CAUSES of disconnection
As human beings we connect emotionally. Physical connection is not enough. Without a strong emotional
connection, intimate relationships do not even begin. If emotional connection dwindles, it negatively impacts the fundamental core of relationship, leading to significant distress and break-ups.
Intimate relationships are based on providing comfort, trust and protection. When our partner becomes emotionally disconnected or unresponsive, we can find ourselves in 'getting and protecting behaviors' and other maladaptive patterns.
lack of security
Emotional disconnection feels physiologically unsafe and results in unsettling emotions - anxiety, anger, distress, depressive symptoms and more. Relationship distress impacts us 24/7, which is different than other types of stress.
Our Threat System (and amygdala - our built-in alarm system) triggers an auto-response when we feel disconnected, igniting more anxiety, confusion, anger, bitterness, and resentment loops that erode trust and love further.
relationship as a secure base
techniques and practices
You may not recall what it feels like to be in a securely attached relationship. Thus, it is imperative to visualize your current/future relationship as a secure, loving, home base of satisfying mutual connection. The following practices provide tactile ways to realize this.
realize your relational needs
Studies show one of the major characteristics of secure attachers is they seek support by communicating their needs and wants. Both Emotional Support (comfort and care) and Instrumental Support (resources, help and problem-solving) are essential for creating secure base.
COMMUNICATE your needs
understand secure attachment, it is time to cultivate this in relationships. If you are single, it is time to begin practicing your new skills with trusted family, friends, and with slowly with potential relationship partners.
If you are in a relationship, you will begin taking small steps to connect with vulnerability and authenticity through feelings and communication.
Use "I" statements and eye contact to communicate your feelings when you're calm, and when the time and place is appropriate. When we share emotions, we risk that the person with whom we are sharing our feelings will care about them.
Our feelings are to be honored and shared with only those deemed trustworthy. We need Emotional Health Skills and Boundary Skills for this.
Using “I” statements is a clear, direct way of being genuine. This is where we find connection and trust.
If your partner doesn't have Emotional Health and Boundaries Skills, they may not have the capacity connect with you emotionally without getting triggered into reactivity. However, these skills can be learned (except for rare cases, such as malignant narcissistic disorders).
what is vulnerability?
"Here I am – my frayed edges, my secrets, my fears, my affection."
In return, it invites, "Oh, I see you there. It’s okay, you’re safe."
It builds trust, closeness and a sense of belonging – all essential ingredients for real connection.
Relationships won’t thrive without it.
We need to be careful who we trust with our vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the driving force
of connection. It’s brave. It’s tender. It’s impossible to connect without it.