The obstacles I speak to here are centered on feeling disconnected, disengaged, or disregarded by our partners. You might’ve felt at times that you weren’t a “priority” to someone in your life, but eventually, you acknowledged that this was your new normal, and you had to accept that this way of connecting was your reality.
When we’re reaching out to our partners, we might find that we have sudden moments that we’re jerked back from what we’re trying to communicate with them.
There might be moments when you feel like you need to reach for your loved one’s support, and suddenly, whatever level of emotion you’ve started to share, they become triggered – defensive or reactive about the vulnerability in the moment.
There have been times, where even I have reached out to those in my relationships, and I’ve discussed how I’m feeling, only to see my partner respond in a manner, such as:
“If you don’t trust me, then just leave.”
“What do you mean you feel unhappy!?”
“What did I do!”
“You shouldn’t feel that way.”
These are only a short few of the responses that I’ve received, but maybe you can relate to when it comes to opening up to your loved one.
The challenge with communicating in our relationships is that we sometimes need comfort when we’re looking to resolve obstacles in our attachment. The obstacles I speak to here are centered on feeling disconnected, disengaged, or disregarded by our partners. You might’ve felt at times that you weren’t a “priority” to someone in your life, but eventually, you acknowledged that this was your new normal, and you had to accept that this way of connecting was your reality.
I want you to understand that you do not have to accept this, and while it’s difficult to leave relationships, because we become accustomed to disconnection, disengagement and disregard, we have to feel that we can trust ourselves to turn to those we love and communicate our underlying emotional experiences. We want to feel comfortable acknowledging that, while we do or don’t understand our pain, we need help processing this with our loved ones.
If you feel a sense of hurt, loneliness, sadness, worry or fear when it comes to your attachment with your partner for example, can you share that deep feeling with your loved one?
For example— When you’re looking for resolve— you come home from work after an eight-hour shift, and your partner has been relaxing on their day off. . . you understand they need time to relax, but you’re making dinner, setting the table, and you finish a meal to find out you’re also having to wash the dishes.
Let’s dig in— You can have empathy for your partner’s situation, understanding that they have worked hard as well, and they need time to relax. On the other hand, all of a sudden you feel,
“I’ve done so much work today, and I’m so angry my partner isn’t showing up to help me right now. They’ve had time to relax, but I’m over here working more to make sure our needs are met.”
We have emotional needs in our attachments. If we want to build that security and safety with our partners, we want to understand how we can find resolve in such obstacles as this scenario. While it’s completely valid that this individual is upset that their partner hasn’t shown up for them, and they understand there is a need to feel nourished and take care of their partner, they’re also managing all of this work on their own.
Empathy serves a role in both sides of the relationship. If we turn to our partners, and all we share is the feeling of anger that they haven’t shown up, it might also make sense that our partner pushes themselves away. We don’t want our loved ones to be angry, irritated or annoyed at us. In the best relationships, we want to feel loved and comforted by them.
In this scenario, if we’re working on building that safe, emotional attunement with our partner, I might say:
“There’s a part of me that’s really angry right now. I wanted you to have time to relax, but after I worked a long day, I cooked all this food, and I made the table and washed the dishes, but you didn’t step in. I feel lonely, like I’m in this by myself.”
Our partner might respond:
“Oh my goodness (we don’t want to see our partners angry, especially when they’re communicating the hurt underneath that anger), I didn’t show up for you when you needed help. I’m so sorry. It’s not fair that I let you do all this work, and I couldn’t step in to offer my help or see how you were doing.”
When our partner’s, or even ourselves, become triggered by our loved one’s vulnerability, we don’t allow a safe and secure space for them to share their feelings with us. When we struggle to have compassion for our own reactions, we can become disconnected, disengaged or disregarding, when it comes down to showing up for our partners.
We all deserve a safe space to process our own triggers and defenses. Like I’ve said in a previous blog post, our defenses were cultivated as a way to protect us. Let’s break down those barriers and build closer, safe and secure bonds, with our loved ones.
If you’re looking for that emotional comfort, needing a space to attune safely with your loved ones, please feel free to reach out to us for support—we want to walk through that journey with you and help you find the needs deep within your own triggers or defenses. Schedule an appointment, and let’s keep in touch.