Relationships Are Hard, But Why? | Stan Tatkin | TEDxKC

Relationships Are Hard, But Why? | Stan Tatkin | TEDxKC

Translator: Sarah El_Gayyar
Reviewer: Denise RQ Relationships are difficult. Everybody knows that. Most people think it’s because of money, sex, kids,
work, or who picks up the socks. Some people think it’s because we’re just not right
for each other, or we don’t have enough in common. Look, it’s not just you, or him, or her. There’s actually nothing more difficult
on the planet than another person. Think about that. We’re all difficult; we all come to each new relationship
wanting easy, but we also come with our fair share
of unresolved painful experiences from previous relationships. Between love and work, love is by far,
more complex and challenging. Much of the reason for this is based
in our automatic neurobiological reflexes, so let me explain. Let’s start with that fancy neocortex
of yours, the high cortical areas. For simplicity sake,
let’s call them your ambassadors. Your ambassadors are
very smart, deliberate, but slow; and they’re very expensive to run. They’re really good at planning,
predicting, organizing, languaging and if I may be frank,
they’re really good at making shit up. (Laughter) When you think of logic and reason,
think ambassadors. The subcortical areas of your brain,
let’s call them your primitives; they’re very fast, memory-based,
automatic, and very cheap to run. They’re involved in love and sex,
but also threat detection by scanning for dangerous faces,
voices, gestures, movements, as well as dangerous words and phrases. When you think fight or flight,
think primitives. Thanks to your primitives,
your day is 99% fully automatic. Your ambassadors love novelty, but they have to offload
newness to your primitives in order to conserve resources. You can’t possibly run your day
with your ambassadors in full gear; you would fry your brain. So the primitives use something
called procedural memory, otherwise known as body memory,
and it works like this: you learn to ride a bike;
and in the beginning, your primitives and ambassadors are
in full gear to learn this new skill, but very soon, your primitives
are going to automate bike riding without much need for your ambassadors. It goes into procedural memory. Pretty neat, huh? Now you fall in love with someone,
and again, your brain is lit up; you want to know everything about them. You want to touch them, taste them,
smell them, you can’t get enough of them. You are high on drugs. (Laughter) Nature’s drugs, not those! Dopamine for wanting more, noradrenaline for focus and attention, testosterone for you know what, and a distinct drop in serotonin
so you can perseverate and obsess. You’re neurochemically addicted. You spend all your time together
for weeks and months; you get serious, and this is
when the fun begins, because very soon, your brain
is going to automate this new person and theirs is going to automate you. This is supposed to happen, it’s what the brain does
in order to function. It’ll make your relationship
feel a lot easier and it will lead you
to your first really big mistakes because you think
you know each other already so you stop paying attention,
you stop being fully present. Your primitives are relying on
procedural memory to run your relationship, and that memory includes
everyone and everything of an emotional importance in your life. That primitive brain of yours
is going to read your partner’s thoughts, feelings,
and intentions through that memory lens. So it’s kind of like this, “Why are you giving me that look?” “I didn’t give you any look.” “Why are you using that tone
of voice with me?” “What tone?” – “Stop it!”
– “What?” – “That.”
– “What?!” That’s the sound
of two nervous systems misfiring, and that is our nature. (Laughter) That will happen, and it will be a problem if you don’t understand
your automatic brain. As a couple’s therapist, I can tell you that fighting
in and of itself is inevitable. There is no relationship without conflict. In fact, if you are a conflict avoider, you will appear
threatening to your partner. The real problem isn’t that you fight. It’s when you do, one or both of you
threatens to leave the relationship. A relationship can survive fights, but what it cannot survive
is loss of safety and security. Communication, memory,
perception – all error-prone. Human communication,
even on a good day, is terrible. We’re mostly misunderstanding
each other much of the time; when we feel good,
we don’t care that much, when we don’t feel good,
we care a whole lot. (Laughter) When stress goes up, human communication
gets a whole lot worse. Memory is unreliable. Memory is faulty, folks, and in a fight for whose memory is right,
you’re probably both wrong. Your perceptions
are like fun house mirrors. Your perceptions are
constantly being altered by your state of mind
and your memory. They’re constantly playing tricks on you. If we assume our communication, our memory,
our perception is the real truth, that’s hubris,
and that will get us into trouble. Before I go on, I want
to be clear about threat: if you’re in an abusive relationship,
you must get out. I’m not talking about big T threat;
only small T threat, the kind that we have to deal with
day in and day out as we bump up
against each other, and we fight. But why do our fights spin out of control? It’s because real time is too fast, and when we feel threatened,
we act, and react with our primitives. Our ambassadors actually
have no idea how we got into this place. It’s what makes shit up! (Laughter) “I’m right, dammit, and here’s what sounds
really good to prove my point.” (Laughter) You really have no idea
what you’re talking about (Laughter) but you sound so confident. (Laughter) I want to get to the fun part here. Since all of you literally carry around
your own neurobiology lab with you, wherever you go; here’s a few experiments you can run
in the comfort of your own home: the next time
a relationship moment turns tense, change your position; go eye-to-eye and face-to-face,
notice what happens. And by the way, if you tend to fight a lot
while driving in the car, it’s because you’re
side-to-side and glance; a glance is a threat trigger, that’s why you should never fight
in the car, or on the phone, or while emailing, or while texting. We’re visual animals,
and we need our eyes in order to regulate
each other’s nervous systems. I want you to understand
that what I’m talking about here happens to everyone,
regardless of personality, previous experience,
and relationship experience, or trauma. No angels, no devils here; we’re all capable of becoming
threatening, even to those we love, and we’re capable of making
huge mistakes and errors in communication, memory, and perception; all of us. The decision to be in a relationship, the decision to be
in a committed relationship – loving, secure functioning – means being in the foxhole together and protecting each other
from the dangers out there. It’s not just about getting our own way. We’re supposed to have each other’s backs. I’ve seen far too many relationships
end before their time, because people cannot get
this simple concept; our major job is to protect each other
and make each other feel safe and secure. The world is a dangerous place,
it’s always been so; and right now, it feels a little scary. If we don’t have
each other’s backs, who will? Thank you and good luck
with your relationships. (Applause)

