RR07 – Cuddling is Crucial

My shoulder was made to hold your head, my hand to hold yours by Katie Tegtmeyer, on FlickrToday’s “Relationship Reading” is from chapter 20, page 441, of the Handbook of Attachment.

Debra Zeifman & Cindy Hazan note:

“Cuddling, or contact comfort, as demonstrated by Harlow (1958), is crucial for the establishment of emotional bonds.”

This quote resonated with me for a number of reasons:

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RR06 – “We don’t think; we feel, we act.”

RR06 - "We don't think; we feel, we act."Today’s “Relationship Reading” is another quote from page 30 of the “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Sue Johnson.

In this section of the book, Dr. Johnson is discussing “primal panic” set off by attachment distress. “We don’t think; we feel, we act.” – is the outcome when the brain’s amygdala takes over if an attachment figure is all of a sudden unavailable or unresponsive. Continue reading

RR05 – The Roots of Relationship Distress

Today’s “Reading that Resonates” (or maybe I should rename these Relationship Readings?) is from page 30 of the “Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” by Sue Johnson.

RR05 - What is at the root of relationship distress?

“Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers, calls to stir their hearts, to draw their mates back in emotionally and reestablish a sense of safe connection.” ~ Dr. Sue Johnson

I went back to look this up again today because: Continue reading

RR#2 – Connection and the Freedom to Explore

Today’s RR is another quote from chapter 1 of the Handbook of Attachment:

“Thus attachment, far from interfering with exploration, is viewed as fostering exploration.” ~ Dr. Jude Cassidy, pg. 8

RR#2 - [Secure connection], far from interfering with exploration, is viewed as fostering exploration.

This resonated with me because:

  • I’ve experienced it. When I have felt the most connected to my wife and other special others, I have been more willing to try new things, learn new things, and take risks.
  • this is in stark contrast to the notion that attachment is all about being chained to someone and that being connected to someone is an abdication of freedom.
  • on a related note, it was validating. I love romantic gestures, but have been accused of offering too much and caving in to the whims of my “ball and chain” wife. What people don’t realise is that these “connection builders” have helped to build trust and love in my relationship; so much so that I have significant freedoms that other men don’t.
Random thought for the day: I’ve also decided to refer to attachment as “connection” or “secure connection” when I’m talking to  non-psych types. If finding that the word attachment comes with too much unintended baggage. Really, all we are talking about when we talk about attachment is our deep connections… especially those connections to the people we’d turn to in times of distress.

Does this quote resonate for you? Positively? Negatively?  I’d love to hear your comments.

“Nobody can make another person feel anything.” Errrr…

One of the advantages of being new to the field of relationship psychology is that I am still relatively immune to the jargon and nuance of meaning in phrases that professionals seem to use nonchalantly; words that we regular folk may not fully understand.  What is obvious and innocent psychobabble to a practiced therapist sometimes stands out as dangerous non-sense to me. I fully admit that my response is coming from a place of incomplete understanding, but I am convinced that things sometimes get lost in translation for us regular folk. I’ve seen it happen.

So, when a professional recently replied to me that “Nobody can make another person feel anything” my initial response was “horse feathers!” (OK, maybe not horse feathers, but referring to bovine after-product might get me in trouble with my co-editor.) This assertion flies in the face of common sense and seems to contradict a great deal of the hard research I am reading. Continue reading