Hold Me Tight Quotes

hold-me-tight

Hold Me Tight gives you advice on how to build and sustain a deeper connection with your spouse or partner by identifying the importance that every kind of emotion has in creating a lasting relationship and how to handle each of them maturely.

Here are best some quotes from the hold me tight book by Sue Johnson:

 

1. “In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

2. “If I appeal to you for emotional connection and you respond intellectually to a problem, rather than directly to me, on an attachment level I will experience that as “no response.” This is one of the reasons that the research on social support uniformly states that people want “indirect” support, that is, emotional confirmation and caring from their partners, rather than advice.” ― Sue Johnson

3. “Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.” ― Sue Johnson

4. “When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness…” ― Sue Johnson

5. “For all of us, the person we love most in the world, the one who can send us soaring joyfully into space, is also the person who can send us crashing back to earth. All it takes is a slight turning away of the head or a flip, careless remark. There is no closeness without this sensitivity. If our connection with our mate is safe and strong, we can deal with these moments of sensitivity. Indeed, we can use them to bring our partner even closer. But when we don’t feel safe and connected, these moments are like a spark in a tinder forest. They set fire to the whole relationship.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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6. “When love doesn’t work, we hurt. Indeed, “hurt feelings” is a precisely accurate phrase, according to psychologist Naomi Eisenberger of the University of California. Her brain imaging studies show that rejection and exclusion trigger the same circuits in the same part of the brain, the anterior cingulate, as physical pain.” ― Sue Johnson

7. “We now know that love is, in actuality, the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species. Not because it induces us to mate and reproduce. We do manage to mate without love! But because love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us safe haven from the storms of life.

Love is our bulwark, designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence. This drive to emotionally attach — to find someone to whom we can turn and say “Hold me tight” — is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy — to survive.” ― Sue Johnson

8. “Curiosity comes out of a sense of safety; rigidity out of being vigilant to threats.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

9. “We have to dive below to discover the basic problem: these couples have disconnected emotionally; they don’t feel emotionally safe with each other. What couples and therapists too often do not see is that most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection.

Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers, calls to stir their hearts, to draw their mates back in emotionally and reestablish a sense of safe connection.”
― Sue Johnson

10. “Sociologist James House of the University of Michigan declares that emotional isolation is a more dangerous health risk than smoking or high blood pressure, and we now warn everyone about these two!” ― Sue Johnson

 

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11. “When we love our partner well, we offer a blueprint for a loving relationship to our children and their partners. Better relationships between love partners are not just a personal preference, they are a social good. Better love relationships mean better families. And better, more loving families mean better, more responsive communities.”
― Sue Johnson

12. “We are never so vulnerable as when we love.” — Sigmund Freud” ― Sue Johnson

13. “Louise Hawkley, of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, calculates that loneliness raises blood pressure to the point where the risk of heart attack and stroke is doubled.” ― Sue Johnson

14. “Have always been fascinated by relationships. I grew up in Britain, where my dad ran a pub, and I spent a lot of time watching people meeting, talking, drinking, brawling, dancing, flirting. But the focal point of my young life was my parents’ marriage. I watched helplessly as they destroyed their marriage and themselves. Still, I knew they loved each other deeply. In my father’s last days, he wept raw tears for my mother although they had been separated for more than twenty years. My response to my parents’ pain was to vow never to get married.

Romantic love was, I decided, an illusion and a trap. I was better off on my own, free and unfettered. But then, of course, I fell in love and married. Love pulled me in even as I pushed it away. What was this mysterious and powerful emotion that defeated my parents, complicated my own life, and seemed to be the central source of joy and suffering for so many of us?

Was there a way through the maze to enduring love? I followed my fascination with love and connection into counseling and psychology. As part of my training, I studied this drama as described by poets and scientists. I taught disturbed children who had been denied love. I counseled adults who struggled with the loss of love.

I worked with families where family members loved each other, but could not come together and could not live apart. Love remained a mystery. Then, in the final phase of getting my doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, I started to work with couples. I was instantly mesmerized by the intensity of their struggles and the way they often spoke of their relationships in terms of life and death.” ― Sue Johnson

15. “We live in the shelter of each other.” — Celtic saying” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

16. “From your viewpoint, is your partner accessible to you? I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F My partner shows me that I come first with him/her. T F I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. He/she will listen. T F From your viewpoint, is your partner responsive to you?

If I need connection and comfort, he/she will be there for me. T F My partner responds to signals that I need him/her to come close. T F I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. T F Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. T F If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other?

