Most of us weren’t afforded a prime example of healthy communication growing up. Instead, we’ve probably perpetuated negative patterns and habits we learned as children. And while shifting this behavior from destructive to constructive is challenging, it’s also very possible—and so worth it.
Perhaps you’re afraid to tell your significant other about something that’s bothering you. Maybe you’ve tried in the past, and all it did was result in a full-blown argument, met with defensiveness and rebuttals. That’s because when we’re head-to-head with big scary feelings such as jealousy, fear and rejection, it’s difficult to siphon these emotions into proper communication techniques. Instead of owning these feelings, we project them unnecessarily onto our partners.
For example, let’s say you’re at a party with your S.O., and you see them flirting with a friend of yours from across the room. As rational as you try to be, you can’t seem to shake those feelings of jealousy from your mind. You might start to wonder if your mate doesn’t find you attractive anymore, or if they find your friend more exciting than you—but the last thing you want to do is say how you’re feeling.
Ultimately, you mutter something passive aggressive as an attempt to downplay your feelings. It doesn’t work. Instead, you and your partner engage in a heated debate, feeling more disconnected and detached than ever before, without ever addressing the actual issue at hand: your feelings.
Let’s Get to the Bottom of This
While you were secretly trying to seek reassurance from your significant other, you were inadvertently communicating the exact opposite. The reason you were met with resistance from your mate was because you weren’t expressing your feelings at all. Instead, you made it about their behavior.
If you’ve ever been criticized by someone before, you’re familiar with wanting to protect yourself from their attacks. It’s only natural to defend yourself. Unfortunately, the other person is too busy defending themselves, too. The result? No one’s budging and no one is being heard.
If you want to be heard and experience life-long happiness with your significant other, you have to start owning your sh*t. In other words, instead of criticizing the other person, you have to make it all about you.
Nobody can argue with your feelings—they’re yours, after all. And by expressing your emotions in the truest form possible, you’re giving your significant other the opportunity to empathize. By opening up to your partner and allowing them to see your vulnerability, you’ll feel more connected, which will lead to greater intimacy.
Next time you’re experiencing those big scary feelings, resist the urge to project them on to your partner. Instead, focus on how you feel, without criticizing the other person. The key to long-term happiness lies in shedding old, toxic habits and sharing your deepest feelings with your partner—even when it feels scary. This is the only communication rule you’ll ever need.
Having Trouble Getting Started?
I totally get that. The fact is, relationships can be tricky—and sometimes require a little more than just a quick fix. That’s where I come in! In our sessions together, we’ll sort out what baggage belongs to you, what’s shared between the two of you, and how to deal with the stuff that belongs to your partner.
We can do this solo (just you and me) or with your partner in tow—it’s totally up to you. Learn more!