Answer that many times we find it difficult to find, but the psychologist Manuel Hernández speaks in his book about Why do the people we love hurt us?
The different life stages we go through involve great changes in our brain and sometimes adapting to them is not easy. “ Why do the people I love hurt me? Neurobiology, attachment and emotions ”(Ed. Desclée de Brouwer) tries to explain in a simple way and through practical cases how the experiences lived in childhood and adolescence can shape our personality.
At some point we have all asked ourselves this and other questions that we cannot answer. On the occasion of the publication of his second book, EFEsalud has interviewed Manuel Hernández Pacheco, a psychologist and biologist from the University of Malaga (UMA), to clarify all these doubts.
In this book, Manuel Hernández, applies his extensive knowledge about attachment and neurobiology to explain some of the pathologies that we suffer in today’s society, such as anxiety, stress or depression. Understanding how our brain works is key to being able to understand ourselves, but also the people we love.
Why are the people we love the ones who hurt us?
Because it is the one that matters most to us, that is, for someone to hurt us emotionally we have to love them or they have to be important to us in some way. It is a mechanism of nature to regain that link or to regain a position in the relationship.
Why do we get hooked on certain people even knowing that they are harmful to us?
This works by the same system as any addiction and at some point it made us feel good. There are two vital systems in the human being: one is that of fear and the other that of reward. If at any given moment I have felt a reward, I become addicted to it even though I know that it is doing me a lot of damage. I can not stop doing it.
In other cases, they are people who have not lived otherwise and that someone treats them well is something that they cannot conceive because they have never had it.
Do they develop a kind of emotional bond where they need to continue to feel loved?
The emotional bond we all have with our children, parents, friends … The problem is why these people have to be with people who hurt them. This happens because at some point that person made me feel special. From there, all I want is to make me feel that same again.
How can we identify a toxic relationship?
When we suffer. I always tell my patients that there is no suffering in love. If one suffers it is because there is no love, there is something else. You can have a problem with your partner, an argument with your mother … but you know that you love her and you know that this is going to recover, but people who are emotionally dependent suffer constantly. They have a constant sense of anguish and fear.
And can we get out of it? How long does it take to remove that dependency?
Yes, of course. As for the time it depends. The average in battered women in Spain is in a 10-year relationship with their partner, but there are other conditions. It also depends on the supports you have. The point is that you can. In the end it is like any drug, that is, emotional dependence does not work differently than addiction to cocaine or gambling.
Childhood, a key stage
Childhood is a key stage in development, how can a traumatic childhood mark us?
Approximately 60-80% of what we are going to do in our entire lives we will learn in the first 6-7 years of our life. The most important thing to learn are emotions and how to relate to others. If the relationship with the caregivers was successful or healthy as a teenager, he will regulate well with his peers, but if the strategies of his caregivers were not optimal when he interacts, he will suffer from anxiety. To get rid of anxiety later, they can binge, or not eat, or they will impulsively study or they will not study, or they will take drugs … that is why the emotions that are learned in childhood are so important.
Today anxiety and stress affect us all. How can we prevent them?
A certain degree of anxiety is good because it puts us in motion. First of all, it is known that the greatest mitigation of anxiety at all levels are relationships with other people and in today’s society we are increasingly communicated, but more alone. The second is self-regulation and self-care. And the third thing is assertiveness, that is, in terms of human relationships knowing how to set limits and that they do not harm me and neither do I harm.
What is the key to good mental health?
Reflection. People with good mental health are capable of reflecting when they experience negative experiences and live them as learning, not trauma. They are able to draw a conclusion or something positive from it. That is the biggest mental health factor.
Although sometimes we underestimate mental health to prioritize physical …
We know that body and mind are two things totally related. At the level of the viscera and at the level of the immune system. We know that the body and the mind are one. Having stress consumes a lot of energy from the brain and that obviously does not go to other parts of the body.
It may interest you: A toxic family hurts you more than a toxic boyfriend