It’s Not Natural

By Paul Dunion | December 16, 2011

One of the most significant cultural myths is that developing an emotionally intimate relationship is a natural phenomenon. It is not natural, meaning we are not innately equipped to develop strong intimate connections with others.  Emotionally intimate relationships happen because we acquire a set of compententcies which guide the development of relationships possessing emotional depth. What is natural is to live from one or more of the 3 basic survival strategies: 1) Domination, 2)Adaption, 3) Distancing.  These strategies are meant to protect us from a loss of self and/or the loss of the other.  Domination is aimed at  the uniqueness of the other in the hope that we are not controlled or defined by their expectations and beliefs. The hope of the dominator is that he or she can  control the choices of the other, prohibiting both the loss of self and the loss of the other. Adaption is aimed at preventing the loss of the other by providing little or no opportunity for conflict. The Distancer’s aim is to fundamentally prevent the loss of self. We  employ all three, in some hierarchical order, having our favorite. None of these strategies possess the strength to support our individuality and our ability to build rapport with another.

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