Quiet Enemies of Connection

Humans, as relational beings, have a need for connection at their core. The desire to be known, to be needed, and to be loved is inherent within us. I’m sure we could easily come up with a list of enemies of connection: lack of communication, apathy, hatred, and self-absorption. All of these apply. This blog will focus on three quiet enemies of connection that could be impacting your life and your relationships. If you feel impacted by the contents of this post, allow me to disclose to you that I feel personally attacked by everything I am about to share. 

1. Brene Brown states in her book, Atlas of the Heart, that while the far enemy of connection is disconnection, the near enemy of connection is… control. What is a near enemy? According to Buddhist psychology, a near enemy is an emotion or trait masquerading as a virtue. Control often masquerades within us and our relationships as a connection. How does that look? When we choose to assert control, we put ourselves in a place of assuming something about someone else: what they should wear, what they should do, or who they should be with. We decide that we know what is best for them or what they would really like, instead of choosing vulnerability and connection. When you find yourself trying to control a situation or another human, maybe try thinking about how you could connect instead.

2. Our second quiet enemy of connection is people-pleasing. When we people-please, we choose to assume what we think others need and hide our true selves and desires from them. In essence, it is another form of… control. As people-pleasers, we get to be in control of the situation by choosing to do what we assume others want or need, instead of choosing vulnerability and connection by communicating what we want and need and having conversations about compromise. 

3. The final quiet enemy of connection for today is perfectionism. You may be thinking, “wait a minute… she is going to say that perfectionism is another form of control.” You would be correct. At its core, perfectionism is controlling the image that others have of us. We want, maybe even expect, ourselves to be perfect, but that is simply impossible. Perfectionism as a form of control combats vulnerability and communication about our failures and how we can grow in relationships and within ourselves. 

It is impossible to connect without vulnerability and conversation. To connect, we must put the difficult effort into knowing others and allowing others to know us. Control in all of the forms above does not allow us to connect and therefore becomes an enemy of connection.

About Lifeologie

Lifeologie Counseling was founded in 2000 with one goal in mind — to bring a fresh, innovative approach to the everyday problems of life. Creative solutions to stuck problems®. With our unique multi-specialty, collaborative approach, Lifeologie Counseling helps individuals and families heal their wounds and break out of old, unhealthy patterns.