Thursday, July 15, 2021

Helping our patients find healthier ways to bid for love and connection

One of the most common traps I see for parents and couples, is the way in which we bid for love and connection, especially when we are under unhealthy stress.

We are in the fight, flight, or freeze response.

We demand love and connection.
We criticize in order to get love and connection.
We withdraw.
We freeze or stonewall.

These are of course instinctive in nature. It’s our stress response.

These can work relatively well when we’re much younger. In the older years, it doesn’t really work anymore.

So how can we bid for love and connection in a healthier way when we are “disconnected”?

The principle of “reconnect when disconnected” rather than fight, flight or freeze is simple but not easy. 

1. Notice with curiosity and acknowledge the urge to fight, flight or freeze.  This requires mindfulness and being present. 
2. If fight, flight or freeze is not appropriate, then acknowledge, accept, appreciate and move forward with assertiveness rather than fight, flight or freeze. 
3. Listen to understand. 
4. Align goals. 
5. Reconnect through the 5 Love Languages.  The 5 Love Languages reflect on how we perceive and express love and connection.  (Dr Gary Chapman)

For some it’s…

- What have you done for me?  It’s more about service. 
- Have you made time for me?  It’s about quality time. 
- The words of appreciation or affirmation. 
- Physical e.g. hugs, a pat on the back. 
- Gifts.

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