Emotinal Intimacy Part 4

BUILDING SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIPS





EMOTIONAL INTIMACY PART 4 – COMMUNICATION SKILLS & TIPS TO CREATE EMOTIONAL INTIMACY


EMOTIONAL INTIMACY PART 4 – COMMUNICATION SKILLS & TIPS TO CREATE EMOTIONAL INTIMACY


Pay attention to your own emotions – emotional awareness takes practice, start today by paying attention to what is really going on inside of you and keep a journal to record your thoughts and emotions.  If you have difficulty knowing how you feel or in expressing your feelings it is difficult to share them with another.  If you feel you need assistance here, read up on emotional literacy and assertiveness, or research and find a therapist you feel comfortable you can work with.

Build your self-awareness – becoming familiar with your ‘inner self’ is crucial.  What are your motivations?  Where do you feel you don’t measure up and so feel vulnerable?

Slow down – we often live fast paced lives that provide us with a false place of safety, this way we can keep an emotional distance from ourselves and others because there just isn’t time.

Evaluate your past – Consider the emotional connectedness of the family you grew up in.  Was it okay to express feelings in your home?  Were emotions large and explosive when the pressure cooker effect built up from too much repression of feelings?  Did your family really know each other?

Create a safe environment - Become a safe haven for your partner to share their emotions, thoughts and emotions.

Spend more quality time together – intimacy is built as you spend time connected as a couple not just talking about the events of the day, but also about how you feel about those events.  This is what we mean when we say quality time, we are looking for a deep connection rather than just time or presence, just showing up is simply not enough.

 Deal with conflict swiftly – Don’t resort to silent treatment or snide remarks.

 

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

 

For emotional intimacy to occur it is necessary to create a place of emotional safety so that our partner can be open and honest with us.  Communication skills such as Mirroring, Validating and Empathising can create this precious space.

 

1)      MIRROR YOUR PARTNER

reflective listening involves mirroring back to the speaker what they have said.  This ensures that the listener heard what was said and did not misunderstand, and ensures that the speaker feels heard. 

Often we deflect what is said and this can leave the speaker feeling unheard and the situation remains unresolved. 

                                                                                                      

EXAMPLES

 DEFLECTED COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight.’

 Jane: ‘I didn’t ignore you, I was busy.’

 

MIRRORED COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight’

 Jane: ‘You felt I was ignoring you tonight, and that hurt you?’ ‘Can you let me know what I did that left you feeling like that?’

 

2)      VALIDATE YOUR PARTNER

Validating your partner involves a desire to see the logic in what they are saying, this helps them to feel both heard and understood.  Note that you do not have to agree with what your partner is saying, but there is a need to see and honour what they say.  This is the time to take full responsibility for any behaviour of yours that you can see contributed to the situation, say what you will do differently in the future, and offer a sincere apology if necessary.

 EXAMPLES

UNVALIDATED COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight.’

 Jane: ‘You felt I was ignoring you tonight, and that hurt you?’ ‘Can you let me know what I did that left you feeling like that?’

 Martin:  ‘It was when I brought you that drink over, you were talking to that group of people from Jones Co remember?  You took the drink from me with barely any acknowledgement, then turned away and carried on talking.  I felt rejected.’

 Jane: ‘oh yeah I remember you bringing me the drink.  I didn’t ignore you I just got distracted.  I have no idea why you felt ignored or rejected, that’s your issue.’

 

VALIDATED COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight’

 Jane: ‘You felt I was ignoring you tonight, and that hurt you?  Can you let me know what I did that left you feeling like that?’

 Martin:  ‘It was when I brought you that drink over, you were talking to that group of people from Jones Co remember?  You took the drink from me with barely any acknowledgement, then turned away and carried on talking.  I felt rejected.’

 ‘oh I see, yes I remember you bringing me the drink, gosh I did turn away from you and continued talking to the group.  It really wasn’t my intention to ignore you, I was so distracted with what they were talking about, their new product will have a huge impact on my advertising campaign.  I can see how my behaviour would have left you feeling ignored I really should have acknowledged you properly and told you what was happening.’ 


 3)  EMPATHISE WITH YOUR PARTNER

– Empathising involves making emotional contact with your partner, letting them know that you know what it feels like to experience the feeling the person tells you they have. 

For example, ‘I know how it feels to feel sad, if there is anything I can do please let me know’.  This helps the other person feel validated in their emotion and supported as they no longer feel alone, it allows a person to feel more fully and experience a strength of acceptance, authenticity and congruence.  This is different to sympathy, which involves telling someone you feel exactly what they feel (you have no idea what their feeling feels like) and that you can fix them.  Empathy allows both parties to keep their personal power, sympathy takes personal power away.

EXAMPLES:

 NON EMPATHETIC COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight’

 Jane: ‘You felt I was ignoring you tonight, and that hurt you?’ ‘Can you let me know what I did that left you feeling like that?’

 Martin:  ‘It was when I brought you that drink over, you were talking to that group of people from Jones Co remember?’  ‘you took the drink from me with barely any acknowledgement, then turned away and carried on talking.’  ‘I felt rejected.’

 Jane: ‘oh yeah I remember you bringing me the drink.  I didn’t ignore you I just got distracted.  I have no idea why you felt ignored or rejected, that’s your issue.  You really shouldn’t feel hurt by such a minor thing.’

 

EMPATHETIC COMMUNICATION:

 Martin: ‘It really hurt when you ignored me tonight’

 Jane: ‘You felt I was ignoring you tonight, and that hurt you?’ ‘Can you let me know what I did that left you feeling like that?’

 Martin:  ‘It was when I brought you that drink over, you were talking to that group of people from Jones Co remember?’  ‘you took the drink from me with barely any acknowledgement, then turned away andcarried on talking.’  ‘I felt rejected.’

‘oh I see, yes I remember you bringing me the drink, gosh I did turn away from you and continued talking to the group.  It really wasn’t my intention to ignore you, I was so distracted with what they were talking

about, their new product will have a huge impact on my advertising campaign.’  I can see how my behaviour would have left you feeling ignored I really should have acknowledged you properly and told you what was

happening.’  It’s horrible to feel rejected and hurt like that, if there is anything I can do to help just let me know.’


INTIMACY TEST

Answering the questions on this test by Dr. Steven Stosny' will assist you in clarifying areas in your relationship that are already emotionally intimate and those that need work.


 Can you disclose anything about yourself, including your deepest thoughts and feelings, without fear of rejection or misunderstanding? ________

 

Is the message of your relationship, "grow, expand, create, disclose, reveal?" Or is it, "hide, conceal, think only in certain ways, behave only in certain ways, feel only certain things?"  Grow _____  Hide _____        


Does this relationship offer both parties optimal growth? ___

 

Can you both develop into the greatest persons you can be? ___

 

Does your partner fully accept that you have thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and feelings that differ from hers/his? ___

 

Does she/he respect those differences? ___

 

Does she/he cherish you despite them? ___

 

Does she/he accept your differences without trying to change you? ___

 

Do you want to accept that your partner has thoughts, beliefs, preferences, and feelings that differ from yours? ___

 

Can you respect those differences? ___

 

Can you cherish your partner despite them? ___

 

Can you accept them without trying to change them? ___




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