I don't remember learning to tie my shoes or how to put on my clothes in the morning yet I am able to accomplish these things each day without thought. I was taught at an early age by my parents and this task was "installed" in my memory.
Many of these physical tasks are routine and happen automatically as our brain is able to bypass a longer process of recalling what was learned and then apply this to the present situation. This is helpful in most tasks during the day so we can get things done efficiently without wondering if we button our shirts differently depending on the color of the button.
Learning how to be in a relationship was accomplished the same way. As a baby, we learn how to be in relationship with others through our relationship with our parents. This idea of how to give love and receive love is installed as a template at a very early age.
There are times where our template doesn't work. You try what you know to express love and are unsuccessful and without another strategy or template, you can begin to feel stuck. This happens in relationships with our loved ones and also with our children. We meet our children's needs, often how they were met for us. These processes, much like tying our shoes, can be reactive and automatic with greater intensity when we are stressed. It happens quickly in our brain without slowing down to determine if this is the best strategy for expressing our love.
Stopping the automatic reactions of our templates can be difficult and often the hardest first step is recognizing when we are reacting from a template we learned early on in life. Just as we learned these templates in relationship, it easier to see them and talk about them in relationships with those we trust. Creating intentional space with others to slow down and examine the templates that were installed early on is a valuable gift you can give yourself.