Airplanes and Submarines

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

Airplanes and submarines are quite different from one another. They both travel up and down, with sea level often as their starting point. However, their atmospheres are quite different as is the speed with which they travel. Different as well are their perspectives. One views and explores the vast world above, while the other views and explores the vast world below. To the airplane, the world of the submarine may be confusing and even threatening. Equally strange perhaps is the submarine's understanding of the airplane's world.

Airplanes are fast and nimble. They can climb the heights, spin atop the world, go upside down and right side up, and still land safely and gracefully on the ground. Free and unencumbered by the view and restrictions of ground-level life, airplanes can be above it all, in the heavens with the gods. Occasionally they can become too confident, too full of themselves, and be struck down by weather or other natural...

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When it comes to repair, the fastest wins.

maxims repair stan tatkin May 27, 2012

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

Our brain is biased toward making war than love. Our brainstem and lower limbic structures are always on the lookout for threat and danger. And painful memories are more easily made than pleasurable ones. This bias serves the human imperative "thou shalt not be killed." Memories are formed, at least in large part, by glutamate (neurotransmitter) and adrenaline (hormone). Strong or intense emotional experience, aided by glutamate and adrenaline, will help long term memory formation, particularly if the emotional intensity is protracted.

When one person hurts another, intentionally or not, the injured party seeks relief. If relief is not provided in a timely manner, that hurt will likely go into long term memory. When partners ignore or dismiss injuries or make unskillful attempts at repair, the offending partner is CREATING a bad memory in the injured partner -- something that will certainly come back to haunt.

Remedy: Fix, repair, make right,...

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Kid and pets are easy, partners are hard

maxims stan tatkin May 27, 2012

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

This is based on the principle that adult romantic primary attachment relationships are more difficult because of their psychobiological weight -- memories, expectations, fears, threats to security, etc. Primary partners tend to become "deep family." Like it not, partner become proxies for everyone who has come before (historically) the relationship: mother, father, brother, sister, first love, teachers, etc. Kids are smaller systems and can certainly trigger early memories and bodily experiences and the complexity of raising children is certainly no cakewalk. However, they just do not carry the same emotional, psychobiological weight as a primary partner. Pets are easy because they are cute but their brains neither amplify mutually generated positive experiences nor trigger historical attachment injuries (at least not usually).

Alas, it is our adult partners who remain our mightiest challenge to happiness as all our early attachment injuries...

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