The Desire Of Your Partner To Belong To You
One of the strong sources of inspiration for my work as well as my personal journey has been a well-known doctor/psychiatrist/psychologist called Gabor Mate who talks about how stress impacts the body and how it is responsible for most cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Mate's observations have led to research exploring the connection of emotional trauma as a very possible path to these diseases, based on the set of behaviours trauma forces the person to adopt, which lead to increased stress which then leads to triggering the illness.
His work spans across many dimensions including addiction, parenting, and ADHD, and he is in the process of writing a book on mental illness as experienced by the wider society.
He said that "the power of parenting comes from the desire of the child to belong to you", which by implication means that it is the way we parent that makes it so.
It was such a beautiful distinction, acknowledging the child as an individual in the actor's seat having and exercising their choice early on, guided by and trusting their feelings.
His phrase elevated so straightforwardly the importance of a strong, healthy, validating, warm, caring, and nurturing emotional connection a parent can cultivate with their child so their child can choose to stay emotionally attached to their parents especially during the tough years of teenagerhood.
By doing so, the child would experience the will to still learn from their parents, still be influenced by them, still stay connected and not reject them in favour of their peer group and young mindsets which do not effectively, generally speaking, safely guide young people during the crucial years ahead.
If you were to take a moment and think back to when you were a child, have you had any experiences that resonate and echo this struggle or lack of?
Would you say you experienced the desire to belong to your family, to your parents, to your parental home, and at times it was challenging, more so for some of us than others?
Yet, I could not help thinking how this is no different than the experience we seek in adulthood, a partner that in their company we can feel we belong.
Last week I was talking to a potential client about the relationship she was experiencing with her partner, how controlling he had been for months, how volatile, how emotionally abusive, and her challenges in differentiating this from, now I can verbalise it, too, the behaviour of someone who helps you feel that you can belong with them, versus making you feel that they are a 'monster' and calling them as such, which is how this lady described her partner.
Not to mention how his behaviour was affecting, not just her body, making her feel stressed, tense, contracted, and sad, but it had also started to affect the way she was thinking about herself, questioning who she was as a person, if she is alright the way she is, and if the faults the partner was highlighting were indeed to be taken for face value and whether they should flood her perception of herself.
What a radically different world would we have if we all approached all our relationships, not just the one with our children, not even just with our partner, but the ones with our friends, too, our own parents, our extended family members, even our work colleagues, as relationships that our people could exercise their choice of following their feelings towards their place they could belong, with us, next to us, in our life and in our shared lives.
What a radically different world it would be.
If you or someone you know is in a relationship but find it hard to connect with their partner, they feel it takes effort to feel comfortable in themselves and so they avoid spending time with their partner but would like to change things, I offer a FREE 45min Clarity Session to help create clarity, a plan of action, and offer my personalised support.
Constantina Stamou is a certified Life & Relationship Coach, has trained with the Robbins-Madanes coaching school and Strategic Intervention, is an NLP Master Practitioner, has attended Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, and has a PhD in how we change the way we put sentences together as we grow older. Her work experience includes university tutoring, charity research, and entrepreneurship which has so far translated into the TNT Dance Salsa Club in London, her Reformer Pilates Studio at Kensington Olympia, London, and The Lantern.