How frustrating is it when you want to talk to your partner and have a really connected conversation,
where you share your feelings with each other, only to find that they’re not interested to talk to you?
Has this ever happened to you?
It’s happened to me many times in past relationships,
but not so much in my current relationship.
I’ll tell you in a sec, but first,
lets look at why this happens in the first place.
When our partner doesn’t want to talk to us about their feelings,
it’s usually because they’ve had negative experiences with us in these kind of conversations, that over time,
reduced their willingness to listen to us and communicate with us.
If you’ve said stuff like:
– You never listen
– You don’t care about me
– You’re just SO….(fill in the blank)
– You think you’re ALWAYS right!
What your partner is hearing is that you are essentially labelling and/or judging them.
And if that has been a recurring theme, then of course their conclusion might become –
“I don’t want to participate in a conversation where I’m going to be judged and labelled and complained about”
See, at the end of the day, all everyone wants is to feel
SEEN, HEARD and ACCEPTED by each other.
When we say things like what I mentioned above, the message we are giving our partner is essentially: “You’re Not OK” and/or “You’re Not Enough”
Since we all want to be seen as good, worthy and ‘Enough’, the common response to that message is – anger, shutting down, getting hurt, not wanting to communicate, etc.
So how can we shift into a DIFFERENT kind of conversation?
First of all, lets take a moment to give ourselves some love and empathy –
we ALL label and judge sometimes, and it’s absolutely ok to have this pattern
(who ever taught/ modelled to you anything different?).
Now, lets dive deeper.
The ONLY reason we label and judge is because we have
deep needs that are not being met right now.
Needs like listening, partnership, support, affection and others,
which are all beautiful and legitimate needs!
It is only the WAY in which we try to get these needs met, that pushes our partner away.
The more you learn how to talk about YOURSELF,
what YOU need and what’s important to YOU
and less about THEM and how wrong and ‘not ok’ they are,
the more you’ll be able to create a good experience for them in the conversation,
and the more they will WANT to have these conversations with you,
because they will feel SAFE to do so.
So here’s an example from my own relationship.
I was actually the ‘shutting down’ one in this example 🙂
My partner and I were having an argument about the way in which to deal with some difficulties with my children (he is not their biological dad).
I was getting more and more angry and annoyed, because I thought he was judging my way of parenting, and it was bringing up a lot of pain from past times I’ve been judged as well.
My partner identified my pain, paused and said:
“I SEE you very much, baby. I’m not judging you.
It’s just so important for me to support you
and to know that you deeply trust me and my opinions”
I wasn’t able to talk much after that, because I was feeling my pain from all these past judgements coming up strongly at that point, but thankfully, I now identified that this pain stems from more than just this current conversation and I communicated that.
He then chose to just be there for me, as I allowed this pain to come through me
(more on that another day…to be continued 🙂 )
And though there was still no ‘official’ resolution,
I felt SEEN, HEARD and ACCEPTED (remember?)
Which made me then able to keep communicating with him about this the next day without shutting down again.
So this is what changed between my past relationships and this one:
I now have a big tool-box of skills for dealing with conflicts in a more positive, connected and self-aware way.
Does that meant everything’s always Perfect? Hell no!
But it’s just SO much better!!! More CONNECTED, More REAL, More INTIMATE – just Better!
I spent over a DECADE studying, practising and assembling this toolbox,
and I absolutely LOVE sharing this stuff with couples world-wide.
To Sign up to my latest Free Online Masterclass ‘How to Deal With Stress in Your Relationship’ Click Here
Here's to feeling SEEN, HEARD & ACCEPTED!
PS - Please comment below and SHARE your wisdom! Does this ever happen to you in your relationship? Do you find yourself judging and labelling? What tools have YOU used to shift the situation?