We Lead Very Complex Lives
We all lead very complex lives.
There are many different influences affecting us all day, every day. Do we often have the time to stop and evaluate what is going on around us? Are we even designed for the lives we have?
Our brains have been inherited from our Paleolithic ancestors with little having evolved since a probable dalliance with our Neanderthal cousins around 70,000 years ago. In those days our main concerns centered on those of being a hunter gatherer - unfortunately for us our society has become a lot more complicated since. We have seen significantly more change in the way we live our lives over the last few years and consequently for many of us our emotional issues have increased.
We see that the concept of the nuclear family, three generations of family living under the same roof, has for many reasons largely fallen away in our society. Children leave home, moving away from friends and family, travelling further for education and work so they also lose their support network. We need to feel able to talk to people, to trust them and feel warm towards them, to share what we want to say in order to be able to put issues into their proper perspective. If we don’t, our brain can sometimes not be a friend and left to itself our cognition can start interpreting events in a way that can do us harm.
It can be difficult, very difficult, for many people to feel able to talk about their feelings and emotions, perhaps especially in Jersey where an increasingly competitive society could make some reticent about who they can discuss their vulnerabilities with. Sometimes it is felt that any admission of a perceived ‘weakness’ could be quickly ‘all around the island’. Attitudes like this are hopefully changing fast however as people realise the importance of being able to communicate honestly and openly with each other and how a flexible approach can help to alleviate the stresses of how we live our lives these days.
Even in the closest of couple relationships barriers can go up preventing communication. The old cliché of brushing things under the carpet until the pile gets so big that it eventually overwhelms the couple is, unfortunately like most old chestnuts, all too prevalent. Why do these obstacles get erected in the first place? Is it simply a fear of the reaction that could be faced if something you have wanted to talk about for so long was spoken about? The longer it goes on for the longer the brain has to imagine all sorts of graver scenarios and the more daunting it can become to tackle it.
Perhaps what is required is to feel safe in a warm non partial environment, to be able to talk about what you want to while knowing that there are boundaries and the conversation can be contained with the associated fears allayed. It takes a great deal of courage to be able to admit to each other that you have become stuck in a situation that is progressively more difficult to get out of, the same conversation becoming an ever decreasing circle.
It has been said that to keep a long term relationship alive can be the most daunting task a person can handle in their life. A partnership can bring stability and with this a predictable routine which may well not always be the environment for establishing a vibrant long lasting life together. It is necessary to have negotiation and compromise while putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, to discover each other’s needs and wants from an early stage, with the security that a relationship brings being balanced with a level of independence for each partner. This can help to bring constant elements of freshness into the equation without the couple losing their sense of personal identity.
We will be looking, through a series of monthly articles, at what we feel may be some significant areas around relationships while also looking at some relevant psycho-therapeutic approaches, such as Attachment theory.
It is always best to realise that though we often face similar situations and the same theories can be applied to us, we are all individuals and products of our own special set of circumstances. We are all unique, have our own stories to tell about how we got to where we are.