Starting at a young age, we have learned how to stay emotionally safe in our relationships. To some extent all of our strategies have worked. And they all make sense. You can watch little babies and see that some cling to their mother. They may even go so far as to push others away in order to keep her close. Meanwhile, others cry and get mad to receive that same comfort. Overtime our strategies evolve and get more nuanced, but the goal is the same: we want to stay connected while feeling emotionally safe.
Generally we see two things. Either a person moves towards the person they're anxious about or they move away from the person they're anxious about. Its important to know that in both cases they want a connection with the person in question. If you have 15 minutes and enjoy psychology studies or cute little babies you should check out these two videos below:
In these two films you can see how we develop strategies for handling our emotions even as we ourselves are developing. Learning about our strategies as adults can help us navigate through them in effective ways. We would invest time in this in order to give us the best chance at the connection we want.
One of the best things I did in my relationship was recognize my withdrawing strategy. Once I did that I could begin to navigate through it with my wife so I could keep her close. When we are infants, our mothers are so good at comfort even when we pull away or get upset. But in adult relationships this often causes confusion. When we can make sense of our reactions, we can understand that our strategies aren't crazy. That, given the history, we make sense. We can see ourselves with compassion. Once we get there so much can begin to change.
Kelsey and I put together 10 quick questions to help you understand if you tend to be more of a pursuer or a withdrawer. Check them out by clicking the link below!