Steps towards change and a mature partnership


The brain is particularly sensitive during the development in the first years of life. In the very first year, behavioral patterns which stay forever inscribed in the subconscious are formed. Those internal working models made of emotions, unconscious beliefs, strategies, expectations and interpretations of information from the outer world, control our social and, most of all, emotional relationships.
– The closeness, the connection or, on the other hand, the distance that we have with our mothers during our first year present the basis for all of our future partnerships – says Tomislav Kuljis, an integrative therapist. He explains this through an example that shows that, if the mother was, for any reason, unavailable to the child, they would later encounter the same unavailability in partners. On the other hand, if there is a trusting relationship from the birth, the child will, later in life, form relationships in which they will feel comfortable, accepted and safe.

Who am I, who are you?

Depending on what our first experiences of connecting with our parents were like, we develop into a person who is predominantly confident, repelling, self-occupied or timid, and those also become our styles of connecting with other people in adulthood – and this is one of the topics that Tomislav Kuljis addressed in his lecture “How to form a quality love relationship”.
Partnerships, according to the therapist’s words, can be divided into those in which we have a secure connection with our partner and those in which we have an insecure connection.
Mostly secure connections mean that we accept our partner the way they are, that we don’t feel the need to change them. A person who connects in this way is self-sustainable, feels complete and doesn’t ask from a partner anything else than to be who they are. People capable of forming secure connections, according to Kuljiš, are those whose needs in childhood were met completely and whose mothers were always there for them. Those people later form relationships in which they feel good about themselves, respect their partners and are capable of giving and receiving love.
Repelling style of connecting means that the person is keeping their distance despite their desire for contact. That person feels that their safety is compromised if another person gets too close. This type of personality includes those who couldn’t connect with their mothers in childhood. In adulthood, repelling types are seemingly selfsufficient, although a need for contact and relationship still lies hidden deep down within them. Still, they often complain that the other person is suffocating them or being too demanding and, often than not, they form relationships with the preoccupied type who, according to their characteristics, are exactly the opposite.
People who need a lot of affection, love and presence of others have the self-occupied style of connecting. They need the other person’s presence, although not in the sense of quality but rather quantity of the time they spend together. The person feels threatened if their partner is not there all the time. This type feels emotionally cold and needs another person to keep them warm. These people strive to, through partnerships, complete the development process which wasn’t rounded when it should have been.

A step towards change

Timid style of connecting is another insecure type and these types of connections are formed by people who are terrified of letting go. They have irrational fear that something awful would happen if they were to make a step forward in a relationship and try to let go. People who are prone to the timid style of connecting have a tendency to, when they get rejected, fall into a state in which they lack the control over their emotions and are under great stress. There is great pain, suffering and loneliness hidden within those people. Some people succeed in dealing with all that by unconsciously ceasing to be in contact with their emotions, while others stay in contact with their emotions regardless of the amount of pain. Those people usually enter relationships in which they are constantly getting rejected and the situation only becomes worse for them with time.

-Once we establish which type we are and which one our partner is, we come to learn that no person is bad or guilty, but rather that we simply possess mechanisms that determine the way we function in romantic relationships. If we are ready to take on the change and form a mature partnership, it is important that we abandon our former behavior by getting to know ourselves – says Tomislav Kuljiš, who unambiguously talks also about partnerships being the most important thing to people.
-That is usually the thing that makes people whole, fulfilled, empty, happy or unhappy – Tomislav Kuljiš said in his lecture “How to form a quality love relationship” and added that the biological and physiological need for a quality relationship is deeply rooted in the physiology of every human being. – It is not a romantic show, but, in its core, a deeply physical one, closely connected to health, life expectancy and quality of life. We all feel the urge for a long-term relationship and achieving a physiological balance of our system through a partner relationship. If our partnership is good, we will feel very good, and, if we don’t have one, we will feel bad because the body is out of balance and cannot restore the balance.

When the subconscious chooses

Being in a quality partnership makes it establishing a good inner balance easier. Many wonder why they are not succeeding in their partnership, and Tomislav Kuljiš explains that nobody influences that directly.
-We are at the mercy of our own emotions – Kuljiš says. – Our subconscious chooses a partner and leads us through partnerships. Our rational part has nothing to do with it. The relationship that we had with our mother in the first year of our life influences the way we later handle this part of our life the most. You are not to be blamed for bad partnerships. No person is the bad or the guilty one here, it’s all due to the mechanisms, but it is still possible not to be a victim of that, because we can change a lot by working towards bettering ourselves. We don’t have to be and stay what is already inside us. – Kuljiš encourages us.

B. Gajić
Photo: Sanja Rajković

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