This insight into human behaviour can transform every relationship we’ve ever had, and every one of our future relationships.
There are a number of ways to get there, but here’s how I would explain how blame, shame, criticism and judgement are cries for love, and that these are cries of insecurity and vulnerability, disguised as aggression.
Reactive behaviour ONLY occurs in RESPONSE to a perceived threat (trigger).
Two kinds of threat exist, PHYSICAL threats and EMOTIONAL threats.
When no imminent physical threat is evident, we can conclude that the perceived threat is an EMOTIONAL threat.
ALL emotional threats are related to our fear of not belonging, of being excluded, of not being WORTHY of acceptance and love, or something else related to INVOLUNTARY ISOLATION.
The imminent threat of INVOLUNTARY ISOLATION together with experiences of INVOLUNTARY ISOLATION are excruciatingly painful, and we’ll do ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’ to avoid that pain in the same way that we would do ‘whatever it takes’ (fight, flight, freeze) to prevent a hot poker from being plunged into our eye socket (a physical threat).
So, we can picture a person who, for some reason, finds themselves in a situation where their competence/love-worthiness/sense of belonging is being challenged, either by circumstances or by another person, and they’re faced with the imminent threat of social-isolation. Their nervous system reacts to this threat by triggering a fight, flight or freeze response. ‘Safety’ is restored when that threat is has been vanquished (fight) or when the person has ‘escaped’ (flight or freeze).
When we encounter blame, shame, criticism and judgement, these aggressive behaviours are FIGHT* responses that have been triggered by that person’s terror of not being worthy of social-inclusion due to something about ‘who they are’ or ‘how they be’.
When we’re able (because we’ve created enough inner-safety to make this possible) to see beyond their (maladaptive/distorted) ‘cry for help’, instead of needing to defend ourselves from attack, we can address their underlying need to be ‘reassured’ that they are indeed love-worthy with the same ease with which we are able to comfort a child who is having a tantrum.
* Blame, shame, criticism and judgement are attempts to DEFLECT feelings of unworthiness away from ourselves by projecting our self-loathing/insecurity onto others.
* Self-loathing arises when parts of our own psyche AGREE with what others believe about our lack of love-worthiness.