A friend of mine from school is a hypno-psychotherapist. At school we used to call him Magic Boots because of his Army surplus store footwear and prowess on the pitch. He should probably be called Magic Mind now.
Anyway, I digress. We were talking the other day and he was explaining how useful Hypnotherapy (other therapies are available) can be to treat a multitude of things. I said he should write me a blog, so he did, and here it is. I've taken artistic licence and added the pictures in.
Bloody interesting this one. But whatever the challenge you face talking to someone can only help, so do it.
He also was and undoubtedly remains much much cleverer than me (maybe I'll have a chat with him about my self image), and really knows his stuff.
Take Care Paul
Are you a pushme or a pullyou?
The Pushmepullyou was one of the stranger animals in Doctor Doolittle’s story. Both heads had different ideas as to the best direction of travel and they were forever in conflict.
People in relationships can be a little like that too.
People who grow up safe in the knowledge that they are loved develop the ability to regulate their emotions effectively.
They feel safe in expressing their feelings, have a strong sense of self and can give and receive love freely.
This ability to give and receive love is called by some a ‘secure attachment style’. They attach themselves to other people in a calm and confident manner.
So far so good.
But what of those who didn’t grow up in such a secure environment? What of those who don’t have such a strong sense of self and self-esteem?
Well, according to attachment style theory, they have, broadly speaking, two choices.
They can dodge close relationships, shy away from others who try to love them, sabotage promising new love affairs and generally act in such a way as to avoid being happy. After all, if you don’t get too close, you don’t get hurt!
Pull away! Steer clear!
Of course, they may not realise that this is what they’re doing. Nonetheless, such a pattern emerges when the past and its relationships are investigated.
That’s the ‘avoidant attachment style’.
On the other hand they can choose, unconsciously, to adopt an ‘anxious attachment style’. To most people this is known as ‘needy’ or ‘clingy’.
How hard such people work to please. They’ll be the most attentive of partners but it’s not freely given. They do this in order to keep the loved one close. They please in order to keep. ‘If I don’t do a,b and c then she’ll leave’.
‘If I’m not loving enough he’ll ditch me’
Of course, this often ends up annoying and alienating the object of their love. Nobody likes to be smothered.
Both the avoidant and the anxious create their own nightmare: loneliness.
The anxious type hates it and is honest about it. The avoidant type tries to pretend they don’t care, that they’re better off alone. Either way, it hurts.
What a mess!
What if two people with opposing attachment styles find themselves in a relationship?
Well, this is the pushmepullyou situation.
The anxious type tries to please, to ingratiate and the avoidant type is afraid of the proximity. He or she moves away and, of course, the anxious one merely follows behind. The more he or she pushes their love towards the avoidant, the more he or she moves away.
What could be done?
Well, it begins with honesty. Both sides of this dynamic would need to recognise their own behaviours and resolve to work upon them. Both would need to work upon their sense of self and self-esteem. The avoidant would then begin to trust, little by little, the other with proximity and the anxious would agree to back off with the overly forceful demonstrations of love and demands for reciprocity.
The pair would then meet in the middle and find a way forwards in which both could be happy.
If you recognise yourself in the above then book yourself in for therapy. I don’t cut my own hair because I can’t see myself from all angles. People have others help them with psychological difficulties for the same reason.
Mr Paul Wyse