‘GETTING TO KNOW YOU’ Stages (Part 1)

I never want to let go!

‘The Relationship CONTINUUM– 8 stages

Communication Indicators of ATTACHMENT
 This series of posts deal with verbal & psychological markers of progressive attachment or dissolution, ie. moving toward or away from intimacy.  It covers all types of one-to-one relationships (friends, lovers, co-workers, additions to family…)
Each Cycle consists of INFO which is: 1. received 2. absorbed & contemplated  3. understood   4. replied to

• There are several theories about how people grow together over time, including ‘peeling the onion’ of each others’ personalities the more time we spend with them
• The NORMAL section for each level is based on the work of Mark Knapp & Anita Vangelisti (2000), from the Communication field
• For Section A there’s an additional term, in parenthesis, from the Inter-Personal Psychology field

ACTS of AFFILIATION ♥ indicated by types of Communication

1. INITIATING (Non-existent – beginning)1st level
a. Normal : With people we’re vaguely aware of – communications will be rote formulae:
“How are you?” <> “Fine, & you?” , “What’s with this weather?” <> “Too much!”

Hallmark: interest & curiosity.  If we notice someone we want to know more about – we use polite, socially appropriate statements to show interest:
“Hi my name’s George. Is this your first time here?” , “Would you like to dance?
– waiting to see how the other responds.  If it’s positive, we have time to form additional first impressions & evaluate each other.

Initial interest is governed by:
Self-concept, which includes sexual orientation, socio-economic class, race… (we rarely move toward someone too far ‘out of our league’)
Proximity, in person –  where we work, shop, live, go to school or church, MeetUps, meetings, dances… or in cyberspace, using social media, dating sites, forums, chat rooms ….
Similarity – studies show people tend to form connections with others of similar attractiveness, interest, intelligence values….

b. ACoAs –  Although some of us find it hard to initiate conversation with strangers because of fear, many ACoAs have learned to open a dialogue in similar ways, but as usual bring our own twist to it.

❄️ In any group setting, we unconsciously scan the room & without even realizing it, will be pulled to the ONE person who is the most damaged, usually angry, narcissistic, the least likely to be nice to or interested in us – another ACoA & probably an addict of some sort. We may not even have heard their voice – but we KNOW! & can’t wait to ‘make friends’ !

This is more likely to happen with Extroverts. The Introverts will also focus on that one unavailable, but at the other end of the room.

🏋🏼‍♂️ ACoAs also claim to hate the dreaded “Small Talk” in any social setting.  But that’s what this stage is all about! You’re sure you don’t know how?
Actually, our refusal to even try is:
• about our self-hate, disguised as Social Phobia (everyone is judging me!)
• and we’re bursting with complains & internal drama, so we despise chit-chat as a waste of time — too much like our shallow, drunk, distant family, who never expressed a deep thought in their life!

We want depth! Translation: just let me talk about all my aggravations & worries! & don’t bother me with trivia.
We don’t realize it’s mainly our narcissism (“see me”), which includes the belief that symbiosis is the only way to connect (be like me / stay with me), which we both long for & are terrified of.

✶✶ In early recovery one young woman decided her temporary rule was: “If I like him, he’s bad for me!” As she grew, her ‘picker’ got a lot better.

NEXT: Stages – Part 2 Experimenting, Intensifying

The Relationship CONTINUUM

what the process is supposed to be!


LIST of Love Addiction books by Brenda Schaeffer


CONTINUUM CHART – (from Hunter College 1981 notes)
➼ This is a brief outline of the appropriate & necessary stages we need to go thru to be sure we’re in healthy relationships – not perfect, but workable & suited to our true personality

• Un-recovered ACoAs have a compulsion to skip the process of forming relationships. When we’re attracted to someone, we usually pick another ACoA &/or addict, so ‘jumping right in’ to the deep end seems perfectly natural, AND ‘desirable’.
In reality, it’s another form of addiction! (see Stanton Peele’s book “Love & Addiction” – list of worst’ addictions to kick, LOVE being the hardest

• Moving at a pace that’s too fast or too slow will disturb the progress towards intimacy.  In most social situations, a creep is someone who jumps too fast from #1 to #8 – from stranger to intimacy – in one leap. Yet ACoAs do it all the time, & don’t realize it’s inappropriate!

ACoAs most commonly have one of several types of relationships:
• avoid forming any kind of closeness, or may have many casual acquaintances, keeping people at an emotional distancesymbiotic attachent
• attach ourselves to only one person, but in a symbiotic, addictive bond, with someone who can never really provide the kind of love & support we all long for
• serial relationships, without depth, perhaps sexually promiscuous, as a way to not be alone but avoid commitment
•  friendships with a variety of narcissists, depressives, alcoholics or other unavailable types – & stay in these relationships for many years, living off the ‘crumbs’ we get from these people – if any!

USUALLY, ACoAs get involved with others almost overnight, without going thru the appropriate stages to see if we’re truly compatible.
WHY? Because:
a. we don’t know what the stages of ‘normal’ relationships are
b. we know how to be symbiotic, like with our family. It makes ‘sense’ to us
c. we’re so afraid of abandonment, we don’t want to take the time to actually get to know someone, in case they’re wrong for us, & then we’d have to leave them
d. we think that when we feel that ’instant connection’ it means the other person is our soul mate – that it has to be love!  It does FEEL powerful & intense, but it’s mainly narcissistic attraction from our WIC, because their damage dovetail with ours!

Contrast Toxic Intimacy’ with ‘Intimacy Antidotes’ .
Also Idealizing’ vs ‘Healthy Attachment posts

NEXT: Getting to Know You (Part 1)