The importance of our attachments and connections to others cannot be minimized. John Bowlby, known as the father of attachment theory, was the psychoanalyst who studied attachments for the whole of his life. He was of the opinion that our intimate attachments to other human beings are the hub around which our lives revolve.
He stated that this begins when we are infants, and continues throughout life influencing our development during toddlerhood, adolescence, mature adulthood and into our old age. This means that we are “programmed” to monitor our physical and emotional environment, and that we are constantly judging how accessible and responsive to us are those to whom we feel most attached.
Much of what happens in our relationships occurs below our awareness, and drives our instantaneous and habitual responses based on what we “expect” will happen. But this does not mean we are trapped by our past experiences. In fact, current research in neuroscience which examines the brain and its plasticity (the ability of the brain to change and grow in response to experience), demonstrates that healthy and fulfilling experiences in any relationships (friends, partners, counsellors) can “rewire” the brain.
Even though neuroscience has shown us that the emotional parts of our brain are constantly scanning our environment, and the people with whom we interact, for emotional safety, this is not a bad thing. In fact, we need it for our survival. Evolution has ensured that our emotional brains do the best job possible to keep us emotionally safe and to ensure that our carers (when we are babies) and our partners and friends (when we are adults) are responsive to us. Our old, unconscious patterns of negative expectations and reactivity can gradually be replaced by current experiences of positive attachment, so that our brain responds in new ways in relationships.
This is good news! It means that working on ourselves and developing new habits like calming ourselves down, relaxing our body, noticing how we feel, and then deciding what to do, can assist our partners, friends and family to respond to us in more positive ways. It means that we can have more influence on how our intimate attachments play out. We are then actively engaged in rewiring our brains, developing new experiences and gaining more self-esteem along the way.
You deserve the best trained relationship coaches if you’re planning to invest time and money in your relationship. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call us on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.