RR#3 – Deep connections give rise to intense emotions

Today’s “Reading that Resonates” is  from chapter 1, page 6, of the Handbook of Attachment:

RR#3 - Deep connections give rise to deep emotions.

“Many of the most intense emotions arise during the formation, the maintenance, the disruption, and the renewal of attachment relationships. The formation of a bond is described as falling in love, maintaining a bond as loving someone, and losing a partner as grieving over someone. Similarly, threat of loss arouses anxiety and actual loss gives rise to sorrow; whilst each of these situations is likely to arouse anger. The unchallenged maintenance of a bond is experienced as a source of joy.” ~ Dr. John Bowlby

This resonated with me because:

  • It’s a big “DA!”
  • It provides a partial answer to “What is love?
  • One implication is that if we want to live life fully and experience deep emotions, connection is vital. The trick is to hold onto the good emotions and avoid the negative ones.
  • There is a hint in there to “Why do we always hurt the ones we love?” Ironically, it’s because the other person truly matters to us! I’m thinking that understanding this might provide a useful starting point for healing broken relationships.

How does this quote resonate for you? Have your strongest emotions been aroused in the context of deep connection?

2 thoughts on “RR#3 – Deep connections give rise to intense emotions

  1. Just to chime in a bit here.

    This is a quite famous (in attachment circles) Bowlby quote. And it makes sense why it’s a favorite.

    One thing we find in secure attachment, is not the need to avoid negative emotion but rather that it is activated less frequently. This means when we’re secure and emotion is free to come up and be heard that without trying to suppress, avoid or stay away from it negative emotion is just not there as much.

    When we are securely attached we are triggered into states of fear and pain less often, and when we are triggered we can effectively reach and pull for comfort so we move more quickly out of the negative state. Pretty cool.

    About hurting those we love –

    We hurt those we love because we’re human, not because we love them. As human’s we can’t always be aware, considerate, not stressed out, distracted or know what’s going on in our partners inner world. We are vulnerable and imperfect and that’s perfectly normal and wonderful.

    I love idea from Sue Johnson, that when we’re dancing in close proximity we’re bound to step on each other’s toes at times even though we don’t intend to. The good news is – the more we dance in close proximity (sharing, showing our vulnerability and learning about each other) the more we practice moving together so we’re less likely to trip up. And when we do trip over each other, because we’re close and mean so much to each other, it really hurts.

    The beauty is, when we’re close we know how to request, and offer, comfort so the hurt is taken care of quickly.

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