The Ukraine-Russia War, the Israel-Hamas War, the daily polarized, hatred circus of the unfolding 2024 Presidential Election, voter suppression in an historically respected democratic republic, corruption, violence, and deconstruction of a federal court system, these have been just a few of the recent headlines. A helicopter glance offers that the least common denominator is that we are suffering from an overwhelming dose of “Demon Dialogues” (“separation distress,” relationship storms) (Dr. Susan M. Johnson, Hold Me Tight, 45, 48) Quite simply, in this combat veteran’s words, we have lost sight of the fact that the need for love is in the human genes and is not about bargains, reasoning, and deals about profit and loss. It is sane, conscious, emotional responses and mutually satisfying experiences in a partnership. The perception is that one becomes so addicted to the Demon Dialogue loop, pattern, that it becomes impossible to see the forest for the trees, be vulnerable, and reach for our human love needs satisfaction.

On the heels of six months of energy psychology, deep inner digging work with an energy psychology coach, it has been humbling and awakening to evolve to the work of Dr. Susan M. Johnson (Attachment Theory in Practice). In the words of an Infantry soldier her work offers that our journey is inside out as opposed to the culture dictates of outside in. The inside out journey is to have conscious experience of the dance of emotion (anger, fear, attachment, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, shame, shock, etc.) and attachment style to “music,” 1) targeting for a shift of emotional music to decrease the “Demon Dialogues” and simply be open, honest, and vulnerable and love the Self and one’s chosen partners in life; and 2) confronting perceived attachment style threats to unfold love for the Self and chosen partners. The goal is to have the music, the dance, and the dancers become one, just cannot tell the dance from the dancers. Concerning attachment theory, Dr. Johnson offers,

  1. The powerful emotions that came up in my couples’ sessions were anything but irrational. They made perfect sense. Partners acted like they were fighting for their lives in therapy because they were doing just that. Isolation and the potential loss of loving connection to a few loved ones is wired in by millions of years of evolution. Distressed partners may use different words, but they are always asking the same questions, ‘Are you there for me? Do I matter to you? Will you come when I need you, when I call?’ Love is the best survival mechanism there is, and to feel suddenly emotionally cut off from a partner, disconnected, is terrifying. We must reconnect, to speak our needs in a way that moves our partner to respond. This longing for emotional connection with those nearest to us is the emotional priority, overshadowing even the drive for food or sex. The drama of love is all about this hunger for safe emotional connection, a survival imperative we experience from the cradle to the grave. Loving connection is the only safety nature ever offers us.
  2. These emotions and attachment needs were the plot behind negative interactions like the Demon Dialogues. Now I understood why this kind of pattern was so complicated and never ending. When safe connection seems lost, partners go into fight-or-flight mode. They blame and get aggressive to get a response, any response, or they close down and try not to care. Both are terrified; they are just dealing with it differently. Trouble is, once they start this blame-distance loop, it confirms all their fears and adds to their sense of isolation. Emotional edicts as old as time dictate this dance; rational skills don’t change it. Most of the blaming in these dialogues is a desperate attachment cry, a protest against disconnection. It can only be quieted by a lover moving emotionally close to hold and reassure. Nothing else will do. If this reconnection does not occur, the struggle goes on. One partner will frantically try to get an emotional response from the other. The other, hearing that he or she has failed at love, will freeze up. Immobility in the face of danger is a wired-in way to deal with a sense of helplessness.
  3. The key moments of change in Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) were moments of secure bonding. In these moments of safe attunement and connection, both partners can hear each other’s attachment cry and respond with soothing care, forging a bond that can withstand differences, wounds, and the test of time. These moments shape connection, and that changes everything. They provide a reassuring answer to the question, ‘Are you there for me?’ Once partners know how to speak their need and bring each other close, every trial they face together simply makes their love stronger. No wonder these moments create new dances of trusting connection for couples in EFT. No wonder they make them stronger as individuals. If you know your loved one is there and will come when you call, you are more confident of your worth, your value. And the world is less intimidating when you have another to count on and know that you are not alone. (Dr. Susan M. Johnson, Hold Me Tight, 46-47)

Not being alone is simply in our human genes! With proper, sane, human attention, it feels like we can turn these cultural Demon Dialogues around and motor to have the love we each need. And we have a lot of work to do…Ukraine-Russia War, Israel-Hamas War, daily polarized, hatred circus of the unfolding 2024 Presidential Election, voter suppression, corruption, violence, and deconstruction of a federal court system scream of a least common denominator of suffering from an overwhelming dose of “separation distress.” Quite simply, we have lost sight of the fact that the need for love is in the human genes and is not about bargains, reasoning, profit and loss, and hate slinging at fellow human beings. It is sane, conscious, emotional responses and mutually satisfying experiences in partnerships when the dance, the music, and dancers become one.

Leave a Reply