Updated: Sep 2
Relational dynamics are far from 'in the moment.' Your patterned behaviors in relationships, from micro-movements like shifting your eyes to significant actions like stomping away, have been shaped into your functioning since pre-birth. They've become as embodied (without thinking) as other habits such as which foot goes into the pants first when you get dressed. Plus, they are more important – they are linked to our biological drive to survive, which poses an inner conflict between the desire to connect and a drive to protect.
Your body's system learned behaviors to keep you going through childhood experience of abandonment, abuse, or being ignored or controlled. They may have included to dodge threats or keep others happen. To us social creatures, shame is threatening. Over the years, your nervous system continues to use feedback loops attuned to the past, even though your context – the people, place, and circumstances of life – has changed. Those behaviors that served a purpose in the past now cause disruption, disconnection, distress, or conflict in the present. In partnered relationships, the dynamics that initially felt familiar, become distressing.
Blending insights from Attachment Science and Polyvagal Science, we can get to the roots of what keeps you stuck in high conflict patterns, avoidance, or the codependent/narcissist dance. Once understood at the roots, you have unbounded potential to shape new ways of functioning into your autonomic habits – if you feel safe.
These patterns sit below our awareness. What we learned from early life comes with us and, without our intention, shape dysfunctional patterns to continue into our relationships with our children. Unknowingly, parents develop their children to attune to the parent regulation, rather than being available to help the child. To help your child overcome 'mental health' challenges first open your mind and heart to the idea that their dysregulation is entangled with yours. When you all step into a new paradigm of growth with others, you shift the dynamics and expand the joy and resiliency to navigate life together.
How do we tap into your unbounded potential to shift out of the patterns created through early life experiences of abandonment, neglect, or even overprotection?
Check-in on limiting beliefs that emotions are bad or shouldn't be expressed.
Start seeing 'problem' behaviors, yours and others, as solutions to root problems of regulation and safety (physical, emotional, social).
Increase your awareness of personal shifts from feeling safe to feeling the need to protect.
Find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable (safe) to create space for exploring, restoring, and establishing your healthy rhythm.
A relationship's dynamics can be shifted by one; taking it on as a couple or family accelerates the pace and enhances the joy.