 

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I feel very comfortable being close to, trusting my partner. T F I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. T F I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F” ― Sue Johnson

17. “No one can dance with a partner and not touch each other’s raw spots. We must know what these raw spots are and be able to speak about them in a way that pulls our partner closer to us.” ― Sue Johnson

18. “we send out calls for connection tinged with anger and frustration because we do not feel confident and safe in our relationships. We wind up demanding rather than requesting, which often leads to power struggles rather than embraces. Some of us try to minimize our natural longing to be emotionally close and focus instead on actions that give only limited expression to our need. The most common: focusing on sex. Disguised and distorted messages keep us from being exposed in all our naked longing, but they also make it harder for our lovers to respond.” ― Sue Johnson

19. “Psychiatrist Jonathan Shay in his book on the trauma of combat, Odysseus in America, reminds us that there are “two momentous human universals”: that we are all born helpless and dependent, and that we are all mortal and we know it. The only healthy way to deal with this vulnerability is to reach out and hold each other. Then, calmed and strengthened, we can walk out into the world” ― Sue Johnson

20. “Psychiatrist Jonathan Shay in his book on the trauma of combat, Odysseus in America, reminds us that there are “two momentous human universals”: that we are all born helpless and dependent, and that we are all mortal and we know it. The only healthy way to deal with this vulnerability is to reach out and hold each other. Then, calmed and strengthened, we can walk out into the world” ― Sue Johnson

21. “This healthy dependence is the essence of romantic love. The bodies of lovers are linked in a “neural duet.” One person sends out signals that alter the hormone levels, cardiovascular function, body rhythms, and even immune system of the other. In loving connection, the cuddle hormone oxytocin floods lovers’ bodies, bringing a calm joy and the sense that everything is right with the world. Our bodies are set up for this kind of connection.” ― Sue Johnson

22. “Certain incidents do more than just touch our raw spots or “hurt our feelings.” They injure us so deeply that they overturn our world. They are relationship traumas. In the dictionary a trauma is defined as a wound that plunges us into fear and helplessness, that challenges all our assumptions of predictability and control. Traumatic wounds are especially severe, observes Judith Herman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, when they involve a “violation of human connection.” Indeed, there is no greater trauma than to be wounded by the very people we count on to support and protect us.”
― Sue Johnson

23. “The more I _________, the more you _________ and then the more I _________, and round and round we go.” ― Sue Johnson

24. “Emotion comes from a Latin word emovere, to move. We talk of being “moved” by our emotions, and we are “moved” when those we love show their deeper feelings to us. If partners were to reconnect, they indeed had to let their emotions move them into new ways of responding to each other. My clients had to learn to take risks, to show the softer sides of themselves, the sides they learned to hide in the Demon Dialogues.” ― Sue Johnson

25. “Despite rejection by the establishment, Bowlby pioneered on, giving form to a theory of what he called attachment. (The story goes that when asked by his wife why he didn’t give it its rightful name, a theory of love, he replied, “What? I’d be laughed out of science.”)” ― Sue Johnson

26. “Let’s take a look at one couple. Carol and Jim have a long-running quarrel over his being late to engagements. In a session in my office, Carol carps at Jim over his latest transgression: he didn’t show up on time for their scheduled movie night. “How come you are always late?” she challenges. “Doesn’t it matter to you that we have a date, that I am waiting, that you always let me down?” Jim reacts coolly: “I got held up. But if you are going to start off nagging again, maybe we should just go home and forget the date.”

Carol retaliates by listing all the other times Jim has been late. Jim starts to dispute her “list,” then breaks off and retreats into stony silence. In this never-ending dispute, Jim and Carol are caught up in the content of their fights. When was the last time Jim was late? Was it only last week or was it months ago? They careen down the two dead ends of “what really happened”—whose story is more “accurate” and who is most “at fault.” They are convinced that the problem has to be either his irresponsibility or her nagging. In truth, though, it doesn’t matter what they’re fighting about.

In another session in my office, Carol and Jim begin to bicker about Jim’s reluctance to talk about their relationship. “Talking about this stuff just gets us into fights,” Jim declares. “What’s the point of that? We go round and round. It just gets frustrating. And anyway, it’s all about my ‘flaws’ in the end. I feel closer when we make love.” Carol shakes her head. “I don’t want sex when we are not even talking!” What’s happened here? Carol and Jim’s attack-withdraw way of dealing with the “lateness” issue has spilled over into two more issues: “we don’t talk” and “we don’t have sex.”

They’re caught in a terrible loop, their responses generating more negative responses and emotions in each other. The more Carol blames Jim, the more he withdraws. And the more he withdraws, the more frantic and cutting become her attacks. Eventually, the what of any fight won’t matter at all. When couples reach this point, their entire relationship becomes marked by resentment, caution, and distance.

