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Hold Me Tight

Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships

By Dr. Sue Johnson
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson

Hold Me Tight (2008) focuses on one of life’s greatest challenges: building and sustaining an intimate relationship. Drawing on the author’s own highly successful couple therapy form EFT (Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy) – based on the idea that the quality of relationships are defined by key emotional moments, both positive and negative – these blinks show you how to form a deeper, and more enduring bond with your partner.

Key idea 1 of 8

Instability in a relationship sparks a primal panic that can spiral out of control.

Have you ever gotten into a completely absurd argument with your partner, say over a few stray hairs in the drain or some dirty dishes in the sink? It’s actually pretty common to get into disputes over inconsequential issues like these, but why?

Well, when a couple senses that their relationship is getting rocky, they panic, overreact and end up in endless arguments. This makes perfect sense because your life partner plays a tremendously important role in emotionally sheltering you from the world. So, when that relationship starts to get iffy, it’s only rational to panic about losing your emotional connection.

And this isn’t based on some irrational fear. Lots of people experience real emotional crises following a breakup – exactly what those bickering couples dread.

That’s why couples fight so often over the most mundane details of housekeeping. They’re already in panic mode about the fragility of their relationships, and, when they’re on edge like that, even the smallest things can put someone over the top.

Different people deal with this fear in different ways. The problem is, sometimes people’s reactions send them in opposite directions.

Just think of one partner feeling disconnected from the other and choosing to hide in her work. Staying late at the office could be her way of dealing with the fear of losing her relationship. By physically and emotionally retreating into her work she is protecting herself from total devastation in case her relationship actually does collapse.

Meanwhile, her partner has the opposite reaction. He becomes incredibly clingy and demanding as a way of reassuring himself that he’s loved. This diametric opposition sets off a downward spiral as each partner pulls with all their might in a different direction.

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