Image courtesy: Nandita Komaravolu

“I just don’t think anyone would ever understand me! I feel that the turmoil inside my head would lose its value if I’ll put it in words!”

“But it is affecting our relationship, Laura! Why don’t you communicate with me at least- what is going on in your head?”

“Just Relax and give me some time! Give me my space that’s all I am asking! Why do we have to share what is going on inside our heads? Stop being so clingy and back off!”

“There is a Jungle-Law inside the head of a Modern Man. There is this thick jungle full of wild, instinctual emotions and insightful beings. Then there is the law- of censorship, culture and conditioning”

It is quite ironic to observe that the specie which do not have a complex and personalized rules of language at their disposal are better at communicating their emotions than our collective specie of ‘wise men’. The modern man in the process of shifting his base from tribes to the cities and living in communities to nuclear families has lost his ability to share his most personal and intimate behavior of love, insecurities and reaffirmation from within and without.

The individual of the modern set up keeps on procrastinating the inner calls of self-reflection and goes on sublimating all the negative emotions into his sub conscious mind. These vaporized emotions hover over the individual like dark nimbus clouds. If you observe carefully you can hear a faint thunder of this black cloud in the multiple personas that an individual carries throughout his life. When one day the cloud bursts and the individual is seen drenching on the threshold of his identity; which would either prove as a mental break down or a spiritual awakening.

Understanding an individual and his relations with his inner self of expression is a worthwhile process. Let’s for our understanding take example of two individuals with their separate baggages and see how their emotional lives intersect each other.

A young couple who had been together for quite some time now. They had had enough time together to have surpassed the initial period of excited exploration of each other and also of all their ceremonial firsts. They were in a more stable phase where they had more chances of navigating beyond the personalities for which they had first fallen for. They were, from a third person’s view, quite happy go lucky couple. The circle in which they belonged considered them ideal and saw them as taking their relationship a step further to marriage anytime soon.

These young love birds would have frequent quarrels as Ralph was not satisfied with the amount of commitment which was shown by Laura and on various occasions accused Laura of not opening up to him and confining in him her true inner self. Whereas Laura would feel suffocated in this web of monotony and would often want to break this arrangement and go out and experiment. He would always go beyond his capacity to keep her happy and would rather want an idealistic relationship with fixed roles for a male and a female. He wanted an exclusive right over her. She would get paranoid over settling for one guy forever. He had an ‘insecure attachment style’ and she had an ‘avoidant attachment style’.

The success or failure of any relationship depends on the relation that an individual has with his caregiver in the early years of his development. Ralph was the second child in the family. As a kid he was not given any genuine attention in the family. He was considered as a fatuous dumb wit kid who is good for nothing and dependent on the mother or father for constant support. His opinions hardly mattered in any decisions and he would just keep floating in the house searching for his identity. His relationship with the mother was shaky and he would often find himself being dominated and crushed under her identity. He developed an insecure attachment style, whereby his inner self was filled with self-doubt regarding his worth.

In relationship he would always find himself as an inferior partner and would always keep the other on a pedestal and would often live in fear of other leaving him at any instance due to his incapacity. Even a small gesture from an opposite sex towards his partner would raise the red flag and he would either go into his zone and cut all communication or burst out in frustration of her being unfaithful and planning to leave him. Mostly it was the former. He would go into his zone and not come out for weeks at stretch, even after coming out- he would keep piling up of the hurt and insecurity for future outbursts. He would show his love and affection in excess than what the occasion would require for and would always remain surrendered as he thought that his partner was doing a favor by being with him as she would get anyone better than him. He seeked for her time and assurances in excess and abnormally attach himself to her emotionally and strifling any sense space that Laura would have as an individual.

While Laura had a different story to her upbringing. Her parents wanted their first child to be a male. When Laura was born they were a bit disappointed. She was then neglected by most of the family. There had been instances when her mother would not even touch her and push her away when she would come to her for affection in her very developmental stage. Her father would abuse her and call her names and insult her. She was the older amongst the two and turned out to be rebellious. But her wounds from early childhood traumas became cankers and she developed an avoidant attachment style. The people with this style are of the careless ones. They remain emotionally unavailable or unresponsive which is a direct result of the parent being ignorant or disinterested in the child’s need. They develop a pseudo independent behavior where they feel that they do not need anyone and can self-nurture themselves and self sooth their hurting self.

Laura would often feel too suffocated with the overly clingy behavior of Ralph and would often try and avoid any confrontation. She would want distant herself from too much intimacy or would grow phobic of too mushy behavior. The thing with the avoidant style is that although on exterior it might seem that the partner is disinterested or too aloof from all sorts of emotional bonds but deep down the individual has had a traumatic experiences while growing which has given birth to such a ruthless attachment style. So under the layers of detachment lies the rock of insecurity. It is just that the person is not willing to face the hurt as from past experiences she knows that it is not a rosy area to go to. She too had major insecurities regarding her physical and internal self; complexes, paranoias, anxieties and phobias which became part of her yet she rarely visited them and lived a life of detachment from her inner self.

Anxious-Avoidant attachment style as it is commonly called is the most prevalent and the most disastrous form of attachment. For one is constantly seeking affirmation, intimacy and reassurances and other is running away from the same. One is too full of insecurities and other too inadequate to fulfill the former’s demands. This creates a loop of interrogations, disappointments, heartbreaks and gives rise to patterns which the individual then carries for rest of his life. It was not that that Ralph and Laura did not love each other. In fact they are more serious with each other than they were in any of their previous relationships, but what they lacked was a clear understanding of how to better communicate what they felt for each other beyond the shackles of their attachment styles.

This spectacle goes on outside the knowledge of the individuals involved and they keep on clawing their personalities deeper into their attachment styles with each passing relationship. Even if one of the partners transforms into the secure attachment style, the relationship would see entrancing metamorphosis and the secure partner would act as a catalyst to transfigure the other. The secure partner acts as a lover and also as a remedy to the unfortunate circumstances of the partner. They pull the other out of the heritage of the harmful patterns and marks a new lineage of fulfilling life experiences.

Our ancestors did not dare tame the wild stock of their time. The night time remained roaring and crawling with all sorts of freaks and feral. Symbolically, modern man is trying a little too hard to domesticate the wilderness within him. He is forgetting that you do not milk a lion or ride on the back of a zebra. Some of his most primeval emotions deserve to roam in the jungle of his inner self; tempestuously unrestrained and without any formal conditioning!