Stuck in a Vicious Cycle? Find Hope in Your Marriage

Stuck

It’s happening again. You’ve done this fight with your partner a thousand times and you know what’s coming next—blame, criticism, and self-defensive moves. It’s so familiar, you could do this argument with your eyes closed. It’s as if you’re having the same fight with your partner over and over again. Maybe you’ve made attempts to make peace in the past, but they don’t seem to work in the long-run and you’re feeling stuck, hopeless, and scared. You aren’t totally sure how you both got here, but you know you don’t want to stay here.

While every couple will experience emotional and relational distress at some point in their relationship, there is hope.

The Science of Attachment

Emotional bonding is one of our deepest human instincts. If we are connected with another human, we have a sense of safety and security. These secure attachments help us regulate our emotions and be more resilient when facing life’s challenges.

However, when we perceive distance or separation in close relationships, this sets off the alarm bells in our amygdala (i.e., the fear center of our brain) because it’s detecting we are losing a connection that gives us a sense of security. The fight-or-flight response is triggered and automatic attempts to regain security are pursued.

When individual attachment and emotional needs are not met, couples often times develop dysfunctional patterns of relating in attempt to regain security. These dysfunctional patterns heighten the negative emotional responsiveness of each partner, resulting in a vicious cycle that drives fear and disconnection.

Emotionally-Focused Therapy

Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed and researched by Sue Johnson and Les Greensberg using the science of adult attachment and interpersonal neurobiology for couples stuck in a vicious cycle.

Using EFT, the therapist walks couples through the process of:

  • Identifying and naming their unique cycle
  • Learning how each partner contributes to the emotional intensity of the cycle
  • Understanding how these emotional responses are cues into the underlying attachment needs of their partner.
  • Utilizing the concept of creating a secure haven for each other, couples begin to learn a new dance that heals attachment ruptures, improves emotional responsiveness, and strengthens their relational bond.

We Can Help

Contact us at ThrivePointe to get connected with a therapist that utilizes Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) to help you find hope in your marriage.

Meet the Author: Monica Hengge

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