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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Encyclopedia: Toxic Couple Relationships

© jennifermaingallery.com
"Becoming" by Jennifer Main
Toxic Couple Relationships by Dr. Athena Staik

"If only they knew how to calm their mind and body, to keep the frontal cortex of their brain engaged, and their heart courageous, to stop their body-mind from taking over, and executing desperate measures - thinking their survival is at stake."

 PART 1 - Five Protective Neural Patterns & Role Scripts

Love that turns toxic is neither healthy nor genuine, though the intentions of each partner are often well-meaning.

A couple relationship can be described as toxic when, due to intense emotional reactivity and defensive interaction patterns, it no longer promotes, and instead harms the individual mental, emotional, and physical, well-being and growth of each partner. The relationship is increasingly off balance, a factor that is affected by, and directly affects the individual inner sense of balance, health and safety of each partner.

In contrast, genuine love is an empathic connection that recognizes the authentic other and self as separate and unique beings, even encouraging the individuality of each as essential to the formation of healthy intimacy in a relationship.

Neurological findings in the last decades show that we are wired for certain early protective behaviors in life, and that these become habitual responses automatically activated throughout life, often without conscious awareness. Intense emotional experiences in childhood can alter the structure of the brain and have enduring effects in adulthood.

The part of the brain that is in control of habits, known as the subconscious mind, does not let go of old neural patterns easily, particularly ones woven into the fabric of the brain during childhood experiences associated with survival fears, i.e., rejection or abandonment. Their prevalence makes sense. Who among us has not experienced fears of rejection, inadequacy or abandonment, and the like, in childhood?

Perhaps nowhere is the toxicity of these pre-conditioned response-sets more intensely evident, however, than the couple relationship. The misguided attempts of each partner are driven, subconsciously, by early emotional command neural patterns, or early survival-love maps, that automatically activate to protect each partner from the other, in pattern very similar to one each adapted in early childhood.

Read complete essay..


Comment: I highly recommend this essay to all who experience relationships and it offers great insight covering a broad spectrum for those who dream of social harmony. Thanks doc.

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