They will see every difference, every disagreement, through a negative filter. They will listen to idle words and hear a threat. They will see an ambiguous action and assume the worst. They will be consumed by catastrophic fears and doubts, be constantly on guard and defensive. Even if they want to come close, they can’t. Jim’s experience is defined perfectly by the title of a Notorious Cherry Bombs song, “It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long.” ― Sue Johnson,

27. “Trauma is any terrifying event that instantly changes the world as we know it, leaving us helpless and emotionally overwhelmed.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

28. “The demand-withdraw pattern is not just a bad habit, it reflects a deeper underlying reality: such couples are starving emotionally. They are losing the source of their emotional sustenance. They feel deprived. And they are desperate to regain that nurturance.” ― Sue Johnson

29. “Religion has used ritual forever. I remember a famous study led by psychologist Alfred Tomatis of a group of clinically depressed monks. After much examination, researchers concluded that the group’s depression stemmed from their abandoning a twice-daily ritual of gathering to sing Gregorian chants. They had lost the sense of community and the comfort of singing together in harmony. Creating beautiful music together was a formal recognition of their connection and a shared moment of joy.”
― Sue Johnson

30. “Love is the best survival mechanism there is,” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

31. “The quality of our love relationships is also a big factor in how mentally and emotionally healthy we are. We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression in our most affluent societies. Conflict with and hostile criticism from loved ones increase our self-doubts and create a sense of helplessness, classic triggers for depression. We need validation from our loved ones. Researchers say that marital distress raises the risk for depression tenfold!” ― Sue Johnson

32. “If we love our partners, why do we not just hear each other’s calls for attention and connection and respond with caring? Because much of the time we are not tuned in to our partners. We are distracted or caught up in our own agendas. We do not know how to speak the language of attachment, we do not give clear messages about what we need or how much we care. Often we speak tentatively because we feel ambivalent about our own needs. Or” ― Sue Johnson

33. “When we feel safely linked to our partners, we more easily roll with the hurts they inevitably inflict, and we are less likely to be aggressively hostile when we get mad at them.” ― Sue Johnson

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34. “Sociologist James House of the University of Michigan declares that emotional isolation is a more dangerous health risk than smoking or high blood pressure, and we now warn everyone about these two! Perhaps these findings reflect the time-honored saying “Suffering is a given; suffering alone is intolerable.” ― Sue Johnson

35. “The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.

Adult attachments may be more reciprocal and less centered on physical contact, but the nature of the emotional bond is the same. EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond between partners by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship: being open, attuned, and responsive to each other.”
― Sue Johnson

36. “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so? I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself Beloved on the Earth.” —Raymond Carver”
― Sue Johnson

37. “They calm themselves quickly and effectively, reconnect easily with their mothers on their return, and rapidly resume playing while checking to make sure that their moms are still around. They seem confident that their mothers will be there if needed. Less resilient youngsters, however, are anxious and aggressive or detached and distant on their mothers’ return. The kids who can calm themselves usually have warmer, more responsive mothers, while the moms of the angry kids are unpredictable in their behavior and the moms of detached kids are colder and dismissive. In these simple studies of disconnection and reconnection, Bowlby saw love in action and began to code its patterns.” ― Sue Johnson

38. “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.” ― Sue Johnson

39. “Emotional Responsiveness— The Key to a Lifetime of Love A person’s “heart withers if it does not answer another heart.” —Pearl S. Buck Tim” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

40. “What happens when trauma survivors stay emotionally shut down? Trauma’s echoes cannot dissipate. The continuing reverberations gradually erode connection and trust with loved ones. Partners need to recognize that avoiding emotion sets their relationship up for descent” ― Sue Johnson

41. “She devised a very simple experiment to look at the four behaviors that Bowlby and she believed were basic to attachment: that we monitor and maintain emotional and physical closeness with our beloved; that we reach out for this person when we are unsure, upset, or feeling down; that we miss this person when we are apart; and that we count on this person to be there for us when we go out into the world and explore.”
― Sue Johnson

42. “When they felt secure with their lover, they could reach out and connect easily; when they felt insecure, they either became anxious, angry, and controlling, or they avoided contact altogether and stayed distant.” ― Sue Johnson,

43. “In a group of studies Mikulincer showed that when we feel safely connected to others we understand ourselves better and like ourselves more.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

44. “The more we can reach out to our partners, the more separate and independent we can be.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

