Have you ever noticed how all your communication skills go out the window when you are mad? Or how you say things in the worst possible way when you feel slighted?
There are countless theories and books on relationships out there–exercises for better communication and tips on dealing with power struggles. So then why do so many relationships fail?
Why relationships fail
It’s been my experience that the root of all relationship problems is NOT incompatibility, different styles of communication, or even different values. It’s a sense of emotional disconnection. Seems obvious, but this often gets overlooked.
The bottom line is that when you aren’t feeling connected to your partner, you are less likely to use your tools. All the insight in the world is of no use when your subconscious mind thinks your partner is the enemy.
If you don’t trust that your partner is attuned to you–or emotionally responsive in times of distress–you feel like you have no ally. It’s not so much what you are fighting about that matters. It’s that if you don’t feel safe, nothing really works.
Relationship expert Dr. Sue Johnson studied this phenomenon and shares it in her book Hold Me Tight.
She challenges the traditional idea that our ability to transcend the need for a secure emotional attachment makes us more mature, and thus better able to have a successful adult relationships.
Instead, she normalizes the primal need for a secure emotional attachment in adult relationships, and argues that we are wired to require emotionally attuned responses from others to keep us feeling safe and preventing “fight or flight” response.
This is why most fights are really a protest against emotional disconnection, and that underneath the distress, partners are really asking each other: Can I count on you? Will you respond to me when I call? Do I matter to you? Do you need me?
Anger, criticisms, demands, and withdrawal are all attempts to draw our partners back in, and re-establish a sense of safe connection.
Here is a video I created for you discussing this topic:
In this video, I bust the myth about adult attachment needs, and touch on two things you can do to create greater emotional connection.
Try this out, and let me know if you need support around this by booking a session here: Chat with Monika
If you can create this kind of connection, you will be able to tackle anything in your relationship, from the same team!