love

What’s the Difference between Love and Attachment?

I’m out of town, taking care of some business as I write this, as I have been for the last week or so. My husband is at home, holding down the fort. But one of the members of our household, Beast, the cat, went missing last week for a couple of days.Beastie is 17, and has been with me since he was 3 or so (we don’t know exactly, as I got him at a shelter, where someone took him when his first humans moved away). When I met him, on vacation, I’d had no intention of coming home with a second cat. But when I picked him up, he melted into me, and that was it. He was my cat; I was his human.For some great Beastie stories, see this, this, and this. Suffice it to say that I love this cat with all my heart.

He is in somewhat ill health with the beginnings of kidney failure, which I manage with supplements I mix into his food each day, and by giving him subcutaneous hydration once or twice a week. (Yes, I give him injections of Ringer’s solution with a HUGE needle. It takes 2 humans to do it, and is no fun for any of the three of us.) This Kidney disease is eventually fatal, so he is on his way out, if somewhat slowly. It has caused the ‘always hungry’ kitty to lose a lot of weight.

So when he went missing, Kosta, my husband, and I both sent telepathic messages to Beast to COME HOME NOW! Usually, Beastie will show up at our back door within a couple of hours of one of these messages from Kosta, but this time — nothing.

I thought maybe he’d gone off to die in the woods behind our house. And I’m not home to even say goodbye. That was incredibly hard on me.

But that got me to thinking: what is the difference between love and attachment? Because if I only love him, then I want the best for him, and if that is going off in the woods to die (which is normal for a cat), then that should make me happy. But it didn’t. It just made me sad.

I realize that the love is a feeling of warmth in my heart. What was making me sad was the (presumed) loss of the joy of connecting with a physical Beast — petting his fur, hearing him purr and meow, watching him jump into someone’s lap, feeling my heart energy returned by him. That’s the attachment part. That’s about me, not him.

Think about this in your own life: How much of what you call love for someone or something is actually just your own attachment, your concern for yourself in relationship to that person or thing?

PS – Beastie did show up eventually — having gained weight! So he has conned some other family into feeding him. Which would be okay if he didn’t need his meds. So in the short term I’m relieved, while concerned about the longer term. What if it’s best for him to enjoy his food and leave the earth plane sooner rather than later?

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

The Brain on Love – NYTimes.com

The many biological benefits of a great, long term relationship — which are why it’s worth all the work, and why it’s worth kissing all those frogs before you find your prince (or princess):

The Brain on Love – NYTimes.com

The Brain on Love

Great summary of how our partners affect us:http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/the-brain-on-love/

Why aren’t there any good men/women out there?

If you haven’t asked yourself that question at least once in your life, surely you have a friend who hasasked it. The answer is surprisingly simple — and still requires a bit of an explanation.You have probably heard of the concept of attachment, the idea that we are biologically wired by evolution to become attached to certain people.  This conveyed survival advantages — prehistoric humans who went it alone, without mutual dependence on others, often didn’t survive long enough to reproduce. There is actually a system of emotions and behaviors, called the attachment system, which is designed to ensure we stay close to our loved ones, thereby staying safe and protected.Most early studies of the attachment system were done on infants. Children 12 – 18 months old were put into a new environment, which they began to explore on their own, but with their mothers present. Then the mothers left. The kids’ reactions were grouped into one of three categories:

  • Securely attached – When Mom leaves, the child becomes distraught. When Mom returns, the child wants to be held by Mom, but is quickly reassured, and then goes back to exploring the environment.
  • Anxiously attached – When Mom leaves, the child becomes extremely distraught. When Mom returns, the child is ambivalent, wanting to be held and angry simultaneously. The toddler takes longer to console, and even then, it’s temporary.
  • Avoidantly attached – When Mom leaves, the child acts as though nothing happened. When Mom returns, the child ignores Mom and continues to play. However, researchers have found that the babies heart rates and immune systems react just like the other children. That is, they are just as upset, even though they don’t show it.

Turns out adults fall into the same categories! Secure people (about half the population) are comfortable with intimacy and don’t obsess about their relationships.

Anxious people (about 20% of the population) are desperate for closeness and intimacy, but are very insecure about where the relationship is going. Right now, I have two anxious clients. They freak out when their ‘boyfriends’ (these women are both over 30, so I hesitate to use that word) don’t return a text message. They call me regularly to check in on their boyfriends — because even though these men say and do all the right things to tell these women that they are highly valued, the women don’t quite believe it.

