One of the hardest things to go through in a relationship is having to see our partner sad, anxious, or depressed. Our first instincts are often to:
Cheer them up.
Make them happy.
Show them the glass is half full.
Although you have the best intentions, trying to make your partner happy in those moments can work against you. It may make them feel dismissed, disregarded, not attuned to, and that their feelings are not acknowledged.
Maybe you’ve even heard your partner say this in response to your attempts to brighten their mood.
It’s normal to feel defensive.
“Hey, I’m trying to help here! Don’t lash out at me just because you’re upset with ________.”
Managing tough emotions in this way leads to more distance, reduced emotional intimacy, and not viewing each other as sources of support in times of challenge.
It’s not always easy to give your partner the space to talk about their hard feelings and validate what they’re going through - because it brings up those same hard feelings in us.
You may feel helpless, hopeless, or unloved.
This week we’re talking about:
- What makes it hard to see your partner upset
- Your role when your partner is experiencing difficult emotions
- The value of allowing your partner to go through their emotional process
- Practical tips for being supportive when your partner is going through hard emotions
We’ve also got a very helpful bonus - The Guided Journal Entry to Manage My Own Hard Emotions - to help you move from well-intentioned, yet ineffective, to supportive and connected.
Short on time? Here’s a list of today’s topics and when to listen:
- Why we want to help our partner - 1:29
- What message we are sending to our partner - 4:17
- Let your partner feel their feelings - 8:43
- Be lovingly curious - 9:37
- Making it an authentic environment - 13:17
- Practical Tips - 15:09
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable - 15:31
- Managing your own triggering emotions - 17:01
- Journal about your feelings - 18:20
- Communication - 20:31
- Meredith + Marina’s Takeaways - 26:33