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Relationships Are Hard, But Why? | Stan Tatkin | TEDxKC

  1. “You think you know each other so you stop paying attention.”
    "Our major job is to protect each other and make each other feel safe & secure."

    Beautiful, beautiful talk. I learned so much. But then I realized no matter how much I watch and read about relationships, if he doesn't love me that much, it won't work anyway. Lol.

  2. He has a great mind and I just want to thank you for sharing your great ideas for us. I absolutely enjoyed this video.

  3. Look I understand the presenters perception very well but it’s rare and not normal to have such conscience while everything is happening. It makes you keep one eye open which will lead to a lot of bad things happening. Trust, Love & friendship will be so much harder to accept as humans. You won’t be able to give your all and accept it or ever be sure you want the relationship. This is not only with relationship but a lot of other stuff in life. Too much math like this will make you a miserable person and so unsure about your decisions. From experience my best way of doing these things is just following your heart and not your brain

  4. Relationships are hard because the people in the relationship make it that way. Its not that hard when you communicate effectively, are honest, and choose not to argue over every little thing. Alot of couples (on both sides of the spectrum) seem to have these weird high expectations of one another. Like being able to read their minds and know when to talk and when to back off. If you both stay honest, talk about things, whatever they might be, have good morals and dont have some knowingly or unknowingly urge for drama and conflict all the time then that should be all it takes to create a healthy relationship or even marriage

  5. im only 15 and ive been with multiple girls that i loved , but its like when we finally get together or become “official” i lose all the feelings i had.

    every relationship ive had has only lasted for so long.

  6. well, a relationship can not survive loss of safety if one of the partner threat to leave a relationship? sometimes one says 'im leaving' while the other is the one who actually checked out long time ago by not giving/investing fully. In that case, the partner who is leaving just make it official. In other words, sometimes one of the party, push you to that edge!

  7. I can't stand any of these kind of video which trying to explain relationship in a biological way, it's too dry and not practical, I just can't.

  8. Doing the same work, going back to the same home. Routine bores me. I did some adventures. The effect was terrible. Suicide was my last hope. Then Moses Emmets YT Channel came into my life. What can i call it? My savior? May be!

  9. If you know that you are not ready for a relationship, a marriage, a commitment, why go into one and continue to cheat and lie? I was dying internally for my unfaithful girlfriend, I had no proof, no one to run to. Everyone thought I was paranoid. until I was referred to kellycyberhud @ gmailcom. He understood me well and helped me to hack my girlfriend's mail and WhatsApp to find the truth. I just want to say openly thank you. Contact him today by email at [email protected] He also performs other hacking operations, such as deleting criminal records, upgrading the results. he is that good.