Then there are the avoidants (about 25% of the population). They are uncomfortable when they get too close to someone, and find ways to back off. Check out this FaceBook comment from a ‘friend’ of a ‘friend’ (I don’t know him, and fwiw, he is most likely in his 50s). It speaks volumes, and says it much better than I ever could:

“… for the man, at least, there is no reason at all to get married these days. The whole marriage ceremony is set up for the woman to feel like a princess for one day. The man it set off to the side…

“Then you get a woman that is not ready for f@*king, but is ready for children. And who wants one of those f@*kers? Screaming, unruly shits… Then you get a life of not being able to f@*k any one else, without being able to f@*k your tired (for whatever reason) wife. 

“Then, when the whole thing goes south, as it inevitably does, you get a woman that’s out for revenge–that’s out for the very shit you spent your whole life accumulating. Just because she gave you some pussy for some years. It’s not worth it. The pain is not worth it. The loss is not worth it. Shit, I’d rather get rid of my stuff on my own via EBAY than cede it to some cunt that had nothing to do with it, just because she tricked me into believing she wanted my cock forever… My hand is my wife, forever, just like my pan is my wife in the kitchen, and my toilet is my wife in the bathroom.”

If you want to identify your own attachment style more clearly, try this test. It’s enlightening, and at the end, there’s a link to research into adult attachment.

To learn about your partner’s attachment style, or how to identify the attachment style of a potential partner, check out the book, Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love.

Now, why aren’t there any good men/women out there?The simple answer is that the avoidants are in fewer relationships, which don’t last as long as those of people who are secure or anxious. That is, they’re on the dating scene more often and longer than the people with whom who you’d actually want to be in a relationship. They are overrepresented in the dating pool.

The good news in all of this is that attachment style is “stable but plastic”, that is, it can change over time. In fact, the book’s authors say that about a quarter of people will change their style in 4 years. So, with some conscious choices in both your behavior and your partner, you can become securely attached, and at peace with your relationship.

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.

WHY Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

My friend, Zoe, is a single mom, divorced for over 5 years now, who works in corporate HR. But for most of that time, she hasn’t really been single, she’s had a ‘boyfriend’ (that term seems so inappropriate for people in their 40s). She finally realized last summer that this was not a particularly good relationship for her, and so she ended it.

When I had dinner with her about a month ago, she was telling me all about her new, um, crush. Jeff was a very unconventional sort, living in an intentional community, working as an occasional carpenter. He’d sold a software business a while ago, so it seemed as though he might not even need to work. He rode a motorcycle, which was an aphrodisiac for her. The relationship was still in the stage of ‘will we or won’t we?’, both of them having a great time together, but neither willing to say what exactly was going on.

When Zoe won tickets to a rock concert in a radio station contest, it was the perfect excuse to ask him out on a real date. She had the time of her life!

Last Wednesday, right before my radio show, Zoe texted me, “Jeff just pulled the plug — pray for me”.

The metaphor was very apt. I’m sure Zoe felt like she’d been unplugged from an energy source. Why? Because when we have a relationship with someone, we grow energetic cords between our energy bodies. If you’ve ever felt drained after being with someone, and didn’t know why, here’s a possible  explanation. If you’ve ever felt drained after breaking up with someone, this is an explanation. And there are things you can do to manage your own energy.

You can visualize yourself being protected, or fed energy by loving beings, or even imagine cutting those energetic cords.

There are other explanations, too. Evolution has wired our brains for bonding. According to Rutgers University professor Helen Fisher, being in love lights up the same areas of our brain, parts of the dopamine reward system, that are lit up by various chemical addictions. Remove the beloved and your brain acts like that of an addict deprived of its substance of choice, especially cocaine and nicotine.

As reported in Psychology Today, “UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, who discovered that social rejection activates the same brain area-the anterior cingulate-that generates an adverse reaction to physical pain. Breakups likely stimulate pain to notify us how important social ties are to human survival and to warn us not to sever them lightly.

“Although Eisenberger didn’t study romantic rejection, she expects that it actually feels much worse than the social rejection she did document. “If you’re getting pain-related activity from someone you don’t care about, it would presumably be a lot more painful from someone you share memories with,” she points out.

“The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners; they’re willing to do just about anything to make the hurt go away. Fisher believes that activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, explaining “why the beloved is so difficult to give up.”

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (www.888-4-hollis.com), who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.