Love and Attachment From Cradle to Beyond the Grave
It is amazing to me how a sense of secure attachment can extend beyond the grave. I was lucky enough to have a mother who loved me when she was alive so much so that I feel it even in her absence. My goal for clients, and hope as a therapist, is to promote this type of feeling and attachment.
My reflection, "Listening to our handyman speak Portuguese to one of his workers or maybe Spanish with a Portuguese accent, sounds like music to my ears. It must be reminding me of the sounds and rhythmes of my mother's voice and of her lullabies when I was a baby. Portuguese was her first language and she had only been here a few years before I was born. It is strange the sense of peace I feel listening from a distance. I think, 'Don't stop talking.' I feel so soothed and calmed."
I think I must have had some kind of a pre-verbal memory as I was not close enough to hear the distinction of the words but only the muffled sing song melody of the voice. I guess like an infant might hear. I was then flooded with a very calm and peaceful feeling and a deep sense of knowing that I was loved not only by her but by God. It was very profound and spiritual, an experience I wish all could have.
My mother's birthday is the 23rd. She always seems to send me a message from beyond that she still cares for me and loves me, usually around or on her birthday. I feel blessed and so wanted to share.
The Atlantic publishes good article summarizing John Gottman's research suggesting that kindness is a as key factor in successful relationships. Check it out!
"Landmark study shows that Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help couples understand their relationship better, reduce conflicts and create secure, loving bonds that can soothe brains."
This is such a lovely story from StoryCorps that I think is a great example of a loving relationship. Wishing this for everybody. If we can create this at home, perhaps we can take it to the world.
More research on Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Principle investigators Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Jim Coan happy to share that the first brain scan study of EFT is now available in an Open Access Journal. EFT theorists explicitly claim that EFT affects a couple's ability to soothe difficult emotions by strengthening their attachment bond. I see this often as I work with couples taking them through the steps of Emotionally Focused Therapy. We now have some good evidence. Awesome.
In every interaction we have with our partner there is the opportunity to heal. I guess that is truly what love is, a dynamic powerful healing agent. We, especially partners, are deeply connected and attached to each other. Science tells us that the way we communicate can impact each other's brains, for good or for ill. I guess we can build each other up or tear one another down. I image just like me, you too desire to do good. In this video, we get some tools for creating and maintaining love and secure attachment.
The 4 Mantras:
1. Darling, I am here for you.
2. Darling, I know you are there.
3. Darling, I know you suffer and that is why I am here for you.
4. Darling, I suffer. I do my best to practice. Please help.
Listen to this great video for a deeper understanding and advice on how to love.
Yahoo posted a nice summary of the research on relationship enhancers: The 10 Ways to Improve your Relationship.
1. Solidify your friendship.
2. Appreciate each other.
3. Concentrate on the present to ensure a future.
4. Don't Distort.
5. Share power.
6. Find common goals.
7. Understand anger.
8. Break negative cycles.
9. Focus on what's fixable.
10. Accept the unsolvable.
As the title of this suggests, most of this is based on John Gottman's research. Any of his books on relationships will give you detailed information on how keep on enhancing your relationship. It is good stuff. Common sense but important to be reminded of as we live our lives in this very busy complicated world. We need our partners now more than ever. But for various reasons, creating and maintaining a safe and secure attachment can get blocked. Use these principles to open up the flow between you and your lover.
The essential element of a healthy relationship is emotional responsiveness. Sue Johnson speaks about helping distressed couples create that emotional responsiveness. Are you there for me? Do I matter to you? When you can answer yes to these questions, you will feel secure in your relationship. When you answer no, you may be heading towards distress. Couples therapy helps people recreate that feeling of "you are mine, I am yours , we are together and a team."
Evelyn Schmechtig -Cochran