45. “What couples and therapists too often do not see is that most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection. Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers, calls to stir their hearts, to draw their mates back in emotionally and reestablish a sense of safe connection.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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46. “But we are now starting to realize that traumatic stress is almost as common as depression. More than 12 percent of U.S. women in a recent large survey reported having significant post-traumatic stress at some point in their lives.” ― Sue Johnson

47. “If you have a responsive love partner, you have a secure base in the chaos. If you are emotionally alone, you are in free fall. Having someone you can rely on for connection and support makes healing from trauma easier.” ― Sue Johnson

48. “Love is simply short-lived, disguised sexual infatuation, Freud’s basic instinct dressed up.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

49. “When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support” ― Sue Johnson

50. “Love, it seemed, was all about nonnegotiables.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

51. “The more we can reach out to our partners, the more separate and independent we can be. Although this flies in the face of our culture’s creed of self-sufficiency, psychologist Brooke Feeney of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found exactly that in observations of 280 couples. Those who felt that their needs were accepted by their partners were more confident about solving problems on their own and were more likely to successfully achieve their own goals.” ― Sue Johnson

52. “But it’s not just whether or not we have close relationships in our lives—the quality of these relationships matters, too. Negative relationships undermine our health.”
― Sue Johnson

53. “Spouses depending on each other too much was what wrecked marriages!” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

54. “Simply holding the hand of a loving partner can affect us profoundly, literally calming jittery neurons in the brain.” ― Sue Johnson

55. “Love is not the icing on the cake of life. It is a basic primary need, like oxygen or water. Once we understand and accept this, we can more easily get to the heart of relationship problems.” ― Sue Johnson

56. “One reason is that we are increasingly living in social isolation.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

57. “For better or worse, in the twenty-first century, a love relationship has become the central emotional relationship in most people’s lives. One reason is that we are increasingly living in social isolation.” ― Sue Johnson

58. “When that person is emotionally unavailable or unresponsive, we face being out in the cold, alone and helpless. We are assailed by emotions — anger, sadness, hurt, and above all, fear. This is not so surprising when we remember that fear is our built-in alarm system; it turns on when our survival is threatened. Losing connection with our loved one jeopardizes our sense of security. The alarm goes off in the brain’s amygdala, or Fear Central,” ― Sue Johnson

59. “Couples spend an average of twelve minutes a day talking together.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

 

60. “They’re emotional bonds. They’re about the innate need for safe emotional connection. Just like [British psychiatrist] John Bowlby talks about in his attachment theory concerning mothers and kids. The same thing is going on with adults.”
― Sue Johnson

61. “We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy — to survive.” ― Sue Johnson

62. “Emotional connection is crucial to healing. In fact, trauma experts overwhelmingly agree that the best predictor of the impact of any trauma is not the severity of the event, but whether we can seek and take comfort from others.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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63. “Conventional wisdom held that coddling by mothers and other family members created clingy, overdependent youngsters who grew up into incompetent adults. Keeping an antiseptic rational distance was the proper way to rear children.” ― Sue Johnson

64. “From your viewpoint, is your partner accessible to you? I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F My partner shows me that I come first with him/her. T F I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. He/she will listen. T F”
― Sue Johnson

65. “As we discussed earlier, our attachment alarm system gets switched on by a sense of deprivation: we cannot gain emotional access to our loved one and so are deprived of needed attention, care, and soothing—the soothing that Harry Harlow called “contact comfort.” The second switch is a sense of desertion. This sense may emerge from feeling emotionally abandoned (“There is no answer when I call, no response. I am in need and alone”) or rejected (“I feel unwanted or criticized. I am not valued. I never come first”). Our brain responds to deprivation and desertion with intimations of helplessness.”
― Sue Johnson

66. “My partner responds to signals that I need him/her to come close. T F I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. T F Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. T F If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other?

I feel very comfortable being close to, trusting my partner. T F I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. T F I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner.” ― Sue Johnson

67. “The fact that his shut-down strategy works just fine in many situations. But in love relationships, it simply alarms his partner and writes the next part of the story with a negative slant.” ― Sue Johnson

68. “Yet another study found that women who had had a heart attack stood a threefold higher risk of having another if there was discord in their marriage.” ― Sue Johnson

69. “Generally in love, sharing even negative emotions, provided they don’t get out of hand, is more useful than emotional absence. Lack of response just fires up the primal panic of the other partner. As James tells Vincent, “I get so I just want to strike out at you to prove that you can’t just turn me off.” ― Sue Johnson

70. “We need validation from our loved ones. Researchers say that marital distress raises the risk for depression tenfold!” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

