Therapy helps you build a better relationship with yourself and others and understanding your childhood can help this along
Therapy helps people turn their lives and relationships around, but getting close to someone in love is not the natural process we like to imagine. Understanding how your childhood helped shape your template for how to love can help you dramatically improve your relationship.
In order to function in the world we spend a lot of time being defended and removed from our more fragile side and in many situations we are not feeling. And yet to be in love means having the ability to show hurt, desire and tenderness. To know how to become reliant on another person or co-dependant in a way, can be hard. In fact it can be terrifying to show how much of ourselves we have surrendered when we love someone.
Your parents shape your template for how to love in childhood. Parents are your first significant love relationships. In adulthood what we learn informs our love style. Therapy can help you make sense of what you learned in childhood that can be impacting you in your relationships now.
Important research on love styles
This research has uncovered there are three main love styles that influence our adult relationships. Consider which statement below reflects you:
I find it relatively easy to get close to others and I am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or someone getting too close to me.
I find others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want stay with me, and I want to be very close to them and this scares people away.
I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to people and I find it difficult to trust people completely. I am nervous when anyone gets too close. People want me to be more intimate that I am comfortable with.
Improve your chance of thriving in love
You should be brave enough to consider which statement applies to you. These statemements connect to a theory of love first identified by English Psychologist Bowlby discovered in the 1950’s – 1960’s. He developed a really useful guide to how we are in relationships, that many therapists now use in their work.
He found that option A reflected a “secure” pattern of attachment. Love and trust flow smoothly. Option B refers to an anxious pattern of attachment where you long to feel intimate with others but are continously scared of let downs and often create drama through counter productive aggressive behaviour. Option C is the avoidant pattern. It feels easier to avoid the dangers of intimacy through solitary activities and emotional withdrawal.
Although questionaires and theories can be academic and may put you off, this one is very practical. It can improve your relationship to know which category you predominantly belong too. Also it can help you prepare yourself and warn others for the traps that may ocurr in intimate relationships.
We then need a little re-educating because half of us at least are not secure in love. We belong in the camps of either the avoidant or the anxious. Also we have (to make matters tricky) an above average chance of falling in love with someone from the other damaged side. This can result in aggravating our defences and raw spots in the process.
Understanding your childhood in therapy can help you in love. You can use it to work out what category you fall into. This is important information you can use to understand what happens to you now. You may in the sessions like to think back to how in your past closeness may have been frightening? People let you down, and you adopted a way of removing yourself to protect yourself. Or parents were not consistently available and responsive when you needed them and you learned to feel keenly their distance and lack of availablity.
Knowing whether we can be classed as secure, avoidant or anxious in love can become a basic fact we grasp about ourselves. The next step is to accept with grace that if we are either avoidant or anxious, we will need considerable emotional development to get out of scratchy patterns. This will then help us to stand a chance of building up a good enough love relationship, that can stand the test of time. Both individual and couples work, can help you understand your patterning and support you to find new ways of relating, that provide you with more satisfying relationships with those you love.