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Yes, No, Maybe How to recognise and overcome fear of commitment Help for those affected and their partners von Stahl, Stefanie (eBook)

  • Verlag: Ellert & Richter
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Yes, No, Maybe

After the extraordinary success of the German bestseller called 'Jein', which deals with the subject of commitment phobia, the English speaking equivalent 'Yes, No, Maybe' is finally published as an eBook. Nearly all human beings want a lasting, happy relationship, but in many cases it just doesn't work out. Some people seem always to fall in love with the wrong kind of person. With others, the relationship breaks down just when it is becoming closer. And some live with a partner but still feel lonely and isolated. What is going wrong? 'In the final analysis, fear of commitment is at the bottom of many relationship problems,' says the expert on fear of commitment Stefanie Stahl. In vivid case histories, the German psychotherapist shows the many ways in which fear of commitment manifests itself. She explains the typical behavior patterns of those who fear commitment, introducing the 'hunters,' 'princesses,' and 'stonewallers.' The famous German psychologist illustrates why fear of commitment is genuine fear, explains possible causes and shows how to overcome it. Anyone who has read this book will know how to recognize people who fear commitment and how to deal with them. A helpful book for those affected and for their partners.

Stefanie Stahl is a German psychologist and was born in Hamburg, Germany, where she grew up. She studied psychology at the German University of Trier. Since 1993 she has had her own practice in Trier, where she works as a psychotherapist and gives seminars in the German speaking area. Stefanie Stahl is the German psychological expert on commitment phobia. She is a bestseller author of advice literature on subjects such as partnership, (re-)building self-esteem, and commitment phobia.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 100
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783831910182
    Verlag: Ellert & Richter
    Größe: 1526 kBytes
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Yes, No, Maybe

II. Causes of fear of commitment

In the vast majority of cases, the causes of fear of commitment go back to the sufferer's early childhood. From the start of our lives, attachment plays a vital role. We enter this world attached to an umbilical cord and are then detached. Attachment and detachment are recurring themes throughout our lifespan.

An infant is totally dependent on the care and affection of its closest attachment figures. If they do not care for the child, it dies. In most cases it is the mother who assumes the main responsibility in the first years of life. However, the father, grandmother or another attachment figure can also play this role. It does not matter who does the caring as long as somebody does it. Most children grow up with several attachment figures taking care of them, or at least with a father and a mother. I will refer to the mother because it is too linguistically clumsy to keep mentioning, for the sake of gender equality, that the father or another attachment figure can provide the same services to the child. This should be taken for granted in the following remarks.

The role of the mother

Whether or not we are capable of commitment in our later lives depends to a great degree on our relationship with our mother during the first years of life. It depends on whether our brain associates attachment in earliest childhood with feelings of "security, warmth and protection," or with "abandonment, loneliness and fear." Since the first two to three years of life fall victim to infant amnesia and we are unable to recall them, our experience during that period is normally not accessible to our conscious mind. Consequently the unconscious plays a very large role as a powerful instrument of control in commitment phobia. A small baby is wholly dependent on its mother. In the first months of life it does not even know that it and its mother are two separate beings. The infant is totally governed by its needs and feelings. Its emotional life consists of sensations of pleasure and displeasure. Feelings of displeasure can result from hunger, thirst, cold, heat and physical complaints. The infant cannot deal with too much displeasure by itself. The feeling of displeasure triggers severe stress and the child begins to cry. The mother's job is to stop the stress if possible, to calm the child, to feed it, warm it and comfort it. Along with the need to have its displeasure alleviated, the infant also has a congenital need for social contact and human affection, so the mother's job is not just to relieve the stress of displeasure but also to impart in the child the feeling of wellbeing that results from human affection and attention. In the first year of life the child learns increasingly to control its motor skills, to grasp more firmly, to turn from its back onto its stomach. It learns to crawl, and toward the end of its first year it takes its first steps. Increasingly, therefore, the child can control its desire for affection and food itself, by reaching for its mother or its bottle, crawling towards its mother, or turning away from or toward her. If all goes well, mother and child become attuned to one another. The mother understands her child's signals better and better and reacts to them. The child learns that it is understood and that it can influence the satisfaction of its needs. It learns from experience that it can actively provoke the reaction it wants from its mother. That includes not only its wish for affection, but also for independence. The better the child can move, the more it wants to explore its surroundings independently. Important as it is to satisfy the child's hunger for affection, it is equally important to let go and allow it to explore the world. A mother's ability to empathise with her child's needs is a fundamental prerequisite for enabling the child to establish a stable bond with the mother.

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