I have spent my whole life working on being great with feelings- oh, I mean other people’s feelings. My feelings… yeah… maybe that’s a second half of life project. When I was a much younger woman, a guy I was dating argued that the problem was that I whispered my feelings. How was he supposed to know it was important if I only whispered my feelings? I ditched the guy but hung onto the advice. Figuring out just how loud to communicate feelings is hard!
I view the world through an attachment lens. I think all relationships are about attachment. We build a secure attachment where it is safe and effective to communicate needs and feelings.
Secure attachment makes relationships easier. You trust people to be there for you and are comfortable both expressing and responding to needs and feelings.
Anxious attachment can make relationships more stressful. You feel insecure and needy and struggle with conflict and trust. Your feelings may seem louder than others.
Avoidant attachment can make relationships feel like more trouble than they’re worth. You manage things solo, not leaning, not sharing or responding. Your may seem to whisper your feelings. (links at the end)
As we are raising kids we need to find this magic middle ground where their feelings can be heard and feelings aren’t the only things that matter. You can be mad but you can’t hit. I totally get that you don’t “feel” like going to school… but let’s figure it out. I am so sorry that I cut your toast the wrong way….eat your toast.
When you’re in the zone, you attend, connect and empathize and then coach moving on. When you are anxious about your child’s feelings you over attend, get caught up in their feelings, fuel the fire and forget the part where you help them move on. They get loud, you get loud. When your tendency is to avoid feelings. You get overwhelmed or frustrated with big feelings and move too quickly to the get over it stage. They get loud and all you can think is trying to get them to stop!
(Humans are complicated… we all do all of these things in any given day.)
There are age and gender issues around attachment issues. We are more anxious (and louder) in early adulthood, avoidance increases with age (as we whisper more).. Men in romantic relationships often feel safer distancing themselves from relationship stress while women can have a hard time moving away, getting past it.
This week consider the volume. How do you communicate your feelings? How do you respond to other people’s? What happens when you feel overwhelmed with someone’s feelings and do you worry that you are overwhelming them? In your family, growing up and now, where did the feeling level land? What do you want for yourself next? Time to turn the volume up a bit, down a bit?
Easy, free online assessment of attachment-
More about attachment styles