When I was a wee lad I remember being sensitive and loving. I wanted affection and to be held. I loved being held. (Yeah, really weird and rare.) I perceived that I didn’t get the love I wanted because I was unloveable and broken (insert your particular reason here). Obviously there was something wrong with me. I figured that the way to get my needs met was to intuit what the people wanted around me and to give them what they wanted. It worked pretty well as a kid…

Having dysfunction or wounding in the lover quadrant comes across a broad spectrum with each side being-the can’t connect at all “You will never crack me open and get me to show you my heart!?” type. One reason this happens is when our caregivers abuse us in some way, like physical abuse, the interpretation is my parents seem to love me but it’s conditional and when they don’t love me they hurt me. The logic of a child is to not get attached so that when the abuse comes it doesn’t hurt as bad. This is the impotent lover. They cannot attach or create connections. Or on the other side of the spectrum is the-so desperate to connect with anyone that they’ll do anything to gain connection and love type. “Please, please, please love me!!!” The adapted behavior is to do whatever a person can in order to BE lovable, like performing in some way to compensate. This is the addicted lover-all they want is love and they can never get enough.

In “The Body Keeps The Score” Bessel van der Kolk weaves together attachement theory with the ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experience Study) masterfully to talk about how the trauma we experience as kids has a direct impact on our ability to connect thus forming our attachment systems that can be in effect for the rest of our lives.

I think since you’re reading this you’re on the path to grow and change. We’re all moving towards being whole and secure. I associate the addicted lover with the anxious attachement style and the impotent lover with the avoidant one. If you’re not on the same page with your partner(s) it’s likely that your attachment styles are creating that push me/pull me yo yo effect of close and distant over and over.

One of the great things about this human experience is learning about and healing our dysfunctional parts that have us feeling desperate or distant, needy or flat when it comes to attaching and connecting to our fellow humans. Animals are another story…

The opportunity:

What can you do to soothe the childlike, wounded part of yourself to gain security and gravity?

What can you do to support the important people in your life when they’re embodying the wounded part of themselves?

Thanks for your time, have a great day!