71. “Her brain imaging studies show that rejection and exclusion trigger the same circuits in the same part of the brain, the anterior cingulate, as physical pain.” ― Sue Johnson

72. “Losing connection with our loved one jeopardizes our sense of security. The alarm goes off in the brain’s amygdala, or Fear Central, as neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux of the Center for Neural Science at New York University has dubbed it. This almond-shaped area in the midbrain triggers an automatic response. We don’t think; we feel, we act.”
― Sue Johnson

 

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73. “The longer partners feel disconnected, the more negative their interactions become.”
― Sue Johnson

74. “Strife is better than loneliness.” — Irish proverb” ― Sue Johnson

75. “Until we address the fundamental need for connection and the fear of losing it, the standard techniques, such as learning problem-solving or communication skills, examining childhood hurts, or taking time-outs, are misguided and ineffectual.”
― Sue Johnson

76. “Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me?”
― Sue Johnson

77. “For all of us, the person we love most in the world, the one who can send us soaring joyfully into space, is also the person who can send us crashing back to earth.”
― Sue Johnson

78. “when you feel pain from your raw spot, are there ghosts standing behind your lover?” ― Sue Johnson

79. “When a relationship is in free fall, men typically talk of feeling rejected, inadequate, and a failure; women of feeling abandoned and unconnected. Women do appear to have one additional response that emerges when they are distressed. Researchers call it “tend and befriend.” Perhaps because they have more oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, in their blood, women reach out more to others when they feel a lack of connection.” ― Sue Johnson

80. “It helps to remember that in love, mistakes are inevitable. We all sometimes miss our loved ones’ calls for closeness. We all find ourselves distracted. We all get stuck in our own fear or anger and fail to catch loved ones as they fall. There is no perfect soul mate, no flawless lover. We are all stumbling around, treading on each other’s toes as we are learning to love.” ― Sue Johnson

81. “The demise of marriages begins with a growing absence of responsive intimate interactions. The conflict comes later.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

82. “Even though we are programmed by millions of years of evolution to relentlessly seek out belonging and intimate connection, we persist in defining healthy people as those who do not need others.” ― Sue Johnson

83. “Out of pain can come strength and a deeper sense of connection —if we can learn to use the power of love. “Someday, after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energy of love, and for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire,” wrote the French Christian mystic and writer Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. This “fire” is not the one that burns and terrifies, but the one that gives light and warmth. It is love that can change not just our relationships, but our world.”
― Sue Johnson

 

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84. “out? I’ll swing like always and you duck if you can. Both feel bad then. Do we need to do it? Or can we just start over?” Uncle Sid nodded solemnly, softly muttered, “No doozy, no ducking,” and then, “Lovely pudding, Doris.” ― Sue Johnson

85. “Injuries may be forgiven, but they never disappear. Instead, in the best outcome, they become integrated into couples’ attachment stories as demonstrations of renewal and connection.” ― Sue Johnson

86. “This emotional responsiveness has three main components: • Accessibility: Can I reach you? This means staying open to your partner even when you have doubts and feel insecure. It often means being willing to struggle to make sense of your emotions so these emotions are not so overwhelming. You can then step back from disconnection and can tune in to your lover’s attachment cues. •

Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally? This means tuning in to your partner and showing that his or her emotions, especially attachment needs and fears, have an impact on you. It means accepting and placing a priority on the emotional signals your partner conveys and sending clear signals of comfort and caring when your partner needs them.

Sensitive responsiveness always touches us emotionally and calms us on a physical level. • Engagement: Do I know you will value me and stay close? The dictionary defines engaged as being absorbed, attracted, pulled, captivated, pledged, involved. Emotional engagement here means the very special kind of attention that” ― Sue Johnson

87. “The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.” ― Sue Johnson

88. “The overall conclusion: a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is key in positive loving relationships and a huge source of strength for the individuals in those relationships. Among the more significant findings:” ― Sue Johnson

89. “It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

90. “When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support—and better at giving it.” ― Sue Johnson

91. “We can see what love encompasses in studies of the fluffy little titi monkey conducted by Bill Mason and Sally Mendoza of the University of California. Females nurse their babies but don’t offer any other maternal responses. They do not groom or touch their infants.

The true nurturer is the male, who assumes 80 percent of the infant care. It’s the male who holds and carries the baby, who is emotionally engaged and is the safe haven. Baby titis don’t seem to mind at all when the mother is removed from the family for a while, but when the father is taken away, the infants’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol soar.”
― Sue Johnson

92. “It is not for people who are in abusive or violent relationships, nor for those with serious addictions or in long-term affairs; such activities undermine the ability to positively engage with partners.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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93. “The Protest Polka is danced not just by lovers, but by parents and children and brothers and sisters, indeed by anyone with close emotional ties to another. Sometimes it is easier for us to see ourselves performing it with our siblings or our kids than with our spouse. Is it that the vulnerability is less obvious?

