We don’t intentionally trigger fear in our spouse. And it often comes as a surprise to couples that there are things that they do that trigger the safety circuitry of their spouse’s brain.
We can ‘scare’ our spouse by reacting in certain ways. Your reactions might be triggering deep wounds in your spouse, wounds that pre-date your relationship. Here are questions to ask your spouse:
- “When I react like ___, what do you tell yourself?” (their fear story)
- “When I react or say ___, what unmet need causes you to feel fear or unsafe?”
- “When you feel scared or unsafe in our relationship, what can I do to help calm those fears?”
Creating emotional safety is key to healing conflict and communication problems. Prioritizing it daily is a must. By reassuring your partner that he or she is safe with you, accepted by you, and loved by you can help them heal their ‘fear stories’.
The other blog entries in this series form the foundation of the Pause – Calm – Repair Cycle that downshifts conflict, and allows for healthy communication.
In couples counseling you will learn how to love yourself and each other where it hurts. We all prefer to avoid upset feelings, blowouts and conflict. That’s human. There would be a problem if we sought these out in our relationships. As we choreograph new patterns, we craft new mindsets and neural networks of empathy, compassion, responsiveness and acceptance. We can learn to embrace each other the way we need our inner wounds and unmet needs accepted and comforted.
This series is a quick summary of the healing process for couples. If you start the journey of healing, you will strengthen love and deepen intimacy. Why wait? Start today!