Today Fae Rowen wraps up her series on attachment models and the science of falling in love. If you missed Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, or Part 4 where she describes the early childhood adaptations and the "repairs" for each of the four attachments styles, you can link to any one by clicking on the part you missed.
by Fae Rowen
I just returned from repeating the workshop that inspired this series. By the end of the first day of classes four months ago, I knew I'd found a treasure trove of help to make my characters–and their backstories–real and believable.
I'm embarrassed to admit that this time, at the end of the first day, I leaned over to a friend who also repeated the class and whispered, "That's a new Powerpoint isn't it?" To my dismay, my friend shook her head. "They're all the same slides as before." No wonder I needed to take the class twice!
Just a brief re-cap, in case you're like me and need some reminders:
Scientific brain research has shown that we are biologically hard-wired to bond and belong, even though we have a separate biologically-driven instinct to survive. The brain is a social organ. Mirror neuron provide a system for humans to connect, allowing us to be in another's shoes.
Take, for instance, the "couple bubble." The hormones stimulated--opiate-like endorphins or cortisol for stress--are released whenever two people interact.
When you are in a secure relationship, you "co-regulate" with your partner. When my husband has told me, "Relax. It's not that bad," he's co-regulated with me by diffusing the ramping-up of my anger or anxiety. Your partner--or friends--co-regulate by helping you work through difficult situations either just by listening or by offering advice. You can even co-regulate with your pets. (You've heard how holding a pet can lower blood pressure, right?) When you are "regulated," feelings come and go like the weather. They don't get stuck.
We can learn to self-regulate, a by-product of the secure attachment style, but co-regulation with a partner creates more resiliency--physically, medically, and emotionally. Resiliency creates a buffer to stress and trauma later in life. No wonder studies show that married couples tend to live longer!
Try this little experiment. Look at something around you right now that you need "to do." Now close your eyes and feel that in your body. Open your eyes and look at a beloved pet or just gaze at an image--real or imagined--of someone you love. Did you feel your gaze soften? That's a physical manifestation of secure attachment.
Did you know that Darwin mentioned love ninety-five times in The Descent of Man? He said that what is important in humans is adaptability, the ability to cope with change
How does this research help you develop characters?
And your readers will fall in love with your characters while your hero and heroine fall in love--because they're hard-wired to recognize the develop of a secure attachment, even without knowing the science behind it. Here's a review of the character traits that show a secure attachment is developing:
Try a couple of "love bombs" in your dialogue: "I'm thinking about you" and, of course, "I love you."
I must thank Patti Elledge, the facilitator of the DARe 1 training, for presenting the material in an easy-to-understand format with "a drop of compassion." This mathematician had no glitches with psychological terms or language. You can visit Diane Poole Heller's website if you are interested in the training or if you'd just like to take the Attachment Styles Quiz.
I thought I could share this information in one post. But even five didn't allow me to work in everything I've learned, like the language of the "felt sense" and the five languages of love. Please bear with me if I am compelled to share more body language and character writing tips based on Attachment Theory in the future.
In November I'll be attending the next workshop–Adult Attachment Styles. I'm sure I'll learn even more about how to show the love bonds forming between my characters. Who knew that a workshop for professional therapists would provide such richness for a writer!
References you might be interested in:
Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin
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