It is easy to rail against the world. A friend and I were talking last night, and he lamented the fact that we often want the world to bend our way. So much of the vulnerability that emerges in relationships has an existential nature. The person that is closest to us is there for our darkest and most difficult moments, and it is as if we grab onto them the way we would reach for anything solid to grab onto when we are falling. 

 

We need to recognize that our needs for survival run deep, beyond the everyday chatter about support and acceptance; we must face our mortality and the ever-changing landscapes of our own personalities and lives. Some of us tend to up-regulate when these feelings of absence take us over. This means that we have a drive towards the fight response which can look like wearing your heart on your sleeve and being more verbal and possibly aggressive when you are upset. We are the ones that tend to burn out in relationships, in part because we thrive on a certain degree of high arousal.

 

While it is important to be aware of and articulate what you need from others, it is equally important to look at the dragons that are driving anxious attachment and the fears that emerge when there is misattunement in relationships. What this means is that when there are fluctuations in relationships, some of us go into more profound fear responses than others which take the form of sympathetic nervous system arousal, a heightening of blood pressure and we go into action. What can feel to us like vulnerability and longing can scare the pants off of our partner? Being able to slow that down and reach from a place of fragility is essential to achieving long-lasting closeness.

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