Dear Hopeful and Open-Hearted Subscriber,
I wanted to share this livestream video in which I address a pretty common theme I see popping up in my private Facebook group for Healing Attachment Wounds, and that is…
How do you deal with mixed signals in a relationship?
For example, are a few questions that might relate to what you’re going through…
“I was wondering if you could make a video about breadcrumbing. I’ve been the victim of this phenomenon for some time… She always sends me very minimal messages that shows signs of interest but doesn’t commit to anything real….”
“We aren’t technically in a relationship. Just everything like we are. He expects things like we are but he won’t admit just how much I do for him. It’s so confusing to me right now…. To know what the hell he actually wants, I don’t know..”
I find mixed signals–or at least perceived mixed signals– are usually the result of one of two reasons…This month I am going to breakdown these two reasons into five separate topics…
- A genuine breakdown in communication styles:
- 5 Ways Your Brain May Cause Mixed Signals in Relationships
- Mixed Signals & 3 Keys to Empathic Communication
- Attachment Ambivalence
- 7 Protest Behaviors: How the Anxious partner sends mixed signals
- Breadcrumbing Demystified: 5 Ways Avoidant partners Send Mixed Signals
- 3 Avoidant Defenses and How They Keep Love at Bay
So make sure you subscribe and/or stay tuned to the feed so you don’t miss a video in this series!
And if you don’t know me, my name is Briana MacWilliam and I am an author, educator, creative arts therapist and reiki practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the field. And I also happen to be fascinated with what makes us tic, when it comes to love and relationships, finding a psycho-spiritual approach to mindfulness and creative arts therapies, the most effective way to deal with attachment wounds.
Today, I am going to talk about “5 Ways Your Brain May Cause Mixed Signals in Relationships.”
So let’s dive more deeply into this…
Are you, impulsive or thoughtful? Rigid or flexible? Anxious or confident? Negative or hopeful? Short tempered or patient? Able to admit problems or are in denial? Coordinated or prone to bumping into walls? Attached or afraid? Faithful or a wanderer?
While some of these traits may be perceived as pluses or minuses of a person’s character, but it’s important to keep in mind that the inner workings of the brain can influence how we feel and function in relationships.
Neuroscientist and bestselling author Dr. Amen has found it useful to think about the brain in five different systems that relate to human behavior.The brain is very complex and there are, of course, more than five systems. However, these systems appear to be “the big bosses.”
In his book, THE BRAIN IN LOVE, Dr. Amen talks about there being 5 big bosses of the brain. Each boss has its own way of running the shop, and knowing more about the boss’s rules may help you communicate your needs more clearly. These 5 bosses include the pre-frontal ocortex, the limbic system, the basal ganglia, the cingulate system, and the temporal lobes.
For today, I am going to share how 2 of the 5 parts might impact your relationship, and your perceptions of attachment security.
The purpose of this is to help you more clearly identify individual vulnerabilities in relationships, in order improve our understanding of the underlying dynamics, and hopefully afford some clarity where you may feel like you are getting mixed signals.
To look specifically at the functions, problems, and treatments of ALL five “bosses,” I invite you to checkout my online course on Healing Attachment Wounds. What I am going to share with you today is just a taste of a portion of an entire lecture and assessment I offer on the subject, through the frame of attachment theory, in my course.
So, first, let’s talk about the prefrontal cortex.
In the dating and relationship world, it helps us to be patient, thoughtful, goal driven, and empathic towards our partner. When the Prefrontal Cortex is functioning well we are able to think before we say things, and we tend to say things that impact our goals in a positive way. We also are better able to learn from our mistakes. We are better able to focus and attend a conversation, follow through on our commitments and chores, and organize our actions and our spaces. We are also able to sit still, express how we feel, and avoid conflict and turmoil.