I ask myself why my adolescent son, sighing and dismissing my comments about his being late, sends me over the edge into critical blaming, even when we have a loving bond between us. The answer is easy. Suddenly I hear a message that vibrates with attachment meanings. He rolls his eyes at me. His tone is contemptuous. I hear that my concerns or comments do not matter to him. I am irrelevant.

So I turn up the music and I criticize him. He retreats and dismisses me again. We are off. The polka music plays on. But suddenly I recognize the music. So I step to the side and invite him to look at the dance. “Wait a minute. What is happening here? We are getting caught up in a silly fight and we are both getting hurt.” This is the first step in stopping the polka: recognize the music.”
― Sue Johnson

94. “Those who felt that their needs were accepted by their partners were more confident about solving problems on their own and were more likely to successfully achieve their own goals.” ― Sue Johnson

95. “As a final exercise for this chapter, can you identify which of the three patterns—Find the Bad Guy, the Protest Polka, Freeze and Flee—most threatens your current love relationship? Remember that the facts of a fight (whether it’s a fight about the kids’ schedule, your sex life, your careers) aren’t the real issue. The real concern is always the strength and security of the emotional bond you have with your partner. It is about accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional engagement. See if you can summarize the pattern that takes over your relationship by filling in the blanks in the following statements. Then edit them into a paragraph that best fits you and your relationship. Share it with your partner.” ― Sue Johnson

96. “Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers, calls to stir their hearts, to draw their mates back in emotionally and reestablish a sense of safe connection.”
― Sue Johnson

97. “Attachment theory teaches us that our loved one is our shelter in life. When that person is emotionally unavailable or unresponsive, we face being out in the cold, alone and helpless. We are assailed by emotions—anger, sadness, hurt, and above all, fear. This is not so surprising when we remember that fear is our built-in alarm system; it turns on when our survival is threatened.”
― Sue Johnson

98. “We all experience some fear when we have disagreements or arguments with our partners. But for those of us with secure bonds, it is a momentary blip. The fear is quickly and easily tamped down as we realize that there is no real threat or that our partner will reassure us if we ask. For those of us with weaker or fraying bonds, however, the fear can be overwhelming.

We are swamped by what neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University calls “primal panic.” Then we generally do one of two things: we either become demanding and clinging in an effort to draw comfort and reassurance from our partner, or we withdraw and detach in an attempt to soothe and protect ourselves. No matter the exact words, what we’re really saying in these reactions is: “Notice me. Be with me. I need you.” Or, “I won’t let you hurt me. I will chill out, try to stay in control.”
― Sue Johnson

 

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99. “These strategies for dealing with the fear of losing connection are unconscious, and they work, at least in the beginning. But as distressed partners resort to them more and more, they set up vicious spirals of insecurity that only push them further and further apart. More and more interactions occur in which neither partner feels safe, both become defensive, and each is left assuming the very worst about each other and their relationship.”
― Sue Johnson

100. “If we love our partners, why do we not just hear each other’s calls for attention and connection and respond with caring? Because much of the time we are not tuned in to our partners. We are distracted or caught up in our own agendas. We do not know how to speak the language of attachment, we do not give clear messages about what we need or how much we care. Often we speak tentatively because we feel ambivalent about our own needs. Or we send out calls for connection tinged with anger and frustration because we do not feel confident and safe in our relationships.

We wind up demanding rather than requesting, which often leads to power struggles rather than embraces. Some of us try to minimize our natural longing to be emotionally close and focus instead on actions that give only limited expression to our need. The most common: focusing on sex. Disguised and distorted messages keep us from being exposed in all our naked longing, but they also make it harder for our lovers to respond.” ― Sue Johnson

101. “The longer partners feel disconnected, the more negative their interactions become” ― Sue Johnson

102. “Loving families are the basis of a humane society. As the poet Roberto Sosa writes, “Blessed are the lovers, for theirs is the grain of sand that sustains the center of the seas.” The widening circle of engagement with and responsiveness to others does not stop with our immediate loved ones or even with the future families they create. It continues to spread out, to help create more caring communities and, ultimately, a more caring world.” ― Sue Johnson

