Connect with Differentiation

How well do you stay connected with yourself when you are with others? Do you sometimes feel you have to leave a situation in order to hold onto yourself? Are you in charge of your emotions and able to calm your heart in the presence of others who think different from  you?

The ability to hold onto yourself in the presence of others , particularly those you are emotionally close to is called differentiation. Healthy people are differentiated. This means being able to maintain your lane, even when pressured by others who are important to you.

Can you stay connected with people who disagree with you, and yet still know who you are?

To be able to enjoy differentiation we have to know where we begin and others end. Maintaining a sense of separation when you are close to another person is differentiation. This can become a challenge when you are deeply involved with another person. Successfully differentiating builds true intimacy and sanity, without giving too much of yourself away.

If the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, how much richer can our lives be once we master differentiation? True love rests on the pillar of autonomy. Captivity does not bode well in loving and healthy relationships.

The partner that is requesting space is the most undifferentiated partner of all. This person is afraid they might be engulfed in relationship, and their behavior is to avoid this. There are many ways to do this distancing such as constant chaos or avoidance.

The truly differentiated person can adjust to being together, as well as being separate. This person can be open-minded and shift their thought processes if information warrants. This person doesn’t simply acquiesce to others wishes, but they are open to considering them.

The differentiated person can acknowledge others emotions objectively and subjectively, without being carried away by them. This does not leave one feeling controlled by another’s needs . Self soothing is everything for the differentiated person. When there are differences one is able to manage them, and bring stability into the equation.

Acknowledging others ideals and needs even when they are not the same as your own is part of being differentiated. One does not discount the merit of another’s position simply because it is different from ones own.

Differentiated people can stay connected with those whom they disagree with, and still have confidence in their own self. When we are not differentiated, we become alienated from those we love, and we can’t account for the separateness of other.

The reflected sense of self is the construct from which our identity is built, if we are not differentiated. We are always looking to others to be our mirror, so we know who we are. Or who they would have us be.

Developmentally we are matched relationally. If we can become flexible and make changes toward growth over time, then we enjoy individuation. Real relationship is about differences and being able to control emotions in light of them. This is emotional autonomy . Holding onto your heart and calming yourself , not looking to another for this important task. Not waiting for another to do it for you. No one is coming to rescue you from yourself. You are your own knight in shining armor.