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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Optimal Regression

One film strip I will never forget from undergrad was a filmstrip about Erik Erikson's stages of human development.  The part of the strip that I seem to be reminded of on a weekly basis was a part about how we as adults regress, especially with our romantic partners.  This type of regression often mimics the relationships between mother and son or father and daughter.  Sometimes these are healthy regressions, sometimes not so much because they can drain the life energy from ourselves, from our partners, or from both parties.

So yesterday, after taking care of my stomach bug ridden child for the past few days and feeling a smidge on the yucky side myself, I stopped, dropped, and regressed.  My husband started it!  He totally did! And I'm pretty sure he did it on purpose (example of regression).  He laid down on the couch.  That bastard laid down on the couch.  I had so much work to do, but when he looks comfy and warm, the only thing that I could do is what our family refers to as, "cubbling in."  So I did just that.  I ditched washing the pukey sheets and towels,  got in the fetal position, and cubbled in.  I slept for at least an hour and felt so relaxed.  After taking care of my sick child for almost three days, I really needed to be held and taken care of.  My husband, whether he was conscious of it or not, was happy to play the care taker role. 

So raise your green juice, vodka tonic, glass of water or wine to a little bit of healthy regression!  Sometimes we need to be held and sometimes we need to have temper tantrums with our partners. (We have to keep them on their toes if our relationships are going to last, don't we???)   These things often play out with the people we love the most because of the extreme levels of comfort we feel with them and we know that we can act out with them our psychological issues in an attempt to discover our needs.

As mentioned above, I reflect on the film strip often. My regressions are not always as peaceful as a couch nap. The best ones are of then the full blown crying, screaming temper tantrums where I start off in one place and end up having no idea where I was going or why. I will save that one for another day.  But today's take away point for me is that sometimes regression is necessary for optimal health. 


  1. Excellent post Jane. After two hours on Sunday morning behaving like a leader, I often need some time for what my wife and I call the "post-church sillies." A definite, and very necessary, time of regression.

  2. I think about how exhausting Sundays must be for you EVERY Sunday hahahaha!!! I always wonder how you absorb all of that stuff coming at you at once. In therapy, its one at a time, at church, its EVERYONE at once!!!! Nate and I call the post-church sillies something else- 6th Grade Sleepovers. Our 6th grade sleepovers happen at night after being at shows where you spend the whole time talking and schmoozing. Thank goodness we have relationships and spouses where we can regress and have fun a the same time!!!