103. “By far the most dominant of the trio is the Protest Polka. In this dialogue, one partner becomes critical and aggressive and the other defensive and distant. Psychologist John Gottman of the University of Washington in Seattle finds that couples who get stuck in this pattern in the first few years of marriage have more than an 80 percent chance of divorcing within four or five years.” ― Sue Johnson

104. “Feeling connected, feeling with someone goes hand in hand with feeling for that person.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

105. “As the poet E. E. Cummings observed, “Always a more beautiful answer that asks a more beautiful question.” ― Sue Johnson

106. “Partners sometimes can see glimpses of the Demon Dialogue they’re trapped in—Jim tells me he “knows” he will hear how he has disappointed Carol before she even speaks and so has put up a “wall” to keep from “catching fire”—but the pattern has become so automatic and so compelling that they cannot stop it. Most couples, however, aren’t aware of the pattern that has taken hold of their relationship.” ― Sue Johnson

107. “When a relationship is in free fall, men typically talk of feeling rejected, inadequate, and a failure; women of feeling abandoned and unconnected.” ― Sue Johnson

108. “When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness,” ― Sue Johnson

109. “A person’s “heart withers if it does not answer another heart.” —Pearl S. Buck”
― Sue Johnson

110. “Openness to new experience and flexibility of belief seems to be easier when we feel safe and connected to others. Curiosity comes out of a sense of safety; rigidity out of being vigilant to threats.” ― Sue Johnson

111. “I feel so hopeless when I can’t get through to you. I have never felt so lonely, not even when I lived alone.” Sarah’s message is urgent but Tim doesn’t get it. He finds her “too emotional.” But that is the point. We are never more emotional than when our primary love relationship is threatened. Sarah desperately needs to reconnect with Tim. Tim is desperately afraid that he has lost that intimacy with Sarah—connection is vital to him as well.” ― Sue Johnson

112. “I never saw the whole picture. I just knew he wasn’t close to me. I saw him as not caring. Now I see how he was ducking my bullets and trying to calm me down. I shoot when I get desperate and can’t get a reaction any other way.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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113. “These negative patterns always started when one partner tried to reach for the other and could not make safe emotional contact.” ― Sue Johnson

114. “Loving connection is the only safety nature ever offers us.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

115. “Isolation and the potential loss of loving connection is coded by the human brain into a primal panic response. This need for safe emotional 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 basic 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 have to 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.” ― Sue Johnson

116. “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.”
― Sue Johnson

117. “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.” ― Sue Johnson

118. “Remember that the facts of a fight (whether it’s a fight about the kids’ schedule, your sex life, your careers) aren’t the real issue. The real concern is always the strength and security of the emotional bond you have with your partner. It is about accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional engagement.” ― Sue Johnson

119. “A.R.E. The basis of EFT is seven conversations that are aimed at encouraging a special kind of emotional responsiveness that is the key to lasting love for couples. This emotional responsiveness has three main components: Accessibility: Can I reach you? This means staying open to your partner even when you have doubts and feel insecure. It often means being willing to struggle to make sense of your emotions so these emotions are not so overwhelming.

You can then step back from disconnection and can tune in to your lover’s attachment cues. Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally? This means tuning in to your partner and showing that his or her emotions, especially attachment needs and fears, have an impact on you. It means accepting and placing a priority on the emotional signals your partner conveys and sending clear signals of comfort and caring when your partner needs them. Sensitive responsiveness always touches us emotionally and calms us on a physical level.

Engagement: Do I know you will value me and stay close? The dictionary defines engaged as being absorbed, attracted, pulled, captivated, pledged, involved. Emotional engagement here means the very special kind of attention that we give only to a loved one. We gaze at them longer, touch them more. Partners often talk of this as being emotionally present.” ― Sue Johnson

120. “When partners tell me that they cannot be considerate of and watch out for each other with everyday acts of caring, I worry. When they tell me that they are not making love, I am concerned. But when they tell me that they do not touch, I know they are really in trouble.” ― Sue Johnson

121. “Have to do this. Let’s stop. Come over and just let’s have a hug.’ And she did. It felt great.” I asked” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

122. “Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. Adult attachments may be more reciprocal and less centered on physical contact, but the nature of the emotional bond is the same.” ― Sue Johnson

123. “Change starts with seeing the pattern, with focusing on the game rather than the ball.” ― Sue Johnson

124. “Which strategy we adopt when we feel disconnected—becoming demanding and critical or withdrawing and shutting down—partly reflects our natural temperament, but mostly it is dictated by the lessons we learn in the key attachment relationships of our past and present.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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125. “We live in the shelter of each other.” —Celtic saying” ― Sue Johnson

