When we are irritated, frustrated, mad or just shut down and distant we don't help our relationships thrive. In fact, the opposite is true. Being irritated, frustrated, mad or shut down and distant damages our relationships.
There's tons of reasons why we feel things that get in the way of our relationships - at least tons of surface reasons. Like, maybe your partner came home late, or didn't pick-up after themselves. Those are examples of surface reasons. The real reason we get upset or distant with our partner is not because of the thing they did, or didn't do. The real reason is meaning we attach to what they did or didn't do.
In order to help our relationships grow, we need to go deeper and get past surface of things. We need to discover and share the meaning. But, how do we do that?
Here are a few techniques you can try:
1st - Look down under the upset feelings and find the meaning. Recall what your spouse did, or didn't do. In the instant you first felt upset, what had just happened? Then, ask yourself, "What did that mean to me?"
2nd - Find the primary feeling attached to that meaning.
When you can answer the question "what did that mean to me" then you're ready to find the primary feeling attached to that meaning. For example, let's say your partner came home late without calling and you got upset. Then you slowed yourself down and asked yourself what his/her coming home late meant to you. You figured out it meant that you were being disregarded. In that split second you determined you were not so important. The coming home late threatened your sense of mattering to your spouse. Now, you're ready to ask, what's the feeling associated with that threat (the threat of not mattering to your spouse)? Most likely it is fear (or some feeling on the fear/anxiety spectrum). Fear of not really mattering, or fear of being less important.
3rd - Once you know your deeper feeling - the fear of not being important - share that fear. Share it, even though it's a vulnerable feeling. It will probably feel risky to share your deeper feelings, they more vulnerable, and that's a sign you're on the right track!
Let me repeat this part. Once you know your upset really came from feeling worried that you're not as important to your partner as you'd like to be, then you might say something like, "honey, I'm sorry I got upset when you came home late. What really was happening is I was feeling scared that maybe I don't matter to you in the way I'd like to. I realized I got upset is because I'm afraid I'm not mattering to you as much as I'd like to, I really want to feel more important."
Sharing tender, vulnerable feelings in a soft manner is one way we can stay, or get, closely connected. Open hearts are much easier for our partners to connect to. So, the next time you get upset with your partner, stop and find out what's really going inside, then share it. You'll get reconnected and feel so much better after you do!
If you need professional help in learning how to do this - visit me by clicking here.