“We are all just Tall Babies!”
I say this to all the couples I work with and it makes sense to them when we look at the “stuff” we are all seeking in relationships.
Picture it: we were all born from some woman’s body way back in the day. We likely came into this world and it was bright, cold and overwhelming. What an introduction! Immediately someone started to soothe us and make us feel better by talking to us and holding us tight. We begin to start to building relationships with those around us: we have needs and those needs get met to varying degrees. HINT: T.A.B.S.
From that big day someone takes us home and continues to meet our needs to varying degrees. We are starting to formulate who our primary caregiver(s) is. We start building T.A.B.S with others (Trust, Assurance, Boundaries and Safety) with those caregiver(s) from varying degrees of their Accessibility, Reliability, Responsiveness, Engagement (answering A.R.R.E You There for Me?)
Fast forward… In adulthood we move from the caregivers we were born to, to CHOOSING a caregiver (spouses, partners, husband, wife, etc.). Within our adult relationships, we are still those tall babies seeking the same T.A.B.S. needs via A.R.R.E we just happen to be taller, have more responsibilities and so on but the needs are as imperative as when we were little bundles of joy.
So what does this have to do with your relationship… it is important that we honor our needs and the needs of those we are in relationships with as much as we would a child. Sure, it looks different, as adults our needs to rely on other less for food, water and shelter but T.A.B.S. needs remain very similar to those needs back in the day. T.A.B.S are the food, water and shelter of our emotion self.
It is essential you examine your our specific T.A.B.S needs – Trust, Assurance, Boundaries and (emotional) Safety
- Which of the four are the strengths in your relationship?
- Which of the four do you need to strengthen? (HINT: strengthening comes from A.R.R.E.)
- Based on your childhood experiences, which of the four T.A.B.S. needs could you benefit from receiving MORE of in adulthood?
- How do T.A.B.S. needs get met in your most important relationships (can be non-romantic, non-family).
Let’s look at HOW people show up for you?
- Accessibility – who is most accessible to you and how do you know that is true? What characteristics, actions or statements does this person demonstrates?
- Reliability – who is most reliable for you and how do you know that is true? What characteristics, actions or statements does this person demonstrates?
- Responsive – who is most responsive to you and how do you know that is true? What characteristics, actions or statements does this person demonstrates?
- Engaged – who is most engaged with you and how do you know that is true? What characteristics, actions or statements does this person demonstrates?