Adult love relationships are often related to the attachment patterns within their family of origin. The dynamics within an adult love relationship reflects the interactive experience children developed within the parent-child relationship during childhood. How couples interact that leads to feelings of closeness with each other is similarly to how children and their parents find love and develop a sense of attachment through their interactions. The experience of feeling attuned and attach to each other can bring in a strong ‘feeling of anxiety’ when the two parties are about to separate whether is temporary or permanently.
Attachment experience during childhood
People who are in love are apparently trying to find a life partner that can love and affirm their worth of being loved, but subconsciously they are trying to find the most ideal and perfect love they experienced during childhood which was brought about within the parent-child relationship. Loving parents can understand their children and meet their needs before they even open their mouths, and they can unconditionally accept them and make their children in the first place within their hearts. The ‘love and hate’ phenomenon is most difficult issue exists within any relationships, and it is closely related to the ‘attachment’ issue.
Healing and the dance of love
From the ‘attachment’ perspective, many of the problems and conflicts couples experience within their relationships can be traced back from their childhood experience and the pains they buried within the context of the parent-child relationship. Healing these pains takes courage to put down the defence that protects these vulnerable feelings and face the possibility of feeling hurt again.
In any love relationships, people cannot avoid the inescapable cycle: “I am eager to love → I am disappointed, injured → I fight back or escape → You are injured → You fight back or escape → I am even more injured …”(Dr. Sue Johnson’s “love is a dance”).
Healing is a risk or an opportunity?
In any intimate relationships, we can be injured; but the scars of these injuries can make the wounded relationship develop to a deeper level. Only those who have been injured can really feel the pain of others and be able to care with compassion and understanding. The relationship between the two people in love can be deepen when both sides are willing to continue to learn and love each other even when they are feeling hurt and injured again.
Benny Chan, M.S.W., R.P., R.S.W,R.M.F.T. Clinical Fellow
Founder, Green Pastures Counselling Services