How Emotionally Mature are You in Love? By Gina Hardy Most of my lovely couples come to me in relational angst when their bag of long standing coping “tools” has run aground and they have nothing left with which to communicate their feelings and needs in a healthy way. Many couples just cope, rather than experience deeply fulfilling and nourishing relationships, because they feel, it’s “better not to rock the boat…”, “it’s easier this way….” “I can’t bear the thought of losing my husband/wife, so I’ll do anything…..” “Well we have kids and so we must stay together…” Too many arguments or the lack of them, create all sorts of symptomatic behavior of two inner children trying to get their needs met that somehow escaped them in childhood. Have you ever noticed yourself or others, when you are in conflict, how childish the words and body language is? “You always do that….!” “You don’t love me…..!” “I hate you…..!” “You never let me do anything I want to do….!” Tasmanian devil body language, slamming doors, shutting down, throwing yourself on the bed, running out of the house, throwing things, bolting the door, pushing your partner away. The list goes on. Are any of these familiar? It seems the deeper the conflict the more your inner child will show itself in all it’s stunted glory because what you need the most, is being threatened not to be available. From the moment we are parted from our mother’s umbilical cord and experience separateness, the inner demons are born. Some spiritual folk say the Light (love) is born alongside the dark (fear). The brain stem or “old brain” as the Imago Relational experts call it, is watching out for signs of impending death, hence the power of this part of the brain and its flight / fight protective response.