Are you really communicating with your partner?
The love of another person can offer us the keys to greater self-knowledge and a secure emotional attachment bond.
Only when we have this are we able to get to the very heart of who we are on an authentic level. This is because mutual, healthy love enables us to find a sense of purpose, meaning and happiness, which then leads to feelings of appreciation, respect and self-validation, and the kind of relationship we all ultimately want.
However, many relationships experience huge challenges, and the principle reason for this is due to differing attachment styles, which can begin to interrupt the mutually loving attachment bond which was so alive, natural and spontaneous in the beginning.
In any dysfunctional relationship, there is typically one partner who will display an ‘anxious’ attachment style, and the other who will exhibit a dismissive, or ‘avoidant’ attachment style.
When these two very different forms of attachment styles clash – whether that’s due to a lack of communication, appreciation, respect, infidelity or disconnection – it creates what is called a “mind reading react/response power struggle.”
The anxious attachment person needs clarity, closeness, reassurance, connection, emotional safety and continuity. For example; “please reassure me of your love, appreciation and commitment, and then everything will be okay.”
However, in attempting to secure this, the avoidant attachment person may feel pressure, expectation, criticism, judgement, blame, and an increased need for space. For example; “if you give me more space, time and distance I will be different towards you.”
As a result, this push-pull dynamic puts the relationship in to a “stand-off” position, where neither party is able to get what they need.
To fully understand these attachment styles, I strongly recommend that you read Attached, by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, and/or Hold Me Tight, by Dr. Sue Johnson.
These books alone will make a huge difference to your understanding of how your attachment style differs from your partner’s, and why this is so crucial to the love relationship.
Understanding these differences will fundamentally change your reaction to any problem that might occur between you.
A task for you
Based on what I have said above, please write 5 down things from each of your prospective positions.
For example, the anxious attachment style person might say: “I feel unloved by you and that makes me so unhappy…”
The avoidant attachment style person might say: “I can speak to others about what I feel, but I find it difficult to speak to you as I can’t convey things to you in the same way.”
List separately your five chosen statements, then find 30 minutes in the day to discuss these feelings/thoughts with your partner. Make sure none of your statements are a criticism or a disapproving ‘blaming’ statement.
I have an eBook in my shop you may find helpful “18 Ways to Improve your Relationship and 3 Powerful exercises to Deepen Communication and Mutual Appreciation”
If you would like help with your relationship I offer counselling sessions for couples in Sevenoaks. To book please ring 01732 617344.