My Passion; Relationships –
This is my little space in the world. This is where I take all that I know, which has been whirling in my head and I process it through my fingertips to you!
I was inspired when a child to be a police officer. It was something that I had to do. While I was doing it, I thought I could help people. Now thirty years later I have ask why did I want to help people at such a young age? And what does helping people really mean anyway?
So here I am thirty years later working in a different field and more intimately with people than I could have ever imagined back in the day when I was twenty one. Am I helping people now? Over the years, what I have learnt is that people are intelligent and capable. People don’t really need help – though they may need help in helping themselves. Now ‘helping themselves’ may seem like it goes to being an individual thing – Yes and No. This is the tricky bit.
It is tricky because of the world we live in now. First world countries glorify ‘doing it on your own!’ We glorify ‘independance’ The confusing thing is that it seems all good at the start and perhaps even for some time. Until that is we decide to go steady with someone, move in together, have children together, make big financial decisions together. I don’t know if you noticed the difference from the start to during a relationship in the past sentence. The key word is ‘together.’ At some point together is a given.
It seems so simple right. Does this happen in reality? We start our life as a vulnerable dependant baby, to grow up to adults and hope we can independantly feed and look after ourselves. While we can look after ourselves with things like food and shelter as an adult, we can’t look after our emotional needs as human being whilst being on our own. We actually never grow out of our need for social connection. This is part of our social evolution as a mammalian species. This is our social engagement system that gives us our deep yearning to be connected and loved by others particularily significant others.
There are some people that want to argue this point. Interestingly, recently I watched a thread from a social media post that hoorayed how good it was to be on ones own with no need from anyone else. The thread was full of social connection. They were supporting each other on how good it was to be on ones own. There seemed to be an energy in the validation to each other. The thing is what they were doing was being social and connecting with others and it was through that connection that they felt good. In short ‘It feels great that you like being alone too,’ all via ‘social media.’ So for me if we truly enjoyed living without others – we wouldn’t be on social media. We’d be living in a cave in the wilderness with no devices or connection with social media or anybody else for that matter. And yes, there are people that try this and then post their experience on social media.
So, we can try to be independent (without the need of others for social engagement) but I don’t think we actually can do it that well. Really, why would we want to? Loneliness is fatal. Loneliness is traumatic to humans. We actually know that there are some species of other animals that cannot live without company – Limas spring to mind. For some reason we humans get very confused about needing other humans. Relationships – Make us, Break us, Scares us and Heal us. We wouldn’t be here without a relationship of some sort.
Relationship makes us. Perhaps we are on the way to test tube babies but not yet. We still need a human in a physical body and sperm donor with our current technology. That means we are made through some relationship with a human body. This relationship comes in a multitude of forms. Unfortunately, not all babies are born from a loving relationship.
Relationships break us. Our first heart break is not usually out there in our teenage years or adult years. Our first heart break happens through our initial relationships. Because it is our imperative to want social connection including a warm loving nurturing relationship with our primary caregivers – it breaks us when we cannot receive it. An infant, toddler or young child will not understand adult reasoning, they will feel their heart aching for loving attention and nurturing within their body and nervous system. This makes up our implicit memory of the world.
Relationships scare us. We can be scared by relationships from birth to adulthood. Relationships can trigger us like nothing else. Triggers are what we would commonly say when we feel our or our partner/friend/family member or colleagues state has changed rapidly. This is when humans can be volatile, angry, ferocious, anxious, odd, defensive, obnoxious, righteous, manipulating, passive aggressive and for most part not very nice human beings. Why would we like to be with someone like this? This is harder as a child as children are vunerable and it can also be difficult to get away as an adult. However, there is a fabulous word that even when we read it and hear the words said in our head gives us some sense of relief. That word is hope.
Why hope? We now know there is a science to relationships and relationships can also be a source to our healing. This is the tricky bit. If you have had enough secure loving relationship as a child, most likely when it comes to adult relationships ‘we’re good to go.’ However, this is not always the case. Now, there was a time in psychology history that said – ‘don’t blame the parents.’ It was considered if parents provided food, shelter, clothing and education that was good parenting. We now better today. However, while it is true that parents did the best they could do with what they knew then, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t effect the child. Why? Because it is in our neurobiology to have a deep yearning for social connections. Adults enter into relationships thinking that their childhood is behind them now and they are independant adults in control of their lives. The problem is that when an adult is in a relationship they forget that their implicit memory is locked in their nervous system. There is one way adults try to cut off that implicit memory and that is called disassociation.
Relationships heal us – Really? Yes, it is hard to believe and even harder to convince the nervous system who has been wounded, broken or scared by relationship. You see our body is amazing. It is smarter than our prefrontal cortex. Our body wants to keep us alive. Our body has a default system for survival. If relationships have not cared for us like they should have in childhood why is our body going to trust another human being through relationship to help us heal? So, how can relationship heal us?
Back to my initial questions about helping others help themselves. It is not a solo journey (even though we also nationally and globally celebrate people doing solo feats). It is through relationships that we learn to quiten our implicit memory that told us the world is dangourous. Sometimes the first time we get to feel any ease is with a professional relationship. It is through relationships that we learn to trust humanity again. The implicit memory is there to help us stay safe in the world. The problem is that very few humans actually like living this way because we have a neurobiologically imperative to connect with others. It is not neurologically possible to have loving connections when our implicit memory says the world is a scary, hurtful place. Sure we can meditate, do yoga and breathe that may ease some of the dis-stress or dis-ease. Ultimately, we desire connection with others. This is a gentle process and understanding how our body wants to keep us alive helps to make this journey. It is not cognative process, it is a nervous system to nervous system journey. That is relationship therapy in a nutshell. I help couples understand themselves and help individual understand themselves and the relationship is a safe professionally caring heartfelt place.
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