If you can relate to feeling frustrated, misunderstood and disappointed by your partner, this one’s for you.
You’re trying to get what you want from your partner: a connection, to feel understood, to feel seen and valued…but nothing seems to work.
First off, that pain of not being able to connect can be nothing short of excruciating. Your whole nervous system either goes into overdrive OR shuts down (typically you will do one or the other).
It’s like a perceived hose of life force that’s supposed to flow inward feels more like a vacuum, sucking you dry, leaving you depleted less effective, maybe downright ashamed.
What do you do with that?
For starters, admit it.
Notice it and acknowledge it.
And please, be accepting of that!
Accept your experience and understand it as totally valid.
You’re not weak or crazy to be feeling this way, you’re a human being who cares deeply about someone to whom you are having difficulty connecting.
It’s actually a NORMAL response.
But you are better than normal, and while this wired in response is fantastic in that it tells you something’s wrong, it can do long-term damage if not dealt with effectively.
It is one that you can overcome by first accepting that this feels like life and death because your physiology does not know the difference between what’s happening to you AND life and death.
You’ve got to remind yourself you’re going to survive, regardless of what happens with your relationship.
How to calm this primal panic?
Going to work together as a pair with a solid Emotionally Focused Therapist is one solution as your partner is one answer to assist you in calming such panic (we do soothe each other)…but maybe your partner isn’t on board or that’s not an option right now…
How can you calm this yourself?
One way is to temporarily remove the life force hose of your relationship and recognize you have many others as well (food, water, other forms of social support, your spirituality, etc.)
In other words, take good care of yourself and stop focusing so much on your relationship as you have been because it is such a source of distress.
Ground yourself, breathe, and tell yourself you’re not dying, you just really care deeply and want to connect. And you’re scared that maybe you’re alone in that.
That’s tough, but it’s not enough to kill you in the near future.
If you can get there, and then show that part of yourself to your partner — that vulnerable, scared side because they matter so much to you — they will be more likely to respond than when you come from a place of primal panic.
(As an aside, here’s a quick post on how to have that kind of difficult conversation.)
But that’s not what this message today is even about.
What I’m writing about today is how your observation is actually a creative process.
We think of observation as just something we see, but the truth is that what we see is what we expand.
>>>> I need you to understand this when you are somewhat calm and grounded, because you are anything but integrated when you are in that primal panic, and I need you to be integrated and on board with this emotionally and intellectually. <<<<
This is really important with anything you want for your life, including for your relationship.
If you keep seeing how your partner is letting you down (and I trust they are), you’re going to get more of that.
If you keep reminding them of that, “you’re getting it wrong, you’re getting it wrong, you’re getting it wrong,” you are only reinforcing that reality.
(They also feel like they’ll never get it right.)
To get what what you do want from your partner, do this instead:
Start seeing what it is you do want.
Even if it appears that you border on psychotic at first because it feels like a flat out lie.
Seriously, delusions of grandeur have gotten certain individuals into high positions of power…to be a little delusional in the name of love isn’t such a crime.
Take the risk and start seeing what it is you want.
Notice the tiny things your partner does, little efforts, wee shifts…
Let them know.
Relentlessly focus on seeing what you want.
It’s a huge risk because there is no promise things will shift to where you ultimately want them to be.
You’re opening yourself up for the possibility of a tremendous disappointment if the real shifts you need don’t occur.
But – it’s what you have to do to get there.
You’ve got to make room for the possibility they’ll be there, and
Can you take the risk?
Experiment with this and see what shifts.
Let me know in the comments!
i’ve been married for three months now and i feel my marriage falling to pieces. my love for my husband is unreal and i know he loves me but he has no idea how to show it. i’ve told him straight out, plain and simple, to be more open and if i can do ANYTHING to help the situation and it’ll get better for a FEW days and it repeats. what do i do.
Working with a professional can go a long way – even if just for the short-term.
The International Centre for Excellence in EFT has a list of trained therapists in Emotionally Focused Therapy that will assist your partner in coming out of his shell and being more open with you.
I wish you all the best,