When the prefrontal cortex is under active people tend to be impulsive with what they say or do, such as saying hurtful things without forethought. They tend to live in the moment and have trouble delaying gratification, which may lead to infidelity. They also have trouble listening in relationships and get easily distracted, leaving their partner feeling unheard and unimportant.
There’s also difficulty in expressing thoughts and feelings; partners often complain of a lack of communication. They tend to be restless and fidgety as well as sensitive to noise and touch. They struggle with finishing projects, following through on their commitments and chores, and They are often late. They also have a tendency to look for problems where they do not exist, or to create them. They are stimulation seeking and engage in high-risk behaviors that may frighten or upset their partners, such as driving too fast, skydiving, or getting into the middle of a fight between strangers.
Partners of people who have an underactive prefrontal cortex say…
- He’s impulsive.
- She blurts out in interrupts me all the time.
- He doesn’t pay attention to me.
- She won’t let me finish a comment, she has to say Whatever comes into her head the second she has, it or she’ll forget it.
- He challenges everything I say.
- I feel like she’s someplace else during sex, she’s always so distracted.
- He teases the animals and it makes me furious.
- He always puts off things and never finishes it.
- She’s always rushing at the last minute.
Now, let’s take a look at the cingulate system.
I associate the phrase, “My way or the highway” with this brain boss. The cingulate system controls how to feel settled, relaxed and flexible. It’s basically the brains major switching station. Like the brains gear shifter, it “greases” human behavior and allows us to be flexible and adaptable, and to change as change is needed.
When is part of the brain works properly people are able to shift their attention easily. They are flexible and adaptable and relationships and are likely to see multiple options in a tough situation. They can forgive the mistakes of others and do not hold onto grudges. They encourage others to help but do not rigidly control situations. They have a positive outlook and see a hopeful future they can roll with the punches.
With the over activity, partners tend to hold onto grudges and be unforgiving of perceived wrong doings. They perseverate on the past and tend towards an “automatic no.” They are inflexible, rigid, and unbending. They want things done their way and they get upset when they are not satisfied. They struggle with change and tend to be argumentative and oppositional.
(Notably, when part of the brain is under active they might appear apathetic, indifferent, or uncaring.)
Partners of individuals with an overactive cingulate system…
- She holds onto grudges. Nothing ever gets forgiven or let go.
- Everything has to be the way he wants it.
- She is incapable of saying sorry.
- He never throws anything away.
- If things aren’t perfect she thinks they’re no good at all.
- He argues with everything I say.
- She is stuck in her routines and never wants to try anything new.
Again, the purpose of this is to help you more clearly identify individual vulnerabilities in relationships, in order improve our understanding of the underlying dynamics, and hopefully afford some clarity where you may feel like you are getting mixed signals.
In my next segment, I will talk about “Mixed Signals & 3 Keys to Empathic Communication.” So subscribe and stay tuned!
If you’d like to look specifically at the functions, problems, and treatments of ALL five “bosses,” I invite you to checkout my online course on Healing Attachment Wounds with Mindfulness and Creative Arts Therapies, we are currently running a special, with the option for a payment plan.
This course offers 7 creative, fun, easy lessons over the course of 7 weeks, and takes you from feeling lost and confused about your romantic relationships, to stepping into your fullest and most sovereign self, without having to talk in circles around your feelings for hours (or even years) on end, with no tangible result.
And it WORKS.
A quote from Kim, one of our newest program graduates…
“This program has done for me in 7 weeks what years of self-help books and cognitive therapy couldn’t do.”
ENROLL HERE: https://goo.gl/sNr3N1
Take it from Kim, this program, Healing Attachment Wounds, can help you accomplish this task in 7 easy, FUN lessons that will take you from reacting powerlessly to the circumstances surrounding your love life, to becoming a conscious creator of it, without having to talk in circles around your feelings for hours (or even YEARS) on end.
So make sure you check out the course before this limited time offer expires. You’ll be SO GLAD you did!
ENROLL HERE: https://goo.gl/sNr3N1
Hope to see you there!
Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner