Relationships Are Hard, But Why?

Couple in the Park

It’s been a very busy few months for all of us at Ladies Again. I joined a salsa dance team (to learn how to be more feminine, of course) and African Femininity started a fabulous new job. We’re also in the process of bringing on new writers to Ladies Again, so that is exciting!

Sometime in the last month, through the rush of all of the things going on in my life, I set aside some time to watch a short TED Talk called “Relationships Are Hard, But Why?” While watching the video, I had an epiphany: So much about what we’ve written on Ladies Again has been about attracting the right person and learning to be more feminine for that person, that it never occurred to me that it was possible that we could be the cause for our own negative relationship issues. I never realized that early childhood attachment issues could re-emerge during adulthood. According to Dr. Stan Tatkin, the TED Talk speaker, attachment issues have the power to negatively influence our ability to maintain healthy functioning relationships.

Dr. Tatkin defines people as anchors, waves and islands. Those individuals who are waves and islands experienced insecure attachment relationships during their formative first years. He defines the three groups in the following ways (summarized by Clinton Power):

Characteristics of Islands

People who are islands tend to:

  • like to be alone, enjoy their own space
  • have been raised to be self-sufficient and tend to avoid people
  • learn early on not to depend on people
  • often feel crowded in intimate relationships
  • be in a world of their own
  • self-soothe and self-stimulate
  • not turn to others for soothing or stimulation
  • find it hard to shift from being alone to interacting
  • under express their thoughts and feelings
  • process a lot internally

Characteristics of Waves

People who are waves tend to:

  • feel a great deal with their emotions
  • have strong attachments in childhood, but they were inconsistent
  • have helped soothe a parent or both parents who were overwhelmed
  • have felt rejected or turned away by one or both parents
  • focus on external regulation: asking others to help them soothe them
  • find it hard to shift from interacting to being alone
  • over-express and like to talk about all the details
  • stay in close physical contact to others
  • often think they are too much and nobody can tolerate them

Characteristics of Anchors

People who are anchors tend to:

  • come from a family where there was an emphasis on relationships
  • have experienced justice, fairness and sensitivity in their family
  • love to collaborate and work with others
  • read faces, voices and deal with difficult people well

Do any of these descriptions sound familiar? Read more in Tatkin’s illuminating book “Wired for Dating.”

Author: Lilac Blue

Lilac Blue is writes about femininity, love and family in a world that has been drastically altered by industrialization, secularism, misandry and misogyny.

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