Resources and imagery about having whole, healthy relationships with other peoples. Relationships with partners, spouse, friends, coworkers, bosses, parents…
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Healthy boundaries mean developing the courage and self-control to focus on the here-and-now of building relationship instead of testing. Communicate with your partner before taking them farther, emotionally, than they feel ready to go with you, and see how it feels to mutually disclose small traumas before engaging the big stuff. Doing so shows kindness to yourself and the other person, and lays groundwork both for an even stronger relationship. .
To best understand the term attunement, think of the phrase “in tune with.” Attunement is essentially being aware of and responsive to the emotions and/or needs of another person. In some way, if a person is attuned to another, this sensing of emotions and needs can almost be predictive – the person is known so well that their response can be anticipated.
To help understand how containment works in attachment, think of a container: a defined space that can safely hold and accommodate its contents. In the realm of psychology, containment refers to the relational ability to “hold” whatever the other person needs held (emotionally, mentally) and to create a sense of safety in the relational space.
Although research on protest and despair has traditionally centered on the experiences of infants and young children, humans continue to respond to crisis with protest, despair, (and detachment) throughout our lives. Unlike infants, adults have years of experience that tells us that one method or the other does a better job of getting our needs met or protecting us from further harm, and over time that method becomes our patterned response.
Rupture can take many forms: arguments rooted in disagreements on minor matters or major life choices. It can also look like broken trust, unavailability of one partner due to their health issues or work responsibilities, projecting blame/shame/other deeply felt emotions onto the other person, or even just “growing apart”. What all ruptures have in common is a disruption in the connection between two people. Ruptures invite us to the intimacy-developing work of repair.
Shame can deeply impact our relationships with other, and - in some cases - it can harm the foundations and connections we have with others. Read through this sketchnote to learn more.
Both protest and despair are responses that protect against disappointment, and in some cases, from having to trust our partner. Part of humanness is finding ourselves in the balance between seeking and withdrawing in an attempt to stay near the people we love. (Read more here!)
If you feel pressured to give someone trust before they have earned it, that is a red flag that the relationship might not be a safe one to trust. It’s ok to trust your intuition and set really cautious boundaries in a relationship where there is pressure to move to an emotional depth that you aren’t yet comfortable consenting to. (Read more by following the link!)
Choosing one or two of these suggestions for how to build relationships that you can intentionally practice each day – even in just one relationship a day – may help preserve important relationships, build trust and intimacy, and keep the loneliness of surviving a pandemic (or physical separation) just a little less overwhelming.
For many people, differentiation is a struggle. It requires a certain strength of self to say “This is me,” and not rely on the identities given to us through our affiliations. This difficulty is why many of us struggle with retaining our own unique values or even interests when we are in an intimate relationship with someone who has different values, hobbies, or interests- or how joining a religious, political, or social group can often seem to co-opt a person’s entire personality.