Of course you want and deserve good relationships. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to get there. Right? Secrets from the counseling couch can provide insight.
Here’s 2 Counseling Insights that Help.
Did you know that you’re HARD WIRED to emotionally connect with others? Clients are sometimes surprised by this when I’m counseling them. Neuroscience continues to prove this, over and over. As a human, you NEED others. Unfortunately, you can get into trouble when your need to connect, is at odds with your need to protect yourself. Because they’re both important. And biologically, you can’t do these at the same time; it’s one or the other.
Connect or Protect
Connection feels like:
Relaxed and Calm
Excited and Happy
Protection looks opposite.
Protection feels like:
Tense or worried
Rigid or Chaotic
Emotionally Checked Out
Anger or Anxiety
Closed and Restricted
Evolution has made sure that you and Julia know how to do both. And for survival reasons, we’re all more likely to go into protection mode. False positives are more important for keeping us safe than false negatives, from evolution’s perspective. But often NOT from a relationship perspective!
All day long, the primitive part of your brain evaluates this. In a millisecond it decides if you should Protect or Connect with others. (Really, this happens incredibly fast – and it’s all subconscious.) This is just as true for other people in your life. So, the way you say something, is often more important that what you actually say. And the way you say it, is determined in a large part by whether YOU are in protection or connection mode.
When you’re with others, mutual regulation of the nervous system happens. Your limbic brain regulates their limbic brain. When you’re in connection mode, the people you’re with are more likely to connect with you. When this happens, we feel safe, engaged and can calm down. But when you’re in protection mode… well the other person tends to go there too. Sometimes knowing this is enough to put a relationship on a better path. Other times counseling might be needed.
Why Does this Matter?
Protection is often described as anxiety or depression. If you’re struggling in a relationship with someone important to you, you’re probably in protection mode, A LOT! And this triggers them to be in protection mode too. But if you want to connect, to work things out, to make the relationship stronger… getting out of protection mode can be a very good step.
Do you smile and try to connect when you come home? Or do you attack or numb out? Remember protection is what we ALL do, you are not wrong if you do this.
But if you are in protection mode too often or if you shut down or become defensive around high ticket relationship items, then your relationship is at greater risk. And knowing this… can help you to create real change. Sometimes knowing this is enough to put a relationship on a better path. Other times counseling might be warranted. If you’d like more info on counseling, feel free to call or email if you’d like more info. When I’m accepting new clients, I offer free 15 minute phone consultations.
So, do you find that other people around you are in protection mode? Are they unable to hear you? Is your face and body open or closed? Is your voice soft or stern? Are your eyes soft, bright and engaged? In other words
Which Julia Are You?
Now for the harder question… would “they” agree?
Does the person you’re struggling with think you resemble that same Julia?
If you’ve been in protection mode for a while, it takes some time to change. Lots of us are not aware of whether we are in protection or connection mode at first. And then sometimes, we don’t feel like we’re in protection mode, but others think we are. And that can be frustrating, but it’s not uncommon.
And so 1st figuring it out is helpful. Asking someone that you trust, can help. Because sometimes you’re just not aware of how it’s coming across to others. Your protection mode can become the automatic pilot. Then, 2nd you can follow up this info with practice. Work on connecting more. You can refer to Julia, the first Julia, as a guide. Sometimes using reminders can help. Maybe a picture on your phone? Or a post-it at your desk? But using this concept can be a very effective way to start to create good relationships. And using this concept is very effective at reducing anxiety and depression.
You Deserve Good Relationships.
One of the fastest ways to begin to create the good relationships you deserve can start right here. Sometimes sharing this information with someone you trust can go a long way towards using it. If you learn and practice this with another person, you can really “get it”… faster. In my office, I get the privilege to witness clients apply this in their relationships. They transform the relationships that matter most. And you can too!