Will You Be There for Me?
It is a privilege to hear the stories of others’ lives. Each person has a unique story that has specific details and important nuances. Each story matters.
Often—if not always—the stories that are shared revolve around relationships that have been disappointing to the teller in some way. The accounts may involve work relationships, friendships, or couple and family relationships. The relationships described can be distressing and there is often palpable pain involved. This pain is usually what prompts the effort to call and make an appointment.
While the details of every story are unique, underlying themes that are common to many stories can be identified. At a basic level, the stories become about the dilemmas each of us face as we go through life. These matters are tied into our sense of well-being at a deep level for it is here that we are most vulnerable—all of us are, because we are human.
As relationships become more intimate—as with couple relationships—the stakes become higher. Emotions can become more charged and distressing conflict can develop, establishing patterns that are hard to break. These patterns can become a dance that leaves us befuddled and exasperated.
The good news is that researchers since the 1980s have been studying what drives conflict in couple relationships as well as ways to intervene to change the dance. The fundamental issues at the core of couple relational conflict are not poor communication and inadequate negotiation skills. Rather, the related themes operating underneath the conflict are fears of being unsupported, discounted, rejected or betrayed, and ultimately fears about being left to cope alone. These profound concerns can drive relationships, but probably in ways that push couples apart.
On the flip side, there are also driving forces that can bring couples closer. We have known that a secure bond is critical in the attachment process between children and parents. We now know that this is true for adult love relationships as well. The heart of fulfilling couple relationships is the establishment of a secure bond that communicates a sense of safety and belonging.
Are you feeling stuck in relational patterns that are tough to break? Are you wondering how to begin dismantling the negative patterns? Would you like to begin creating a more secure bond between the two of you? If you are looking for concrete hope for change, please contact me today.
DISCLAIMER: The information included in this article does not apply to relationships where abuse or violence in any form is present.