How You Bond is Key

In Relationships by Emily Waymire

I recently graduated from a year long training program in the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy at The Couples Institute.

I’ve worked with couples for years. So why did I get more training?

I find it painful to watch couples struggle when I know they could get help. Especially when they are parents. And I learned this the hard way.

When my marriage was becoming a train wreck we sought out lots of help. Every person told us they worked with couples and looking back I’m pretty sure not a single one was actually trained in couples work. Why do I think this? Because beyond the usual advice in using “I sentences” and encouraging feelings, no one worked in any way with us developmentally or recognized the active trauma going on. I remember thinking “is that all you’ve got?” and feeling like I was stuck in a scary memory going over relationship 101 when we needed real help.

Quite simply my now ex-husband was avoidant from childhood and wanted to be independent. However due to immigration problems I had to move to his country and then give birth 6 weeks later. Independence was the last thing on my mind. Nothing was on my mind. I was terrified and had been thrown into a trauma state. Our developmental needs were severely at odds.

While he needed to be coached in ways to maintain connection with me while getting his alone time, I needed safe havens rebuilt so I could give birth and then take care of our new born.

Although I don’t think that marriage could have made it through the many traumatic events thrown our way, I do know years of suffering could have been avoided if we had had a couple’s therapist who knew how to work with a somatic, developmental model.

I love working with couples. Its always been clear to me that the biggest and most courageous work we can do in therapy is with our partner. Why? because we aren’t controlling what goes on. It’s all out there, we can’t control who says what and it’s very vulnerable and transparent.

Even more importantlywe show, and therefore can heal, how we learned to bond from our family.

After studying this for a year I can honestly say that constellations are still the most effective approach I’ve seen. Months of therapy and layers of material are seen in one constellation. It bypasses the cost and time that other approached need to uncover the core issues and see what is essential to help the couple.

That being said, almost all couples then need time and help integrating what is found. Insight is not enough. These deeply ingrained patterns of relating take time to undo. And even after that is mastered we often get triggered in committed relationships and need short term coaching. Not just because we need it but because honestly don’t you deserve the help with your relationship? Why do we deprive ourselves of this? And don’t your children also deserve this?

Relationships are about early childhood work. It takes courage and commitment to work through the layers of attachment we learned in our families. When a couple comes to me I see two people re-traumatizing each other. They may love and care for each other. They may have times of deep connection, affection and alignment of values. But when we are being triggered by the person we live with over and over….it sucks. And it’s scary.

I would often see couples go into extreme states of anger, blame, withdrawal. It is common to see regression into childlike states. And when you add babies to this picture it is immediately amplified.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

By learning the 4 forms of attachment and understanding how you bond in different relationships, you can gain control. More importantly you can help the parts of you that are scared, shut down, “needy”, alone, angry, or feeling crazy.

You’re not crazy, you’re not alone, and you know how to bond in a healthy way.

You are hard wired to bond. You are born with this intact. You got this!

A crucial point to remember is this: You don’t actually need your spouse there to be able to move your relationship and family forward. The only relationship you need to heal is the one you have to yourself. When you do that I promise every other relationship shifts.

If you want your relationship to succeed and you want your children to inherit healthy relationship values I strongly encourage you to contact me to set up a free consult.