  10. This is such a good listen/ watch.. Breaks it down easy and simplified.. Makes perfect sense, wish I had seen this years ago!!

  11. Ambassadors = Neocortex
    Primitives = Subcortical area of brain
    Automated tasks = Procedural memory

    You think you know each other so you stop being present.
    When we feel good we don't care that much and when we don't feel good we care a whole lot.
    We are supposed to have each others back.
    Our nature job is to protect each other and make each other feel safe and secure.

  12. I ended up crying after listening to his talk, it relates so much to my story. He always threatens to leave and end the relationship, he always asks me to admit that it is my fault everytime we argue. I tried everything, I tried telling him how I feel, what I want and asks the same about his feelings, what does he think about this and that? But all he does…threatens to leave and end the relationship. I know that I should end the relationship but I love him too much, so I end up saying sorry every single time and admit that it’s all my faults and stay with him.

  13. I understand the problem, but the phrases "protect each other and make each other feel safe and secure" and "if we don't have each other's backs, who will?" sound super obvious and not exactly helpful. If you're running on autopilot, how are you supposed to know when to alter your behaviour?

  14. Also remember to be selfless and humble. Of course this doesn’t mean you should allow your partner to hurt or abuse you. It just means there are some sacrifices that will have to be made with love.

  15. The compassion this man shows and the love given through every word are truly amazing. I cannot thank enough for all these free speeches that hold treasures of wisdom in every sentence.

  16. My relationship experience amounts to 10 years, 6 with one girl, 2 with current one and many short ones before those. I've realized the following: romance in modern times is different than it used to be throughout ancient times in the sense that we don't really need it as individuals. Sure, society needs it due to its structure but as individuals we can take care of ourselves just fine. Our (sometimes desperate) need to connect with another human being on a romantic level, in my opinion, is due to our upbringing, environment and pop culture, all of which continously try to implant us with the notion that we have to get hooked, buy a house, make babies and that all of this is called growing up. This makes a lot of people unhappy who would otherwise be up to creating new things that would fill society with joy and economic productivity.

    Perhaps it's time we stop trying to push everyone into vows that few are ready to take. If we're being honest and take a step back, we will see that statistics of divorce clearly show this to be the case.

  17. Omg like clockwork 5:12, both the couples on top and and bottom have each partner look at them at the same time in a lovingly and happy way, while the other one looks on completely unamused and disinterested. Wow you can totally tell which ones are unhappy in the relationship. 😐😐

  18. Amen for the last part, security and safe. That’s what we need..the truth is there is hardly any relationship make me feel that including friendship or partnership..

  19. “Our major job is to make each other feel safe and secure.”
    “The decision to be in a committed relationship (loving, secure functioning), means being in the foxhole together, and protecting each other from the dangers out there.
    It’s not just about getting our own way, we’re suppose to have each other’s back.”

  20. persons has experienced everything already so when they do decide to get into an actual relationship they get bored fast and disinterested fast.
    Been there done that it’s not new then they move on.
    Looking for total completeness when they already had it all.
    What can they take rather than what can I give.

  21. This Stan Tantkin lecture is a good way to reap the benefits from a relationship session when you feel like skipping a traditional one! He is absolutely right!

  22. Don't marry someone who has slept with every person in the senior class of the high school. That is a person who is deeply emotionally troubled. My son learned this lesson.

  23. Still watching this video , yet this is such a good video , that i have to save and re listen , to fully better understand. that alot of my issues is in the brain. Makes sense, thanks so much for sharing this relationship , brain , and the power of chemicals bouncing . And what is natural thing we call life.

  24. This is an excellent TED talk about relationships, how and why we manage them erroneously and how we can improve on that. I feel this could also extend to relationships with family members and even friends, and if someone has a very big heart, to all those she or he meets. Well worth watching!

  25. My ambassadors are always working. Which makes my primitives angry and anxious to work…must be why I’m always anxious and angry 🤔

  26. Relationships are harder when you see a guy talking about relationships who doesn't look like hes attracted a highly Attractive mate. This is the same guy that gets married and tries to give you dating advice. Red flag

  27. I have watched this 4 times today. It’s strange how this video brings me a sense of peace, awareness, and helps me understand my current relationship and how I behave in it. I’m going through a bad period in mine and I feel like I was meant to come across this

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