Is it hard to bond with others?
Being able to bond with others is a deep need everyone has. But if someone cannot connect, there may be some reasons why.
First, a person who struggles to bond may not validate another’s experiences. Everyone needs to know that someone understands how they feel and their reality. Making this connection with each other is empathy.
When a person feels a certain way, they need to know that others validate their experience, meaning they understand how it is for them. A person needs to be listened to and understood, not quickly being thrown under the bus for how they feel and think. Proverbs 18:13 (NIV) says, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.”
Research has shown that some of the most severe emotional disorders come from having one’s emotions being misunderstood.
For instance, let’s say someone shares something terrible that happened to them. Instead of saying, “Oh, that wasn’t so bad,” a better way to bond is to say, “Sounds like that was very difficult for you.” This is an example of an empathetic statement that inspires a stronger connection.
Second, a person who struggles to bond may be emotionally detached. To be emotionally detached is to be out of touch with one’s feelings and unable to be emotionally present in a relationship. In other words, as the saying goes, “The lights are on, but nobody is home.” It can be a killer to intimacy because it feels to the other party that they are alone, even though someone is there.
The Bible says that to love God involves the heart and the mind. When someone is out of touch with their feelings and cannot express them to another person, intimacy is blocked because their heart is far away.
To feel close, one must be present emotionally. A person’s needs, vulnerabilities, fears, pain, and tender feelings must be communicated and expressed. When someone is detached from emotions and can’t express them, the other person cannot feel the kind of connection they need to feel accepted, understood, and validated. Intimacy involves the heart; intimacy also involves the mind. Attending a New Life Intensive Workshop can help someone get back in touch with their emotions.
As David said, God desires truth in the “innermost being” (Ps. 51:6, NASB). But when someone can validate other people’s experiences and is in touch with their own deep feelings and innermost parts, they can bond and deepen their relationships.
by Dr. Henry Cloud