How often do we feel frustrated when we KNOW we have a point in our heads but our partner just isn’t hearing us! We all want to feel understood and heard. That people in our inner circle get us. This helps us feel connected to the people we care about most. All too often we experience this internal struggle when we are feeling something so intensely yet attempt after attempt we aren’t getting that point across.
Unfortunately, when we continue to feel unheard by our partner this can lead to a strong feeling of disconnect or even resentment. We all know that disconnect and resentment towards our partner is not a good thing. But what can we do about it? We feel like we’ve tried it all! The reality is that there is so much you can do about it but there is a trick to it. We need to look within ourselves and do some internal digging and growing to truly get our point across to our partner.
Living a life where you are feeling misunderstood and disconnected from your partner can take a toll on you in many ways. As you likely know, when you disconnect from your partner this truly does impact all parts of your life. All of a sudden your patience for your children goes down. Your focus at work is interrupted. Bad habits pick up stronger than before. It’s a negative loop that gets so tough to get out of. Your relationship with your partner and the ability to communicate the core feelings you have is essential to the high quality of life you want to live.
So…..let’s get into some tips to make it so you get your point across to your partner!
Tip One: Slow yourself down.
All too often when we have so many feelings coming up for us our thoughts can hit at such a rapid pace. What do we do with those rapid pace thoughts and feelings as they come up? We become passionately invested in making sure that it all comes out. But this can come across rather intense. And reactive much of the time. People have trouble responding in ways that feel good when they are approached with reactivity. Defenses go up. It’s natural. The reality is that if we want our point and feelings to get across we need to slow down.
Slowing down in the moment can be tricky sometimes. Something inside of us goes off and gets fired up. If we envision this experience as the fire, we need to find methods to bring about the water to shut the fire down. One method that works well for me is to remind myself of exactly this and repeat a mantra. For example, telling myself “I won’t be able to get my point across if I am amped up. This is the time to take some deep breaths and slow down.” Telling yourself that “you are strong” and “you can cool down” will allow you to have the control you need to slow down the rapid fire thoughts and take control of the moment.
The most important thing is to bring yourself into a particular moment. Get present. Squeeze something and pay close attention to what the material feels like. Check-in with your breath. Tell your partner that you need a minute before you continue the conversation. Do what you need to do to slow down and ground yourself back into the moment.
Tip Two: Ask yourself what your partner is truly feeling.
When we feel really strongly about something it’s all too easy to keep our minds focused on our perspective. But let’s get real. Deep down we know that the other person has their own valid feelings and has a point too! When we feel hurt it can get pretty tough to think about what the other person is feeling. The reality is though that we need to get out of our own heads and ask ourselves a hard question. The question of “how does he really feel?” and “what’s going on for him?”
Doing so in a real way (not minimizing it) will give you the space you need. It will give you the space to say out loud what your partner is feeling. To acknowledge and recognize the other’s view. When we live in a way where we are there to listen and understand the other person first we set a message for the relationship. The message of ‘I am here for you first.’
You may be thinking to yourself, wait, I thought this article was about how to get my point across! Yes, it is still about that. But take this next part in. When we are there for the other person first we open the doors for our points and perspectives to be heard, understood and appreciated. Your partner will now cool down any fire he has coming up and will have the availability to hear you! And voilà!
Tip Three: Be vulnerable and real. Look within.
Okay, so we are getting into the meat of it all now. We need to learn to be vulnerable and real. That reactive or frustrated means of communication will not help you get your point across. That’s the reality. So what does it look like to be vulnerable and real? Whatever thoughts and feelings are coming up for you, ask yourself a few questions about it. Maybe you are angry that your husband was working late and didn’t come home for dinner. This is what I would call the content. The actual substance are the questions underneath.
Questions like “what is about with him missing dinner that is upsetting me so much?” As a response the answer is possibly “he doesn’t prioritize me.” The follow up question is “what about that upsets me?” The answer can then be “I fear that he doesn’t think I am important.” And then go deeper. Along this process try to get at the inner feelings coming up for you. And share that with him. And in this journey of asking yourself the hard and real questions you may also find that you can soothe some of this down yourself. Maybe you can acknowledge for yourself that it’s not really about you being important. That for him, he just feels not good enough at work and is trying to meet the expectations of his boss. The point is, don’t just communicate the content. Share the real deeper stuff. This helps get the guards down for both of you and will help you get your TRUE point across.
Tip Four: Take care of yourself.
It’s really hard to slow yourself down, to ask yourself what your partner is feeling and to be vulnerable and real when you don’t take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself gives you the ability to be able to check in and redirect. It’s what sends that internal message of “I care about me.” Without having a strict and consistent plan to take care of you your success at communicating and getting your point across will be limited. So make sure to set time for you. Time to reflect. Time to journal. Meditate. Go for a walk. DO YOU. You will have so much more space to give to you and your partner if you take care of yourself.
And part of taking care of yourself is seeking out the help you need. Consider therapy for yourself or couples therapy. The truth is that we need to practice doing things differently and outside our comfort zone for change to happen.
I hope you are able to make the changes you need to allow you to get your true point across.
About the Author
Dr. Donna Novak is a licensed clinical psychologist in Simi Valley, Ca specializing in anxiety and couples. She is a part of Simi Psychological Group offering child therapy, teen therapy, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, marriage counseling, and neuropsychological testing.