126. “Once we get caught in a negative pattern, we expect it, watch for it, and react even faster when we think we see it coming.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

127. “As the Irish poet John O’Donohue puts it, “There is a huge and leaden loneliness settling like a frozen winter on so many humans.” ― Sue Johnson

128. “The secret to stopping the dance is to recognize that no one has to be the bad guy. The accuse/accuse pattern itself is the villain here, and the partners are the victims.”
― Sue Johnson

129. “PAM: I am just not going to sit here and listen to you tell me how impossible I am anymore. According to you, everything that ever goes wrong between us is my fault! JIM: I never said that at all. You just exaggerate everything. You are so negative. Like the other day when my friend came over and everything was going fine, but then you turned and said … Jim is off and sliding down what I call the Content Tube.

This is where partners bring up detailed example after detailed example of each other’s failures to prove their point. The couple fight over whether these details are “true” and whose bad behavior “started this.” To help them recognize their Demon Dialogue, I suggest that they: Stay in the present and focus on what is happening between them right now. Look at the circle of criticism that spins both of them around. There is no true “start” to a circle. Consider the circle, the dance, as their enemy and the consequences of not breaking the circle.” ― Sue Johnson

130. “Well, first you have to see the circular pattern of responses and really understand that proving the other wrong just pushes you further and further apart. The temptation to be the “winner” and to make the other admit she is at fault is just part of the trap.”
― Sue Johnson

131. “Bowlby talked about “effective dependency” and how being able, from “the cradle to the grave,” to turn to others for emotional support is a sign and source of strength.”
― Sue Johnson

132. “Both men and women are inculcated with social beliefs that help ensnare them in the polka. Most destructive is the belief that a healthy, mature adult is not supposed to need emotional connection and so is not entitled to this kind of caring.” ― Sue Johnson

133. “When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support —and better at giving it.” ― Sue Johnson

134. “The key moments of change in 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.” ― Sue Johnson

135. “We have to learn to recognize calls for connection and how desperation turns into “I push, I poke, anything to get him to respond,” or “I just freeze, so as to stop hearing more and more about how flawed I am and how I have lost her already.” ― Sue Johnson

136. “When they felt secure with their lover, they could reach out and connect easily; when they felt insecure, they either became anxious, angry, and controlling, or they avoided contact altogether and stayed distant” ― Sue Johnson

137. “When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support — and better at giving it.” ― Sue Johnson

138. “Researchers say that marital distress raises the risk for depression tenfold!” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

139. “Hundreds of studies now show that positive loving connections with others protect us from stress and help us cope better with life’s challenges and traumas.” ― Sue Johnson

140. “The truth is, we will never create a really strong, secure connection if we do not allow our lovers to know us fully or if our lovers are unwilling to know us.” ― Sue Johnson

141. “The quality of the connection to loved ones and early emotional deprivation is key to the development of personality and to an individual’s habitual way of connecting with others.” ― Sue Johnson

142. “Behind the mask of indifference is bottomless misery and behind apparent callousness, despair.” ― Sue Johnson

hold me tight

143. “All I hear is that I have blown it again. Failed again. I just never can get it right.” He brings his hands up to cover his face. He sighs and continues, “So I guess I just try to put a lid on everything. To stop the fight and the examples of how I have blown it yet again. But do you think I don’t know that I am losing you?” He hangs his head. Sarah leans forward and puts her hand gently on his arm. It is not that he does not care for or need her; it is that he cannot deal with the fear of losing her.” ― Sue Johnson

144. “Romantic love was all about attachment and emotional bonding. It was all about our wired-in need to have someone to depend on, a loved one who can offer reliable emotional connection and comfort.” ― Sue Johnson

 

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145. “We now know that love is, in actuality, the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species. Not because it induces us to mate and reproduce. We do manage to mate without love! But because love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us safe haven from the storms of life. Love is our bulwark, designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence.

This drive to emotionally attach — to find someone to whom we can turn and say “Hold me tight” — is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy — to survive.”
― Sue Johnson

146. “And when we are close to, hold, or make love with our partners, we are flooded with the “cuddle hormones” oxytocin and vasopressin.” ― Sue Johnson

147. “She devised a very simple experiment to look at the four behaviors that Bowlby and she believed were basic to attachment: that we monitor and maintain emotional and physical closeness with our beloved; that we reach out for this person when we are unsure, upset, or feeling down; that we miss this person when we are apart; and that we count on this person to be there for us when we go out into the world and explore.
The experiment was called the Strange Situation and has generated literally thousands of scientific studies and revolutionized developmental psychology.” ― Sue Johnson

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