By Chandrama Anderson
Couples and Premarital: Ping PongUploaded: Apr 10, 2020
Is this post about needing to win, or playing together?
Is this post about a technology 'ping' of reaching out to another system for a status update?
Is this post about getting bounced around and sometimes going outside the boundaries?
Your limbic, or emotional brain is both sophisticated and basic:
Ping: Am I safe? Is there a cause for concern? Is the person around me okay? What state is that person in?
Pong: Now what state am I in -- in response to his or her state? Now I'm reacting to his or her state.
Ping: What's going on? Now s/he's reacting to my state.
Pong, Ping Pong, Ping, Pong . . .
Wait!! Is this an upward spiral of connection through your ping pong system? Or is it a downward spiral? Are you even aware of this never-ending limbic dance? Or are you 'heads' having a logical (cortical) conversation/argument? Is one of you having a limbic conversation while the other is having a cortical one?
Are you exhausted yet?
Our well-developed safety/survival-oriented limbic brain is constantly pinging those around us and reacting through limbic resonance. This is actually a very sophisticated system.
It goes awry, however, when the ping pong system is bouncing you about emotionally. Conversely, when you know yourself, and stand on your own two feet emotionally, you can be aware of your partner's state, BE ATTUNED to him/her and still stay in your even-keeled state while you are caring for and about your partner.
Awareness of self, awareness of other. Not reacting. Responding.
Ping. Care. Ping. Love. Ping. Listen. Ping. Support. Ping (Please don't fix or give advice.) Ping. I'm calm. Ping. Oh, you're calming, too. Ping. I'm okay. Ping. I'm okay, too. Ping. Soothe. Ping. Breathe.
Maybe you're thinking, "Yeah, right!" or perhaps, you're calming as you read this. Our system is built to react, that's why we're still here. Yet you can learn to notice your reaction, and then choose a response. Limbic and cortical. It makes us stronger.