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Unhelpful Emotions and how to Communicate Effectively.

As humans there are a myriad of emotions that we experience daily across our lifespan. Some of these emotions can either be helpful or unhelpful depending on the level at which we experience them.

Due to the complexities of these emotions most people are often unaware of their emotions, and sometimes attempt to mask them at the detriment of themselves and/or others. This can often result in a plethora of issues within your relationships with others and cause rifts between couples and family members.

Recently I was asked the question below, so I decided to write this article in response to assist anyone out there faced with the same or a similar dilemma.

How do you communicate with a partner that is upset but won't admit it?

  • You have to first give the other person space to process their emotions and allow them space and time to lead the conversation when they are ready to do so.

  • You need to observe and know the individual you are dealing with, to ensure that you do not escalate the situation, by insisting they engage with you.

  • You have to be patient and understanding and do not become defensive and/or angry, as often in such cases the other person begins to feel it's a personal attack towards them so they lash out by refusing to have conversations.

  • You need to avoid the use of sarcasm, insults or derogatory language in the moment, as it will cause the person in question to emotionally withdraw from you.

Is this a healthy trait for a significant other to demonstrate?

Yes & No - depending on the circumstances at play. In some cases where an individual is likely to become abusive towards their spouse, it is often appropriate for that person to take a time-out from the situation to process their emotions effectively. It is in this moment that they learn to admit and recognise the change in their arousal before having a conversation with their spouse.

Likewise in some cases, individuals may be unaware of the exact emotions they are experiencing or how to articulate this. Hence they often appear withdrawn or reluctant to engage in conversations and may not be doing this deliberately.

In contrast, if an individual is deliberately choosing to remain silent in order to force their partner to avoid certain topics , then this is not a healthy way of managing your emotions and expectations, as it is a form of coercive control which falls under Domestic Violence.

How do you work around their upset to prevent disputes? Is this advisable?

  1. Speak to the person in question when they are not upset, and express your observations in a non accusatory or judgemental manner.

  2. Avoid pressuring the other person to engage with or maintain a conversation with you at that particular time.

  3. Manage your own expectation of the other person and process your emotions before approaching a conversation with the other person.

  4. Mutually agree on an appropriate time and place to have a conversation.

  5. Be flexible with yourself and the other person in question.

  6. Seek professional help to assist with managing and processing your emotions.

These steps are useful and only advisable in a mutually balanced relationship.

They are not advisable in relationships where there is an imbalance of power. In such cases individuals need to seek professional help and advise on how to effectively exit such relationships or learn to effectively manage them.

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